A Gnome By Any Other Name

Popular image of the Gnome
Popular image of the Gnome

My paternal grandmother was born in a rural area of Sweden in 1891, and when I was a boy she told me stories of the Tomtar,  small beings that took the appearance of old, bearded men. Tomtar were no more than 3 feet tall and wore pointed hats, which we’ve of course come to associate with gnomes and similar creatures. Legend tells that Tomtar were capable of invisibility and could shapeshift, sometimes taking the appearance of a large, grown man.

Also, according to legend — and Grandma Alice’s stories — Tomtar would usually be found on a farm and would carry out chores at night and help care for the farmer’s animals. It was thought to be bad luck to see one, but my grandmother claimed that she would often find his small footprints in the snow or mud around her home.

Although basically a benevolent spirit, Tomtarna were easily offended and could be vindictive. If, for example, Tomten felt that the farmer was mistreating his livestock, heard swearing in the barn, or neglecting to clean up a mess, he would become incensed and cause mischief. Items around the house were found broken, the milk curdled, even the cows’ tails tied together. Tomtar also became angered and would seek revenge if they were seen or if the farmer and his family failed to leave a bowl of porridge and butter out for him on Christmas Eve. My grandmother and her family used to follow this tradition, leaving out porridge with butter for Tomten each Christmas Eve.

My grandmother was quite insistent that the gnome-like Tomtarna were not merely the stuff of fairytale and legend, but real beings that occupied the farms and rural landscapes of Sweden. It was these stories that contributed to my lifelong fascination with tales of diminutive humanoids. Originally coming out of the pagan traditions regarding “earth spirits” and the worship of the natural world, Tomtarna later became associated with ungodly or heathen beliefs after the Christianization of Scandinavia. However, despite the sometimes negative association, they have remained a popular figure in Swedish folklore.

Pedro Mountain Mummy - 14" high
Pedro Mountain Mummy – 14″ high

Obviously, the more familiar correlative is the Gnome, of which their are purportedly a great many variations and go by many names, including Erdmanleins (Germany), Nains (Britain), Nisse or Nissen (Norway and also Sweden), Tontti (Finland), Dudje (Bulgaria and Albania), and others. Not surprisingly, legends of little people are found not only in Europe, but throughout the world.

In North America the Native American people speak of “little feet” or “baby feet” that often inhabit mountainous regions or dwell underground. These beings are also said to have various magical and psychic powers, including the power of invisibility and to mentally confuse any human foolish enough to pursue them. Encounters with these entities are also associated with memory loss and periods of missing time, much akin to the reports that we hear in relation to the UFO/alien abduction phenomena (a subject that I’ll save for another post). An excellent article on Native American lore concerning little people or babyfeet in North America can be found on Dr. Karl Shuker’s blog.

In 1932, gold prospectors Cecil Main and Frank Carr, blasting open the walls of a gulch in the Pedro Mountains of Wyoming, discovered a cavern that had been sealed behind a wall of rock. Within the cavern sat, cross-legged, a small, wizened figure no more than 14″ high. The tiny manneken was naturally preserved and mummified, having been spared from the elements because of that fact that it was sealed within the cave. The creature was removed from the cavern and later examined and underwent an x-ray analysis by Dr. Henry Shapiro of the American Museum of Natural History. The fact that the little man sported a full set of teeth and a fully-fused skull dispelled any possibility of the small humanoid being an infant. Interestingly, the Shoshone people told of the Nimerigar, a small, aggressive people who occupied that region of Wyoming. The Nimerigar were supposed to have hunted with bows and poison arrows and lived in the Wind River and Pedro Mountains.

I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself - underpants gnomes
I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself – underpants gnomes

Personally, the question that I most frequently ponder is “are accounts of these creatures merely folklore, or are they based in truth?” I imagine that posing this question would be much more quickly dismissed prior to 2004’s discovery of Homo floresiensis on the Indonesian island of Flores. These diminutive humanoids, which have become known as “hobbits”, appears to be a separate species of human that only grew about a meter tall. The bones found are believed to be as young as 13,000 years old, demonstrating that this tiny human lived at the same time as modern Homo sapiens. If a distinctly different version of humanoid existed alongside modern humans, I believe that we must entertain the idea that other such diminutive humanoids may have lived elsewhere throughout the world.

In South America many of the native people speak of the Duende, a race of small goblin- or gnome-like creatures that make their home in the surrounding forests and mountains. Recently, a video of a small, pointy-hatted being in Argentina surfaced on the Internet. The creature, if it is a fake, is a convincing one. It shuffles out of some high grass with a strange sideways gait, into a road as a group of teenagers returning from a fishing trip lounge nearby. The boys seem genuinely startled, judging from the scream that escapes one of them as the being appears (the version with the original audio in which the boy screams can be found on YouTube).

The video, of course, is so outlandish that it has been dismissed by most who have seen it, but coming from a graphics background I’m of the opinion that this creature is not a CGI creation, and it certainly seems to be quite diminutive — of proportions that you might only see from a person who suffers from primordial dwarfism, an exceedingly rare condition. His hat barely clears the high grass out of which it shuffles. I’ve posted it below for the readers to judge for themselves.


So, is it possible that little people once existed, or do currently exist? If so, are they flesh-and-blood beings such as ourselves, simply an undiscovered race of creatures that has cleverly hidden themselves from us? Or, are they something more than that? Are they of an interdimensional or paranormal nature? Folklore has consistently described them as having magical gifts and properties, but is that nothing more than myth and fairytale?

As the newer developments in quantum physics point us to a different view of the nature of reality, that we exist not in a Universe, but a Multiverse, is it possible that there might be beings that can traverse these different planes of existence, moving between our reality and others? What connection, if any, have reports of these creatures in a paranormal context have to do with the modern reports of alien abductions and missing time experiences? This is an area which I personally find fascinating and will revisit frequently in the course of my writing on this blog. Meanwhile, I encourage anyone who has an opinion about such matters to comment on this article.

