Adlet Northern Monster

The Adlet
Artwork by Mary Farnstrom

Date of Discovery

Discovered by Europeans during the late nineteenth century, 1888 to be exact when ethnological studies were being performed across the far northern reaches of North America and Greenland.

Name

Known as the Adlet (ah-dlit), also known as the Erqigdlet (urk-kig-dlit) in Greenland.

Comparable to the well-known werewolf of popular culture.

Physical Description

Even though the Adlet is considered a close cousin to the werewolf, there are certain differences that are apparent through the stories that were passed down through generations of oral storytelling. The Adlet is a half-man, half-wolf hybrid that has razor-sharp teeth, a pronounced canine snout, pointy ears, piercing yellow or red eyes, a wolf-like tail, and rusty red fur.

Origin

The Adlet comes from the oral culture of the indigenous people of the arctic circle, Greenland, and Canada–the Inuit people in particular, but it is shared amongst many of the different indigenous people of the area. The Adlet is not a shapeshifter, nor does the moon have any effect on it. As the lore goes, the Adlet is the product of the unnatural mating between an Inuit woman and a dog/wolf. The woman birthed a litter of ten, five were full dogs and the other five were the half-human, half-canine monsters that became known as Adlets.

Mythology and Lore

The following is the story of the Adlet, which came from an oral tradition–recorded by ethnologists that were researching the traditions of the arctic circle.

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.

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



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Bigfoot

Date of Discovery

If we listen to the theory of Bigfoot being part of the genus of gigantopithecus, or giant ape, then they are believed to have been in existence when homo erectus first came into being. This means that they have existed for roughly two million years. However, there have been modern reports that date back as far back as 1818, when the Exeter Watchman reported having seen an “animal resembling the Wild Man of the Woods,” near Ellisburgh, New York.

Name

Bigfoot is possibly the most common name given to the gigantopithecus of North America–a genus of giant ape, that is said to have gone extinct around one hundred thousand years ago. Bigfoot also goes by the identifying name of Sasquatch, Skunk Ape, Skookum, Fouke Monster, Momo, Mogollon Monster, Yowie, Ban-Manush, Tornit, Honey Island Swamp Monster, Wild Man, Wauk-wauk, Saskehavis, and Grassman in the United States as well as other parts of the world. The name of this widely distributed creature varies based on the cultural influence of the region it was discovered to inhabit.

Physical Description

Bigfoot’s general appearance is more primitive than that of Neanderthal Man, standing between six to nine feet, and weighing between four hundred and one thousand pounds. They have a ruddy dark complexion, generally are known to have black eyes, with dark fur covering all of its bodies except its hands, the soles of its feet, as well as its upper facial region.

Origin

The villagers of the Caucasus Mountains have legends of this apeman going back for centuries, as do the Tibetans living on the slopes of Mount Everest. These are the first human accounts of Bigfoot being a creature that had been undocumented, but if sticking with the theory that Bigfoot is in fact a gigantopithecus then they have been around since man’s ancient ancestors first stood upright. From the Native American myths and legends, we have gotten a rich body of tales about hairy, manlike beasts that roam the forests; depending on the tribe, they have often been considered cousins of creatures such as the Wendigo, Tornit, Strendu, Chenoo, Oh-Mah, Skookum, the full list is exhaustive. Bigfoot may well be the most widely known and farthest-reaching cryptid across the world.

Mythology and Lore

Possibly the earliest and most notable report of Bigfoot was made by Theodore Roosevelt in his 1893 memoir, The Wilderness Hunter–his account came secondhand by a hunter and trapper by the name of Bauman. Bauman was trapping with a friend in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho and Montana when they noticed that there was something raiding their camp every time they went to check their traps. One evening after the two men fell asleep, Bauman awoke to a large, dark shape standing outside of his lean-to, without hesitation Bauman fired his gun at the shape. Over the next few days, the men often felt as if they were being watched from afar, that they were being followed as they went about their business, with something hiding behind the thick brush and trees. Eventually, the two men became so unnerved that they made the decision to leave the mountains entirely. In order to leave as quickly as possible, Bauman went to collect their traps while his friend packed up their camp. Upon returning to their camp, Bauman found that his friend’s body had been horribly mutilated and he fled as quickly as possible.

