MIRACULOUS: Icelandic authorities rescue missing scientist.
By C. Michael Forsyth
REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Seven years after she vanished without a trace, a female anthropologist emerged from a mysterious cave where authorities believe she may have been held hostage by real-life elves!
Danish researcher Kalena Søndergaard was stark naked, covered by dust and babbling incoherently when rescuers found her outside a tiny opening in the famous Elf Rock, traditionally believed to house the underground dwelling place of mankind’s tiny cousins.
“She was crouching like an animal and spoke only in a language unrelated to any we know,” said Arnor Guðjohnsen of the National Rescue Service, which airlifted the 31-year-old survivor to a hospital by helicopter.
“The only word we could understand was ‘alfur,’ an old Icelandic word for elves. On her back were strange tattoos similar to those markings Viking explorers found on rock formations when they settled Iceland in 874, traditionally known as ‘elf writing.’ ”
DANISH anthropologist Kalena Søndergaard vanished without a trace.
Kalena, who was seeking proof of the existence of elves, was reported missing in January of 2006. At the time, police suspected she was the victim of foul play, but an intensive search failed to turn up any remains. On Feb. 4, 2013, hikers spotted the scientist crawling on all fours on a ledge high on the rocky hill, moving “more like an ape than a human being,” one of the hikers told a newspaper.
ELUSIVE, small humanoids like the one in this 19th century illustration live beneath Iceland, a majority of citizens believe. And now scientists believe they may be right!
Belief in elves is widespread in the frigid island nation. One poll shows that 70 % of inhabitants believe they share the country with the pint-size underground race they call the Huldufolk or “hidden people.”
“The hidden people live in the underworld right beneath the ground in rocks and hills,” according to Haukur Ingi Jónasson, a leading Icelandic theologian and psychoanalyst.
UNEXPLAINED: Iceland’s government protects reputed elf dwellings like this one.
The government takes age-old legends about elves so seriously that roads are built around rocks formations associated with the creatures. Factories cannot be constructed until government experts certify there are no underground elf dwellings at the site.
Dr. Niels Kristiansen was one of Kalena’s colleagues of at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and says the anthropologist wrote her doctoral thesis on elf folklore.
“Until recently most experts assumed that stories about elves in Iceland were merely fairytales,” reveals Dr. Kristiansen. “But the discovery in 2003 of the so-called Hobbit in Liang Bua cave on the remote Indonesian island of Flores confirmed that a race of diminutive humanoids lived there as recently as 12,000 years ago.
STUNNING 2003 discovery of the Hobbit on a remote island raised scientific speculation that Iceland’s elves also exist.
“Had it not been for a volcanic eruption those close relatives of homo sapiens might have survived up to the present day. Since no such catastrophe occurred in Iceland, it’s a reasonable hypothesis that this species of tiny humanoids existed on the island at the time of the Vikings. Certainly this aboriginal race would have had a good reason to take refuge underground to hide from the fierce warriors.
“Kalena was excited about the possibility that elves exist. That’s why she went to Iceland in 2005 to pursue her investigation.”
A logical starting point was the enormous hill Alfarkirkjan, known as Elf Rock. Located in the Sælingsdalur Valley, it has remained unchanged since the Ice Age. The mysterious rock, sometimes called the Cathedral of the Elves, has been the site of elf sightings for centuries and many psychics claim to have communicated telepathically with the beings who live deep in its bowels.
OMINOUS Elf Rock has been the site of encounters with the “hidden people” for more than 1,000 years.
According to one folktale, a pair of brothers had a close encounter with the hidden people. The younger brother Sveinn often disappeared for days without explanation and was rumored to have learned to talk with elves. One night, his brother Arnór went to Elf Rock in search of him. To his amazement, a secret opening in the hill appeared and Arnór saw Sveinn surrounded by knee-high, pointy-eared men who were about to initiate the mesmerized youth in a bizarre ritual. Arnór convinced his brother to escape with him. Furious at having been denied their prize, the elves chased the brothers and almost killed them.
Generally, elves rarely attack humans unless provoked. However, there are many Icelandic folktales about the Huldufolk invading farmhouses for food during the rough winters. Why they would have taken the attractive young scientist prisoner remains a mystery.
“Kalena may have stumbled onto an entryway to their kingdom,” Dr. Kristiansen speculates. “That act of trespass may have angered the hidden people and perhaps they took her captive so she couldn’t reveal their secret doorway to other outsiders.”
Though found without a stitch of clothing, the bedraggled woman did not appear to have been sexually abused. But authorities have not ruled out the possibility that she had voluntary relations with her captors.
