Inuit Spirit of Death: The Keelut

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Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

What is the Keelut?

Aggressive Keelut, Inuit Spirit of Death
Photography by Nick Bolton

This creature is an Inuit legend, one who hunts people during the winter, but it’s not actually a predator in the strictest sense–it’s a spirit of the Netherworld. The Keelut (key-loot), also known as the Qiqirn (key-kern) is sometimes referenced as a spirit of death or an evil earth spirit. While it is actually a spirit, it takes the form of what some believe to be a true cryptid. To be honest, it’s hard to say which is a more frightening aspect of this creature, that it’s an immense, malevolent, black, hairless dog with the sole purpose of preying upon humans, or that it’s also a spirit so it doesn’t necessarily abide by the laws of physics. The Keelut’s mythological cousin is the Church Grim or Barguest of Great Britain, who stalks those traveling in the night which results in an untimely death.

The major difference between the Church Grim and the Keelut is the fact that the Keelut doesn’t have any hair, except for on its feet. They say that this makes their tracks in the snow disappear easily, which gives the advantage of stalking prey without being noticed. Aside from their predatory nature, these creatures have other similarities that transcend the separation of culture—both are known to act as a harbinger of death, and otherwise feast upon the dead. In Inuit folklore, the Keelut is known to attack lone travelers, the sight of one would cause disorientation, then eventually hypothermia and death.

Hold the Dark (2018): Bringing Alaskan Horror Legends to Life in a New Way

Hold the Dark Horror book featuring Keelut

This Alaskan creature of terror was made to take the sidelines in William Giraldi’s book Hold the Dark: A Novel (2014) and now a Netflix original film Hold the Dark (2018) when the residents of Keelut, a remote (fictional) Alaskan village, have been the unfortunate targets for a dangerous pack of wolves. These wolves have successfully taken three children before the main story takes place.  It’s certainly a spin to the original tale of the Keelut, but it pays special homage to the Inuit folklore wherein it was born.

While it certainly didn’t get rave reviews from this critic, I have a personal bias when it comes to films that include Alaska and the surrounding culture, even if it’s not terribly accurate.

Investigating the Origins of the Necronomicon

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Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore

You’ve come across an ancient book, not just some dust-covered antique that you found at your local bookstore; no, this was gifted to you with the confidence that you would heed the warning on the attached note and stash the book in a lock-box far away from prying eyes that may fall upon the archaic and mysterious pages of this increasingly enticing tome. Its pages call out to you, begging you to gaze upon them and to unleash the horrors that reside within. What would you do? Well, if you’ve seen any horror movie ever, you’d know that the ancient and creepy compendium of nightmares you’re holding is, in fact, what you can single-handedly bring about the apocalypse with–however, just like every horror movie you’ve ever seen, you’re probably going to open that damn book.

Stop it, Pandora. Don’t you dare open that goddamn book.

Necronomicon Prop
Photography by Staffan Vilcans

You opened the book, didn’t you? This is why we can’t have nice things.

Don’t worry, you’re not the first one. That’s part of what makes movies like Evil Dead (1981) so much fun, the horny group of teenagers fall victim to curiosity and another one–or three, or four–bite the collective dust. The curiosity may be unbearable but when it comes to the Necronomicon, a mythical book of demonic power, you should probably leave well enough alone.

What exactly is the Necronomicon?

Depending on where you know the Necronomicon from there may be different lore attached, but legend tells us that the original Necronomicon was written by the mad Arabian poet Abdul Alhazred. After spending a decade roaming the ruined cities of Babylon and Memphis he completed his tome before he descended further into madness and by A.D. 738 was devoured by an invisible monster according to Lovecraft. The actual name Necronomicon is, according to Lovecraft translated to, “the book of the customs (or laws) of the dead,” but other translations include, “the book of dead names.”

It is said that his manuscript was translated into Greek by scholars in the 10th century then burned in the middle ages, which only a few copies were said to survive; which of course allows us all to enjoy the delightfully awful antics that follow the contents being read aloud. Despite being a product of H.P. Lovecraft’s strange and mystifying imagination, it was inspired by real historic texts such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead. It has been said in certain sources that Lovecraft confessed the original idea for the Necronomicon came to him in a dream and he first showcased his idea in the short story The Hound (1924).

What’s Actually in the Book?

In the first appearance of the Necronomicon, it is referred to in passing as two grave robbers steal a jade amulet, which was, “the thing hinted of in the forbidden Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred.” While Lovecraft may not have been happy with The Hound, it along with The Nameless City (1921) began the universe that would become the center of the Cthulhu mythos.

