In service of culture: The elf researcher

In service of culture: The elf researcher

Actually, Icelanders have both feet firmly on the ground in the 21st century. Nevertheless, they have an extraordinary connection to the supernatural. More than half the population believes in elves and other hidden beings. One of them is elf researcher Magnus Skarphédinsson.

In the rooms of the “Alfaskolinn” countless books, sculptures, dwarfs and other curiosities pile up. For earthly banalities like tidying up, Magnus Skarphédinsson, director of the world’s only elf school in Reykjavik, apparently has no sense at all. His passion is the exploration of Iceland’s invisible inhabitants. Sharing their stories is his mission.

Elves, Trolls, Gnomes and Hidden People

Whenever the 64-year-old gets knowledge of a new narrative, he curiously sharpens his pencil and ears. His library contains over 17,000 eyewitness accounts of people’s encounters and friendships with elves, trolls, gnomes and hidden people. “I have collected them in over 30 years to preserve them for posterity.”

Diploma in Elf Science

Those who successfully complete their studies at Magnus’ school even receive an elven diploma in the end. The course lasts a good four hours. In addition to countless stories, hot waffles and coffee, an excursion to the dwellings of the invisible creatures is also part of the academic program.

Disturbed domestic peace, failed construction projects

With a twinkle in his eye, the studied historian tells what mysterious things have happened to the – for laymen – inconspicuous hills and stones. Elves become little, angry pests when you try to destroy their houses. Then suddenly the machines fail, workers injure themselves and entire construction projects go wrong.

Humorous insights into Icelandic culture

By the way, Magnus has never seen his invisible friends with his own eyes. “They don’t reveal themselves to me,” he says with a smile. “I ask too many questions. They are worried, that they will not get rid of me.” So at face value you certainly can’t take every word he says. Nevertheless, in his elf school he conveys deep and authentic insights into Icelandic culture in a humorous way.

If you want to learn from Magnus Skarphédinsson, you can do so every Friday at 3:00 pm. The program lasts three to four hours and costs 64 Dollar per person. In addition, individual sessions and group prices can be arranged. The price includes a 70 page study book (available in English, German and Swedish), cake and drinks. Reservations can be made by e-mail or telephone.


Sidumuli 31, (second floor)

108 Reykjavik. ICELAND

Phone: +354 588 60 60, or+354 894 40 14 (reachable from 3:00 pm)


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