Elves are the nation cohabiting Iceland

by Ioana Plăviţu

Somewhere near the polar circle, between Greenland Sea and North Atlantic, on an island created by the game of fire and water, volcanoes and geysers, people live, even nowadays, as good neighbours to elves, fairies and angels. What I tell you is not a story but something that is happening in a European country shown on any geographic map: Iceland.

When I arrived at the Transylvania Film Festival and entered the hall where “Inquiry on the invisible world” was next to show, I had made a summary of the information which they have about Iceland. Volcanoes, geysers, the capital Reykjavik and pop singer Bjork, who was awarded the prize for best actress at Cannes in 2000 – that was about all I found in my “archive”. Jean Michel Roux’s documentary has the gift of opening the gate to the soul of the Icelandic people, whose purity and rare beauty I discovered. This is the reason I wanted to know more about Iceland and the fabulous region in which they lived.

Situated at the convergence of the American and European tectonic plates, the territory of this country is often re-shaped by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Its history began at the end of the 9th century when Norwegian farmers and Vikings populated its savage lands, bringing here Celts from Ireland. In 930 they founded the first Democratic assembly in Europe, Althing (the Icelandic Parliament). The 283,000 inhabitants of Iceland even today speak as their ancestors, the ancient Scandinavian language.

They also hold the record of having chosen the first woman president, Vigdis Finnbogadottir, who led the country from 1980 until 1996.

However strange this may seem, Iceland does not have a railway network. Transportation is made by car, by plane or by ship. The Icelandic people can be proud with a reading and writing level of the population of 100% (99.9% if we are exact…) they have a 0% poverty level and extended modern technology in all areas.

Although all these things already say about them that they are “different”, nevertheless what distinguishes them, symbolically, from other nations is their belief in the existence of supernatural beings, that they call the “hidden people”.

A multi-dimensional city

According to surveys, 10% of Icelanders are convinced that they share Iceland with the elves, another 10% deny these ideas, while the majority of 80% consider the existence of invisible beings as a possibility worthy of taking into consideration. Hafnarfjordur, a small harbour near the capital, Reykjavik, seems to be the place where people live in complete harmony with these subtle beings.

They contacted Erla Stefansdottir, piano teacher and clairvoyant, to draw them a more special map. Thus one of the tourist attractions of the small Icelandic harbour is a walk to the “elves’ houses”. Hafnarfjordur mayor, Magnus Gunnarsson, seemed proud of the document which certifies the invisible world from the city he runs. Very delighted with their nice neighbours, he declared that “in this way, tourists will be able to discover that in our town, together with its ordinary inhabitants, live also supernatural beings”.

When she was asked how was it possible for both men and elves to live in the same space, clairvoyant Erla explained that the world has many dimensions. For example, she says “in a mountain forest, all sorts of creatures may live: elves, gnomes, dwarves and fairies. They are not observed by people because their frequency of vibration is different from ours, corresponding to the ethereal or, sometimes, astral plane. It is possible even for these beings, most often inaccessible to ordinary human sight, to not perceive one another because of their level of different vibration.”

But Erla has seen the elves ever since she was a child and was convinced that is something natural. “Until they are 6-7 years old, children see more than adults do. I believe that many of them have invisible playmates, but do not realize they are elves.”

A 9 year old girl, Audur Gudmundsdottir tells convincingly of the way she plays with elves, which are about half her height. One day she fell as she was playing outside and a female elf opened the door to her house in a large rock and gave her a spiral cookie to eat, and a very unusual banana juice to drink. Audur is happy to describe her friends who she says are very discreet, as they only come out at night and never during the day. The mother, whom the girl brought a key to the elves house as proof, a small metallic, notched object, does not exclude the possibility that the little girl’s stories are true. You can meet witnesses like this at every step in Iceland.

Officials protect their homes

During recent years, construction engineers many times needed to redesign road plans in order to divert away from elves’ houses. Also, the architects of the first mall took care to assemble electrical wiring and other underground installation as far away as possible from the presumed locations of gnomes and fairies. Couples who plan to build a house also resort to people endowed with extra-sensory perceptions in order to make sure that the place is not already occupied. In Iceland these precautions are not seen as eccentricities, just as simple precautions.

“Countless invisible creatures live alongside us, who use large stones and rocks from our physical world as gates of passage into their ethereal world” Brynjolfur Snorrason, tells us, the clairvoyant farmer specializing in indicating the areas inhabited by the “hidden people” (huldu folk). He is often consulted by construction entrepreneurs who do not want to enter into conflict with their small supernatural neighbours.

“Maybe it is a more special country” says Arni Bjornsson, the head of the ethnological department of the National Museum of Iceland. “Even most sceptical engineers, who sustain they do not believe in superstitions, prefer to go round hills and stones that clairvoyants say are inhabited by elves, rather than destroying them and thus risk upsetting the invisible ones.”

In the beginning of 1999 for instance, the Road Construction Agency in Iceland had to alter the initial project of a new highway starting from Reykjavik, after a protest from the locals of the area, because the route would have disturbed the home of some elves under a rock.

“For as long as people are convinced of the reality of subtle worlds and of the elves, we endeavour to respect everyone’s believes” Viktor Ingolfsson said, an official of the Public Roads Administration. “If this implies that we avoid an elves rock, we accommodate this request.”

