Lodvar must now be taken seriously..

"What one might hope for, is that others will be courageous enough to follow in Kaarstad's and Royne's trail, and that the universities will finally have their eyes opened to what an enormously important research topic this is, which has lain stale for much too long, in the shadow of prejudice.." , writes Professor George Hygen in the afterword to Torstein T. Royne's book about psychic Lodvar Kaarstad from Lomen in Valdres.

He mentions that Royne, through ten years of work, has gathered far more material than is presented in the book and is interested in developing this further. This represents a challenge to those who manage research funds. Regarding further work for Torstein T. Royne, it is interesting to note that Lodvar had certain visions of this: "I think you're going to write one more book ".

Torstein Royne is known as a thorough man in everything he does. This thoroughness also applied to the steps that lead to him becoming an author. He has made all efforts possible, contacted with a large number of sources, and considered all this material in the research.

The resulting book The Psychic Norwegian includes a selection of around a hundred different accounts of cases from a total of around seven hundred. Tape recorders are often used, not only to give an accurate record, but also to better capture the nuances of the cases. This guards against this bias often inherent in written accounts, which can lead to misinterpretation.

The accounts of such remarkable cases in this book, about a modest man in Lomen, means that it certainly deserves a place in Norwegian scientific literature.

Torstein Royne observes himself that he was astonished that no one before him had looked at Lodvar Kaarstad's unusual abilities in detail. In the upper parts of Valdres the man remains a legend after his own lifetime, one of the reasons that Torstein felt he needed to carry out this work.

Initially local enquirers contacted him when cattle were lost or valuable belongings misplaced but over time fame spread far beyond Valdres' borders, bringing in enquiries from much further afield. A traditional character dominates many of the selected accounts, with common themes which make the reader nod in recognition, but there are also stories with a more modern and uncommon slant.

The examples include a misplaced drilling operation at the Lomen power plant, in which Lodvar assisted in the location of a pressure tunnel. The drill was supposed to breakthrough to a hall in the tunnel where the power station would be built, but when the estimated distance was covered, the drill missed the cavity. Rumbling in the mountains could be heard, but as the sound propagates, it was impossible to say where it came from. Lodvar however, could tell where the drill crown was and this proved to be correct.

It is difficult enough to understand how Lodvar could locate missing objects, but there are also accounts in which his psychic ability exceeded the time barriers. This specifically applied to his ability to say whether a lost thing would be found again or not.

Lodvar Kaarstad was often called upon to find sources of water. The use of divining rods is a common method of locating water sources used by a great number of people. Lodvar was able to offer something more in being able to tell people where they would find water over the telephone and without visiting their property. Furthermore, he was able to determine how deep they must dig to reach the water source. This is supported by a number of similar cases.

These stories also provide insights into the life and character of Lodvar Kaarstad. He was a descendant of the 19th century psychic Vis-Knut, which establishes an antecedent to his unusual abilities. He was born in very modest circumstances, and moved to the upper Riste at an early age, where he would live for the rest of his life. The people on the farm praised him as a loyal and reliable labourer and farmhand who took care of all eventualities. As his abilities became known, there were more and more enquiries over the telephone; these also included enquiries that could be solved simply by the use of common sense.

He never requested payment for his help and he could be rather cross with enquirers who called to test him or engage him in a practical joke. He was very modest about his abilities, but appreciated feedback on whether the answers he gave were helpful and also gratitude for his successes.

The psychic ability was not always a joy, particularly when the answers held bad news, and also given that is usually at difficult times that people consult psychics. Lodvar has left a legacy to consider and try to make sense of.

Olav Robole