“Vision and audacity became the calling for fisheries, forestry and industry” – the words are written for Magnus Huss, “Vildhussen”, born Måns Månsson 1755 in Boda, Torps area in Medelpad.
Magnus Huss was employed as the manager of the project which purpose was to create a timber path and simultaneously lower the level of lake Ragunda.
Already in 1766 did Jacob Stenius examine the path of the river Indalsälvens, which could neither be used as a transport route for boats nor log floating, since the great rapids were so high that the timber was splintered in their paths. Stenius expressed cautious optimism but did have some reservations. The inhabitants of Ragunda and Stugun considered this to amount to support for the possibilty of following a cause of action propsed by Huss, and to gain routes in case of a potential war, to float timber and gain better salmon fishing as well as new agrarian soil.
King Gustav III gave his permission for digging to begin in due course. In 1793 Magnus Huss was accordingly employed to carry out the project. After a period of 3 years the catastrophy was a fact. Vildhussen had succeeded in, or rather failed at, completing the mission that was to be notoriously spoken of and written about as the largest natural disaster in Swedish history – Döda Fallet. In the first newspaper article published on the disaster one could read “The following unusual and horrible occurrence deserves the attention of the general public and their lament”.
The year following the disaster Vildhussen drowned in the river Indalsälven. His dead body was discovered in Liden. In history, myths and legends he has continued to live on as Vildhussen.
The legal proceedings surrounding the disaster took almost 200 years to solve with the last trial seeing closure in 1975. In the supreme court it was established that no man was found responsible for the disaster and that it was likely that the catastrophy would have occurred anyway, sooner or later.
Was Vildhussen a failed businessman or an audacious and bold entrepreneur? Or was he but a pawn in the game of higher powers?