What else is really in the book though? From what Lovecraft divulges within his stories, Alhazred spoke mostly of the Old Ones and it makes sense that a book like the Necronomicon could only exist in a universe where ancient, god-like beings would bring their wrath by those who sought to wake them. In fact, the book was even said to contain the very passages that would wake the Old Ones and inspire madness just from viewing its pages. In Dunwich Horror, Lovecraft gives us a quite lengthy excerpt from the Necronomicon, speaking specifically about Yog-Sothoth. A much more popular creature, Cthulhu, is also mentioned as a monster who lies at the bottom of the ocean.

In fact, many fans tend to think about the Necronomicon as a sort of bible for Lovecraft’s pantheon of the immensely powerful extraterrestrial beings. The book appears within eighteen of his own stories, more often than any other real or fictional ancient tome that he was known to reference. Later on, with the adaptations of other authors, the book gained more of a reputation as a book of spells and rituals, but Lovecraft’s original intention for the book lay mostly in mythology and origin stories for the creatures that were the foundation of his universe.

Within the context of horror Lovecraft’s portrayal of the history of our world, in the times before man, as a universe controlled by beings so terrifying that just reading about them had to potential to drive a person completely insane. This was the birth of cosmic horror, as many of the stories Lovecraft developed ended with at least one of the characters descending into the depths of madness after flipping through the Necronomicon because these creatures were so beyond human comprehension that even thinking about them could be mentally devastating. It would be interesting to see how Lovecraft might feel to know that eighty-two years later there would actually be people convinced that his Necronomicon was an authentic and evil book of spells.

Is the Necronomicon Real?

The short answer is no, the Necronomicon is a purely fictional book that was brought to life through the creative genius of H.P. Lovecraft. To be fair though, Lovecraft did a pretty great job creating a comprehensive universe with its own history, deities, and forbidden lore, which added the element of cosmic horror to his tales. While in reality, the Necronomicon doesn’t exist, there are more than half a dozen books with the same title that you can find at bookstores–these books are all works inspired by, or containing Lovecraft’s book.

The practice of developing such a rich background in fictional literature would inspire other writers to do the same; renowned author J.R.R. Tolkien would follow suit when he brought Middle Earth to life. Lovecraft’s immersive method caught fire with other writers, such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith, who regularly had exchanges with him and even expanded upon the universe by using the Necronomicon and all of the related Chtulhu mythos in their own work. Lovecraft also included his peer’s creations in his own tales as well, as an example, Smith came up with the idea of The Book of Eibon, which was mentioned within his own body of work. Lovecraft even included Robert Bloch’s De Vermis Mysteriis, a book which was said to have the power to summon demons from alternate dimensions, in his stories The Haunter of the Dark and The Shadow Out of Time.

As an avid letter-writer, Lovecraft quite frequently mentioned the Necronomicon in his correspondences to his colleagues where he suggested that his inspiration was also derived from Gothic writing; Gothic writing often made use of the idea of ancient texts and forbidden literature. There was a tendency among authors of the time to do their best to blur the lines between fiction and reality. An author that Lovecraft quite openly admired, Edgard Allan Poe, would go to extremes in an attempt to convince his audience that his stories were true–he even published his 1844 story The Balloon-Hoax as a legitimate article in the New York’s The Sun. As can be seen, by radio performances likeWar of the Worlds by H.G. Wells in 1938, as well as found-footage movies like The Blair Witch Project (1999), the V/H/S series, and the [REC], it is something that modern horror culture still strives to do.

Is Michael Myers Real?

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Featured Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is Michael Myers Based On a True Story?

Halloween in Haddonfield is one of the scariest horror movie settings of all time.  With a lot of parties and ‘trick or treaters,’ there are people wearing masks everywhere, making evil harder to detect.  Speaking of evil, everyone knows the iconic, mute, white-masked terror that is Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise. But where did Halloween creators come up with the story, plot and Michael Meyers himself? What inspired one of the most popular (and deadly) horror movie slashers of all time, Michael Myers?  Is Halloween Michael Meyers Real or based on a true story?

The Real Story Behind Michael Myers and Halloween

Like any successful horror movie franchise, Halloween has grown throughout time.  A horror franchise grows with its sequels according to the demand of the audience and appropriate plot advances. But a lot of what Michael Myers is today, is owed to his original creators…the writers and staff responsible for putting together the original Halloween film. Here are some of the most influential contributions to making Halloween and Michael a scary slasher genre leader that it is today!