Here’s another tomtar-related article that came to my attention, by blog author Jack Hunter:

200 thoughts on “A Gnome By Any Other Name

  1. Hi John,
    Sorry for the long delay! I didn’t see that you had responded to my post. The encounter actually happened in my home at night. I live in Colorado, btw. He, the gnome, did not seem to be trying to speak with me and wasn’t looking in my direction. He was glowing slightly, and like I said, he didn’t feel evil. Also, he wasn’t wearing any sort of hat at all. He was about 3 feet tall and quite stocky. He had a white/grey beard, white thinning hair, and looked quite old. I was so terrified upon seeing a little man in my room, I immediately turned away and closed my eyes. You wouldn’t believe how fast my heart was racing. In my head I was thinking, “This is crazy! There’s a little man in my room and I won’t even turn back to look at him. Why won’t I look at him?” But I wouldn’t. I waited about 15 minutes (about how long it took for my heart rate to return to near-normal) and looked again. He was gone. I couldn’t even figure out what to call him… troll, dwarf… I’m not familiar with these things! Eventually the word “gnome” came to me and felt right, and the following day I found your blog.

    I sincerely feel that there is something to the 2nd dimension; that these “creatures” are to be respected; they are guardians of the earth. I did some drawings of him (I’m an artist) and placed some gnome figurines in my garden. I did so to help me make sense of the encounter, and also to give respect to the gnome. Since then, I have opened myself to the possibility that there are also fairies, sprites and the like. I know this is a public blog, but I really don’t tell very many folks about this encounter. I don’t want to be locked up in a padded room or put on psych drugs. I don’t have any history with mental instability, but I’m sure there are plenty of psychiatrists out there that would immediately diagnose me 100% nuts. Or tell me I was just dreaming, which I can assure you I was not. The interesting thing is, the few people I have felt safe telling about this have, for the most part, had some kind of experience or encounter with the other-world as well. Some much more involved than my one-time gnome sighting.

    I sincerely appreciate your blog and the dialog occurring here. Perhaps if more of us tell our stories, we can eventually bring light (vs. fear) to our understanding of these beings and learn to work harmoniously with them for the improvement of our shared planet.

    I will check back on your blog periodically.

    Thank you again!

  2. I’ve told this story online so many times, I must sound obsessed with the topic to anyone who’s read it elsewhere. Wish I’d found this site at the outset but for some reason, despite searching for years online for information about these ‘little people’, I’ve never come across this site before

    My experience took place in approx. 1984 in Australia. I’d just arrived home after attending a seminar in New Zealand. I was the only person in the house. A colleague had dropped me at my house and had carried my luggage inside and had turned on the lights. I’d slept all through two plane flights and the hour-long drive from the airport to my home, so was well-rested. I didn’t drink and hadn’t taken any drugs, prescription or other.

    When my colleague departed for his own home, I turned on the tv and made a hot drink. I was planning a quiet night of reading/tv after taking a shower. Half way through my hot drink, I decided to unpack my suitcase which was in the living room.

    To that point, since arriving home, I had remained in the living room and adjacent living-room. Then, with an armload of clothes from my suitcase, I walked down the short hallway to my room and switched on the light. I slid one wardrobe door to the left and hung the clothes inside. Upon opening the wardrobe, I had briefly sensed something strange but did not have time to analyse it because I was overcome by exhaustion/sleepiness so intense that I just had time to stagger backwards to the bed, where I collapsed face up. I noticed the room seemed unusually bright. My last thoughts were of concern in case my shoes made a mark on the bedspread

    My next conscious awareness was of hearing voices, several together, urging each other to ‘hurry’. Clearly my mind was not operating as usual, because I did not experience surprise, fear or any other emotion. Instead, I struggled to raise my head, whereupon I saw several small people who were in the process of trying to pull me from the bed and into the open half of the wardrobe. At that point, the left side of the wardrobe was open, which meant the creatures had pushed both sliding wardrobe doors to the right. When I had staggered to lie down on the bed, the right side of the wardrobe had been open, although I only realised this detail later on

    After noting the small people were attempting to pull me into the wardrobe, I lowered my head to the bed again, telling myself I still had time to sleep a while longer because they were too small to pull me very far. At that point, I must have lost consciousness again

    When I next regained a semblance of consciousness, I looked up to find the small people clustered around me. At that point I was facing the opposite way to earlier, i.e. my head was now down at the foot of the bed, closest to the wardrobe. And my feet were at the head of the bed (where my head had been previously)

    The people didn’t speak. Nor did I. My brain was still not operating properly. I was incapable of thought or emotion, experienced none of the normal shock, fear or surprise I should have felt in that situation. Instead, I functioned basically as a video-camera – my mind simply recorded what my eyes saw. What I saw was a group of small people, male and female. Based on the height of the bed, I afterwards judged them to be approx. 2 feet to two and a half feet tall. One of them, a male who stood closest to me at that point, was slightly taller than the others and seemed to be the leader

    They were Caucasian. Their skin was weather-beaten and wrinkled, coarse – as if they’d spent a lot of time outdoors. They were dressed like peasants I’ve seen in paintings. Their clothes looked home-made, but very well made. The fabric of their clothing was coarse and of dull ‘natural’ colours of tans, browns, greens. The entities’ clothing was inappropriate for the region in which I lived, which was hot and humid. Each of them wore a long-sleeved, high-collared, hip-length jacket over their other clothing. They wore broad belts at their waist. They were sturdy in build; deep chests, broad waists, etc. They appeared to be in proportion, physically. They had strong jaws, noses, cheekbones. Their eyes and mouths were narrow in width, but horizontally wide. Their faces had a ‘squashed’ look. Best way to describe it is to imagine placing a heavy weight on someone’s head which compressed the face and caused the soft tissue features (eyes and mouths) to recede/sink in between all the strong facial bones such as chins, noses, cheek and jaw bones. Although they looked Caucasian, their skin had a weather-beaten, muddy, yellowish-brown cast to it. Each of them wore headgear of some sort. The women wore scarves tied under their chins peasant-style, but for some reason, I can’t remember the details of the men’s headgear

    As I lay there on the bed, they were all staring at me. The larger male who was closest to me did something with his eyes which I’m unable to remember. I just remember that one moment he was looking at me with two eyes, then, seemingly a moment later, he had shifted position so that I could only see one of his eyes, which was staring into mine in a strange way. Something important happened then involving the look he gave me at that point, but I don’t know what it was

