It may come as a surprise to some, but there are still a lot of people in the world today that believe in elves, fairies, gnomes, trolls, and the like. And it's not just people in poor parts of Eastern Europe or third world countries either. A significant portion of the population of Iceland still believes in the "hidden folk", also known as the "little people".
I remember seeing a documentary some years ago about Leprechauns in Ireland. Although most people in Ireland no longer believe in Leprechauns, there are still some that do. And, according to that documentary, there were farmers who claimed not to believe in them, yet, they still wouldn't farm areas of land traditionally thought to be Leprechaun territory. And while the vast majority of the population of the Western world no longer believes in the little people, there are still some that do here and there.
So why would someone still believe in elves and fairies? Some people claim to have seen or heard them. Others may just believe because they are surrounded by people that believe (like in Iceland, where it is still popular to believe in them). But considering there are a lot of people that have seen them, what are we to make of that? Are we to assume they are all making it up? Or are we to assume they are all just drunk or on drugs? Or maybe they are misidentifying something? Or maybe a combination of the three? Or what if they really are seeing something? If they are seeing something, then what are they seeing? And why are they apparently so hard to find?
Well unlike bigfoot, the little people are, well…little, so I guess that would make it easier for them to hide if necessary. But, it may be more complex than that. The little people are what some people refer to as "elementals." Basically, elementals are spirits of the elements – earth, fire, wind, and water (just add heart and you'll have Captain Planet!). In other words, they are some type of spirit beings. Perhaps that's why they are so hard to find?
Or are they hard to find? Here is a video clip of what some have alleged is a type of gnome:
The video is probably faked, but I didn't find a good debunking of it. Snopes lists it has being false, yet I thought they had a rather poor debunking of it. Basically their evidence consisted of it can't be real because gnomes are fictional creatures, and because The Sun isn't a credible newspaper and even compared it to the Weekly World News, which is a poor comparison I think. The Sun shouldn't be confused with the American tabloid know as the Sun. The Sun has been known to report some other wild things in the past, but I wouldn't necessarily compare it to the Weekly World News; the tabloid that intentionally comes up with wild stories that are obviously meant to be sensational (such as batboy). Snopes also accused the video of being a "classic hoax video" (I'm not sure what they are considering to be classic hoax videos though) because it was short and sensational. Short and sensational it may be, but it was taken with a cell phone camcorder, and many cell phone camcorders typically can't take very long videos. Anyways….the point is it may very well be fake, but Snopes had a poor debunking of it.
So what about all the ancient cultures that believed in the existence of little people? Many ancient cultures throughout the world have some sort of tradition about little people. And not all of these cultures were connected with each other either. If they don't exist, why were there so many ancient cultures from around the world that believed in them? Did they all make up the same beliefs independently? And what exactly is the "proof" that they don't exist? Is merely stating that they don't exist because they can't be found proof of their nonexistence? Do they not exist because they haven't been found and documented by a "credible scientific authority?"
Don't misunderstand the point I want to make in this post. I'm not saying I believe in elves and fairies. I'm not necessarily trying to prove they exist. The point I want to make here is that there are still many people that do believe in them, and it's not necessarily impossible that elves and fairies could exist. Most people believe in something paranormal or supernatural, whether it be, ghosts, angels, demons, aliens, bigfoot, psychic phenomena, or any combination of those plus more. If you believe in spirits, then it's not necessarily an absurd belief that the "hidden folk" people claim to see are some sort of spirit beings. Bear in mind also that these "hidden folk" are allegedly forest spirits that avoid human contact, so unless you spend a lot of time in forests, it's unlikely you'd ever have the chance to see one anyways. So while I don't know for a fact that they do exist, I also don't know for a fact that they don't exist.
Many people may laugh at the idea of believing in elves and fairies, but bear in mind that regardless of what your beliefs are, there are other people laughing at some of the things you believe.
-If you want to learn more about the modern belief in elves and fairies, here is a short video clip of a documentary about the belief in elves in Iceland (embedding was disabled).
-Here is an episode of Destination Truth where they go to Iceland to search for elves.
(The first part of the episode is about a Japanese lake monster, the second part is about elves.)