Alcoa, the biggest aluminum company in the country, encountered two problems peculiar to Iceland when, in 2004, it set about erecting its giant smelting plant. The first was the so-called “hidden people” [Huldufólk]—or, to put it more plainly, elves—in whom some large number of Icelanders, steeped long and thoroughly in their rich folkloric culture, sincerely believe. Before Alcoa could build its smelter it had to defer to a government expert to scour the enclosed plant site and certify that no elves were on or under it.
It was a delicate corporate situation, an Alcoa spokesman told me, because they had to pay hard cash to declare the site elf-free but, as he put it, “we couldn’t as a company be in a position of acknowledging the existence of hidden people.”
Lovecraft's Complicated Friendship, Julia Gfrorer Interview, The Pornography All Around Us - The Complicated Friendship of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert Barlow, One of His Biggest Fans (Paul La Farge for *The New Yorker*) The Julia Gfrörer In...
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