“Elves reputedly have an interest in human females and are known to use mind control to seduce them,” observes folklore expert Eva Bryndísarson.
HEROES: Iceland’s elite rescue team whisked traumatized scientist back to civilization.
Tradition holds that elves use magic for either good or ill. They can establish a psychic link with humans, although people who engage in such contact run the risk of becoming insane. That might explain why the brainy Ph.D’s mind is scrambled.
“Kalena’s brain is Swiss cheese now. She has been through a terrible ordeal,” says Dr. Kristiansen. “We are hopeful that she will someday be able to provide a lucid account of what happened.”
While scientists are eager to enter the crevice through which the anthropologist miraculously escaped, that may not happen for years — if ever.
“The government of Iceland is very protective of elf-related sites,” notes Dr. Kristiansen. “It’s doubtful they would allow an expedition into this secret underworld.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
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INNOCENT until proven guilty: Alleged would-be jewel thief is led off by Athens police. His face is blurred in this photo courtesy of the Athens Civic Journal.
By C. Michael Forsyth
ATHENS, Greece — A gang of dimwitted thieves conceived the perfect crime when they coated themselves with an invisibility cream sold to them by an elderly Chinese herbalist, then waltzed into a jewelry store naked, certain that they couldn’t be seen.
But the brazen daylight heist turned into a humiliating fiasco because the magic cream was bogus!
The five crooks – who had doffed their duds so their clothes wouldn’t be seen – were busted by police less than 30 seconds after they exited the store in the historic The Plaka district.
“The gang leader Aristotle Panagakos has a reputation in this city as something of a criminal mastermind,” said police spokesman Sgt. Demitri Stathopolos. “The failure of this particular caper exposed his shortcomings.”
The three men and two women have been charged with robbery. Panagakos, interviewed in jail, told a reporter that all seemed well when he and his four cohorts entered the Megalos Jewelry Store off Adrianou Street.
“The sales people did not react to us and we were certain we were invisible to them,” he recalled. “Only when we walked out and I saw policewomen gawking at my privates and giggling, did I realize that something had gone awry.”
Cops from a special police task force, who’d been tipped that a robbery might be going down at one of the many jewelry stores in The Plaka, had instructed employees in the area to remain calm and press a silent alarm if they saw any sign of trouble.
“It was a little difficult keeping a straight face when those people came in, naked as the day they were born, and started poking about in the displays,” explained store manager Callidora Deiphobus. “But I did as the authorities instructed us and triggered the alarm. By the time the thieves left with armfuls of diamond necklaces and gold rings, the police were outside.”
Superstition is common among Greek criminals, who often purchase amulets to ward off police from Gypsies, experts say.
According to a statement given to the police by ring leader Panagakos, the robbers bought the “invisibility cream” from a Chinese herbalist named Chin Ho who purportedly sold magic potions.
“His nephew, a cat burglar I met at a bar, assured me that he had used the cream successfully many times,” Panagokos told cops. “I paid him a handsome sum, 7,700 Euros (about $10,00 U.S.). Now, of course, I realize the whole thing was a rip-off.”
BUNS-BARING BANDIT: Phoena Zervas, one of the alleged “invisible” jewel thieves, was angered to learn her gang had been duped.
24-year-old Phoena Zervas, the youngest member of the ring, was quickly covered in a coat by arresting officers a few yards from the store.
She is furious at Chin Ho, whom she now regards as an “a liar and an evil charlatan.”
“The morning of the robbery, the little old Chinaman came to our hideout with jars of the magic cream,” the bosomy brunette said in a jailhouse interview with a Greek TV station. “Chin Ho – if that’s his real name — explained that people wearing the cream could see each other, but no one else could.
“He offered to apply the cream to my body so that I wouldn’t miss a spot. I took him up on the polite offer because he assured me that because he wasn’t wearing the cream he couldn’t see me nude.
“Now I know that not only could he see every inch of me, I let that old pervert rub his slimy hands over me from head to toe. I feel like a fool.”
The crafty con artist remains at large.
“He is doubtless pulling his scam on other gullible criminals,” said Sgt. Stathopolos. “We’re not optimistic about finding him. And even if we do, we’re not sure what crime we could charge him with. All he did was sell some idiots goo that we have discovered to be 90 percent petroleum jelly.”
UNLIKE the dimwitted jewel thieves in this weird crime story, Fantastic Four superhero Susan Storm (Jessica Alba) really can turn invisible.
Copyright C . Michael Forsyth
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Invisiblity may not be real, but werewolves are! The author of this article has written a critically acclaimed horror novel. The Horror Fiction Review raves that Hour of the Beast is a "rip-snorting, action-packed sexy college romp."
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