Believe in Elves? Icelanders do!

I didn’t believe it at first, either.  But it is true.  In Iceland, the majority of the countries inhabitants are not interested in giving up their belief in them.  This is evidence, as far as I’m concerned, that people are often ready and willing to believe in anything without evidence as long as it isn’t boring or if it fulfills a void of ignorance in their lives.  Full story here.  (I know the story is a little dated, but clearly its relevant)

3 Responses

  1. Hey Tom,

    I’m not surprised at all. Here in Argentina a lot of people believe in ghosts and demons. It’s a serious phenomenon, as it has been studied by sociologists and anthropologists, and it’s intertwined with social realities of different qualities: from religious beliefs, to customs and folk traditions, to political and economic conditions. From that point of view, the belief in these spiritual or supernatural beings produces a behaviour as irrational as the one it’s possible to detect, for instance, when one is in love! The key matter is that behind such an irrationality lies a hidden logic, which makes sense if one understands the social context of practices and beliefs.
    Most curious thing. We may be post-Enlightenment’s children, but our Medieval magic parents still live among us.

  2. How very erudite! (And true) My article on ancient ghost stories and hauntings and how they influence us in our post-enlightenment age is my way of saying I agree and have noticed. Certainly this sociological phenomena is similar to seeing elves or seeing Jesus in a piece of tree bark. Worse yet, many of these sitings and delusions are spawned by pareidolia (a well-known defect in how our mind interprets images).

  3. Here’s some data from a survey done in 1975. The existence of elves (“huldufólk”) is:

    impossible 10%
    unlikely 18%
    possible 33%
    probable 15%
    certain 7%
    no opinion 17%

    Source (*.doc)

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