    Next, I saw the small people from a different perspective. Now they were clustered together in a group some distance from the bed. Memory indicates I saw them that way from two different directions: one from where I lay with my head at the foot of the bed and again, from a position perhaps in the middle of the bed. There were approximately seven of them, possibly more. Most were middle-aged, judging by appearance. But there were also a couple of youths amongst them, who seemed less confident. I don’t know what was happening to me at the time, or how I appeared to them, but they seemed to be enjoying my predicament. Whilst not exactly sneering, they (and particularly the women) appeared to have a ‘getting even’ expression on their faces, as if to say, ‘ Not so smart now, are you? Not so great now, are you?’ – that sort of expression

    In normal life, I don’t consider myself to be ‘smart’ or ‘great’ and hadn’t done anything to them, so I can only assume their vindictive, gloating expressions were directed at me simply because I was a human being. It would seem, then, that they bore animosity and resentment towards humans generally. And although I don’t know what was happening to me, I must have been placed in a humiliating situation or position – and must have been regarded by them as helpless — which permitted them to reveal their enjoyment and animosity

    In retrospect (because I had no thoughts or emotions at the time and was simply ‘recording’ what my eyes saw) I’ve reached the conclusion, correct or not, that I was merely a ‘job’ to them: a task they were required to do. Also, they and their intellect seemed dulled by overwork. In many respects (once my memory allowed me to see the recording my eyes had made) they reminded me of peasants from past eras who took delight in seeing people flogged or perhaps hanged in public – a little entertainment in their bitter lives – a chance to forget their own misery for a short while by watching someone else suffer

    My next conscious awareness was stirred by the sound of many voices squabbling and again urging each other to ‘hurry’. Once again I struggled to raise my head only to see them again trying to tug me into the wardrobe. This time though, they’d pulled me much further from the bed, to the point my legs were now hanging off the end of the bed. Immediately, I realised that very soon gravity would complete the job for them and all they’d need to do would be to guide my falling body into the wardrobe

    Adrenaline surged through me and I kicked out at them, screaming all the while. Inwardly, I was cursing myself for allowing myself to ‘sleep’ for so long

    Then I leapt from the bed and into the middle of the small room, still screaming at them

    Muttering bitterly to each other, they seemed to accept it was over, they’d failed. Then they filed into the wardrobe, looking back at me with bitter, resigned expressions. They appeared to go down some sort of ramp in the wardrobe

    I remained in the middle of the room, which seemed exceptionally bright. Don’t know how long I remained there, although it feels as if it was only a moment or two. Then I ran from the room and down the short hallway to the living room – a distance of only several metres. Somehow though, in that brief span of time and distance, I went from feeling unafraid to overwhelmingly terrified. There’s no logic to it. I wasn’t afraid of the creatures until after they’d gone. Then, in a few seconds, I became literally terrified to the point I think I was close to losing my mind. It’s impossible to describe the terror. It basically fed on itself in fractions of a second. By the time I made it to the phone to ring for help, I was babbling and doubt I could have told you my own name. It’s the most extreme fear/terror I’ve ever experienced. It’s my belief now that the entities controlled my mind, rendered me ‘unconscious’, placid, unafraid. Then, as they departed, they returned me to normal consciousness at which point my real terror burst forth. I later worked out the entire experience was only of ten or so minutes duration, based on when my colleague left my house and deducting the time it took to make a hot drink, turn on the tv, etc.

    There’s more to the story, but suffice it to say, it’s my belief – until persuaded otherwise – that the creatures were multi-dimensional rather than flesh and blood. It’s also my suspicion that what I believe I saw and experienced that night may not be the truth or even half of it. In other words, I suspect that what I ‘remember’ may have been a false memory, a cover-memory, installed by the entities. To begin with, there’s the overwhelming ‘exhaustion’ I experienced when hanging clothes in the wardrobe, despite my having just slept for several hours on the plane, etc. Then there’s the ludicrous performance of trying to pull me into the wardrobe when it’s clear they were perfectly capable of reversing me physically on the bed as they did

    I know beyond shadow of a doubt that I was not dreaming, nor did I ‘imagine’ the experience. As result of the experience, I am under no illusion the entities were ‘mischievous little gnomes’ or ‘benign little earth spirits’ as some people describe them. No, these were not human-friendly creatures. They used their powers to subdue and manipulate, both mentally and physically and subjected me to abuse, having invaded my home, my mind, my body and almost my sanity. It’s also my belief the government is aware of their existence and seeks to gain information via websites which claim to investigate such experiences and entities. I did relate my experience to one such website which has a home page featuring sweet rainbows, fairies, waterfalls, etc, and was advised by them that currently they were acting as intermediaries between approx. 60 families in the US and resident ‘little people’. The same website advised me that unlike ghosts, the ‘little people’ form attachments to locations rather than to individuals. Investigators connected to the website claimed that little-people, historically and currently, are known to people world-wide: Patagonia, Hawaii, UK, US, Germany, Australia, Pacific Islanders, Inuit, Icelandics, etc. I was advised that ‘although at the far end of the scale’, my experience was not ‘unusual’ (advice which seems contradictory). As a rule, I was told, the little-people do not physically interact with humans, although it was ‘not uncommon’ (again, contradictory) for people to report the little-people had pulled their hair or pinched them

    The experience occurred almost 30 years ago when I was in my mid-30s. It’s possible I might be able to gain more information and clarification as to what actually occurred, via hypnosis. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to do so, however. What the mind buries is usually for our own protection. At the same time, now approaching the Pearly Gates, I’d like to know what is going on here on earth, as it might throw some light on what to expect in the Hereafter. Will leave it at that, other than to say I had absolutely no belief in gnomes, trolls, fairies, etc. prior to the incident. Nor had I been reading about them or watching them on tv, nor had I been thinking about them or discussing them with anyone, etc.

  3. Too late to edit, but when I wrote: ‘ To that point, since arriving home, I had remained in the living room and adjacent living-room.’ — I meant to say, ‘ I had remained in the living room and adjacent kitchen’

  4. Howdy – Found this site in a google search ” are gnomes good or evil”. I am wondering this because I saw one several years ago out of the corner of my eye, outside in my front yard where my oldest daughter was playing at the time. I was living in Montana, this is a very rural place, with many special paranormal ‘things’ going on. I called it a ‘thin veil’. It was along a creek bottom. My yard was very close to the creek. The “gnome” that I saw darted out of sight behind a shed when it saw that I could see him. He was a little translucent, like you would think of a ghost. I never put two and two together that he was there because of my daughter. He was short, like 3 feet tall, classic red pointy hat, but no beard, curly dark hair. Well, recently my daughter had some energy work done by a reiki master. The reiki master calls herself an intuitive. My daughter was told by the reiki person that she had a gnome by her side who made funny faces at her to help remind her to not take herself so seriously . . . hmmm….. so is he a helper or is he causing mischief ? It is weird because the gnome was described as dark curly hair like the one I saw when she was a child of 4 years old, this is 20 years later. So I am only concerned that if this ‘gnome’ has been at my daughters side all these years, as a sort of helper, is he really helping. Or is he malevolent. My daughter suffers from severe mood swings, somewhat bi-polar in nature. Has always been my belief that enities can cause mental illness. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Because of the way I saw him it is my belief they exist out of our dimension.

