Iceland's hidden people 

When Alcoa Inc. prepared to build an aluminum smelting plant in Iceland in 2004, the government forced it to hire an expert to assure that none of the country's legendary "hidden people" lived underneath the property. The elf-like goblins provoke genuine apprehensiveness in many of the country's 300,000 natives (who are all, reputedly, related by blood). An Alcoa spokesman told Vanity Fair writer Michael Lewis (for an April 2009 report) that the inspection (which delayed construction for six months) was costly but necessary: "(W)e couldn't be in the position of acknowledging the existence of hidden people." (Lewis offered several explanations for the country's spectacular financial implosion in 2008, including Icelanders' incomprehensible superiority complex that convinced many lifelong fishermen that they were gifted investment bankers.)

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