General Guemes Gnome

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 17th, 2008

argentine gnome1

A little gnome with a pointed cap has been captured on a cellphone digital video camera. With a pointed cap?

Where have we all seen gnomes like this before?


Two years ago, the 30th anniversary edition of the coffee-table book Gnomes hit the bookstores. It reflects how successful the popular cultural icons of the gnomes pictured on the cover and within that book have become. We are surrounded by gnomes.


Gnomes was the product of Rien Poortvliet (1932-1995) and Wil Huygen (1925- ), who supposedly made alleged observations of the local gnome population in Holland. The cryptofictionalization of these beings was taken to the extreme, as noted by the book’s publisher: “Until Gnomes was first published in Dutch in 1976, these friendly nocturnal creatures were only represented in folklore; descriptions were often incomplete or simply inaccurate.”


The publisher’s blurb continues: “Poortvliet and Huygen, having studied and interviewed gnomes for two decades, set out to fill this gap with their own encyclopedic tome. Gnomes covers all areas of gnome culture, including architecture, education, courtship, medicine, industry, and relationships with other mythical creatures. Huygen’s sober descriptions are balanced by Poortvliet’s light-hearted portrayals of gnomes at work and at play.”



Now, in 2008, we live in a world in which red-pointy-capped garden and Travelocity gnomes are in lawns, within ads, and on the internet. They are everywhere.

Should we be surprised that a new video shows one with a pointy hat walking down a northern Argentine road, scaring some young people?

St. Patrick’s Day seems an appropriate time to post the video here, with some details, as the footage has now appeared on the UK’s Sun website, on Fox TV News, and at YouTube.

argentine gnome1

The creature was filmed by teenager Jose Alvarez. Alvarez told the Argentine newspaper El Tribuno on March 10, 2008, that he and his friends saw the creature while “larking about” in their hometown of General Guemes, in the province of Salta, Argentina. It had on a pointed hat and walked strangely sideways.

The eyewitness Alvarez relates what happened:

We were chatting about our last fishing trip. It was one in the morning. I began to film a bit with my mobile phone while the others were chatting and joking. Suddenly we heard something — a weird noise as if someone was throwing stones. We looked to one side and saw that the grass was moving. To begin with we thought it was a dog but when we saw this gnome-like figure begin to emerge we were really afraid….

This is no joke. We are still afraid to go out — just like everyone else in the neighborhood now. One of my friends was so scared after seeing that thing that we had to take him to the hospital. ~ Jose Alvarez.

Other Argentine locals have now come forward to say they had spotted the gnome.

South America, traditionally, has been populated by little hairy cryptids (Proto-Pygmies), as mentioned here. The 1950s’ reports of Latino ufonauts merge into beings who were often little and hairy. Does this gnome come out of this same background? It certainly seems like a hefty little one.

The entire incident is receiving more and more media attention, and I was called today by Wireless News Flash for a comment.

I am left with lots of questions: Is the video a hoax? An adolescent prank? A real event that goes beyond the imagination? Why the side shuffle? The pointy hat? Why the Argentine setting? Are other video copycats far behind?

Remember two years ago, what was reported around this same time of year, from Mobile, Alabama?

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

30 Responses to “General Guemes Gnome”

  1. cryptidsrus responds:

    I was wondering—Is this REALLY a cryptozoological sighting, Loren?

    This looks more like something supernatural investigators would look into.

    This AT LEAST is more KEELIAN than cryptozoological. But I ain’t complaining. I LOVE this kind of stuff.
    I love fairies, period.

    Sue me.

    Most of the youtuber comments and other sites I’ve visited tag this as a fake. Could be.
    On the other hand, Argentina is not automatically considered FAIRIE or TROLL central—despite past reports. I could understand Ireland, England, Scotland—even Iceland or certain parts of North America, for God’s sake—where things like that tend to be more believed and are part of the local folklore—but Argentina?
    Argentinian kids decide all of a sudden to hoax people into thinking GNOMES are roaming around town?
    Why not UFOS?
    Or even FLYING HUMANOIDS like we had south of the border?
    Wouldn’t it be more sensible to do that?
    I’m not saying it’s NOT a fake—(the sideway shuffling DOES look kind of strange—and the behavior of the videotaper also) but sheesh!!!

