Hilltop Viking Statue
Fort Ransom, North Dakota
The people in this part of North Dakota believe that they are descended from vikings. To honor this, someone named William Warll from nearby Casselton built one in 1972. Dragging it to the top of this steep hill was a feat worthy of his ancestors. It's a nasty climb just for a person with a camera.
The statue stands about 25 feet tall and is lumpy, made of wire mesh covered with heavy fiber tape and then painted soot-black. It's so black, in fact, that it has the appearance of forever having the sun behind it, even at noon. Its blank face is obscured by an oversized handlebar mustache, its breastplate looks like a training bra. Out of each side of his helmet juts an enormous horn, and the sword or spear that was once held in his outstretched left hand has busted off. From a distance, the combined effect is of a giant Indian, feathers jutting out of his headdress, offering a fistful of cigars.
While the viking has suffered the ravages of time and weather, there are no signs of vandalism -- or even any beer cans -- up here. This proves that if you put something on a hill that only a viking can climb, partying American teens will leave it alone.