    1. Hi Mason — I do agree that they exist outside our dimension. I feel the extra-dimensional hypothesis explain many paranormal happenings and sightings. The question of whether this entity is a benign or a malevolent presence and influence in your daughter’s life is difficult to answer. I think people like your daughter who attract these beings are probably more sensitive, and therefore may have more difficulty adjusting to this world, which could be at the root of her mood swings. It often seems to me that people like her have on foot in this world and one in another which is why these entities are attracted to them like insects to a bright light. So I suppose I’m suggesting that her emotional difficulties might have more to do with her spiritual makeup rather than from a negative influence from this gnome-creature.

      It’s very, very intriguing to me that this reiki master described the gnome exactly as you saw it years earlier. But getting back to your question, I can certainly understand your concern and I wouldn’t want to rule out that this…thing could possibly be an emotionally/mentally disruptive force in your daughter’s life. It’s fun to imagine these creatures as being jolly and fun-loving and benignly mischievous, but I think it’s a mistake to always make that presumption. Nevertheless, I’m also reluctant to label things that I don’t understand as being evil. All-in-all, I try to avoid framing these phenomena in a good-evil view. I also try not to attach any religious meaning to them either (e.g., assuming their “angels” or “demons”). I think they’re unknown (and possibly unknowable) intelligences that, for whatever reason, seem to have an interest in us human beings. And I believe that they’ve been interacting with us one level or another since the dawn of our species. For what purpose, I do not know.

      Sorry if that was less than helpful. I have no answers, only some loose ideas and hypotheses. I wish you luck and all the best to your daughter. I’m always interested in hearing more if you have anything else you’d like to share.

      — John

  5. Thanks John for your analogy. Everything you say I agree with completely. And yes, you are right, she is a sensitive , as is everyone in this family , arghhh….and it does make life on planet earth extra challenging. A favorite saying in our family is ” Beam me up Scotty” ….so you hit the nail on the head , so to speak. And yes, it really blew my mind when the “gnome” was described as dark curly hair, but he didn’t have a hat on. So apparently they do “leave” their hats places, as an above poster mentioned of finding a hat, that was a weird story. I have many stories of the paranormal type, wouldn’t know where to start ! I did see elves or gnomes as a child also, on Christmas Eve darting around my room under the beds of the room my brothers and I shared. Clear as day…I was quite young. So they are around on Christmas Eve, so maybe it is a wise idea to leave goodies out for them ( winky face ) It just seems as though a gnome sitting next to you making faces at you is being somewhat harassing ? Which lead me on this search and to here. No accidents in the universe. Will check out your website here and comment on other ariticles, etc, another words contribute. Like I said, have lots and lots of stories. Seeing thru the veil comes naturally for this family :-)

    1. Thank you for being willing to contribute your experiences, Mason. I often wonder how many people have similar experiences but are unwilling to share them for fear of ridicule. I think encounters with the unknown happen much more then most people realize, which in turn probably makes people who have these encounters feel isolated and different. I believe it’s often very stressful and if this blog of mine serves any purpose, perhaps it’s to give people a place to talk about these incidents and unburden themselves a bit.

      Yep, I’m definitely seeing some patterns emerging here after almost four years of running this website and hearing countless tales from very sane-and-credible-sounding folk like yourself. I think some people are absolutely more “in-tune” with these other dimensions or higher frequencies, or whatever one cares to call them. My mom had very strong (and accurate) premonitions and precognitive dreams, and told me she was once visited by the spirit of her deceased older sister who had given her a message — which of course was an accurate one. So I know firsthand that some people are more in sync with the spiritual and otherworldly. I think I’ve got a little of that too, though not as much as my mother had.

  6. when i was child in my native country, colombia , south america i heard many stories about gnomes or duendes in spanish, my mother who was scientist and chemical engineer told about the storie of a relative, a woman who lived in a town called yacopi or la palma in the 30s o 40s of 20 century, when this woman was child, a babie she was kidnapped from the house of the town , all the servants, family and people searched the child on the mountains and 2 days after that, the founded the baby on the hills and trees, sorrounded by flowers , fruits and things like these, other storie that i heard was something that told to me an important architect and researcher, hernando camargo quijano, a man who worked and studied in the sorbonne and friend and disciple of corbusier , paulo casals , picasso , my friend told me that when he was a child living in a hacienda o great rural farm in sogamoso town, boyacam, colombia, eastern andes , a liitle girl was molested by a gnome who launched on her little pebbles, the young lady who was a teenager was in hipnotic situation when she was in the yard when someone launched on her pebbles of different colours , my friend who was a child looked that situation when an old woman servant told him about that situation and show him the girl in hipnotic trance and the fall of the pebbles on the yard of the colonial casona or house of the farm or hacienda….

    1. Bernard — Sorry for the delayed response. That’s really fascinating, particularly because you’ve had more than one sighting in the same location. How many other do you know of who have claimed to have seen this creature in this location?

  7. I was watching alot of duende videos and 4 out of 5 videos show kids playing soccer when this happens. Now alot of them seemed fake or inconclusive, but there ere a couple that were interesting. I’m just wondering if you’ve seen any correlation between children playing abd sightings of gnomes. I know since the duende is the Latin version of gnomes, and Latinos like soccer, it makes sense the kids are playing soccer (not a racist remark, my last mane is Hernandez), just wondering if you have seen a trend between children playing or playing with balls and gnome sightings.

    1. Regarding the videos of sighting during children at play, that’s an interesting observation that I hadn’t noted before. I’m not sure what the correlation would be, although that a lot of these South American “duende” (gnome) sightings take place in these Latin American countries where the football/soccer is so popular. It could be that because of the sport’s popularity and the fact that so many people have video cameras and phones with video, they’re filming their children and inadvertently recording images of these creatures. Also, perhaps they’re attracted by the noise and activity and are drawn to children. Children are smaller and may be less intimidating to them. Just a thought, but I don’t really know.