These creatures are apparently recorded to have had aggressive behavior well into the early twentieth century. Fred Beck reported that he and three other miners had been attacked by “mountain devils” whilst working their claim near Mount Saint Helens. They had continuously heard whoops, hollers, and screams from these unseen creatures for several days until one day Beck saw the unidentifiable creature staring at him from across a small canyon and immediately began firing his weapon.

The creature I judged to have been about seven feet tall with blackish-brownish hair. It disappeared from our view for a short time, but then we saw it, running fast and upright, about two hundred yards down the little canyon. I shot three times before it disappeared from view.

Fred Beck

As a result of Beck’s aggression towards the creatures, the miners reported that their cabin was attacked and at least three large, hairy creatures circled the cabin, pounded on the walls, tossed rocks, and jumped on the roof. Beck even recalled that at one point a hairy arm reached through a notch in the wall and attempted to grab one of the men’s axes–throughout the entire assault on their cabin the men alternated between being frozen in fear and firing their guns at the walls and roof.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Surprisingly, Bigfoot is a fairly popular topic when it comes to media references. When it comes to fiction and supposedly non-fiction material, there is a wealth of information both for entertainment and research purposes.

Patterson – Gimlin Bigfoot Footage

Books & Literature

Movies

Television Series



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Keelut

Date of Discovery

It’s likely that the first written documentation of the Keelut was in the 1800s when anthropologists and ethnologists first traveled to the arctic regions to record folklore from the oral traditions of the Native Americans that had inhabited the northern region since well before the Bering Strait crossing melted.

Name

The Keelut is also known as the Qiqirn, Qiqion, and Ke’lets, which translates roughly to “Spirit of Death,” or “Evil Earth Spirit.”

Physical Description

Physically, the Keelut is described as being a black dog who looks malnourished—it is hairless in nature, except for its paws, which have a fluffy patch of fur to prevent tracks from being left behind.

Other than its hairless nature, the Keelut is said to be related to the Church Grim, or Barguest of Great Britain.

Origin

The Keelut is a mythological creature from the Inuit culture and arose as a way to keep people from unwittingly traveling into the darkness of an Alaskan or Canadian winter. To travel alone during the winter in the dark would almost certainly mean death in a cold and unforgiving climate.

Mythology and Lore

Within the Inuit culture, the Keelut is a spirit of the underworld known to be an evil creature that stalks its victims while they are alone in the dark of winter. As a predator, it only ever appears during the winter, because of the lack of darkness during the warmer months of the year. Due to the hair that is only present on its paws, the Keelut leaves no tracks which allow it to stealthily stalk its prey without giving any warning. Stories say that this evil spirit is not just a harbinger of death, but that it feasts upon the dead. In folktales, if a traveler were to see a keelut, it would disorient the traveler, eventually causing the person to succumb to hypothermia, which would result in their death.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

  • Hold the Dark (2014)

Movies

  • Hold the Dark (2018)



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Ogopogo

Historical Image of the Basilosaurus
Historical Image of the Basilosaurus

Date of Discovery

In 1872, the first detailed account of Ogopogo from a white settler came from Susan Allison. As the first non-native person to live in the region closest to Lake Okanagan, she confirmed her sighting with the native people of the area, who told her about N’ha-a-itk–the original name of Ogopogo. It’s clear from her experience that the indigenous people of the area were clearly aware of this lake monster well before it became a part of the written lore of the region.

Name

The Ogopogo, or Oggy is often referenced to by its original name which is N’ha-a-itk, and Naitaka which it received from the indigenous population. N’ha-a-itk in Séliš (the anglicized version, Salish) which translates to the “spirit of the lake; snake of the water; or water demon.”

Physical Description

Lake Okanagan in 1897
Lake Okanagan in 1897

Ogopogo is most commonly described as being a serpent that is between forty and fifty feet long, and Karl Shuker, a British cryptozoologist that has categorized it as a many-humped variety of lake monster. It has often been suggested that the Ogopogo is actually the same kind of primitive serpentine whale as a Basilosaurus. Physical evidence for this lake monster has been limited to unclear photographs, which cause these sightings to be doubted, giving way to explanations that they’re really misidentified otters swimming in formation, or floating logs.

Origin

Originating from the indigenous people in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada–the Ogopogo lives in Okanagan Lake. It is sighted most frequently around Rattlesnake Island, where it is said he lives in a naturally occurring cave underneath the island. Lake Okanagan is the largest of five inter-connected freshwater fjord lakes in the Okanagan Valley, and it is named after the indigenous tribe that first inhabited the area. The lake was created by melting glaciers when they flooded the valley over ten thousand years ago, and it stretches approximately seventy-nine miles. With a maximum depth of 762 feet and an average depth of 249 feet, the Okanagan Lake has frozen over during only eight winters in the last 110 years.