    Overall, YOUTUBE is NOT a good place for sightings of anything, as we probably all know by now. MOST of the time. But hey, one never knows…

    There ARE sightings of elemental spirits and what is loosely called “fairies” all the time, though. Go to FAIRYGARDENS.COM for some good ones.

    It would make sense—(in a non-empirical, non-evidential, FAITH-BASED way) that IF creatures such as Sasquatch, Yeti, Pterodactyls, Mokele-mbembe and other related prehistoric creatures, as well as UFOS, humanoids, Sea Serpents, Mothmen, and reptoid-insectoid-humanoid aliens were to exist in this earth at the same time, that there wouldn’t be a possibility ALSO that what the Irish, English, Native Americans and other cultures of this world have been “seeing” and calling FAIRIES or WEE FOLK or EARTH SPIRITS or whatever one wants to call them for centuries are REAL? NOT misdentifications or hallucinations?

    Native Americans have been sighting and interacting with “Sasquatch” and “Champ”-type creatures for centuries yet those sightings were dismissed as superstitious nonsense coming from “less civilized”, “savage” people—(whatever the hell that means) yet NOW there is evidence that those creatures MIGHT exist after all!!!
    So is it THAT hard to believe THESE creatures MIGHT exist as well?

    We tend to think that our ancestors were not as advanced as we; even STUPID. We tend to think we’re the pinnacle of everything and we know ALL there is to know about all there is. This is what happens when civilization adopts a hyperrationalistic, strictly materialistic viewpoint—I CANNOT SEE IT, THEREFORE IT DOES NOT EXIST—things that have ALWAYS been seen since the beginning of time are swept under the carpet and dismissed. One sees a hairy, eight-foot creature ambling through the forests of remote California? You’re crazy or a hallucinating dork! You see a lake serpent? Likewise! One sees something UFO-like in the sky—you’re crazy! How ridiculous! Let’s mock this!
    You and other people see tiny, flying SOMETHINGS that look like something out of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM? Wait for the snigger and the smirk, followed by the laughing under the breath! It’s ridiculous…

    Again, I’m not saying this is for real…I’m simply saying that this does not mean that ALL sightings are the products of overactive imaginations.
    I’m a believer—again, sue me. I’ll pull my pants up and adjust my nerd horn-rimmed glasses and join the geeks in the back of the room. Just because adequate proof does not exist right now does not mean one day adquate proof will not be found.
    Yeah, I guess I belive in things like these…

  2. cryptidsrus responds:

    I wonder if Mr. Radford has a problem with that?

    I’ll take the PROZAC now…

  3. squatch-toba responds:

    It’s a gnome with mange I tell ‘ya!!!!!

  4. CryptoServo responds:

    Very interesting….seems like it would be a hoax. You have to admit, the video is pretty creepy though!

  5. kittenz responds:

    Rien Poortvliet was one of the most brilliant illustrators, especially of nature and wildlife, who ever lived. Gnomes is just one of the beautiful books that he illustrated. His animals are so lifelike and believable (especially with gnomes riding on them or pulling thorns from their paws 🙂 ). His work accurately depicts animals while also capturing a sense of their personalities, all without being the least bit contrived or overdone.

    I have several of his books. His work holds a tremendous influence for me. The elegant picyures of animals in their habitats are done with a casual grace. They are absolutely elegant. And the gnomes! I don’t think that anyone who has read any of the gnomes books will ever picture them in their mind’s eye any other way, ever again.

  6. awrvb responds:

    It is a hoax!
    That gnome is in reality five persons!

    On the left of that ‘gnome’ there are at least six persons and on the right three or more.

  7. Vigus responds:

    In other gnome news, comic book creator Brian Pulido put out Killer Gnomes a few years back. And now I just learned he made it into a short film called Theres Something Out There.