  8. I must also compliment your posting community. Everyone sernd very respectful of everyone else. Nice to know there is a place where you can share stories that may be deemed crazy by the mainstream without fear of judgement. Keep it up John.

    1. Thanks, Brian. If this site serves any purpose outside of my own amusement, I like to think that it’s a place where people can share their stories without fear of ridicule. A lot of very sane and normal people have had experiences that are strange in the extreme, and I think it helps to share them. When something happens to a person that is so unusual that it disrupts their entire world view, it can be very disconcerting. If I can give people a place to talk about these things then I’m glad to do it.

  9. Hi John (not sure if I will ever get a response) but thanks for this website/forum, though I basically live in the US now I was raised up in Ghana, West Africa to be precise and my mum and my grandmother used to tell us about stories of dwarves (haven’t heard about gnomes in Ghana though except reading about them in fairy tales)

    my mum and grandmother are devout Christians though yet my grandmother who grew up in her rural town before moving to the city told us vividly about encounters with dwarves and how one of her cousins was taken away/kidnapped by dwarves when he was 7 and brought back after 7 yrs, he came back as a herbalist and could make some of the best herbal medicines. These stories tallied with most accounts of dwarves I had heard about, about them taking children away and teaching them herbal medicine. My grandmother describes how as children also she and her brother were once chased by dwarves, she described them as quite short and ugly and had their foot back to front unlike ours and liked o dwell deep in the forest, next to rivers and big trees.
    As kids we were always told never to whistle at night as these spirits would get attracted to the whistles and steal you whilst you slept, they were said to move in a massive wind and sometimes inhabited farms also where they helped out so far as they got a share of the fruits, my mum told of their attraction to nice beautiful bananas (which kind of coincided with my grandmother’s story of how the dwarves only ate and fed bananas to her abducted cousin whilst they had him) she also said of how they would teach their language to the abducted.

    Now brings me to my personal encounter, when I was like 12, one of my aunts sent me to buy her ointment at a nearby pharmacy like 10 mins away which was place quite on a hill, on my way back the street felt quite deserted (mind you this was a road I had been on quite well), but that day I felt something strange, something short with an old man’s face and a red cloth seemed to be behind me (I still fear relating this story), I thought my mind was making things up so I looked back again and it was still walking about 2 inches behind me, I felt terrified and started running and it started running after me, I could hear the sound of its slippers make super boom like thuds behind me, I ran very scared and even dropped some coin change for my aunt on the street but I never bothered I ran down the hill till I got to the end of the road where I saw a bunch of people and I looked back and there was no one,

    I didn’t even tell my mum tho I know she’d believe me (she’d call in a pastor and have me go through prayers for a spiritual attack or something) and have lived with this story tho it bothers and terrifies me everytime i remember it especially when am alone at home till I found this blog.

    Some years after one of my dad’s (6yrs deceased now tho :( ) who worked with a soccer club (mind you soccer teams in africa are renowned for seeking spiritual help no matter which form to let results swing their way) told me and my cousins and one uncle (and i know he was not lying) about how he was once around a spiritual priest with another friend to get results to swing their way and how the priest called in a dwarf, he said he dwarf’s arrival was like that of a landing plane, a massive whirlwind preluded its arrival and also of a massive fire surrounding it whilst it was consulted, he said he was so terrified to even stare at it but that from what he saw it was as that of a short ugly man with a really long head…..

    * i heard also that due to civilization and city expansions, these beings keep getting displaced and move deeper and deeper into the forests, and my grandmother claimed they were so easily seen during her time than it is nowadays with the naked eye unless specially consulted or abducted……
    note the wind presence that comes with them……… I personally think these beings are most likely the fallen angels that the book of Genesis described, and like the devil have a mind of their own, as i read some people claiming them nice others saying mischievous, there was a tourist area in Ghana under a big tree where our guide told us you could once here talking under the tree but see no one, he said there were dwarves under the tree once but have all left deeper into the forest as humans have started displacing the place (i.e timber cutting, tourists etc) he said the leaves that fell under the tree used to be swept clean every night and yet the place had no personal cleaners) the people would leave bananas under the tree as a token of appreciation to these dwarves….

    Personally I don’t know how I feel about these things judging from my own personal experience….. and hopefully I don’t get any such one again…..

    Thanks John and great website, keep it up….

    1. Kwame — Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your experiences! It’s fascinating to me how such similar stories are told throughout the world. Here you relate legends of dwarfs or other small human-like beings that are sometimes helpful, sometimes mischievous, or at other times simply terrifying. These are much like my grandmother’s stories from Sweden, except taking place in Ghana, Africa. Amazing!

      The wind and fire would suggest to me that there’s a spiritual or supernatural component to these beings, as are many of the strange creature sightings that people have related to me. There appears to be both a real, physical presence to them as well as paranormal element to them, which I find very curious. I don’t doubt that many people would agree with you that these could be fallen angels or demonic entities, although they don’t appear to be wholly evil. Or it could be that they are entirely physical beings and are another intelligent species of human(oid) that has purposely avoided contact with our kind. I can’t say for sure, but there are certainly a tremendous number of reported sightings of small humanoid encounters, like the one you described. I’m sure that must have been a terrifying experience, particularly at that young age.

      Thank you so much for sharing you experience with me and with the readers of this blog. I’ll look forward to hearing from you again if you have any other thoughts or experience you’d like to share.

      — John

  10. Hi John,

    I really love Monsters and Mysteries in America and was intrigued by the Gnome in Porterville CA. I myself live in Valenica CA
    Not too far away. I wanted to find out more about gnomes and came across your excellent blog. The reason for the intrtigue is it made me wonder about the experience I had as a child.
    My Grandmother at the time lived in Mexico and when I was young my siblings and myself would stay all Summer long with my Grandparents. When I was Ten years old I was playing in her yard and the ground opend up and these small creatures came out and they were dressed all in black and we would communicate with our minds. When they spoke it sounded like grunts but somehow I understood what they were saying., only now I know it to be Telepathy. But we would play in the Late Afternoon, that is when they came out. When my Grandmother would come out to check on me they would all disappear. and I would get very angry at her for scaring away my friends. I never saw their facial features because they wore black robes and hoods but they were very freindly. They called themselves Momos. Anyways they were there every Summer until I was Twelve. No one else could see them and they would only come out when I was alone. Being a loner as a young girl it was great to have their Company.

