MAELSTROM (whirlpool), a term originally applied to a strong current running past the south end of the island of Moskenaes, a member of the group of Lofoten Islands on the west coast of Norway. It is known also as the Moskenstrom. Though dangerous in certain states of wind and tide, the tales of ships being swallowed in this whirlpool are fables. The word is probably of Dutch origin, from malen, to grind or whirl, and strom or stroom, a stream or current. It appears on Mercator's Atlas of 1595.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)