Categories
Featured Horror Mystery and Lore

7 Terrors of the Far North

The frontier of the far north is typically regarded with mystery and a sense of trepidation. Even if you have lived through it all, there is always something about the place that can feel rather unsettling. The standardized phobia of the dark is exacerbated by the long, cold winters of Alaska—a place where nearly half the year is shrouded in the dark bitter cold. Those of us who live in a place that is constantly trying to kill us can attest to the harshness of the environment, at least during the winter, where temperatures often plummet to thirty degrees below freezing. To say that the cold and dark are our sole worries would be a farce, but that’s only because we have all heard the stories about what lurks in the darkness of the Last Frontier.

Don’t be mistaken—you don’t have to be a Sourdough to be wary of the beasts abound in the frozen tundra. Stay for a couple of days in a rural cabin during the darkest part of the year and you’ll soon be wondering if those are really are the eyes of the Adlet glimmering at you from the shadows, or if it’s just light shining off of the crystalized snow. Was that shadow under the the water the Tizheruk or something else? Turn your back and you’ll likely feel as if you’re being watched by a deadly monster waiting to attack.

The Monsters of Alaska Native Culture

Every culture has its own unique beasts that torment the locals—the farther you get out of the urban atmosphere, the closer you get to what keeps people from roaming unnecessarily into the shadows.

The Stalker - Adlet, the Werewolf of the North

1. The Adlet: The Werewolf of the Far North

The murderous Adlet is considered the arctic counterpart to the well-known werewolf. Believed to be the unholy descendants of an Inuit woman and a dog, they have an upper body of their human brethren, but their lower half is fully canine. They are considered to be a full-fledged race of humanoids, who after their initial creation were sent to a remote island away from humans, so as not to satiate themselves on local tribes—except that didn’t last.

Keelut Evil Earth Spirit

2. The Keelut: The Evil Earth Spirit

A mixture between a cryptid and the paranormal spirit—the Keelut (key-loot) is considered an earth spirit who primarily takes the shape of an immense black, hairless dog. It’s often compared to the Church Grim of Great Britain and stalks travelers at night, often attacking and killing them.

Qalupalik, the Inuit Siren or Mermaid

3. The Qalupalik: The Inuit Siren

If you live by the arctic ocean you will have undoubtedly heard about the Qalupalik (kah-loo-pah-lick), a creature that stems from Inuit culture and haunts the nights of children as they’re sleeping. She’s described as being humanoid, with green skin, long hair, and even longer fingernails. Like a siren, her home is the sea and she hums to lure children to come closer to the water, but what does she do with them?

Thunderbird Alaskan Lore

4. The Thunderbird: An Avian Nightmare

From Southern Alaska all the way to the Pacific Northwest, there are legends that speak of the mythical Thunderbird. As large as a small plane, stories have been told by Natives as well as bush pilots who can confirm the existence of such a monster. Considering the reputation that even the bald eagle has for snatching up small dogs, it’s not too much of a stretch to fear for your children with such a gigantic vicious bird of prey in the skies above.

Tizheruk Sear Monster of the Arctic

5. The Tizheruk: The Sea-Monster of the Arctic

Not unlike the lore that brings us Loch Ness, the Tizheruk (te-zer-ook) is described as being a sea serpent that is approximately fifteen feet long. Where Loch Ness is considered to be less of a threat and more of a mystery, the Tizheruk is known to snatch their unwitting victims from docks and piers.

Alaskan Bushman The Tornit

6. The Tornit: The Alaskan Bushman

Even Alaska has its own legends about Bigfoot—we reference it as the Tornit (tore-nit), or the Alaskan Bushman. Another monster from Inuit folklore, the Tornit is nearly indistinguishable from a bear except for the ghastly skunk-like smell they exude. They mostly keep to themselves out in the bush, after their troubled history dealing with humans, who can blame them?

Read our original story about this beast and his fateful encounter with an Inuit boy.

Scary Kushtaka hand

7. Kushtaka: The Otter People

The Otter People are most often seen in the Pacific Northwestern region of Alaska known as the Kushtaka. These tall, ape-like creatures are known to be aggressive and deadly and chase and kill their victims. Described as being horribly ugly, covered in long coarse hair, scabs, scars, and have enormously long claws. Their scream is high-pitched and terrifying, they have a strange whistling call that also alerts people to their presence.

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!

History of the Werewolf from 1500 to Modern-Day

Werewolves have been around for hundreds of years as seen in art, folktales, horror books, and movies. Join us while we explore where it all started and how it has impacted modern writers and filmakers. Starting at the date of original discover here is the history of the werewolf.

Lycanthropy wood carving from 1500's

Werewolf Date of Discovery

In the countryside near the German towns of Cologne and Bedburg in 1591, the first werewolf sighting took place.

Name Variations

The Werewolf is derived from the Old English werewulf, which translated into, “man-wolf.” They can also be known as a wolfman, a loup-garou which translates from French to mean, “wolf man-wolf,” and a lycanthrope.

