Storforsen (the large rapids) had long been a problem for the people living further up the Indalsälven river. The logs that were floated along the river would be destroyed in the waterfall, the wild salmon wasn’t able to swim up river, and there was a desire to build a waterway all the way from the Baltic Sea to Lake Storsjön inland.
After many years of investigations, and of started and stopped attempts at building a canal to bypass the falls, the local farmers upriver of the waterfall took matters into their own hands.
They sat up a company and employed a work manager, Magnus Huss, “Vildhussen” with the intention of building the canal. What the company lacked in engineering knowledge and geological competence, they made up for in energy and action.
During the night of 6th June 1796, with the canal building in progress, the canal broke through a sandbank, and the entire 20 km2 Lake Ragunda was emptied in just a couple of hours. Storforsen suddenly became the Dead Falls. The resulting flood of water that washed down the valley wiped out houses, boats, trees, sawmills, piers and fishing facilities. The largest disaster in modern time Sweden was a reality. The subsequent legal proceedings were unprecedented for Sweden, and it wasn’t until 200 years later that the case could be closed.