In the world of the paranormal there doesn't get much weirder than reports of what seem to be actual, real gnomes lurking about, complete with tiny statures, pointy hats, the works, like something straight out of a fairy tale. It seems rather ridiculous that anyone could ever see anything like this, considering they are mostly considered to be the product of mythology, yet there are actually numerous and persistent reports of people from all walks of life seeing such creatures, and I have covered this here before, indeed on several occasions. Here is a selection of even more tales from the outlandish realm of real gnome encounters.

A hot spot of supposed gnome activity seems to be in Central and South American countries, where they are typically known as the Duendes and which I have written of here before. One such encounter reported on Phantoms and Monsters comes to us from the Merlo principality of the city of Buenos Aires, in Argentina, where in the summer of 2008 there was a work crew trimming the many trees that line the Avenida del Inca. In particular they were tasked with cutting back an enormous, 100-year-old eucalyptus tree that had spread its massive branches out so far that it had become a danger to the motorists speeding by as well as the utility poles gathered about it. The tree was substantially chopped back, with some parts of it reduced to merely stumps.

In the days after the extensive trimming was complete, there were numerous witnesses who came forward to say that they had seen “little men” with brownish clothes emerging from the stumps in a single file formation and in most cases headed in the direction of the nearby Leopoldo Lugones Library in Piedra Blanca for reasons unknown. Indeed, according to locals the trees along that particular stretch of road, which travels along the path of a stream, have long been the source of sightings of elvish or gnomish beings lurking about in the branches. Perhaps these creatures called that vast tree home and were now upset that it had been so badly damaged.

Another South American report was compiled by the researcher Albert Rosales, and allegedly occurred in Casablanca, Valparaiso, Chile, in November of 1996. In the account, a group of local students came across a procession of tiny men only around 1 foot in height, walking through a clearing. The otherworldly diminutive beings were described as wearing brightly colored clothing of different colors, and they supposedly hid behind bushes and trees once aware that they were being observed. Although they seemed mostly shy and elusive, one of the entities, who happened to be dressed all in black, purportedly was a bit bolder and more aggressive than the rest, and ran towards the students shrieking, throwing rocks, and generally trying to chase them off. Oddly, while this black-clad gnome seemed hellbent on threatening the witnesses, others dressed in green, red, and white seemed to conversely wave the kids closer and even call out to them.

South America certainly is not the only place from which such bizarre experiences are reported, and there are reports like this from all over the world. On Paranormal. About there is a report from the area of Houston, Texas, from a witness who says one evening in March of 2003 his dog had gone to chase something out in their expansive yard, which he at first assumed was some wild animal or stray cat. When the man went to go see what was riling the dog up so much, he claims that he saw a humanoid creature standing a mere 1 foot tall, with a pointed hat, a white beard, and dressed in a “clown suit without the big shoes and nose.” The terrified man panicked, retreated into his house along with his dog, and then looked back outside through the window to see the bizarre creature eating from a bird feeder in the yard. It then scurried to the porch, smiled directly at the witness, and then disappeared behind it, never to be seen again.

Also from Texas is a report originally given to World UFO Photos from a gas worker on a gas line near the town of Kenedy, TX, who one evening saw something odd move about on the periphery of his vision. When he looked to see what it was it appeared to be a small humanoid standing only a few feet in height and dressed in some sort of strange, impish clothes. In this case the witness was able to take a photo of the creature, and said of his encounter:

I was working the night shift on an x-ray crew at a material gas plant. This was around 3 am and there was only four of us in the plant at the time. I took this picture after seeing something swaying side to side out of the corner of my eye. I was in the basket of a man lift coming down when I took the picture. By the time I unhooked my harness to get out of the basket the creature was gone. The police were called and walked premises. The officer told me there were 26 UFO sighting calls throughout that night. If you zoom in you can see the silhouettes of eyes and elongated mouth. I have no doubt of what I believed I seen that night. The other person that saw it with me took off running for the truck.

Alleged photograph of the "gnome"

What does this photo show? Is this a hoax or something more? In the state of Idaho there is an account from a witness on ThoughtCo. who says he his father had his experience in 1965, while he was out hunting elk with his father and brothers at the Salmon River. At the time the group had split up to try and cut off a herd that they had accidentally spooked. At some point he grew tired and took a break by sitting upon a large boulder, and that was where things would quickly get rather weird indeed. The one who gave the account says of his father’s encounter:

It was a mildly warm day and he stopped to rest in the shade of some large boulders to strip off some of his gear and have a drink of water. When he sat down to rest, he felt a rock zip right by his head. Thinking it was one of his brothers playing a trick on him, he yelled at them to stop. That's when he noticed tiny footprints in the soft dust under his feet. And again another rock was thrown in his direction, closer this time.


Now my dad had always been told about the little people who lived in the rocks and crevices of mountains and hills, an ancient band of Native Americans who barely escaped from the white man. They made their home in the hills and if bothered would put a curse on you if you failed to heed their warnings.


