By Hampus Eckerman: When Mike asked for Filers to write something for one of the anniversaries of File 770, I first thought I should write something of SFFnal character. Maybe something about books I’ve read, films I’ve seen or weird places I’ve been. But for some reason, inspiration never came. So instead I will do the next best thing. I will give you a bit of weird Swedish culture, the kind that would fit right into one of the books we love.
No one knows how it started or even when it started. Some people say it didn’t start in Uppsala at all, but in Lund. Some say it started in the 80s, but others are sure it had been heard of even in the 70s. But one thing is sure. Everyone who has been a student in Uppsala has at one time been part of it.
The Flogsta Scream.
Uppsala is a Student city, the university dates back to 1477, where the students make up between 15 and 25% of the population (depending on how you count). At 22:00, everyone at the Flogsta campus around Seranders Road will open their windows. To scream. Sometimes people are screaming in happiness. Other times in desperation or anguish. But they will scream. The last time loudness was measured, it reached 106 decibels, somewhere between a motorcycle and a chainsaw.
Some people say that Harry Belafonte was the cause of the first scream. According to that legend, it was some drunken friends sitting on the roof of one of the student apartments who tried to give their rendition of the Banana Boat Song and from that it grew first to a greeting between the houses and then to the current screaming of exam anguish.
The Flogsta Scream has also been used as a reaction to politics around the world. They day after Trump was elected US president, the screams were a lot higher than otherwise, with everyone screaming at the top of their lungs.
Students screaming after the Trump election
A fun thing is that Uppsala houses a lot of students from other parts of the country and also from other countries. One student described the fear and horror he felt the first time he heard the screams. He was walking home from the supermarket close to the houses when he first heard one student screaming, then another, and suddenly the whole night was filled with screaming students. The confusion was staggering and close to terror, he said.
The tradition died down for a while, but was revived by a radio station who wanted to make world record in loudest screaming. They failed by a large margin, but the screaming caught on again and shows no signs of stopping. In fact, the howling has now spread to other universities and people are now screaming not only in Uppsala, but also in Stockholm, Linköping and Lund.
Thanks for the interesting post, Hampus! I don’t know if I could handle having that going on every night, though.
This video crossed my Facebook feed today:
This is more generally known as “Elvavrålet” – the Eleven Scream – and in each university town usually also after one of the student accommodation areas – “Delphi” in Lund for example. It was a well-known tradition during my studies in Lund in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
I had a cousin who learned how to kula. It really took you by surprise when she started behind you.
Sounds like something that might have been inspired by the movie Network.
It also sounds like the perfect time to slaughter your enemies….