Velnezers / the devil's lake
Velnezers (Devil's Lake) or Čertoks - a round and deep lake with intensely green water - is located in the middle of a forest in the Aglona district in Eastern Latvia. Although various myths and secrets surround the lake, there are no records of it in the Archives of Latvian Folklore. It is possible that very few ethnographic expeditions have travelled to this region, but perhaps interest in Velnezers has grown only recently. I do not seek to discover the truth, but rather to capture the nature of Velnezers and its peculiar magnetizing force.
Exhibitions - ISSP gallery (Riga, Latvia), KKKC galery (Klaipeda, Lithuania), Calvert Gallery (London, UK - as a part of New East Photoprize show) Cesis Art Festival.
Slowly working on a book.
Texts about the project: Calvert magazine, Kultūras diena.
25 TRUE STORIES ABOUT THE DEVILS LAKE
1. Velnezers is a meteorite crater.
2. The shape of Velnezers is triangular, not round.
3. Velnezers has a double bottom, and scientists have not been able to measure the depth of its central part.
4. Velnezers and the nearby Jasinka Lake are connected by an underground tunnel; the bodies of people who drowned in one lake have been found in the other.
5. Anomalies in the electromagnetic field have been observed around Velnezers, and mobile phones and other devices do not work properly here.
6. Velnezers is radioactive.
7. Velnezers recharges the chakras.
8. The water of Velnezers is heavier than regular water.
9. Velnezers does not freeze in winter.
10. The water of Velnezers contains mercury and is poisonous.
11. The water of Velnezers can be used to cure warts.
12. People who enter the water of Velnezers become very hairy (or lose all their hair).
13. No fish live in Velnezers, and birds don’t sing nearby.
14. The fish and snakes that live in Velnezers ar transparent.
15. Nothing grows in Velnezers, not even reeds – it is a dead lake.
16. It is impossible to swim across Velnezers.
17. Those who swim in Velnezers will be possesed by evil spirits.
18. Sometimes people walk in circles around Velnezers, unable to find their way out for several hours – like they were bound to the lake by an invisible force.
19. The same invisible force sometimes makes horses, cars, bicycles, cameras or other objects in the vicinity of the lake disappear.
20. Coins thrown into Velnezers preserve the unconscious desires of their throwers.
21. It is recommended to visit the church after being at Velnezers.
22. During Soviet times, children from the local school never mentioned Velnezers in their stories about the local surroundings and nature.
23. No stories, legends or rumours about Velnezers have been registered in the Archive of Latvian Folklore.
24. The many mystical rumours about Velnezers were started in the 1990s by a local businessman who wanted to buy the lake and build a guest house there.
25. Since the mid-1990s, Velnezers is a protected nature reserve