Dark History of Evil

Halloween story real
Michael Myers

The idea of Michael Myers can be traced back to Samhain, and true evil itself.  Debra Hill, who co-wrote Halloween (1978) got into detail in one interview mentioning Samhain itself and that evil was unable to be killed or destroyed. In a traditional Samhain belief, the souls from the other side can come back for one night. This spawned the concept of Michael Myers, a Halloween (Samhain by another name) killer who would keep coming back. Originally, Michael Meyers was referred to as “The Shape” by direct John Carpenter. This was allegedly due to Michael always lurking in the shadows in the scenes. The term “the shape” also has some interesting roots in witchcraft meaning that the devil or evil can take the shape of others or walk in the shadows near them. Coincidence maybe, but interesting none the less.

College Studies to Horror Slasher

John Carpenter attributes some of his inspiration for writing Michael’s evil nature from a trip to a mental institution he took with one of his college classes.  Supposedly (according to Carpenter), the patients housed at this Kentucky mental institution were the most seriously ill of all mental patients.  Many of the patients exhibited creepy characteristics. One patient in particular, a young boy, provided Carpenter with a truly evil and deadly stare.  This experience ultimately led to the creation of the hacking and slashing villain and Halloween horror star, Michael Myers.

In the documentary “Halloween – A Cut Above the Rest” Carpenter describes the boy in detail.

“This blank, pale emotionless face. Blackest eyes. The devil’s eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up, because I realized what was living behind that boys’ eyes was purely and simply evil.”

John Carpenter in “Halloween – A Cut Above the Rest”

Stanley Stiers

Another potential influence is Stanley Stiers. Stiers is a tragic story of babies switched at birth by a cruel nurse. When the parents found our Stanley was not their real son they abused and neglected him. The final straw was Halloween night when he was denied trick or treating while his sister was able to go. The young boy murdered his family and his sister with a knife. Some horror fan sites believe this is the true backstory of Halloween and Michael Meyers, but we have yet to hear that confirmation from Carpenter himself.

Creating Haddonfield

The two writers, Hill and Carpenter, had to come up with a fictional town that Michael could return to haunt. Haddonfield is a real place, only it is located in New Jersey. Hill grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and picked the name in honor of her hometown.  The street names throughout the movie were pulled from Carpenter’s hometown, Bowling Green. In fact, much of the script details were pulled together by combining the two writers’ childhood and hometown experiences together.

Character Creation

The writers decided it would be easiest to each be responsible for drafting the characters of their respective genders.  Thus, Debra Hill would write most of the female character dialogue and behavior; and Carpenter focused on Dr Loomis and Michael Myers. 

Additionally, some of the character names came from the Carpenter’s personal live. Laurie Strode was an ex-girlfriend of Carpenter’s. Michael Myers was the name of a producer Carpenter had previously known from another film.

A Terrifying Musical Score

John Carpenters Halloween Slasher Horror movie vinyl record cover with a pumpkin and a knife

A lot of the horror that takes place in a Halloween film, especially the original film, take place during super eerie sound tracks.  The suspense that builds during a Halloween film can almost directly relate to the background soundtrack, as the scarier the scenes: the scarier the music.  Carpenter played a huge part in the musical composition of the Halloween soundtrack and has suggested the soundtrack is one of the movies greatest assets.

Other Inspirations

Homage to Alfred Hitchcock is paid by way of two character names. Firstly, Tommy Doyle’s character was named after a policeman from Hitchcock’s 1954 “Rear Window.” And secondly, Dr. Loomis was a nod to character Sam Loomis (played by John Gavin) from Hitchcocks’ 1960 “Psycho.”

Final Words About Halloween’s Favorite Slasher

Michael Meyers Halloween Character portrait in black and white with white mask

In short, Halloween is not based upon a true story although Michael Meyers is based on real people from the writers lives. However, it does not require it be based on a real story to be truly terrifying. And there WAS real inspiration for the making of Michael Myers. And there were several other real-life inspirations in the making of the Halloween franchise. Regardless of how the original concept was derived, John Carpenter capitalized on a timeless fear, as the audience still turns up strong for a good Halloween sequel!

Are you a TRUE Halloween franchise enthusiast? Check out Surprising Facts About the Halloween Movies for some real Halloween Movie Trivia!

Is Rose Red Based On a True Story?

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Haunted Places Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Is the Movie Rose Red a Real Story?