Indigenous Petroglyph of the Ogopogo
Naitaka Petroglyph

Mythology and Lore

Ogopogo is more closely intertwined with the area’s native folklore than any other lake monster known to exist. The Secwepemc and Syilx tribes called the lake monster Naitaka and N’ha-a-itk, and they regarded the creature as an evil supernatural entity with enormous power and malicious intentions. Within the folklore of these tribes, it was said that Naitaka demanded a live sacrifice in order to allow safe passage across the lake, so for hundreds of years, the people of these tribes would sacrifice small animals before entering the water.

In some of the oral traditions that are passed down, there is a visiting chief by the name of Timbasket, who rejected the idea of sacrificing an animal for safe passage–he rejected the very idea that Naitaka even existed. In response to this insult, Naitaka, “whipped up the surface of the lake with his long tail,” which caused the canoe to capsize and its occupants to be sucked down to the bottom of the lake. There are many stories in which Naitaka has been described to have used its tail to create a fierce storm in the water and drown its victims.

Within local folklore, Sir John Lambton was claimed to have killed a “wyrm,” from the lake, which resulted in all of his descendants to be cursed by a witch that would not allow any Lambton to die in bed. In 1855, John MacDougal, a settler claimed that his horses were pulled down into the water and his canoe would have followed if he hadn’t cut the line just in time.

Modern Day Sightings

In 1968, Art Folden noticed something moving in the lake while driving on Highway 97–he pulled off of the road and filmed footage that he claimed was the lake monster in a large wake that was moving across the water. He estimated that Ogopogo was around 300 yards off the shore of the lake and computer analysis of the footage concluded that it was a solid, three-dimensional object. Folden said he noticed something large and lifelike in the distance of the calm water which caused him to pull his home movie camera to capture the object.

Just off the beach at Kelowna, in 1980 a tourist by the name of Larry Thal from Vancouver shot some 8mm film that lasted for approximately ten seconds, while he and around 50 other tourists watched what they claimed was a forty-five minute long Ogopogo sighting. Many skeptics believe that it was a misidentified sighting of swimming otters. In 1989 John Kirk believed he saw an animal that measured between 35 and 40 feet in length, black in color, had a lashing tail, and five sleek humps. In Kirk’s opinion, the creature looked to be moving at approximately twenty-five miles per hour.

July 24, 1992 a video appeared of something that was swimming just beneath the surface of the water–the person who filmed it, DeMara, also made two subsequent videotapes that skeptics have debunked to having just been formations of otters. Much of what followed for documented sightings in 2005 were supposedly debunked was also explained away as fallen trees or yet even more often otters. John Kirk, along with Benjamin Radford, and Joe Nickell conducted an investigation in 2005 for National Geographic Channel’s Is It Real? In this investigation, they used boats to calculate the actual distances that this creature was being sighted from, but found that it was much closer than originally believed. This result gave them the conclusion that

Since technology has improved, more videos have surfaced from cell phone video captures, but this also leaves room for more mistaken sightings being more widespread, due to the availability of the technology.

Speculations About the Sightings

Author and renowned skeptic, Benjamin Radford, believes that most sightings can be explained away as misidentifications of waterfowl, otters, or beavers. He stated that the indigenous people of the land were never talking about a real monster when referencing Ogopogo, but more of a water spirit that were only myths and legends to teach people to be wary of the open water.

Modern Pop-Culture References

In Arlene Gaal’s book, Ogopogo: The True Story of the Okanagan Lake Million Dollar Monster, she tells of a Vancouver reporter by the name of Ronald Kenvyn who composed a song that included the following stanza.

His mother was an earwig,
His father was a whale;
A little bit of head
And hardly any tail—
And Ogopogo was his name.

Ronald Kenvyn
https://youtu.be/5qnzkcC_6o4

Books & Literature



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Wendigo

Date of Discovery

While the Wendigo existed in Algonquian oral traditions for many centuries before the Europeans arrived in North America, the first written account of the Wendigo was in a letter from Paul Le Jeune in 1636.

