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!

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

Arctic Sea Serpent: The Tizheruk

Folklore on the Tizheruk

Meet the Tizheruk, fighting with a polar bear
Artwork by HodariNundu

There are so many cultures that have tales of Sea-Monsters—particularly of the serpent variety, that it would almost be a shock to learn that the Inuit culture didn’t possess one. It is only natural to fear what we do not know—the list of phobias that have spawned from not knowing what is there is fairly long—the dark is a prevalent one for many people which is why it’s such a commonplace tool for creators of horror movies and scary stories, another is the depths of the sea. The common theme is that many fear not only what they do not know, but what they cannot see, a trait that makes the habitat of the Tizheruk (tiz-zer-ook), also known as the Pal-Rai-Yûk (pall-rye-yook) that much more frightening.

Not unlike the Loch Ness Monster, the Tizheruk is described as being a sea-serpent; its visage is quite interesting, with a head that is purportedly seven feet long, it is said to be estimated at only fifteen feet in total length. In some cases, the Tizheruk is said to have a fishtail, while still in others it is said to be more of a flipper, but those aren’t the only inconsistencies that make up the lore of the Tizheruk. As can be observed in the pictures that accompany this article, there are a wide variety of different accounts of what the Tizheruk actually looks like.

Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology

According to Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology by George M. Eberhart the Tizheruk has thick fur, a snake, or a crocodile-like head, short horns, and a long tongue. His version of the Tizheruk has three pairs of legs and three dorsal fins—his version also has the description of a flipper for a tail. He also references that the Tizheruk could be an evolutionary off-shoot of a long-necked seal that ventures from the shores of the arctic ocean to the fresh-water rivers that fork inland from Key Island in Alaska.

Without a doubt, the most terrifying form that the Tizheruk is said to have is that of a giant eel-like creature with transparent skin and flesh, which not only allows the observer to see still-digesting victims but also allows the creature to be less visible when stalking its prey. This version of the Tizheruk can also venture into water as shallow as one foot deep; that means it can compress its body small enough to fit in such a space, this makes it easier for it to ambush predators and snatch prey, it also results in any still-living victims in its belly being brutally crushed.

Tizheruk drawing
Tizheruk by Felipe Krull

There is surprisingly not a great deal of lore about the Tizheruk available to give the full extent of this creature’s history, but there have been quite a few sightings, which have led to the possibility of it being caught on camera. NBC News even did an article about Alaska’s Loch Ness Monster being captured on tape. While I couldn’t locate the footage that supposedly resurfaced in 2009, I did find a more recent clip from when I first arrived in Alaska in 2016 filmed by the Alaskan Bureau of Land Management.

Having watched the clip, it’s unclear what it really is, but as the video shows the Department of Fish and Game did their best to debunk this sighting. What are your thoughts on this water-bound cryptid?

Interested in other Alaskan cryptids? Take a look at these fascinating creatures of the arctic!

Categories
Featured Horror Books Horror Mystery and Lore Scary Movies and Series

Inuit Spirit of Death: The Keelut

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.

Categories
Horror Mystery and Lore

Is the Adlet the Werewolf of the Far North?

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


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!