    The one thing that I was able to do after my encounter with the Momos is I am able to see peoples Auras. About four layers. I always thought it was a gift from my friends the Momos. My experience with these little people was so very positive and I will never forget my little friends.

    Just wanted t share something positive about Little People.

    1. Hi Rose,
      That’s lovely to hear about a positive experience with the little folk. So many that I hear about involve extreme fear. I’m hesitant to pass judgement on whether these beings are benign or malevolent because I hear conflicting reports about them, but perhaps our opinions of them are based on our perceptions.

      — John

  11. I have an odd encounter to contribute. Before my experience I had never heard of the phenomenon of real ‘gnomes/trolls’ nor have I heard the folklore associated with them (other than fairies and children’s stories of trolls under bridges).

    My husband and I live in a cabin in a coniferous forest along a spring fed lake in Northern Canada. We do have neighbors so we aren’t isolated, but the area isn’t densely populated either. There are no street lights, there is a gravel access road with cabins on one side along the lake and thick ‘bush’ on the other and virtually no traffic of any sort, especially at night. About 15 years ago on a very warm summer night (near dawn but still dark – probably about 5am) my husband and I were sleeping with the window open hoping to catch a slight breeze and get some relief from the summer heat. Due to the relentless swarms of mosquitoes and various other woodland creatures we have latched screens on our windows (the kind with the pull tabs on either side). I had woken up (can’t remember why) and could see and feel something sitting on my legs. Our gray tabby cat often slept at the foot of our bed and it took a few moments for my eyes to adjust. When I focused I could see it definitely wasn’t my tabby, I had trouble making any sort of sound but when I did I sat up, I began making the only sort of ‘scream’ I could and began flaying my arms in and out as though It was helping me make the only noises I could. This woke my husband and he too sat up and began to yell/scream. The creature looked at me stunned and startled, my gray cat hearing the commotion came into the room from the hall, jumped onto the bed seemingly to save me and chase away the weird thing sitting on me. The creature watched my cat come into the room and onto the bed, looked at me again, then frantically jumped off of me, onto the window sill and pushed out the screen and jumped outside. My husband and I quickly leaned our heads out the window. I could see the screen down on the grass outside and the creature running fast across our lawn, across the gravel road and vanished into the woods. When it was crossing the lawn the creature seemed to morph into a familiar outside calico cat we had been feeding off and on over the years. Both my husband and I were leaning into the open, screen-less window slowly stopping our weird gasping screams and looked at each other in disbelief. I couldn’t believe what the hell I just saw and I wanted to make sense of it. I frantically asked my husband “what did you just see?!!”. I didn’t want to tell him first, I wanted to make sure that I really saw what I saw! He paused before he answered as though he too couldn’t quite grasp what he just witnessed but finally said “I don’t know! – it looked like a troll! It turned into outside kitty!” – Holy crap! “ME TOO!”. We both took turns exchanging and confirming what we saw. Both of us confirming we each saw the same thing. It was wearing a black hooded cloak which went down to his feet, it had an old creased face and was about 2 feet tall and we both saw him morph into our friendly outside calico cat.

    We have since torn down the old cabin and built a new house. We have never seen the creature again, nor have we seen the outside stray calico cat that we occasionally fed over the years since he was an abandoned kitten. I will never forget the fear I felt, the fear on my husbands face or the surprised look from the creature when I began to scream. I am still not sure what it was that my husband and I saw, but we both saw and experienced the exact same thing. It was Not sleep paralysis – it was real.

    1. J — That’s got to be one of the most interesting “little people” stories I’ve heard yet. Thanks for sharing it! This is the first time I’ve heard of one of these beings transforming into an animal, but I’ll have to do some research to see if I can find some other similar reports.

      Okay, here’s the question that I always: Have you and/or you husband had any other type of unexplained experience before or since this happened? Doesn’t necessarily have to be gnome- or troll-related. Just curious.

      Thanks again for sharing your experience and contributing to the Paranomalist blog.

  12. Dear john i wanted to know if there gnome sightings are because i am try to find one in maine the contry please email me if there are am looking for one. And i need a map were they are thank you.

  13. Thank you for the quick response and thank you for this website!
    I want to add that I think I was most afraid of seeing something that wasn’t supposed to exist, it was unnatural and wearing a hooded cloak (which had a pointed peak). Until recently, I have never heard of anyone else seeing trolls and have never told anyone my story until now (except my mom).
    My husband and I have each had one other experience separately, but nothing quite like the troll creature in our room and I don’t feel they are related, but who knows.

    Maybe a year or two before the troll incident I saw a massive huge low flying triangle moving across the night sky while driving home alone from work. There is no doubt in my mind to what I saw. I don’t want to hijack the gnome thread and turn it into a UFO sighting thread so I’ll spare the details (unless you want to hear my story)
    My husband has had a ghost encounter around the same year as my UFO sighting when he was away at University living in an old mansion which had been converted into a few apartments. He would occasionally be woken up by the sound of a chair being kicked over and has said there was a female entity but that is his story to tell as I can’t remember the specifics.

    I too like the weird and unexplained but I certainly don’t seek out to experience them first hand. I have tried to seek a logical explanation before jumping to the conclusion my experience was paranormal however, sometimes there just is no other explanation and until there is, that is what I have to believe.


    1. J — That you and your husband both had other encounters with unexplained phenomena is just what I expected. I didn’t ask that question to imply that you’re some sort of paranormal “buff”; most people who have these kind of strange experiences are pretty logical, level-headed and grounded folk who are not seeking out these events. In fact, most people are fairly shaken from having undergone something that is so counter to their world view.

      However, what I consistently find is that people who have one kind brush with unknown usually have had others. Often, they seem like unrelated incidents but my feeling is that there is some kind of underlying thread that connects them. You would not normally relate, say, a Bigfoot sighting with a ghost encounter, or gnome encounter with a UFO sighting, but very often, upon further questioning, these experiencers report at least one other incidence of high strangeness. It could have something to do with the individual themselves. Perhaps you and your husband and others who have these experiences are more sensitive to these kind of phenomena. The more reports I receive, the more I see these patterns emerge.