  8. Dan Gannon responds:

    Very interesting video! My wife, Elsa, and I have been taking a close look at it. A few observations:

    1. One of the first things we noticed was, his joints (knees in particular) appear to be hyper-flexible, or “loose,” enabling them to bend in a side-to-side fashion. You can see this same looseness in the knees, in videos of the well-known tiny person (deceased,) Nelson de la Rosa. Accounts I’ve read and heard of actual “little people” (of the legendary/cryptid variety, not well-known persons,) have never included this kind of hyper-flexibility of the joints.

    Video clips of Nelson de la Rosa dancing, etc:

    2. In my opinion, this person appears to be approximately the same size as Nelson de la Rosa — judging his size by the grass he was hiding behind, and the general scale of the scene (the street, trees, lamp post, etc.) Also his movements (the speed and acceleration, trajectories, etc.,) give the impression of a very small person.

    3. We also noticed the costume, which appears to include a puffy jacket, pants, shoes/boots, and (see #5 below) sunglasses. The bulkiness of the upper body appears to be due to the puffy jacket; the speed and movements, and overall shape, suggest this (doesn’t appear to be a heavily muscled individual, in my opinion. At least, not heavily muscled when compared to what I saw in Yucatan.) Definite puffy jacket, I think.

    4. The “pointy hat” looks more like a Mohawk hair style, to me. You can see that in the photo on this web page:
    …and also if you watch the video again, paying close attention to the shades/colors, shapes, edges and details around the top of the head, you can see the shape and color of this kind of hairdo (possibly prosthetic/fake, or possibly real hair, hard to tell.)

    5. The person appears to be wearing sunglasses. The lenses appear to be a bit large for his face, approximately rectangular in shape, and of a light to medium tint.

    Conclusion: Entertaining video, but this appears to be a tiny “regular” person, a la Nelson de la Rosa, playing a trick on some kids, or (more likely) participating in a trick with the kids (the whole thing was staged for the benefit of the camera, in my opinion.)

    Note: Nelson de la Rosa was not the only person of that size. I’ve read mentions that there are at least a few others, some of which are even smaller. Nelson’s dwarfism was never actually diagnosed (the cause wasn’t determined,) but some have speculated it was a kind of “primordial dwarfism,” but who is to say that kind of dwarfism, or a variant thereof, was never “normal” in any population? Random mutation, rare recessive alleles, genetic reversion, and hybridization would be possible ways for such dwarfism to re-emerge (though not necessarily in a fully adaptive, or identical, state, hence the hyper-flexible joints, and other differences, such as muscular characteristics.)

  9. Saint Vitus responds:

    I am from Mobile and I definitely remember the Crichton Leprechaun! My theory is that it was really a little screech owl or maybe a possum in the tree, but some people who have actually seen the tree say it is just a knot on one of the branches. That Gnomes book kind of reminds me of a field guide to fictional birds, “Little Known and Seldom Seen Birds of North America”, (there was also at least one sequel), which covered species such as the Southern Snake Strangler and the Rear-tailed Evader. These birds were discussed is af they were in fact real species.

  10. Saint Vitus responds:

    Another thing I remember about the Crichton Leprechaun: that “amateur sketch” sold on ebay for something like $300.

  11. slowave responds:

    There seem to be two different versions of the clip on YouTube. They appear to have been filmed at the same location, with the same people (and “gnome”), but they play out differently…

    The only way I can explain this is that its a hoax, and apparently took at least two takes to shoot.

    Sorry folks 🙁

  12. ICMB responds:

    I don’t remember where exactly I saw the other links, but there were two other videos showing this “gnome”. The first of those two was very much like this one, except with a flashlight aimed briefly at the “gnome” and a much cheesier scream at the end. It was basically a “first take”. The second video showed the gnome from the back side that showed it was a doll hooked up to a little motor to move it and make the legs look like they were making it move.

  13. darkshines responds:

    Fortean Times has already declared this as fake, on the basis that two videos exist, similar but not the same, released to two different tabloids here in the UK.

