While searching for the latest Tolkien news, I came across an article in The Village Voice about Otherkin — an online community of people who believe they are elves trapped in human bodies. While this not strictly Tolkien news, I suspect that some of you would be interested in learning more about this group.
Here is a brief excerpt:
Magpie Hrafnsdottir, a young woman from Chicago, has extra ribs, right where wings would be, and sometimes she can feel those phantom wings ache. Something else is missing; Magpie has always believed she has a secret twin. “I could feel her,” she says. “At age five, I angrily asked my mother where she was, demanded to see my twin sister.”
In college, she discovered the Internet and found a community of people who had the same dreams of past lives in a magical realm populated by elves, pixies, and other mythological creatures. Magpie and her friends don’t have all the answers, but they know one thing: They’re not human.
They’re Otherkin, and they’re trying to get back Home.
Once, they believe, humans and elves and trolls and dragons may have lived together in relative harmony. The elves don’t know if some disaster shattered their connection to their spiritual Home world, leaving their souls stranded here in normal bodies, or whether it was simply inbreeding that dissolved the elven genome into the greater human soup. But like so many other marginal subcultures, the Otherkin have found a place on the Internet, where they swap stories, make friends, and build communities.
As kids, many say, they felt out of place in this world, even insisting to their parents that they were adopted. By their late teens, most Otherkin were involved in paganism, fantasy fiction, the Internet, or past-life regression. Once they “awakened” to their true nature, the next step was to hit listservs, chat rooms, and Web sites, looking for the others. Magpie, for one, runs the Otherkin Resource Center (or ORC, named after the baddies in The Lord of the Rings) at www.otherwonders.com/otherkin.
Others found their way to the fold through New Age-style trancework, dreams, and even role-playing games. Think Tolkien, not Keebler; regal nature spirits, not hunchbacked shoemakers. Arhuaine, a 34-year-old British elf, claims to heal more quickly and age more slowly than humans. “I was still showing my ID in liquor stores at the age of 32,” she says, “and following major surgery, even my doctors were amazed at the speed of my recovery and the fact that I needed no painkillers.”
Some elves claim to be allergic to iron and other products of encroaching modernity, while one breed of Otherkin—dragons in human bodies—insist that having no allergies is a sign of Otherness. Those who have only average allergies needn’t worry: You may still be a gnome or something.
Please click on the link below to read the rest of the article.