Feeling a chill creep up his spine, he slowly rose, gathered his things and said in very slow Shoshone, "I am leaving. I'm sorry I disturbed you." As he was walking away downhill he heard small feet slapping the rocks behind him, but being a tad afraid he never looked back. He never told his father or brothers and could hardly tell me for fear of me thinking he was crazy. I believe him.

What were these things? Were they forest spirits of some sort? Something else? There was another forest encounter of this type posted by a Reddit user named Alex N., who says her and her boyfriend had a strange sighting while out hiking in the Cherokee National Forest, in the U.S. state of Tennessee. During their hike they rounded a bend and she would say of what they saw:

We both stopped in our tracks. There was a tree directly ahead of us about 20 feet. At the base of the tree I briefly saw the silhouette of three, uh... beings. They were around three feet tall and very slender, and all of them seemed to be holding a stick or staff in one hand. One was holding a staff and with the other hand was pointing at something on the ground next to the tree and all of them were looking at it. It was as though when we rounded the bend, we caught a brief glimpse of them and then they vanished. I did not tell my BF what I had seen but he went on to describe the exact same thing. So of course we ran over to the tree to see if we could discover what they were so fascinated by. I didn't expect to see anything but dirt and leaves, but there was actually a neat looking rock sitting right where they had pointed! We love collecting rocks we find while hiking but we left this one the hell alone!

Unbelievably, the boyfriend of this witness would purportedly tell a friend from work about what happened, and the man had his own odd tale to tell. She says of this encounter:

When this guy was a child, he and his best friend went exploring some local caves. He said it was a point of honor among the local kids to see how deep into the caves they could go, so he and his friend decided to go further than ever before. After plodding along carefully for around 40 minutes, they were startled to see a light up ahead. They crept along toward the light, and found that it was coming from this little room-like structure off to one side of the main cave system.


When they peeked around the rock wall they saw that the light was being emitted from a lantern! And sitting around the lantern in a circle were several small men with beards and strange hats, and they were playing with these huge cards with weird symbols on them, unlike anything the kids had seen before. He said these "men" were incredibly short, and for some reason he remembers that they had these massive buckles on their shoes. Just the classic, fairy tale image of a dwarf! As intriguing as the scene was, the kids freaked out and ran all the way out of the cave. The, uh, dwarves never even noticed them!

Besides outdoors, there is a surprisingly large number of people who have encountered apparent gnomes right within the confines of their own homes, pushing it all further past the boundaries of the bizarre. One story comes from the Perm region of Russia in 1989, and was originally published in an issue of UFOZONE. The witness claims that in July of that year, she had been asleep in her modest apartment when she was awoken by an indistinct feeling of dread creeping over her. When she opened her eyes she could see a short figure crouched over her, with a pale gray complexion that looked ancient, and large, pitch black eyes like a shark, as well as a sparse beard. Another, younger looking one then appeared, and the two “gnomes” stared at her before vanishing to leave an orb of light in their place, which then drifted out of the room and out of sight.

In the United States we have a story from Your Ghost Stories that supposedly took place in the city of Fontana, California, where the poster lives with his family. One day, his brother allegedly had a very eerie experience in 1994, when he woke up in the wee morning hours for no apparent reason. He claimed that he sensed the heavy feeling of eyes upon him, but could not discern where this odd sensation was emanating from at first. That is, until he looked towards the doorway. The poster says of what happened to his brother next:

He turned to look towards the doorway of the room. His eyes quickly focused on this creature that was no higher than the adjacent electrical outlet. He recalls that the creature was wearing a weird, dirty sport coat. He also recalls that it had on one of those old boat hats on, similar to that of a Leprechaun. And most vividly... Was the sinister, overly-exaggerated smile it possessed! My brother's natural reaction was dictated by the intense surge of fear that ran through his body! He quickly sought security under his blankets and turned to face away from this thing! He did try to rationalize to see if whether or not what he saw was actually, physically there. He said it took all his will and might, to turn his attention back towards the doorway--and there it was again! Motionless. Sitting perfectly still, and with the same sinister smile!


The night carried on and the sun's ray did make it to his bedroom eventually. It was only then that he made an attempt to find this creature - it was nowhere to be found. My brother ended up tucked under his blanket, unbelievably frightened, until the next morning! Neither of us have any idea as to what it was that he saw. I've heard folklore of gnomes and, the more I think about it, that's kind of what it sounds like.

Curiously, for quite some time after this the house would be plagued by anomalous noises like footsteps when no one else was there, as well as spontaneous clapping noises. Was this gnomes, poltergeists, or what? Who knows? Another account from the same site apparently happened in 1969 in the state of Indiana, and was relayed by the witness’ daughter. One night the mother was sleeping with the window open and heard a strange noise outside. As she sat there trying to figure out just what it was she had heard, a bizarre little man not much higher than a foot in height came creeping into the room from the window to stand there in the shadows before her. The poster says:

It didn't scare her for some reason, which I thought was strange. It walked up to the foot of her bed, climbed up and sat down with his legs hanging over the edge. My mom didn't do anything; she said she just stared at him. He looked like a gnome according to her description. At least that's what I came up with. He sat there trying to get comfortable and when he was finally situated, he reached in a little bag he was carrying and pulled out a pipe. He lit it, took a couple puffs, turned and faced her.