  14. jcall81 responds:

    If you go to as posted by Dan Gannon, in the picture, you’ll see 4 distinct lines, 2 on each side, of the “gnome”. These can probably be explained away as just being pixles or the result of a grainy picture. Only they’re not. They’re strings! This is a marionette! The lines come from the top, down to the hands and feet. It explains the sideways motion and the limp hanging and movement of the arms, along with its limberness. Also, when the subject first comes into view, it appears to be busy doing something in the grass, when in reality, it’s doing nothing more than moving/rocking back and forth. And, there’s no head movement or any kind of natural reaction on its part.

    Plus, this has way too many coincidences:
    1. They just happen to be there in the first place, filming no less!
    2. The grass or bush is just high enough to block what it’s “doing” before it emerges.
    3. It takes place under a tree. A perfect place for someone to be manipulating the strings.
    4. It happens to wander out into the street, in plain sight. Instead of retreating and/or hiding, it makes itself known.
    5. It’s close enough to the street light to see the general shape and motion, but too far away for any real detail.

    The scale appears to be accurate, give or take a little. But, it’s also the perfect size for a puppet!

    My conclusion: marionette.

    I think they’re just trying to “pull our strings”!

  15. rdh responds:

    Gnome, Schmome.

    What curious gnome researchers REALLY want to know is why the highlighted gnome in the third illustration down looks exactly like Loren Coleman. Coincidence, or startling new evidence of the Coleman Global Gnome Takeover?

    Richard D. Hendricks

  16. shumway10973 responds:

    I’m having the gnome king officiate my wedding on Sunday. I’ll ask him about this. I am kinda surprised at the responses above. I find it fascinating, but the only thing I can say is that “it” is too tall to be the gnomes we have come to love and know.

  17. Dan Gannon responds:

    That’s true. It’s a puppet. In this version of the video, around the time of the scream (at the end,) you can clearly see a string connected to the top of the puppet:

    It being a puppet was one of my first impressions, but I thought someone using a puppet, wouldn’t have made so many mistakes (the ones I mentioned in my previous post,) and the unusual movement of the limbs reminded both Elsa and myself, of Nelson de la Rosa’s movements. I should have just considered, these are kids, not professional videographers, and puppets can be floppy, too.

    The two versions of the video are another giveaway, of course! Fun videos, but obviously fake.

  18. MindEcdysiast responds:

    Interesting story. I have watched only one video, and that is the one from which the shot is used at the beginning of this article.

    It is interesting to me how so many people come forward to bash the video without looking at what is happening. In my opinion I believe these young men actually witnessed this event. Here is why: Many reports of small people have been made from South America. The most recent ones if I am not recalling wrong involved an old tree close to a library that was cut and a file of little people were later observed to have exited the tree and gone to another tree. This was witnessed by many people, to include bystanders and construction personnel. Not the first report to come from Argentina either which is heavily influenced by guess whom, ready? Germans that emigrated in order to avoid capture or prison during WWII.

    On the other hand you have Brazil right across the border, and they have a little people problem too. How do we explain that one? Someone metioned Mr. Nelson De La Rosa. He, by the way, is Mexican, quite a ways from Argentina. Any one that has actually watched him move can tell the mechanics of dwarfism is very different from a regular adult. And since we mention dwarfism, one of the characteristics of dwarfism is that of being bowlegged (not the case in the video).

    As far as this being a Puppet/Marionette, why? Unfortunately you have to actually listen to the audio on the video to understand what is happening. As far as I recall every encounter I have read of with gnomes entails the sound of stones or rocks and in some cases as has happened in Europe and in Another South American country the rocks are actually thrown at the people or property. In one case the rocks came for a period of days, and a little person was observed to throw them.

    The use of YouTube of course is more of a necessity than anything else. What we need to remember is that more people communicate by YouTube than other media. This young men would not have the slightest idea whom their local paranormal investigator is, but by golly, they know how to upload their camera video to YouTube. Why look for a specific unidentified person when they can share the experience with a couple of thousand.

