Emil Knudsen

Emil Knudsen (1872-1956) was born in Steinkjer where his father was a carpenter. At an early stage Emil showed interest in creative subjects, and also had a sensitive artist's mind. As a young man he was also a versatile athlete. His obvious "sixth sense" was nevertheless what attracted the most attention: It was clear at an early stage that here was a local Nostradamus.
In 1902 Knudsen moved to Trondheim. He initially made his living as a carpenter. But soon he decided to make a living from his supernatural abilities. He rented a large hall called Håndverkeren [The Craftsman], and showed his audience astonishing examples of mindreading and a sixth sense. Quite soon he was the talk of the town, with people flocking to his séances, later in the cabaret hall called Hjorten [The Red Deer].
Knudsen also went on tours. He carried out surprising telepathic experiments blindfolded, and he explained disappearances and other mysteries. During the hysterical uproar around the famous "Gudrun case" (Hølet in Flå) in 1907, Emil Knudsen quickly determined what the real fate of the missing person was (see also: Per Foros: Fløttumgutten [The Fløttum boy]. Snøfugl, 1978).
In spite of his many visions and services rendered, Knudsen never amassed a fortune. In 1909 he took his performance to Copenhagen and impressed audiences with his ability to steer a boat along a tricky route in the harbour blindfolded. A competent jury stated that Emil Knudsen had to be considered his time’s "finest and best emoting mind reader in Europe". He stayed in Denmark for several years and also held many performances in Sweden.
Eventually he settled in Trondheim. He operated a café in Ranheim and socialised with the artist colony in Trondheim. During the last ten years of his life he was bedridden. Even if he no longer actively marketed his special abilities, there were always on-going inquiries from across Norway. Knudsen liked to contribute with hints that might lead to finding lost objects or missing persons. But he never got rich from his cutting-edge competence.
Recommended reading: Emil Knudsen: Beretninger og optegnelser fra mitt liv og mine reiser [Accounts and notes from my life and my journeys]. Trondheim, 1935. (NOTE! Not owned by the Trondheim Public Library.)

Author: Einar Rædergård