The legends of these wee creatures are told all over the world. While the Irish have their gold-rich and clever leprechauns, the Scandinavians have their trolls, and in Central America the small dwarflike beings are known as ikals and wendis. The ikals were described by the Tzeltal Indians as being about three feet tall, quite hairy and living in caves like bats.
Iceland also has its elves, who are said to be very protective of their habitations. Those who attempt to disturb them are in for trouble. One story is told of the construction of a new harbor at Akureyri in 1962. Repeated attempts to blast away rocks continually failed. Equipment malfunctioned and workers were regularly being injured or falling ill. Then a man named Olafur Baldursson claimed that the reason for the trouble was that the site of the blast was the home of some "little people." He told the city authorities that he would work out a deal with the little people. When he came back and reported that the little folks were satisfied, the work proceeded with no problems.
Icelanders – citizens of one of the most literate nations in the world – take their elves quite seriously. Even today, Iceland's most well-known "elf-spotter," Erla Stefansdottur, has helped Reykjavik's planning department and tourist authorities create maps that chart the haunts of hidden folk. The public roads authority quite often routes roads around hallowed boulders and other spots believed to be inhabited by the elves.
Sightings of the little people continue right up to the present day. In fact, there have been several postings on the Paranormal Phenomenon Forum from readers who have either heard stories of such encounters or have experienced them first-hand. Here are some examples:
"I learned that a bored young boy playing along a creek near Bend, Oregon, saw two little people who crossed the creek and stood looking at him. He said they were no more than 15 to 18 inches high and very dark complected. They wore skins as garments, and after a period of 10 to 15 seconds, walked back across the creek and into the forest. The boy showed their footprints to his parents, who had contracted to a logging company to clean up slash piles. The prints were obvious and his parents were flabbergasted, but chose not to follow the little beings into the woods. He believes now that the little men weren't happy about the logging and destruction in the forest."
"The last time I saw little people was around 1957 in Fort Worth, Texas. I had been sleeping and something made me open my eyes. I saw two small people looking back at me. I was too tired and sleepy at the time to pursue further investigation of these two little guys who had very little hair and wore shabby strange clothes. They sort of smiled at me and I fell back to sleep. I know what I saw and they were real."
"I don't know if what I saw was a "little person," but when I was younger, around seven or eight, these little shadows or elves, maybe the size of a pinky, would come out in my room. I can't remember the feelings I had. I wouldn't go to bed with the lights out and I insisted that my parents stay with me in my room until I fell asleep. I think they thought I was crazy or something! But I know what I saw. Most of the time, they walked on my window, but then when I turned the other direction, they would jump in front of me as if they wanted me to see them. I don't think I was all that scared, but I can still remember clearly what they looked like. Over a period of time, they disappeared. I think it lasted a year. Also, I remember that when I wanted them to go away, I would ask them to leave. If they didn't, then I would try to smack them with my hand, but they would disappear before I could. I don't recall them talking. It was strange, but I know it happened."
"Last year when my daughter and friends were four- wheeling in the woods in Washington state, they were stuck and having problems getting out. When working at getting out, an elf- like person came out and looked at them. The elf had a bow and arrow, pointed hat and pointed ears. Six people saw it."
Next page: More stories of the little people