  14. I agree with you 100% John.
    Even tho the events seems unrelated perhaps somehow they are.
    I also believe some people are more sensitive to ‘something’ that others perhaps just don’t pay attention to or simply just don’t recognize or sense at all due to the convoluted hectic life many of us lead. Maybe it’s a ‘sense’ that is remnant of an ancient ability that humanity has forgotten how to recognize and like any muscle, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Or one that humanity is evolving to develop.

    Its apparent that there is more to our universe than we currently understand. In addition to my own experience, reading the accounts of others who have had similar encounters has opened my mind even more to question what we really know of our true reality and about the world we live. Theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku brings to light many such ideas that allow us to put the unexplained into perspective especially in his discussions on quantum physics, folding time and the multi-verse.

    I have enjoyed our discussion and again, thank you for the awesome website!
    I look forward to reading posts by others with similar experiences.


    1. Thanks, J. I’m redesigning the site right now and integrating a forum to facilitate such discussions. Hoping to have that online soon and I have several new articles that I’ll post. Looking forward to talking with you again.

      — John

  15. For years, I have been trying to make sense out of something I saw. I was in the hardwood flooring business in Virginia. My job, when refinishing the hardwood flooring, was sanding the edges along the walls and doorways. We were in an old house, refinishing the floors. I was alone, sanding in a hallway when this creature came out from behind the baseboard. It was only a couple of inches tall. It was flesh colored, but wore no sort of clothing. The thing had long arms, a roundish body and shorter legs. It had hands and feet. The thing had a human like face with a longish nose and human like eyes and when it looked at me with a scowl, I could see it’s teeth.

    Now needless to say, I was stunned as this thing crossed the hallway to the other side. I stopped working as I watched this thing as it looked up and scowled at me. The machinery I was using was very loud and I could understand why this thing was upset. But even to this day, I still ask myself, “What was that?” This was about 20 years ago and I still look for information about what that was that I saw. It definitely was not an insect.

    If anyone has had any similar experience or has any knowledge of what it was that I saw, I would love to hear it. It was one of those experiences that stays with you, and it is one that you normally don’t talk about. There are those that would not understand an experience like that.

    I’ve been searching and searching for an answer and found this forum. This is the first time that I have posted anything about this experience. Although this thing I saw doesn’t seem like the gnomes or little people that are being discussed here, I thought just maybe someone may know what the thing I saw could have been.


  16. I do not know how to explain this but I will try. When I was in my early 20’s my boyfriend and I were driving along a back road enjoying the scenery at night. Another car was in the other lane driving along and when we were just about to pass each other my boyfriend and the driver of the other car slammed on their breaks. I looked up to see why and all I saw was this tiny, maybe about 6 inch tall, two legged, human like thing run across the road between both cars and into the thicket along side the road. It looked like a normal human except for the size and it was wearing what looked like a fur covering of some sort. The driver from the other car looked at us like did you see that and we had the same look on our faces I am sure. We drove off and never spoke of it because well, to be honest, we did not want to sound crazy. I will however never forget that night or the creature. I have tried many times to research what exactly it was I saw and have never come up with an answer!

    1. Hi Jennifer — Thanks for sharing that. I love a good “little people” story. Are you in the US or Canada? If so, in what state or province did this take place? If you don’t mind saying so I’m curious to know. Also, was this in a rural area, or suburban or urban?

      Six inches is smaller than I normally hear tell of. One to three feet is more typical, but I do think that there are more than one species of these creatures. Thanks again!

  17. Not a problem and you are very welcome. It was the USA, NY state in the outskirts of a small town called Fonda. It was in the more rural area of the place. This was definitely an adult male. It had a long scraggly brown or black beard. I would really love to know what it was but I do not think anyone knows or will ever know for sure.

  18. Hello, I am from a small reservation called Kawawachikamach, Quebec CANADA. There are alot of sighting of the “Little People” for years now. I heard stories from family and friends.. My friend saw them in the middle of the night when she woke up to go to the washroom and looked out the window and saw them at a neighbors house. At first she thought they were little kids playing and than thought it can’t be at two in the morning. She then said that she could feel someone staring at her and felt scared. Another time my other friend’s neice and a few other kids where playing in a wooded area in the reserve and I guess they got hysterical crying and screaming and people went to them asking them what is wrong with them. My friend said that her neice was hysterical saying that they were still there in front of them but she couln’t see them. Invisaible somehow but the children could see them. The children could have been around 8yrs old at the time. Her neice said they ran away but one of the little people caught her by the leg pulling her to wood and then one of her friends came back and grabbed her pulling her too. She said they were ugly little people. Another time there was a car accident and one of the people involved claimed she was pulled from the car wreck when she was passed out and someone said to her that it must have been the little people. There also stories of the boogie men here.

  19. Wow lots of comments. I was looking up info on a screaming little gnome type man. This sounds very close to what my husband saw. Living off grid in a small cabin in the woods. Arriving home after dark my husband parked the car at the bottom of the hill. As soon as he got out there was a screaming noise very close to him, but he could not see where it was coming from. He ran up the hill to the house, the thing fallowing him screaming. It stood on the hill side next to a tree screaming. He came back outside with a spot light to see what it was. At this time the thing began running up the mountain screaming and stopping once looking back at the house. He had his gun and just decided to put it down and not shoot. My son who was in the house heard the noise when it started and looked out the door to see his dad. Says he saw it clearly. A small man kind of gray angry looking. Lots of deep woods not messed with by man.

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Kathy! I get a lot more little people sighting reports than I do of Sasquatch or any other kind of creature. Are you in the USA or Canada? May I as approximately where? Just curious.

  20. I know this article is a few years old but I just found it . I wanted to tell you that several years ago my son , then 3 or 4 saw a gnome . He was not nice in fact looked to be quite evil and did things around the property where we lived . He also harassed another family that had lived on the same property after we left it . More recently I found out that a few of the people that still live where we did near the river have had encounters and my neighbors where I live now were chased out of the river not once but twice by a gnome . The same one ? Anyway we were on a tv show and told about it . Anyone who thinks they are not real or just imagination need to think again . To this day I am terrified that the gnome will show up here where we are as we are only down the street from where we had our encounters with it . I’m not sure he hasn’t been here . We have started hearing some of the same creepy noises and a creepy gurgly weird chuckle at night .

