In the world of the paranormal it 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 there is actually a surprisingly large number of such sightings from all over the world and across cultures of these entities. In many of these cases, the term “gnome” isn’t even a nickname just given to some unidentified small humanoid, but rather denotes a literal gnome straight out of a fairy tale, complete with caps, boots, and gnomish clothes. With such tiny creatures flitting about, it seems natural that they may run afoul of larger, more intimidating creatures, and if you ever wondered if that is the case I have tracked down some unusual stories for you.
Some tales along these lines go far back in time, and one early account of an apparent gnome comes from the rural town of Farmersville, Texas, in the United States, in 1913. The witness, a man by the name of Silbie Latham, claimed that while he and his two brothers were out toiling away on their cotton farm one day their dogs began to bark and snarl off in the distance. The brothers thought nothing of it at first, but the barking and growling became steadily more intense and chaotic until they decided that it was probably best to see what was disturbing the animals so much. When the oldest of the brothers, Clyde, went to have a look he shouted to the others that he could see that the dogs were upset by a “little man.” When the others ran to go see what he meant they were purportedly met with the sight of a diminutive humanoid around 18 inches tall and a dark green in color and wearing a large, pointed hat, and the thing was just standing there with its arms at its sides. Silbie would describe the scene thus:
He didn’t seem to have any shoes, but I don’t really remember his feet. His arms were hanging down just beside him, like they was grown down the side of him. He had on a kind of hat that reminded me of a Mexican hat. It was a little round hat that looked like it was built onto him. He didn’t have on any clothes. Everything looked like a rubber suit including the hat. He just stood still. I guess he was just scared to death… Right after we got there, the dogs jumped him.
Apparently, the dogs ravaged the little creature, tearing it apart, although of course the body has become lost to the mists of time, as is often the case in these accounts. Other stories are much more modern, and a few were related to me personally after writing articles on the gnome phenomena. One witness claims to be from South America, where such creatures are called Duendes. The witness claims that this happened in a semi-rural area outside of a small town in Argentina, where she was taking a stroll at right around sunset. As the day grew dark and she walked along lost in her thoughts she was startled to hear a strange, high pitched keening coming from up the street ahead. As she approached, she could tell that the sound was like a thin, high reedy voice, panicked and shouting a jumbled mash of words she didn’t understand. At first she thought it might be the voice of a child who was in trouble, and she rushed to see what the commotion was about. Yet as she turned the corner she was not prepared for the surreal sight that awaited her.
There, pinned up against a low wall was what she describes as a little man, standing only around a foot tall and dressed in green clothes and with wizened features, white hair and a white beard. This diminutive man was cowering against the wall and flailing wildly and clumsily with what looked to be a tree branch at a cat that was crouched before him. It was obvious that the gnome had already been injured, as one of his little arms was bleeding, the sleeve torn. He swung and jabbed at the cat, face scrunched up in a mixture of pain and determination as he shouted words in his alien language and the cat occasionally batted at the branch. It was the most amazing thing the witness had ever seen, and she says:
He was a Duende, that’s what we call them. The cat had attacked him already, I could see he was hurt, but he was fighting with his little stick and screaming out what I can only imagine were obscenities in whatever language it was. I felt compelled to do something and so I called out. The cat, which had been totally focused on its prey, jumped in surprise and bolted off. The Duende, he took some breaths, picked up a little hat that had fallen to the ground, and perched it on his head. He then looked at me with beady little eyes and gave an almost imperceptible nod, as if to say “Thank you,” before scurrying around the wall and out of sight. I went to see if I could catch a glimpse of him again, but he was gone. I still wonder if he was OK.
Argentina seems to be a hotspot of reports of these Duendes, and another report related to me also comes from there. This report starts out rather similarly to the first one, with the witness, a farmer, out for a walk in the early evening hours at around dusk on his farmland. As he walked his attention was captured by the sounds of his dogs frantically barking, obviously very excited about something and when he looked he could see them running out across the field in his direction. The witness then took a look around the fenced in field he was in trying to figure out what his dogs were so upset about, thinking it might be a rabbit or some other animal they were chasing. It was at that moment that something very strange happened.
The farmer was startled to see a small figure, estimated as being about 2 feet tall, running on two legs towards him. As the childlike figure approached he could see that it was a little man, dressed in what looked like filthy, battered waistcoat and wearing a floppy hat, which he kept on his head with one hand while the other pumped always as he ran and an awkward, disjointed gait. The gnome’s face was described as recognizably human, but feral looking and hairy, with a sharp, pointed nose and deep set eyes surrounded by bushy eyebrows, a mouth with sharp little teeth, and the whole of his visage covered in leathery skin. The farmer also describes it as a Duende, and says:
This Duende was running for dear life, and right behind him were my dogs, barking and snarling. This dirty, haggard thing ran right by me without even acknowledging me, and my dogs were not far behind. I’ve never seen them like that before, so fierce and angry. The little man made it to the fence, and one of my dogs latched onto his leg to make him scream out a sound like no human scream I’ve ever heard, and then he was gone into the trees. I have no doubt that if the Duende had been just a little slower he would have been torn apart.