How Real is the Rose Red Movie?

The very interesting road to filming the haunted house horror movie Rose Red is a special one.  The idea started out as a way to combine Stephen King and Steven Spielberg to make “the scariest haunted house movie ever made,” however, the two simply could not see eye-to-eye, and parted ways with King purchasing the full rights to the movie from Spielberg. It is a good thing he did (no offense to Spielberg), as King is better suited for the cerebral type of horror…which is exactly what Rose Red turned out to be: a psychological horror masterpiece.  So how real is Rose Red? Is it truly based upon a real story, as its $200,000 promotional marketing campaign implied? And if so, where is the “real Rose Red”? Let’s break it down a little, as the mansion is pretty big after all!

Is Rose Red based upon a real story?

The short answer is: YES, Rose Red is based upon a true story, however, there are plenty of embellishments and Stephen King combined multiple inspirations to achieve the end product that is the Rose Red movie we all know and love.

Where is the Real Rose Red?

Rose Red was filmed in a house known as the Thornewood Castle in Tacoma, Washington. However, the film was inspired by the story of the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California.

The Winchester Mystery House [aka Winchester Mansion]

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While there are many horror movies about haunted houses, and many movies about ghosts, Rose Red still strikes a uniquely creepy vibe. This is probably because Stephen King’s primary inspiration for the film came from the Winchester Mystery House story.  King first heard the story in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not  comic book as a kid. The story goes a little something like this…

Sarah Winchester was the wife of William Wirt Winchester, one of the most important originals of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The Winchester company was responsible for developing the weapon that revolutionized weaponry. The Winchester rifles would kill so many people, that lore would ultimately spawn the tale behind the mansion itself. Sarah Wichester was a huge believer of the paranormal and life beyond living, thus naturally succumbing to a number of psychics and paranormal investigators in her area.  The most notable of all spiritualists who would be hired by Sarah was Adam Coons…who supposedly explained to her that her family was cursed by the spirits of those killed by the family’s prominent invention.  Furthermore, Coons suggested she should move west and construct a home for the spirits and herself to reside.

Located in San Jose California, the Winchester Mystery House started out a smaller mansion in 1884, being built up with the massive inheritance Sarah Winchester was left after her husbands death.  In fact, it was only an eight room farm house at the time she purchased it. After she purchased the property, construction began nearly immediately, first starting with renovations and then the additions of rooms.  It has been said that construction continued in the property from the time she purchased it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year…for more than 38 years! By the time of her death, the Winchester House had grown to a massive 160 rooms making up 24,000 square feet. Much of her staff required a map in order to navigate the home, despite working there every single day.  The sheer size of the mansion created a natural uneasiness which fostered the development of the best ghost stories!

Fun Fact: There are 47 fireplaces, 40 stairways, 6 kitchens and 3 elevators in the Winchester Mystery House.  It is obvious as to why the Winchester Mansion was the perfect inspiration for Rose Red!

Is the Winchester Mansion Really Haunted Like Rose Red?

In real life, the Winchester Mansion does not expand indefinitely like the haunted mansion portrayed in Rose Red.  The idea of an ever expanding house that was bigger on the inside than the outside did come from the Winchester Mansion story.  And the house itself was believed to be haunted by Sarah Winchester, and many others (even still to this day). Additionally, the sound of hammers and construction being heard from within Rose Red does come from tales reported from within the Winchester Mansion…as many guests have reported such audible anomalies.  The house currently serves as a historic tourist attraction at 525 South Winchester Blvd (and yes, it’s still located in San Jose, California!).  Unfortunately there have been some exploits of the Winchester house, such as modifications to the home to include the number “13” more prominently to back up a suspected-false rumor that Sarah was obsessed with the number 13. There are scattered reports of several construction workers and laborers (carpenters, electricians, engineers, etc), who claim to have been paid to modify the property after her death (chandeliers, bathrooms, windows, etc) to increase the frequency of the number 13 throughout the house.

Stephen King and his crew did explore the Winchester Mystery House prior to selecting a filming location with the intention of possibly using the Winchester Mansion itself.  Ultimately, however, the rooms proved to be too small for filming high quality footage, and Thornewood Castle was selected.

