Just outside of Reykjavik, in Hellisgerði Lava Park, you will find a woman named Ragnhildur “Ragga” Jónsdóttir who can see and speak with elves. Don’t believe it? Watch the video from Yahoo’s “A Broad Abroad” series and see Ragga in action as she locates rocks and boulders where her elf friends live.
Ragga is the official caretaker of Iceland’s Elf Park and the unofficial elf spokeswoman. She says that, while not many people can see and speak with elves, some people, like herself, have the gift. There are at least two different types of “hidden people,” explains Ragga: the Huldufolk and the elves. It may be hard to imagine invisible creatures exist, but Ragga is not alone in her belief about elves in Iceland. A 1998 survey by the Dagblaðið Vísir newspaper found that 54.4% of Icelanders interviewed claimed to believe in elves.
“So the elves, do they look like Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings?” asks reporter Paula Froelich, in this episode of “A Broad Abroad.” Ragga says no, but the Huldufolk do! She says that elves look slightly similar to us but exist in a different dimension, which is why not all of us can see them. To an outsider, her “childhood friend” may look like just a lumpy rock, but Ragga says elves are very real, and live just like we do – with their own families, jobs, and faiths.
Though elves and huldufolk cannot be seen, Icelanders care very much for these little guys; locals frequently build little houses and signs for the elves. Last year, construction plans to build a highway to the suburb of Gardabaer were halted when protesters, including Ragga, claimed the road would destroy an Elf Church. It was settled that the “Church,” which to humans looks merely like a gigantic rock, would be moved to a safe place so that it will not be harmed. Though the rock weighs 70 tons and required a crane to move it, the preservation of places important to elves and huldufolk is very important to the humans of Iceland.
Although elves are beloved creatures in Iceland, they are not always well-behaved. Elves are notorious borrowers in Icelandic folklore, and it is said that whenever things go mysteriously missing, the elves are usually to blame. They are also a breed known to create havoc when upset. In 2011, there was an explosion in a mine at the slope of Mount Tradarhyrna, and rocks subsequently rained over the residential streets in the area. It was said that the local elves were upset about a tunnel built in the mountain, and were reacting to the disturbance in the land. But when their land is respected, elves are known to be caring towards humans, and look after us like teeny guardian angels.
Visitors to Iceland are invited to join Elf Walks on a tour of areas known to host many populations of elves, and sit in on a lesson at the Elf School to learn more about the hidden people. The school has a long collection of true stories about elves, and you can check them out here if you’re still looking for proof that elves exist!
P.S. They definitely do.