Mögjeppa and Villa Naturen by Johanna Gedenryd and Isabella Agrell

We are going to tell you about an local celebrity from our home village of Österslöv. His name was Jeppe Olsson but he was known as Mög Jeppa that means Dirty Jeppa. He was a very unclean man and died in the year 1960. He was famous for his house that he built all by himself of only leftover materials given to him by the people in the village.

Jeppa Olsson was a man who during the second word war rented a sandy soil along the Råbelövsjön, north of Kristianstad. Because of distrust to the swedish church representatives and fear of Hitler he decided to build a house for him self and Kristianstads nurses. The nurses had treated him for his asthma so good that he wanted to give them a better fate then what was expected from them. All the material he used on the house was old sugar boxes, milk jugs and wasted wood that was covered by black tar.

The whole house was an ecological building, it stood across the trees and leaned on them. It was the trees that made it possible for Jeppa to build the house steadily and safely.  At the entrance of the house began the staircase that wound its way around the house, past a several rooms and floors, and then back to the starting position. All the rooms had different names, the ”tower room” that was on the highest floor had the most beautiful view over the lake Råbelövsjön and the mountain Balsberget. The other rooms were called thinks like ”blue saloon and the love-room”. In the love-room where the walls decorated with different posters from the times love scenes and love stories.  Everything was built according to Jeppas fantasy and art. To get up building materials and furniture for the various rooms had Jeppa installed elevators that he cranked up it with. From the highest house he had built a bridge to the lower twin house with three floors.

Mögjeppa was a small but strong man, always wearing dark clothes and a cap. Except for Sundays – on Sundays he swapped out the cap to a hat. Many people from the village saw him far out in the lake with his clothes on. They asked if he wanted help because they thought it was an accident but he always answered ”When I bathe with my clothes on then my body, my clothes and my soul clean will be clean at the same time”. Even if Jeppa washed his clothes  in the sea he made a  very special washing machine. It was a barrel with propeller in which began to spin as he turned on a lever that he had put together with the rear of a bicycle.

Jeppa was a religious man and the bible was his educational book. He often spoke with references to the Bible. It was like he knew the entire Old Testament by heart. He felt selected by God and told people that he had met the Savior, dressed in a red robe. It is said that he was God’s envoy and that his life task was to build the house like Noah built the Ark. As Noah built his ark as a refuge for the animals, Jeppa built a refuge for himself and the nurses if the Nazi Germans were to invade Sweden in the Second World War. He believed in doomsday and said that it would be done by the German invasion.

The water to the household was pumped up by a propeller on the roof and heated in a  container of plate that mounted around the chimney to the wood stove.

The toilet was on the third floor but it was also useful on the lower floors, but it was important that all the slots were open if you where using the top restroom, because the stool would land on the ground and not on the toilet below.

He ate a lot of fish that he could easily get from the lake, he even had a trap to catch eels in.

Eventually, the villagers became curious about what Jeppa was doing in the woods. They often took a sunday walk to look at Jeppa´s special house. Jeppa was a smart man and charge entry to people who would come and check on his masterpiece. The price was fifty cents for everyone, poor and rich. Greta Garbo and Princess Sibylla came to check out the house and the newspaper Chicago Herald Tribune wrote about him and Villa Naturen.

Jeppa left the house after seventeen years work, year 1955. He was 80 years old and moved to a retirement home. When he died the house was used as a place for the public. My father actually used to play there as young boy before the authorities decided to tear down the house. At that time the tree had grown into the house, the windows were broken and it meant that it was a dangerous place for children to play. Kristianstad’s fire department use Mögjeppas house as a fire practice building in 1974. All the black tar made the house burn up fast and all Mögjeppa´s work was gone.

This house was Jeppas summerhouse, it was in this house he had his bed, his bible, his wood stove and other things for his practical needs. Jeppa lived with a friend in Kristianstad in the winters, but when the weather was hot enough he moved back to Villa Naturen to continue his building.

Today there is only a forest and there is barely no marks from Jeppas house. When we were children we visited the place where Jeppas had been living with our school and there was only scrap like pots and glass bottles left.

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