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1942: Royal Air Force Photographs a Norwegian Troll

Great Mountain Troll?
Whoa. [Larger version here]

This strange photograph has been claimed to show a "Great Norwegian Mountain Troll." It is said to have been taken in 1942 by the crew of a RAF (British Royal Air Force) recon flight around 300 miles north of Bergen, Norway.

        And I would love it if I could say that was true... but I can't.

        The main figure in the image actually comes from a 2010 Norwegian movie called Troll Hunter, and is one of the most common screenshots from the film... this copy of the image comes from an interview with the writer and director of the film, for example.

Troll Hunter!
Troll Hunter screen shot. [Picture source here]

This fact was discovered and proven most elegantly by Reddit user Junglist 313, who created the following animation:

Troll...
Annnnd... there you go. [Picture source here]

In the breakdown of the picture, Junglist313 mentions their suspicion that the creator of the original picture was a person named Lucy Reynolds. Lucy Reynolds had a website called Lucy Reynolds Art which moved a few times, so earlier records for them are hard to find; but at a point around 2012 said website produced a lot of altered photos with fantastic new and dark elements introduced to them... so the photograph above would be right up their alley.

        It took some digging, but I was able to confirm that the earliest possible posting of the image was at the Lucy Reynolds Art website on July 31, 2012, when Reynolds put up a post titled "Tales from the North: Norwegian Mountain Troll." The copy of the defunct website that is now available in the Internet Archive no longer has the images for Reynold's posts, but the text is word for word what people are still copying today:

"It is believed that this is the only photo in existance of the Great Norwegian Mountain Troll. It was taken in December 1942 by the crew of an RAF recon flight 300 miles north of Bergen."

It can be argued that, in context of her website full of other altered pictures, Reynolds didn't intend for the picture to be genuinely mistaken for real. But with the disappearance of her original site, and the continued copy and pasting of both the picture and story, it was inevitable that the image and story would become divorced from their origins and promoted by both believers and pranksters.

        By the way, it's possible that Lucy Reynolds is responsible for another troll photo, though I can't prove it. For more details, follow the 'See Also' link below.