Monday, May 13, 2013
The Isdal Woman
The Isdal woman (Norwegian: Isdalskvinnen) is the subject of an unsolved case involving an unidentified woman found dead at Isdalen Valley in Bergen, Norway on 29 November 1970. Considered one of Norway's most profound mysteries, the case has been the subject of intense speculation over the years regarding the identity of the victim, the events leading up to her death and the cause of death. Public interest in the case remains significant. The woman was found in a part of Isdalen popularly known as "Death Valley", which lies in the direction towards Mount Ulriken. Next to the scene police found a burned-out passport. The autopsy showed that the woman had suffered blunt force trauma to the neck and had taken several sleeping pills before she died. The official police report concluded suicide, but this conclusion is highly controversial. Police traced the woman to two suitcases that were found in an NSB train station in Bergen. Police also found that the labels had been removed from every piece of clothing she wore, and that her fingerprints had been sanded away. Police eventually found out that the woman had travelled around Norway and Europe with nine different identities: Jenevive Lancia, Claudia Tjelt, Vera Schlosseneck, Claudia Nielsen, Alexia Zarna-Merchez, Vera Jarle, Finella Lorck and Elizabeth Leen Hoywfer. All of these identities were false. According to witness sightings the woman used various wigs, and in the trunk there were found several cryptic diary entries. Witnesses reported that the woman had spoken several languages: French, German, English and Flemish. On 24 November, five days before the discovery of the woman, a local 26-year old man was hiking with friends around the same area. He reported to have come across a woman of foreign appearance, her face completely distorted by fear. He noted that the woman was dressed elegantly, although not appropriately for being outdoors, let alone hiking in the hills. As they passed each other she formed her mouth as if to say something but appeared intimidated by two black-coated men who followed her.