The farmer says that he checked the area for any sign of blood, but found none. It is a bizarre tale, to be sure, and one gets the feeling that these dogs were perhaps protecting their master from a possibly evil gnome. Not all such accounts come from South America, and an intriguing case comes to us from the state of Oregon, from a poster on Reddit. He says that he had just moved into a property outside of the town of Waterloo, and immediately had strange vibes about the place. He liked to go for walks with his dog Bo through the surrounding forest, but always felt something was lurking there watching him in the ancient, moss-laden trees. Before long, he and his family noticed that his antenna reception on his TV would often cut out at night, and they soon figured out that a great horned owl had made its home up by the antenna, and this owl seemed to have a habit of snatching up the kittens they had at the time. This is where it gets weird. The witness says:
One late afternoon, Bo and I went exploring further back in the woods than previously. As we approached a creek, we noticed some small holes in a sandbank on the opposite side. Leading to each hole were many messy markings of some unknown animal. I thought little of it, but Bo was oddly fixed on the bigger of the holes in the bank. He ran across the creek and buried his nose as far as he could into the hole.
A noise, much like a cat when it fights, came from the hole, and suddenly Bo yelped and withdrew his nose. He stood there, staring at the entrance, growling and barking and beginning to dig. I had never seen him like this. I called for him, but he didn’t listen. I called again. Finally, I shouted loud enough to startle him and get his attention. We headed home, but the whole way Bo kept looking behind him at something growling, hair standing up on his back. He seemed both frightened and worried. I saw nothing behind us. As we arrived at the fence and crossed out of the woods, I turned to look back. That’s when I saw something very strange and frightening. Not far behind us, in a huge fern a few feet off the path, I swore I saw a tiny face looking back at me. Not the face of any animal I know of, and not the face of a human. It looked human-like, but not human. I blinked and it was gone.
The sun was falling as we ran up to the house. My father was standing at the BBQ, drink in one hand, burger flipper in the other. Just as soon as he asked me what was wrong, I was already telling my story in a rushed, nonsensical and dramatic way. He laughed, made a few jokes, and asked me if I wanted him to go “beat it up.” Nothing calms you down and makes you change your story quicker than a parents ridicule. so I shut up. Less than an hour later, we all sat outside on the porch eating our BBQ dinner. We were also watching and waiting for the owl to make his appearance. We didn’t have to wait long. Suddenly, I saw him gliding through the air and head straight for the antenna on the roof. But as he approached, he made one big flap of his wings and shot right over the antenna, the roof, the house.
As he cleared the house, he took a strong dive toward a big patch of blackberry bushes that intertwined with a great fern and some trees planted many years before as we prepared the land for our coming. The great owl turned from his dive and stretched out his talons just as he made contact with the fern. Immediately, I thought of our third cat. This was going to break my sister’s heart. A loud noise, one like a cat screaming, came from the fern. The owl faltered in his fluid flying motion and stumbled to the ground.
Within the fern, we could hear the sounds of two animals fighting for their lives. I ran toward the fern. My dad ran with me as we raced to rescue our poor kitty. But just before we approached the fern, the owl shot out and up into the sky. There was no cat in its claws, but that same cat sounds was coming from a small creature it captured.
Suddenly, just as the owl reached the edge of the forest, we saw it drop the struggling creature. A silhouette of a tiny person, no taller than a foot, fell to the ground. I was frozen. My dad began to run toward the woods. Suddenly, my dad, a big manly macho guy, stopped dead in his tracks. And as he stopped, I could see the silhouette of a tiny head floating above the grass, heading for the woods. We watched as it reached the fence and climbed through it, disappearing into the black of the woods.
The witness’s father would later admit that there were little people who lurked about in the area, that he had seen them, and that they caused all kinds of mischief for him. He says of what his father told him:
He says he has woken up to them walking on his back or playing in his room. They mess with his alarm clock and turn the dials of the living room stereo up full blast so that when its turned on, my dad gets a good startle. They eat the dog food, scratch up his car, mimic him when he yells and screams at them. He shoots at them when he can, but no longer leaves his gun by his bedside. He says that they have tried to steal it before.
While such reports seem to be exceedingly rare, it add an intriguing layer to the whole bizarre phenomenon of real gnomes. Not only does it show us that they are fair game as a prey item, but it seems to bring them more fully into our world as actual flesh and blood manifestations rather than something more ghostly in nature. What that may mean is anyone’s guess, but it certainly is all very weird indeed. So the next time your dog is barking or your cat is acting up, maybe there is a gnome lurking about. You never know.