In Serbian, the term vulkodlaks has the meaning of both vampires and werewolves.

There are a number of cryptids known to be associated with the werewolf, most any shapeshifter can be regarded to as a “were-,” of sorts; this would suggest that they were originally a human and regularly shapeshift into another creature, such as the weretiger, werehyena, wererat, werebear, or werepanther.

Physical Description

Despite the varied lore that exists for the werewolf, there are common physical attributes between them all, Zachary Graves describes these attributes and the differences in-depth within his book Werewolves.

Attributes of the Wolf

Often described as having superhuman strength as well as the fortune of enhanced senses that far surpass those of wolves, not to even mention that of humans. They possess the typical attributes of a wolf, with strong jaws, sharp teeth, and large paws–however, they maintain their human eyes even after transformation into the wolf, but it’s also said that they are unable to cry, due to their fiery nature when they’ve been enraged. While the lore varies from culture to culture, most of them maintain that a werewolf doesn’t possess a tail.

Attributes of the Human

During the initial werewolf paranoia, people who had eyebrows that met at the bridge of their nose were suspected to be werewolves; in their human form, they would have curved fingernails, lowset ears and walk with a long, swinging stride. They’re reportedly listless, often fatigued, and uneasy in direct sunlight. Once a person has been turned to a werewolf, they would be repelled by cooked meat.

In some of the legends it is said that if you cut the flesh of a werewolf while they’re in their human form, you will see fur underneath. Meanwhile in Russia, it was considered proof of lycanthrope if a person possessed bristles underneath their tongue.

From Werewolf to Human

While in the werewolf form, the creatures are unnaturally powerful, when they have returned to their original human state their physical form is devastated. They are said to be weak, fragile, and often experience severe depression. This lugubriousness is caused by any crime or violence they may have unwittingly committed while in their feral wolf form, followed by an immense feeling of guilt.

Origin of the Werewolf

The first werewolf appeared in Petronius Arbiter’s The Satyricon, set in southern Italy, originally written in Latin and published some time in 60s AD. It talks about four poor, degenerate, self-centered companions who experience a series of increasingly outrageous and debaucherous exploits–as this is the first time the werewolf appears in any type of literature, it is referred to as a wolf or shapeshifter, the word for werewolf came much later.

Mythology and Lore

Man disguising himself as a werewolf ancient art

As dark and mysterious as the werewolf is, it has quite an illuminating history of folklore from all over the world; stories of creatures–massive wolves, stalking rural areas to terrorize and subsequently mutilate or kill their victims.

The First Werewolf

While the writers of the more ancient societies don’t exactly rise to what modern reader’s expectations may be, they contribute valuable information and a foundation of the legend. The Satyricon is one such legend that was considered to be an interesting first look of the creature.

Chapters 61-62 from The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter

After they had all wished each other sound minds and good health, Trimalchio turned to Niceros. “You used to be better company at dinner,” he remarked, “and I don’t know why you should be dumb today, with never a word to say. If you wish to make me happy, tell about that experience you had, I beg of you.” Delighted at the affability of his friend, “I hope I lose all my luck if I’m not tickled to death at the humor I see you in,” Niceros replied. “All right, let’s go the limit for a good time, though I’m afraid these scholars’ll laugh at me, but I’ll tell my tale and they can go as far as they like. What t’hell do I care who laughs? It’s better to be laughed at than laughed down.” These words spake the hero, and began the following tale: “We lived in a narrow street in the house Gavilla now owns, when I was a slave. There, by the will of the gods, I fell in love with the wife of Terentius, the innkeeper; you knew Melissa of Tarentum, that pretty round-checked little wench. It was no carnal passion, so hear me, Hercules, it wasn’t; I was not in love with her physical charms. No, it was because she was such a good sport. I never asked her for a thing and had her deny me; if she had an as, I had half. I trusted her with everything I had and never was done out of anything. Her husband up and died on the place, one day, so I tried every way I could to get to her, for you know friends ought to show up when anyone’s in a pinch.

“It so happened that our master had gone to Capua to attend to some odds and ends of business and I seized the opportunity, and persuaded a guest of the house to accompany me as far as the fifth mile-stone. He was a soldier, and as brave as the very devil. We set out about cock-crow, the moon was shining as bright as midday, and came to where the tombstones are. My man stepped aside amongst them, but I sat down, singing, and commenced to count them up. When I looked around for my companion, he had stripped himself and piled his clothes by the side of the road. My heart was in my mouth, and I sat there while he pissed a ring around them and was suddenly turned into a wolf!

