The Beardmore Relics
|Mr. Jack Stokes, MPP, Lake Nipigon, left|
Mr. Heri Hickl-Szabo, right, Curator of the Europa Department of the ROM
with the REAL SWORD
The Relics: Colourful Past Comes Home
Good old Jim Dodd will rest easy now that he's earned a visible space in Nipigon's colourful history. Dodd was the guy who happened on a few authentic Viking relics in the basement of a Port Arthur home, and subsequently "discovered" them in a site near Beardmore back in the thirties. Dodd claimed to have found the relics while prospecting and was soon talked into selling them to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto.
While historians puzzled over the presence of genuine Viking Relics north of Nipigon, and indeed while some historians even rewrote the history of the Norse penetration into Minnesota , testimony from other northerners began to cast doubt on Dodd's story.
When it was finally determined that the relics had been "planted" in the site, Dodd was discredited, the relics disappeared into the maw of the ROM basement storage, and decades of northerners forgot about this embarrassing chapter in our history.
Let's get them
But eight years ago, the Nipigon Museum's "father" decided to have a look at them, and couldn't. Buzz Lein figured that even if the relics were planted, there was still a good story behind them, and they ought to be on display in this fledgling museum in the north.
He's been trying off and on for these eight years to get them , and so has MPP Jack Stokes.
Last Friday Stokes arrived at the Gazette office with the reproductions of the relics in hand.
"I had a bit of a time convincing the Nordair officials that I could carry the relics on board," he said, "but here they are."
Nipigon Museum curator Roland Choiselat and Librarian Betty Brill both played a long and important role in getting the reproductions back to Nipigon, and they both greeted Jack Stokes and his parcel.
The reproductions were officially handed over to Jack Stokes and Buzz Lein a couple weeks ago by Heri Hickl-Szabo, curator of the Europa Department of the ROM.
Just like the real McCoy
The reproductions are identical to the real McCoy...two parts of a sword, an axe head, and a Viking symbol called a rangel. They're cast in lead and coated with copper, and every indentation matches the originals.
The Nipigon Historical Museum has just received permission to publish A.D. Tushingham's The Beardmore Relics Hoax or History c. ROM 1966 (Courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum) on our Nipigon Historical Museum's Blog . It is a long story so we may do it in parts.