As It Happens

Disgruntled elves force Icelandic officials to power wash their elf rock home

An Iceland town cleaned off a boulder after its burial in a construction project upset the elves that were believed to be living inside. As It Happens host Carol Off speaks with elf expert Magnus Skarphedinsson.
A painted "elf door" leans against rocks near the Icelandic town of Selfoss. This is different from the elf rock described in our story. (Bob Strong/REUTERS)

After a landslide in northern Iceland buried part of a road, a series of mishaps have angered elves and their believers. That's because a special boulder was covered with dirt and rubble by workers. That boulder was known as the Lady Elf Stone, a purported home to the mythical creatures.

"The local authority had a discussion about it and officially a decision was made at the local council to clean the stone because of the elf lady and her family living there," Magnus Skarphedinsson, headmaster of the Icelandic Elf School tells As It Happens host Carol Off.

The animated Keebler Elves, led by "Ernest J. Keebler", or "Ernie", rank among the best-known characters from commercials. In popular culture, they are known for baking cookies and crackers in their tree. (Getty Images)

Elves, known in popular culture as toy builders for Santa, cookie bakers in trees, and those who help rid middle Earth of Sauron, are very popular in Iceland. The Icelandic elves are said to be of human appearance, are invisible and are generally peaceful — unless you mess with their homes.

"The typical consequences are workers get sick, bad accidents, machines break down, just name it, everything goes wrong," says Skarphedinsson. He adds "nobody dares ignore this."

Elves in armour as depicted in "The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers" film. (Source:

After the rock was left buried, the road flooded, industrial machinery failed and journalists fell in a mud pool and had to be rescued. Once officials were told that elves supposedly lived inside of the rock, they moved swiftly to uncover and power wash the boulder last week  — something they are required to do by a 2012 law designed to protect Iceland's elfish heritage.

"Frankly, 54 per cent of Icelanders believe that elves exist. Any politician would not dare go against the elves in this country!" says Skarphedinsson.

Magnus Skarpheoinsson is founder and headmaster of the Icelandic Elf School, and leader of the Paranormal Foundation of Iceland. (

Even though he has been researching elves for forty years Skarphedinsson says he has never had an encounter with one.

We asked Skarphedinsson for an update on a story we covered back in 2012. An Icelandic politician who was in a car crash believed a boulder might have saved his life, thanks to the benevolent elves who lived in it. So the politician relocated the boulder to his home.

"I warned him not to move the stone," says Skarphedinsson. Elves are thought not to like disruption to their environment. "This could have even worse consequences. And that occurred, because he lost in the election two years later."

But, in general, elves are good creatures, Skarphedinsson says. So if you're in Canada, he says you should keep your eyes open.

"Nearly one third of the Icelandic nation immigrated to Canada and the U.S. in 40 years, 1875 to 1915," he says. "Quite many psychic people immigrated from Iceland to Canada. They met elves and hidden people in Canada, in Winnipeg and Manitoba." 

For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Magnus Skarphedinsson.