Mysterious Scandinavian Carvings

Scandinavian Wood Carving

Scandinavian Wood Carving © 2008 Bo Mackison

I have admired these wood carvings since I first visited Sister Bay, a town in Door County in the northeastern part of Wisconsin, more than three decades ago. There are at least six statues I have examined, each maybe 3 or 4 feet in height, each carved and painted and polished. When I first saw them, they looked old. Every time I return, the cracks are a little deeper, but the figures’ eyes still peer with a glimmer of character.

Sister Bay was founded by Scandinavians in the 1850s and has a strong cultural heritage. I have asked many people, the people who live in the towns up and down the Door Peninsula, for information about these traditional carvings. No one seems to have any clue. Obviously, I’m asking the wrong people. Some one must know their history.

Finally, I decided to do a Google search, confident information would turn up. After all, isn’t everything on the Internet. Seems the answer to that is no. I can find nothing. Not a thing. They remain a big mystery.

So I’m hoping that by throwing this out into the Internet universe, someone may stumble on it, and shed some light to these mysterious carvings. They are just way too cool to remain so anonymous.

About Bo Mackison

I’m a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place – a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I’d love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It’s my gift to you.


  1. Nope. I don’t have any information to share. I can certainly see why you are so attracted to them and why you find them interesting. The cracks add so much character.

  2. The detail in them is quite impressive..and the eyes do have a mesmerizing effect. Have no idea what they are..or what their history is. I can perfectly see what draws you to them. Thanks for sharing…

  3. I don’t know a thing about them, but would be interested in seeing an update if you ever find out.

    They’re great carvings, with or without the mystery. I can see why you’re so interested in them.

  4. Well, you pinged the Internet universe, so an answer will round about. Do these sit outside? What captures me about them are the eyes, and they each have a touch of spirit. Perhaps a bit of spirit from the carver who shared in the love of creation. 🙂

  5. Anna, they sit outside in all kinds of weather only a short distance from the forces of Lake Michigan/Green Bay.

    So far, no clues.

    And yes, their eyes are what are the most amazing things about all these carvings.

    Robin, I’ll be sure to post an update if any information turns up.

  6. They have an air of friendliness about them, and lots of age. Would we could all age so well!

  7. interesting

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