Saturday, October 2, 2010

Santa Claus Mine

Yesterday, I climbed up to an old abandoned mine above Longyearbyen. The locals call it the Santa Claus mine It's also rumored to be the summer home of Santa.

The locals say that this is the summer home of Santa. Mr. Klaus needs to make more money and do some rehab. Every Christmas season a mailbox is placed on the road below the mine. The local kids write their letters to Santa and place them in the box, hoping that Santa will come down from the mine and give them the toys they've asked for.

And it's very scary. Like, horror movie scary. And yes, there are haunting whistling noises coming out of the mine shaft. Luckily, it's frozen over, so I assume the monsters can't come out. Yet.

The climb is deceptively long and tough. The steep incline is covered with loose gravel and mud. I was hauling two backpacks with camera equipment and a tripod (which I regretted within seconds).

This mine was originally opened by Americans in the 1900s. In 1916 the Store Norske Spitsbergen Kullkompani (SNSK) became established, and they bought the mine from the American owner (Mr. Longyear).

The tall wooden structures are cable trestles, and are considered cultural monuments of the old manual-labor coal mining days in Longyearbyen. Back when the mines were working, the coal was transported in "kibs" (carriers) on the cable way to the cleaning plant.

I finally got up to the mine and heard a dog barking inside. I called out, but no answer. I hiked around the mine looking for the dog. I returned to the lower part and heard the dog again. It was totally creepy! We're talking horror movie creepy. I had to take a few moments and calm my terror. I wanted to run back down (not a good idea with the terrain). I finally convinced myself that the barking was just some old metal flapping in the wind (yeah, right). What finally made me set up and film was the thought that if I didn't do it then, I would have to haul all that equipment up some other day ... the shots were just too good to miss.

After a few hours of crawling in and around the mine, I slowly made my way back down, happy to leave the ghost dog behind.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing mine Janet! Beautiful and frightening. No wonder you heard ghosts howling up there, even the ground around it looks a bit like coagulated blood....phiuu, thank god you made it safely back.