    So lets recap, Kids out on the street at around 1 am, they hear a sound of what seems to be stones or rocks moving/shuffling, they think its a dog but ends up being something else. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, the tree, well you see, that is where I have many doubts of this being made up. I have worked in a marionette theater before, and you can extend only so far before you cannot function. There was no rustling of tree leaves and the patch of grass actually appears to be more than a meter away. Too far to make a puppet move without falling forward.

    And by the way, some of the reports I have read do mention that this little people move sideways. They are gnomes (pudgy little people) therefore the mechanics of their movement once again may be lacking. Unlike fairies which for some unknown reason are slim and trim with a full range of motion, or elves which appear the same.

    As far as a second video, haven’t seen it, but this brings up the question, if I had just had the experience, wouldn’t I want to go back and take a better look, specially since this creature didn’t hurt me? You decide.

  19. steele79 responds:

    its a keebler elf that got lost clearly so who’s making the cookies now?

  20. dstageberg responds:

    Yes I agree…Gnome with mange.

  21. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Could someone please provide the link to the second video discussed in the above comments?

  22. rl_esteves responds:

    There is a huge resemblance to the little creature in the video that was all over the internet last month which showed a group of people in Europe enjoying a picnic when suddenly out of nowhere comes a little humanoid that looks quite a bit like the one in the Argentine video, with a “wand” in his hand that he touches one of the people at the picnic with on the leg that allegedly turned into painful sores later on. I’ve been trying to find the link to post but no luck.

  23. drjon responds:

    @red_pill_junkie — Two videos:

    Creepy Midget Dressed as Gnome Caught on Video


  24. jcall81 responds:

    MindEcdysiast, why a marionette? To show movement, that’s why! The use of a puppet is the only way to show motion while keeping the scale fairly accurate. To accomplish this in a film, as opposed to a photo, you would use/need a marionette. Once again, I refer to Dan Gannon (thanks Dan). He again proves my point. In his second post, the link shows a 49 second clip. At the 39 (before the second zoom) and 45 second mark, you can see a very obvious black string.

    As far as the sound goes, are you telling me the noise could not have been coming from somewhere else?

    The look and sound only shows they did some research on the subject. In addtion to the strings, there is no natural movement at all. It never moves at the head or waist. Plus, it’s walking sideways!

    So, why a marionette?

    To make it believable!

  25. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Thank you so much drjon 🙂

  26. Dan Gannon responds:

    You’re welcome, jcall81. Good observations, by the way!

  27. Gaffanon responds:

    It may be a puppet but its not a Marionette . It has too much weight in the feet. a marionette does not carry its weight in the feet. A marionette carries its weight in the head or shoulders. I have watched both videos over and over and the movement is wrong for a marionette. its feet a planted a marionette cant do that. I have been making them for 30 years and have never ever seen a marionette move that way. That’s not saying its not another kind of Puppet. That black line could be a rod of some sort.

    Personally, I’m leaning towards a person in a suit.

  28. creepypete responds:

    Does anyone remember last year a video was circulating with a few teens kicking around a soccer ball, when all of a sudden an Alien reached out from behind a pole and grabbed one of the kids?
    This, the film, the color, . . the kids reactions, camera angles ALL LOOK THE SAME, except for the content. It even looks like the same area.
    I’m not saying they are lying, but it’s awfully fishy.

  29. nicobaricus responds:

    If only the Gnome Footage was real! The footage that creepypete mentioned, of the kids playing soccer and an alien grabbing one of them from behind a lamp post, is most likely their inspiration.
    The First Version of the Gnome Footage I saw had a bunch of slow motion repeats at the end, so I tried to find one that wasn’t edited for television. In my search I stumbled upon two versions of the footage.
    Video 1:

    Not only are the angles different in both Videos witch makes no sense considering there was supposedly only one camera phone at the time. But their reactions to the whistle, the time it takes for the rock to be thrown after the whistle, and the sound of the whistle are all different. But the Dead give away is the lack of flash light in video 2, hmmmm. It seems like they filmed the hoax more than once and both videos were posted, oops. Anyways, I haven’t enjoyed a hoax like this in a long time, good effort.

  30. mystery_man responds:

    I have to say, in all honesty- groan.

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