He said that he some bad news about my father, but not to worry, he was okay. He continued on that my father was in terrible trouble and that she will hear more about it in the morning. He tapped his pipe in his hand, jumped off the bed and crawled out the window. That's when it finally sank in my mom's head, of what just happened, and she decided to call out for my grandmother. My grandmother came in turned the light on and asked her what was wrong. As my mom explained, my grandmother, not paying attention to my mother, noticed smoke lingering in the room and asked if she'd been smoking. My mom told her the story again. My grandmother didn't believe her.


The next morning, my mother got a phone call from the Army and said that my father was injured in an attack and would home in about 10 days. My grandmother believed her then. I asked my mom why she thought it was a ghost. She said that was because she could see through him. I thought ghosts could float or whatever, why did this 'ghost gnome' have to crawl through an open window? She didn't know.

Was this a ghost, a gnome, or a figment of the imagination? Next we have an account from New York City, from right in bustling Manhattan, from a witness who says that when she was a young girl of about 6 years of age she would often see small green eyes peering at her from the shadows as she tried to sleep. This went on for some time until one evening it all reached a crescendo of the weird when she witnessed a greenish orb come floating out of the closet and hover there in the room. As she looked on bewildered, the orb began to morph into something altogether outlandish, and the witness would say:

I watched terrified as the orb constructed itself into what looked like two little greenish feet, then greenish pants, and then what looked like a small greenish jacket or vest top, finally the head appeared it had a thick whitish greenish beard and a pointed hat. He looked very vintage and old with beady eyes and wrinkles pulling at his pointed noes. From what I saw it looked angry it resembled a gremlin or a gnome-thing. It opened its mouth but made no noise, its eyes were cold and it looked very indulged in my fathers shoes. He tried putting his feet in them but kept walking right out of them like his ghostly state couldn't allow him to physically wear my father shoes. He tried multiple times but couldn't put them on he became more and more frustrated. Finally he gave up and threw kind of like a small tantrum. From this point I can't remember if he saw me quickly and vanished or he heard my mother walking back to my room with water and vanished. Since then I have never seen him again.

In another account we come to the state of Virginia, where the aunt and uncle of the witness had a cozy little one-story home that they were about to move out of. As she was helping them clean up the place, the witness went to the spare bedroom to fetch some blankets, and as she moved along the hallway she noticed that the door to the attic was ajar and the light within turned on. She says of the series of surreal events that followed:

I had been in and out of the house all day and knew that not one person had been into the attic (my mother detests attics and my aunt won't be caught dead climbing up into one) so I found this all to be a little strange. I continued on my way to the room where I gathered the blankets and then headed back into the hallway. As I was leaving I looked up into the open attic, and there appeared a man.


To this day his appearance has always baffled me, for he was not so much a man but an elf-like creature. He wore his hair long and over it was a pointed hat. His clothes were tattered and I can remember them being green. His skin was brown and his eyes black. He was small, I don't want to say a midget for I mean to offend no one, and so for the sake of being politically correct I will just say that he was no taller than 3 feet. He was not a lean creature and was actually quite round about the middle. He sat hunched over the square opening of the attic looking down at me with a malicious grin. I froze.


"Come here, little girl" said he. To which I did not respond. "Little girl, come up here" he said again. His voice I remember was a harsh one, high pitched but at the same time deep and threatening. Even as a child I knew that what I was seeing was not human, and it was not good. I stood there in a sort of paralyzed state staring at this thing in the attic for what seemed an eternity while he again and again repeated "come here, little girl", "come up here, little girl". Then, as if my brain was finally able to get through to my feet, I ran. I believe I would have run through a wall of line backers to get out of that house. I could hear him laughing as I took off, a dangerous laugh, one that to this day will raise the hairs on my arms and neck.


Immediately I told my mother and aunt what I had experienced and they just as immediately wrote me off as having an over active imagination. After much pleading I got them into the hallway, where low and behold, the attic door was open and light still on, the little man I had described to my mother and aunt had vanished. It was obvious that I was not the one to of done this being that I was not of the right height to even reach the door, let alone the light inside which hung another three feet above the opening. Needless to say, the packing was left unfinished and the three of us promptly left the house with a phone call to my aunts ex informing him he could finish emptying the house himself.

Looking at such a range of mind-boggingly weird reports as we have seen here, one is left wondering what to make of it all. These all are really quite hard to classify, other than that they were of some sort of "gnome-like" little beings. Considering that such reports come from all over the place and by such a rich selection of witness it seems worth considering what they may have possibly seen, and this is difficult because the descriptions don't seem to really fit the typical experiences for ghostly phenomena, and the idea that fairy tale gnomes could be real seems almost absurd, so what is it? Could these have been aliens or ghosts? Are they some sort of earth elemental spirits, as such impish entities as gnomes, trolls, leprechauns, and goblins have often been depicted in lore? Or are these maybe indicative of some sort of interdimensional phenomenon, with these beings bleeding over into our reality through some thin spot in the veil that normally separates us? Whatever the case may be, encounters with real gnomes truly stretch the imagination, and rank as among the most bizarre paranormal phenomena there are.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!