Additional Inspirations

Winchester Mystery House Painting

The rest of the inspirations for Rose Red either came from Stephen King’s impressively twisted mind, or from the 1959 book “The Haunting.”  The Haunting would be turned into a movie in itself in 1963 and showcased a professor with an interest in the supernatural recruiting a group of psychics specifically to investigate a haunted house for proof of paranormal activity.  Stephen King wanted a hands-on type of professor, and portrayed Joyce Reardon as a more aggressive character, rather than simply an inquisitive one.  Stephen King also turns to a variety of other horror tactics to put the character of the house, Rose Red itself, into physical terms.  King gives Rose Red the ability to grow more powerful and manifest real, “in the flesh” types of anomalies…even summoning back its victims as zombies to haunt the rest of the living!

It turns out, additionally, that Thornewood Castle (the place Rose Red was filmed within, not based upon), also has its own sets of scares and ghost tales! While none of the crew or cast have reported any strange occurrences while filming, many guests and tourists most certainly have. Many staff members have reported seeing apparitions and other spiritual inhabitants…and guests report seeing the figure of a woman in a mirror throughout the castle. Thornewood Castle is an English Tudor in a gothic style built for Chester Thorne in 1911.  Although no where near the size of the Winchester Mansion, it possesses a respectable 54 rooms, including 22 bedrooms and 22 bathrooms.  And the castle itself was a most obvious choice for the film Rose Red, given the intense level of detail paid within the architecture.  Even the famous red brick facing seen in the movie was imported straight from Wales! 

Final Words About Rose Red

Rose Red is one of the most creative horror movies of all time, despite being about a cliché haunted house.  There are psychological thrills to be found in nearly every scene, riddled among just the right amount of paranormal action and phenomena. Probably one of the most critical parts of the suspense buildup is the heavy peppering of the house’s creepy history.  Unfortunately, most of the history of the actual house itself was made up, though we have to give Stephen King props where deserved…as its one hell of a story!

Huge Rose Red Fan? Check out some Rose Red Trivia, Behind the Scenes and Fun Facts!

Is the Adlet the Werewolf of the Far North?

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Horror Mystery and Lore

What is the Adlet?

The Stalker - Adlet, the Werewolf of the North
Artwork by Mary Farnstrom

Not a true werewolf—but they are the closest thing you’ll see to one in Inuit folklore. The Adlet (ah-dlit), also known as the Erqigdlet (urk-kig-dlit) in Greenland, is considered the arctic counterpart of the well-known werewolf and for good reason. Although they are not shapeshifters and the moon has no effect on them, their physical appearance is enough to make anyone believe they’re one and the same. In their own lore, they are considered a ferocious man-eating beast, originating from an unnatural mating between an Inuit woman and a dog. This woman ended up birthing a litter of ten—five of which were dogs, and five that were half-human, half-canine monstrosities which began their history of terrorizing the frozen north.

Many accounts of this murderous race of humanoids, have described them as having a more human upper-half and a fully canine lower-half, but there are more who say that they resemble the more infamous werewolf of European lore. What all of these descriptions have in common though is the details of their monstrosity. The Adlet, in particular, possesses a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth, a rusty-red coat, a pronounced canine snout, pointed ears, piercing eyes, and a long, wolf-like tail. Other than the known ability of a werewolf to transition back into a human form after a full moon, they both seem rather similar, don’t they?

Adlet stalking victims in the dark
Photography by Neil Rosenstech

Origin of the Adlet


It would be negligent to speak at length about the Adlet, without giving an explanation of where this creature originated from within the Inuit culture, luckily there are recorded tales from the late nineteenth century that help to fill the gap of our knowledge on this particular cryptid.




Uinigumissuitoq married a dog. One night she was found outside the hut sleeping with the dog. She gave birth to ten children, one half of them dogs, the other Adlet. The children grew up. Every time their grandfather had got a seal, he loaded it upon his kayak and carried it to them. His grandchildren were very voracious. Therefore, he selected an island for their place of abode and carried them over there, his daughter, the dog, and the children.

The Adlet; looking into the eye of the beast
Photography by Virginia Johnson

Their father, the dog, swam every day to the old man’s hut to fetch meat in a pair of boots which he had hung around his neck. One day the grandfather filled them with stones instead of meat and thus drowned the dog. When he was drowned their grandfather continued to send them food.

The mother, however, said to her children, “Watch your grandfather, when he goes out in his kayak, and attack him!” They killed him. Then she searched for her children, and after having cut a sole for herself, she transformed it quickly into a boat, in which she ordered them to travel across the ocean. She sang, “Angnaijaja. When you have arrived on the other side, you will make many little things. Angnaija.”

Excerpt from Journal of American Folklore v. 1-2 (1888-1889): Eskimo Tales and Songs