While Icelandic belief in elves and other “huldufólk” is waning, the interest of other countries in these superstitions is growing.
A new episode of BBC Ideas takes a special focus on Icelandic belief in elves. Interviews are taken with the usual suspects on this subject, including “elf tour” guide Sigurbjörg Karlsdóttir and self-appointed “elf investigator” Magnús Skarphéðinsson.
International interest in belief in elves is apparently on the rise. This marks the second time since last December that the BBC has reported on the subject, and journalists have come from as far afield as Japan to investigate.
At the same time, the actual number of Icelanders who believe in elves is falling. While the BBC, citing a poll from 2007, contends that some 62% of Icelanders share this superstition, a more recent poll from last December shows that only 31% of Icelanders believe in elves today.
In fairness, there have been some incredible stories out of Iceland involving the hidden people, often involving rural folks seeking to appease the elves before beginning some major construction project. With belief in elves and other húldufólk falling, however, these stories are becoming increasingly rare.
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