Name

Alternative spellings for the Wendigo are Wiindigoo, Windigo, Weendigo, Windego, Wiindgoo, Windgo, Weendigo, Wiindigoo, Windago, Windiga, Wendego, Windagoo, Widjigo, Wiijigoo, Wijigo, Weejigo, Wìdjigò, Wintigo, Wentigo, Wehndigo, Wentiko, Windgoe, Windgo, Wintsigo. Windigoag is a plural form (also spelled Windegoag, Wiindigooag, or Windikouk.)

In the Native Algonquian language, Wendigo translates to, “evil spirit,” or “cannibal spirit”.

Physical Description

The Wendigo
Artwork by Mary Farnstrom

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly which version of the Wendigo is more authentic–some portrayals of this beast simply call him a formerly human, but now a frozen monster. Artistic depictions of this version generally present an inhuman, gray-sallow skinned creature with a ghastly mouth full of sharp teeth, long jagged claws, as well as a set of large, dark, sunken eyes. Other characterizations of the Wendigo show him as a monstrous malformed buck, whose head is mostly just a skull with bits of fur and flesh rotting and falling off.

Origin

The Wendigo is most famously known as being from the Algonquian Native American tribe, but it’s also known to be in the legends of the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes as well.

Mythology and Lore

Windigo of the Ojibwe First Nation’s People, Retold by S. E. Schlosser

The storm lasted so long that they thought they would starve. Finally, when the wind and swirling snow had died away to just a memory, the father, who was a brave warrior, ventured outside. The next storm was already on the horizon, but if food was not found soon, the family would starve.

Keeping his knife and spear close, he ventured out upon the most-frequently-used game trail, watching intently for some sign, in the newly-fallen snow, of animal footprints or movement of any kind. The forest lay deep and oddly silent under its gleaming coating of ice and snow. Every creature of sense lay deep within its burrow and slept. Still, the warrior hunted, knowing how desperate his family had become.

As he moved through the eerie stillness, broken only by the soft caress of the wind, he heard a strange hissing noise. It came from everywhere and nowhere at once. The warrior stopped, his heart pounding. That was when he saw the blood-soaked footprints appearing on the path in front of him. He gripped his knife tightly, knowing that somewhere, watching him, was a Windigo.

He had learned about the Windigo at his father’s knee. It was a large creature, as tall as a tree, with a lipless mouth and jagged teeth. Its breath was a strange hiss, its footprints full of blood, and it ate any man, woman or child who ventured into its territory. And those were the lucky ones. Sometimes, the Windigo chose to possess a person instead, and then the luckless individual became a Windigo himself, hunting down those he had once loved and feasting upon their flesh.

The warrior knew he would have just one chance to prevail over the Windigo. After that, he would die. Or… the thought was too terrible to complete.

Slowly, he backed away from the bloody footprints, listening to the hissing sound. Was it stronger in one direction? He gripped spear in one hand, knife in the other. Then the snowbank to his left erupted as a creature as tall as a tree leaped out at him. He dove to one side, rolling into the snow so that his clothing was covered and he became hard to see in the gray twilight of the approaching storm

The Windigo whirled its massive frame and the warrior threw the spear. It struck the creature’s chest, but the Windigo just shook it off as if it were a toy. The warrior crouched behind a small tree as the creature searched the torn-up snow for a trace of him. Perhaps one more chance.

The Windigo loomed over his hiding place, its sharp eyes seeing the outline of him against the tree. It bent down, long arms reaching. The warrior leaped forward as if to embrace the creature and thrust his knife into its fathomless black eye. The Windigo howled in pain as the blade of the knife sliced into its brain cavity. It tried to pull him off of its chest, but the warrior clung to the creature, stabbing it again and again in the eyes, the head.

The Windigo collapsed to the ground, bleeding profusely, almost crushing the warrior beneath its bulk. He pulled himself loose and stared at the creature, which blended in with its white surroundings so well that he would not have seen it save for the blood pouring from its eyes and ears and scalp. Then the outline of the creature grew misty and it vanished, leaving only a pool of blood to indicate where it had fallen.

Shaken, the warrior, heart pounding with fear and fatigue, turned for home. He was weakened by lack of food but knew that the storm would break soon and he would die if he did not seek shelter.

At the edge of the wood, he found himself face to face with a red fox. It was a fat old creature, its muzzle lined with gray. The creature stood still as if it had been brought to him as a reward for killing the Windigo. With a prayer of thanksgiving, the warrior killed the fox and took it home to his starving family. The meat lasted for many days until the final storm had blown itself out and the warrior could safely hunt once more.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

Movies

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