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From engineer to Viking expert

F-M graduate takes the road less traveled

More than 50 people turned out for a lecture given by Fayetteville native William Short on Oct. 29. Some traveled to the Fayetteville Free Library from as far as Poughkeepsie to hear him speak. The audience, which ranged from college students to retired elderly, had at least one thing in common: a passion for Norse sagas.

With a pleasant, unassuming nature, Short described why he left a thriving career as a research engineer at Bose Corporation (he invented the Bose Wave Music System), for a fascinating venture with Vikings. He claims he doesn't know why he took a risk only few would dare take, but some may say fate played a role, which was partly the result of a trip to Iceland.

"At some point, and this was probably 12 or 15 years ago, I learned that there were these things called The Sagas of Icelanders," Short said. "I got very, very interested in them and took a summer course at the University of Iceland. That completely flipped everything and really ignited my curiosity and passion for the study."

He contacted the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass. to find out more about its work with Medieval Studies. It was perfect timing. The museum, which is the only institution in the Northeast dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and interpretation of arms and armor, was just starting a group to practice Medieval Martial Arts.

Short joined.

"That got me interested in looking at the weapons and how they were used," he said. "And because of my interest in the sagas, that interest led toward Vikings."

A couple years ago, Short quit his day job to live out his dream job. He is now a regular guest speaker at Higgins Armory Museum and demonstrates combat techniques almost every weekend; he returns each year to speak at his Alma mater in Iceland, and is invited to various other museums and universities around the world.

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