Went looking for Vikings at the Rune Stone Park, only found…


There are lots of things with the “Runestone” moniker attached in my area: Runestone Telecom Association, Runestone Apartments, Runestone Mobile Home Park, etc., etc., and there’s a park called Kensington Rune Stone Park just 40 minutes away from me. I decided to take a trip out there.

That’s a rather nice building to honor a fake carved rock supposedly left by Vikings visiting Minnesota in the 14th century. It’s empty now, probably due mostly to the pandemic, but it’s not clear what they do there — it contains a big empty meeting space, perhaps for lectures about Vikings. The Olaf Ohman farmhouse is there and a big barn and some nicely maintained grassy grounds. The notorious Runestone itself is not there — it has a separate museum of its own in Alexandria, 20 minutes away. It’s all rather embarrassing.

But we didn’t care we were there for spiders. We found a few!

Well, I was going to show a few photos, but then I figured a few might horrify some people — the spider scampering on my finger, or in particular, the Bold Jumper, which is big, dark, and hairy, so you’ll have to look ’em up on Instagram or Patreon. Sorry.


  1. birgerjohansson says

    The rhunes used were from the wrong period, much later than the viking era. If you are about to forge something, hire an expert.
    (But I am glad there were spiders around. Now, we only need to double the oxygen content of the atmosphere so the spiders and other arthropods can regain their proper, carboniferous size. )

  2. jrkrideau says

    @1 birgerjohansson
    Sort of like don’t use acrylics when painting a Franz Hals. I wonder if it started out as a joke that people missed?

  3. blf says

    @1 & @2, or Drake’s Plate of Brass. The bit I really like — which I don’t recall seeing before now, when I read the link — is it apparently had the equivalent of THIS IS A FAKE written in modern ink.

  4. says

    Back when I was in grammar school, I picked up a copy of Elizabeth Coatsworth’s Door to the North from the Bookmobile. The novel treated the Kensington Runestone as authentic and includes its creation by the survivors of a beleaguered Viking expedition. It was quite engrossing at the time. Imagine my disappointment to learn later than the runestone was a forgery. I still remember my shock of realization that skraelings referred to American Indians. Whoa! (I was young back then.)

  5. davidc1 says

    @1 Re your remark about wanting big spiders ,with the greatest of respect ,sod off ,and the horse you can in on .
    @3 Reminds me of a line or three from the English sitcom Only Fools And Horses .Trigger is replying to someones comment about an alleged 18th century Dresden Dining service ,”And it Was Guaranteed Microwave And Dishwasher Safe “

  6. blf says

    @5, “THIS IS A FAKE written…” is a (perhaps cryptic) reference to a 1979 series (largely written by, albeit not credited to, a certain Douglas Adams) of a British TV show…