Magic and Mysteries in Iceland

Random Musings

While on vacation in Iceland, I was fascinated by the signs of “real” magic in a modern country.  Whether these were signs of real, deep belief in the the supernatural, simple expressions of cultural pride, or just signs that Icelanders love a good story, I can’t be sure.  But they were awfully fun to see.

Our tour group (organized by the folks at Atlas Obscura and Insider Expeditions) was treated to a walking tour led by an expert in the lore of the Icelandic “invisible people”.   I’d heard stories about the large boulders in Iceland that lie untouched in inconvenient places.  These boulders, said to be homes of dwarves or elves, defy attempts by construction crews to move or destroy them.  We were shown one such boulder in the town of Harfnarjardar:

An “Elf Home” in Harfnarjardar, Iceland, with the chisel left by the work crew that attempted to remove the boulder in 1928.









Our guide appeared sincere in her belief in these stories.  And, truth be told, Iceland is a country of so much otherworldly beauty, that I find it a little hard to think that a resident wouldn’t hold some belief in the supernatural there:





On a lighter note, we spotted what seemed to be a “magician at work” sign, also in Harfnarjardar:





(it turns out to be a sign for physical therapy)



And, yes, I did get to do some magic for my fellow travelers after dinner: