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



Is there anything we missed about the Adlet? Let us know in the comments section below!

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)



Is there anything we missed about the Keelut? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tornit

Date of Discovery

While the actual date of discovery is unknown, due to the historically oral tradition that it originated from. It is said that these creatures have existed in story-form since before the Bering Land Bridge, which dates back at least 20,000 years.

Name

The Tornit is likened to the Bigfoot or Sasquatch of the contiguous United States, as well as parts of Canada. It is the Alaskan counterpart, known well in the Inuit culture, that goes by the names of Tornit, Alaska Bushman, or simply Bushman.

Physical Description

More suited for an arctic climate, it resembles the Bigfoot quite a bit in its visage, like giants who are ape-like in demeanor with longer arms and a body covered in a thick dark brown hair, or fur. It stands an intimidating seven feet tall and possessed a strength that was infamous amongst the Inuit people.

Origin

The Tornit stems from the Inuit culture, an indigenous culture of the arctic circle, but since there is no written history of this culture before the late 1800s, only the cultural anthropological studies done on the Inuit tribes during that time can be relied upon for information on their origin. We see that most of the accounts of these stories coming from Newfoundland and Labrador, which reference the modern-day Baffin Bay in Greenland.

Mythology and Lore

They were feared as brutish thieves and killers, although there is some folklore where they were painted as being shy, making themselves scarce, and doing their utmost to avoid encounters with the Inuit people. In the most popular versions of the oral tales, storytellers would talk of these hairy giants that would stalk their villages until nighttime, to steal their food and kayaks—the most important things that these communities possessed. They also spoke of how these creatures would murder villagers who may have gotten in their way.

There are stories that depict the Tornit species as being these murderous villains that they were known widely to be, but there were also stories that spoke the opposite of their character. Alternate versions of the tale suggest that the Tornit would get away with their thievery, but would be tracked back to their own villages where all of the Tornit present, male, female, and any children would be slaughtered by the individual native who had the most stolen from him.

Never to be confused with being an overly intelligent species of humanoid, the overall idea of them can be considered oafish in nature, but not necessarily murderous so much as protective, defensive, or vengeful creatures—possessing only the baser instincts of survival. In certain regions where the Inuit tribes thrived, there were still less popular stories where Tornit and native women intermarried and lived peacefully with those who came and went within their territory.

Modern Pop-Culture References

While not necessarily modern in nature, these books convey the stories of the Inuit people that these creatures originated from.