Elf Owls (micathrene whitneyi), the world’s smallest owls, are often spotted perched near lit windows at night; it is generally assumed that they prefer these spots becasue the light draws moths, which then become easy prey. Stories about Elf owls sneaking into open windows to peck wildly at computer keys, leaving finished dissertation chapers behind, have long been considered urban legend. Graduate students, however, often exibit a child-like belief in these stories, and the owls have become a sort of santa-claus figure for those with writer’s block. A number of graduate students from UC Irvine have reportedly banded together in a cult worshipping the “Dissertation Elves,” as they have taken to calling the owls. The University declined to respond, stating only that they are aware that the pressures of dissertation work can be overwhelming,* but that they do not discriminate against any religious practice, as dictated by the Nondiscrimination Policy Statement for University of California Publications Regarding Student-Related Matters.