I just watched Nicholas Refn’s film Valhalla Rising . I’m not quite sure what I think about it other than it seemed to be a maniacal meditation on violence and savagery. A hallucination of hellish visions and hellish men performing hellish deeds. And yet, I do not believe this disqualifies it as objectionable or that it can only be enjoyed by those with questionable tastes, or, well, psychopaths. In a PG description, it’s about early Christians and Viking pagans getting lost at sea and eventually finding themselves in the New World, whereupon they are greeted by a wholly different breed of savagery. Sounds uplifting, no?
Between wincing at the visceral images, I found my thoughts turning to other bands of people that may have made that journey before Columbus and his fame hungry agents. You may know of the rune stone in southern Oklahoma, purported to have been inscribed by Vikings, crisscrossing the nation on rivers. There are other rune stones, of less dubious origins in Minnesota and Michigan that scholars find hard to refute. If this, too, interests you, check out a few titles below that may shed light on Pre-Columbian American explorers.
The Viking Discovery of America by Helge Ingstad
Explorations in America before Columbus by Hjalmar Holand
The Vinland Sagas: The Norse Discovery of America translated by Magnus Magnusson
African Presence in Early America by Ivan Van Sertima
The Farfarers: Before the Norse by Farley Mowat