Hiidenkirnut: Spectacular Millennia-Old Devil’s Churns In Finland

Great power of the glacial melting water and movement of stones created some of the most spectacular potholes often called Giant’s Kettles (or Giant’s cauldrons).

Legends of ancient people in the region say that these potholes were made by a devil who use to live here.

Potholes have got various mystical meanings and have long influenced imagination of people living in the vicinity of them.

The ancient local population were aware of what they called the “devil’s churns” and they came up with stories like little devils that dwelled in their proximity. A common thought was that these devils had protected pagan locals from being converted but they had lost their fight and then had to hide. According to these little legends the potholes got their Finnish name.

Finland has approximately one hundred of these creations and they are known as “Hiidenkirnut” – the Devil’s Churns. Fourteen of them are located in the region of Rovaniemi, about 10 kilometres (6 miles) south of the Arctic Circle Lapland, Finland’s northernmost province.

Their inside is regular and very smooth and they appear to have been created by drilling machines.

However, most researchers agree they were formed by a circular motion of water from melting from glacial and mixed with stones and gravel. It was a natural process that began to take place at the end of the last ice age, 10,000-13,000 years ago.

No doubt, their formation is strongly connected to the presence of water and probably with ancient flood legends, people created on Earth through thousands of years.

The Devil’s Churn is a desolated place that can be reached only by car. One of the ancient Finnish legends tells that the Devil (in Finnish: Hiisi), haunted this area very long time ago.

When he heard about a Swedish bishop coming to convert the locals into Christianity, Hiisi collected stones, rocks, and arrows, and dug out a deep hole in the bare rock to sit there in ambush. While Hiisi sat there, he also managed to prepare a deadly potion to use against the bishop and his crew.

Unfortunately, Hiisi’s plans failed because he was defeated by bishop’s guards and eventually, he fled the Devil’s Churn, but the name of the place remains.

The biggest Giant’s s Kettle (with a diameter of 15.5 meters and a depth of about 13 meters) can be found in municipality of Salla in the southern part of Finland.

Otherwise, there are four more these kettle-shaped holes in the area, with diameters ranging from 5 to 15 meters.

The Devil’s churns of Rovaniemi have always fascinated people and scientists, who studied them for the first time in 1966-67.

Today there is no ancient debris in them, only water, to which people use to throw coins and make a wish, most probably to the devil, just in case, he is somewhere in the vicinity and can hear them.

There are other potholes or kettle-like holes – varying in size from a few inches to several feet in depth and diameter – in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and USA.

Pennsylvania’s Archbald Pothole (a remnant of the Wisconsin Glacial Period) is 38 feet (11.6 m) deep with a largest diameter of 42 feet (12.8 m) by 24 feet (7.3 m).

Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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