Road constructors take into account these indications of clairvoyants due to the fact that they were convinced many times of the ill-fated effects it has by violating them. There are well-known cases of defective machines and equipment or unexpected illness of those who brutally removed the elves’ rocks.

“For most people the hidden beings are full of kindness” explains Magnus Skarphedinsson, a teacher at the school for Elven studies school and an expert in elves. “But if they are aggressed, it is possible that less pleasant things might happen. Either the project will cost a lot or some workers might get sick. Thus it is not recommended to make the elves angry.”

They are supported at the presidential level

The former president of Iceland (during 1980-1996), Vigdis Finnbogadottir, does not exclude the presence of subtle beings on the invisible map of her country. Very diplomatically, she brings an unbeatable argument: “I have not seen the elves or invisible beings. I have not yet met a ghost although I often heard people talk about them. Such a belief no longer exists in France or Spain because they are catholic countries. Catholicism is so powerful, so much that it does not leave enough room for other beliefs. In the Middle Ages, Icelanders adapted Catholicism to match their pagan heritage and continued to tell stories about supernatural beings, elves and ghosts. The existence of elves, ghosts, aliens and life after death has never been proven. It is the same in the case of God. No one has proved that He exists or not.”

The present Icelandic president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, has also an explanation of the presence of the hidden people: the powerful feeling of loneliness and isolation, characteristic to Icelanders. “Icelanders have always been few in number, this is why in ancient times they doubled the number with invisible characters from the legends of elves and fairies to their number”, he stated during an interview he gave at the presidential residence from Bessastadir.

Paranormal is something that comes naturally

In every country there are mediums, clairvoyants and supporters of paranormal phenomena as well as specialized magazines, institutions which scientifically study these areas. However Iceland is the country where the paranormal and invisible are at home. Many people, without difficulty, see and communicate with elves, angels or ghosts of the deceased.
Clairvoyant Erla Stefansdottir explains the essence of these phenomena. “People consider it is absolutely natural to travel from one country to the other and get to know other people. But to them it seems strange to explore the subtle dimensions and different planes where we exist as human beings. Our structure resembles an onion, it is stratified. In layers that become thinner and thinner as you approach the nucleus. Also human beings become more and more beautiful as you get to know them deeper and deeper.

First we get to see the physical body and its aura, the colours of emotions and the social attitude. These layers form the personality, behind which hides the soul. Beyond the soul is the most intimate structure of the human being, the Self, “the source of memory”. This is the nucleus of the human being, that particle of the Divine Sun.

If all these elements are connected, we reach perfection and become one with God. We become more radiant than the most powerful electric light.”

Who are the elves?

Fantastic creatures of German mythology, elves also survived in North-European folklore. It is considered that they originally were a race of gods of nature and fertility. They are depicted as young women and men, short in height and very beautiful. They live in forests and other places in nature, underground, in springs or rivers. They live much longer in comparison to humans, never grow old and have magical powers.

Scandinavian mythology speaks of elves of light inhabiting the third sky, the dark and black elves. The last ones are skilful smiths and German mythology mistakes them for dwarfs. An example of such elves experts in the art of metal transmutation and processing are the Nibelung.

The elves from Scandinavian mythology survived especially as shining, beautiful women living in the forest, ruled by an elf king. It is said that they can be seen at night, dancing through the clearing. Fairy dances leave circular marks in the grass, which are often associated with crop circles. If a human being looks at their dance, time is so compressed that years turn into hours. This phenomenon is also reflected in Tolkien’s work, “The Lord of the Rings” when the characters go searching for ring and reach the Kingdom of the Elves, Lothlorien where they see that time flows much slower than in the physical world. Actually, Tolkien’s elf characters are inspired from Scandinavian and Celtic mythology.


Brynjolfur Snorrason (farmer and healer)
“When I was a child, I used to play with elves and … with the spirits of those who had died. I was different from the children my age so I never actually spoke about it. My children also feel great when they are with invisible beings. One of them always plays with his twin brother who has died. I can clearly see them both. All my six children are clairvoyants. In relation this, I believe that the parents’ attitude is decisive. If you tell your children there is no such thing as clairvoyance, this aptitude will not develop. I sometimes happen to mistake this world for the other. So just in case, in order for people not to think I am crazy, my wife forbade me from ever speaking in public with the invisible entities. Some of them look like humans, others are but coloured shapes.”

Joga Johannsdottir (masseur)
“I was 11 at the time walking on a hill, when I saw a woman disappearing into a stone. She was normally proportioned, but no taller than a 6 year old child. I never tried to persuade anyone that what I had seen was real.”

Gudrun G. Bergmann (writer and tourist guide)
“According to mediums, one of these two rocks represents a church of the invisible beings and the other one is a library. Ancient creatures live here. Last summer I was mediating before the library rock. I saw a small being coming out of the rock. He looked like Yoda from Star Wars, with a large head, which is the symbol of wisdom. He is the keeper of the knowledge inside the stone. The secret of Iceland resides within nature, a huge book that we need to decode.

Article courtesy of Revista Misterelor magazine

Also available in: Română Français

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