    1. Hi Tammy — The show on the Travel Channel’s American Monsters, correct? I saw the episode and recall your story and thought it was very disturbing and frightening. Most of the gnome stories that I’ve received are similar to yours: they’re generally perceived as being creepy, malevolent, and potentially dangerous creatures. Not too much like the impish, mischievous Tomtar that my grandmother told me of. I suppose though that there could be different species and subspecies and that, like we human beings, there might be both kind ones and evil ones.

      I’d be very interested in hearing anything else you might want to share about your experiences or if you have any new encounters. Please feel free to comment on the blog or email me at [email protected] if you’d care to. Good luck to you, too. I sincerely hope you don’t have a re-occurrence of the situation. It must be truly terrifying.

      Thanks so much for getting in touch and sharing your story. — John

  21. John,

    My sighting occurred many years ago when i was a young child, and even today, 54 years later, I can still picture the encounter in my mind. Here’s what happened: It was 1960 (I think), my family lived in an old house in East Paterson, New Jersey, a house that had been split into two apartments, one on each floor. We lived on the main floor, the kitchen was in the back with my brother’s bedroom off of it. From there, a hallway led to the front, with a bathroom on one side, and a very long room (with a wall to wall closet at the far end), my bedroom was set up in the back third of this room, up to the room’s door. About two feet away from the door was my chest of drawers, then between that and the back wall was a toy chest. On the opposite wall was my child’s bed.

    On the other side of the door there was a big sleep sofa, chairs, a television, and at the far wall, that huge, wall to wall, walk in closet; one who’s doors had to be shut tight each and every night. Also, because I didn’t like to sleep in that large room by myself, (especially in the dark), my parents had placed a night light behind my chest of drawers. That helped calmed me until this one night, a week before Easter in 1960.

    My Mother had gone out with her friends to shop for shoes. My Father had his buddies over to play Poker in the kitchen. It was time for my brother and me to go to bed, my Dad put me in bed first, lifted up the rails (so I wouldn’t roll out), kissed me goodnight, and as he left the room turned on the nightlight before shutting the door. I quickly fell asleep. Some time later I was awakened by a rustling noise near the room’s door. I turned over and looked gor whst caused the sound. That’s when I saw it.

    Clearly visible in the nightlight’s soft glow, a little man moved out from behind my chest of drawers. Then standing between the chest and the door, he watched me, stared at me, not saying a word. Caught in his gaze, I stared right back at him, trying, in my young mind to understand what exactly I was watching. He was close to three feet tall, had a greenish hue to his skin, and his eyes were a bit rounder then normal. His clothes, a dark green suit appeared to be in a much older style, like some of the movies I had watched depicting life in the mid-1800s. And he wore a hat, sort of a flattish derby. And he kept staring at me.

    I moved to my knees, and holding onto the bed rail I realized that part of him was still behind my dresser, and that meant he was more or less flat, and couldn’t be more than three inches from front to back. That’s when I first became frightened, that and the fact that he had only moved a little bit, emerging a few more inches from behind my dresser, that was it. And he kept looking right at me, with what I thought, a rather odd expression.

    When he moved all the way out from behind the dresser in what seemed like a flash, i.e. one second he was still partially behind my dresser, the next he was out all the way, I let go a blood curdling scream. But it didn’t move, it kept staring at me. I kept crying aloud for my Father, louder and louder. Still, that thing kept watching me, staring at me.

    Finally, my Father must have realized that I wasn’t going to quiet down, and he barged into the room, demanding to know why I was crying. I kept crying as I pointed at the little green man watching us by the door. My Father looked, but DID NOT SEE HIM! I kept trying yo get my Dad to see it, but he couldn’t. When my Dad realized that I wasn’t going to stop crying in that room, he lifted me up, and then carried me out to the kitchen. As we passed my dresser, I looked down from the security of my Father’s arms; that creature was still there, but now looking up at me, still staring at me as we walked by it.

    Later that night, after my Mother had come home, she put me to bed. As we walked past the spot I had earlier seen the creature, it was no longer there. It never appeared to me again, not in the next two years we lived there, nor in any house I’ve lived in since.

    What did I see? Was it a Gnome? Was it a Leprechaun? Was it a Ghost? A Shadow person? I don’t know. Oh, I’ve experienced other types of what I would call “paranormal events” – precognition, ghosts, etc., but this event, was totally unique. This was intelligent; that I could sense. And it wasn’t malignant; that I could tell too. But why appear only to me, and why just once. Oh, it wasn’t warning me about anything either as no untoward events followed its appearance.

    1. Ken — Very interesting account. I’m always fascinated by reports of little people; they’re a lot more common than many people would think. Two things: 1) It doesn’t surprise me that you’ve experienced other paranormal events. I’ve found that, almost without fail, these are not isolated incidents. May not necessarily be additional sightings of humanoid creatures but may be other types of unexplained events. This leads me to believe that people who have these experiences may simply be more attuned to, and therefore able to see and experiences, the unseen world(s) that surround us. That’s the conclusion that I’m slowly coming to as I field more and more of these reports of high strangeness. And, 2) The glowing greenish hue — I’ve heard that before, in a report that I plan to do a story on very soon. It came from a guy who works as a janitor in the school were my wife taught. He grew up in Hillsdale, NJ and he and his brothers were all menaced by a small being that sounds very much like the one that you saw. This was also probably around the same time period as well. That’s a very interesting parallel.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. — John

  22. Defiantly looks like someone with dwarfism. I can’t help but think it’s a little person messing with people for fun.

    I do not rule out that it could be a gnome. I never use to believe in stuff like gnomes and fairies until I saw weird glowing balls of …fog? in the woods one night. I even pinched myself to make sure it was real.
    So I’m open minded to a lot of myths and legends now.

    1. Heather – I experienced floating orbs, smaller, flashing lights, and a glowing mist while camping in a very remote forested area. This happen just a few months ago. Yes, when a person witnesses unexplained phenomena firsthand it sort of changes your perspective on things. It becomes more difficult to dismiss some of the stories that you hear from others.

      The video still fascinates me, but of course you have to consider that it could be a person with dwarfism messing with these kids. Or perhaps these young guys had a friend with dwarfism and staged the whole thing. Certainly more believable than the idea that they caught an actual gnome on video. Either way, it’s very well done and definitely creepy.

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