Now don’t think I’m joking, I wouldn’t lie for any amount of money, but as I was saying, he commenced to howl after he was turned into a wolf, and ran away into the forest. I didn’t know where I was for a minute or two, then I went to his clothes, to pick them up, and damned if they hadn’t turned to stone! Was ever anyone nearer dead from fright than me? Then I whipped out my sword and cut every shadow along the road to bits, till I came to the house of my mistress. I looked like a ghost when I went in, and I nearly slipped my wind. The sweat was pouring down my crotch, my eyes were staring, and I could hardly be brought around. My Melissa wondered why I was out so late. “Oh, if you’d only come sooner,” she said, “you could have helped us: a wolf broke into the folds and attacked the sheep, bleeding them like a butcher. But he didn’t get the laugh on me, even if he did get away, for one of the slaves ran his neck through with a spear!” I couldn’t keep my eyes shut any longer when I heard that, and as soon as it grew light, I rushed back to our Gaius’ house like an innkeeper beaten out of his bill, and when I came to the place where the clothes had been turned into stone, there was nothing but a pool of blood! And moreover, when I got home, my soldier was lying in bed, like an ox, and a doctor was dressing his neck! I knew then that he was a werewolf, and after that, I couldn’t have eaten a crumb of bread with him, no, not if you had killed me. Others can think what they please about this, but as for me, I hope your geniuses will all get after me if I lie.”

The Legend that Followed

When considering the acts that were committed by werewolves had a man behind them, there was a common belief that the werewolf was in league with the devil; they committed heinous acts of violence throughout rural communities, craving flesh, and blood in the dark of the night. Amongst the most awful crimes that were attributed to werewolves in medieval Europe, was the discretion and consumption of the recently deceased. For this reason, many of the earliest serial killers were actually believed to be werewolves, because who else could commit such horrifying acts than a beast working for the devil?

Transformation into the Wolf

The innocent wolves that were blamed and slaughtered to atone for the crimes of werewolves started a fire under the communities that were afflicted. The knowledge of their very existence created widespread panic, just as it did for witches during the Salem Witch Trials, and for Satanists during the Satanic Panic. This kind of fear and uproar of panic is more dangerous to the community than the beasts themselves because it results in accusations against the innocent, as well as a rise in public anxiety, fear, and suspicion. Physical attributes such as eyebrows meeting over the bridge of a person’s nose were enough of an offense to accuse someone of being a werewolf and subsequently provide them with a torturous execution. It gave way to new traditions of cautious living, in order to prevent catching the affliction of lycanthropy–such as not accepting ointments or salves from strangers, not drinking from streams that were thought to be enchanted, and killing the seventh child born into the family–believing that one day it would transform into a werewolf.

Other strange things were associated with becoming a werewolf, wearing a wolfskin belt, a lycanthropic flower, or consuming the flesh (in particular, the heart) of a wolf or a werewolf’s victim was believed to immediately transform a person into one. This last belief was so deeply held in the mid 700s that Egbert, Archbishop of York actually forbade people from eating the flesh of animals that had been attacked and killed by wolves so that there would be no chance of transformation. In France and Germany, it was said that if a man slept outside on a Wednesday or Friday night during a full moon in the summer, it would lead to lycanthropy. There were also those who actually wanted to become werewolves–wherein it was recommended to drink from certain streams, or ponds that were common for wolves to drink from, or drink water from the tracks of the wolves themselves.

Stopping the Beast

In some of the oldest accounts of werewolves, followed by the stories of their demise, the tried and true method of ensuring the beast didn’t come back from the dead was decapitation. Some of the newest lore has integrated what was originally a bane to vampires, according to the oldest mythology about the blood-sucking demons, has added silver to the repertoire of what is lethal to werewolves.

Werewolves in Other Cultures

In Fennoscandia, Scandinavia werewolves were considered old women with claws that they would coat in poison–they had a special ability to paralyze both children and cattle with their gaze.

In Serbia, vulkodlaks would gather together during the winter around a bonfire and strip off their wolfskins and hang them from trees–during every such gathering, they would throw one of the wolfskins on the fire to release the possessor from the curse that had transformed them into a vulkodlak.

In Haiti, jé-rouges which were wolf-like creatures would attempt to steal children from their mothers in the dead of the night–they would gently wake the mothers and taking advantage of their half-sleep state would ask permission to take their child–there would on occasion be a mother so disoriented that they would say, “yes,” a word they would regret for the rest of their lives.

Inuit legends talk of the Keelut which has many similarities although no shapeshifting.

The werewolves are certayne sorcerers, who having anointed their bodies with an ointment which they make by the instinct of the devil, and putting on a certayne inchaunted girdle, doe not onely unto the view of others seeme as wolves, but to their owne thinking have both the shape and nature of wolves, so long as they weare the said girdle. And they do dispose themselves as very wolves, in wourrying and killing, and most of humane creatures

Excerpt from Restitution of Decayed Intelligence by Richard Verstegan in 1628

Modern Pop-Culture References

Werewolf Books

Werewolf Movies

Werewolf Television Series



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

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


Categories
Featured Indie Horror Short Horror Stories

The 12 A.M. To Nowhere

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This must be the hundredth time I have woken up on this damn subway covered in blood and body parts. If I have to spit one more ear lobe out my mouth again, I swear I am going to shit a brick.

Nothing changes.

It is the same thing over and over. There’s the red head over there draped across the seat. One of her green eyes is dangling out of the socket and her legs are gnawed off at the knees. Then there’s the douche bag looking bro dude with black hair and a trimmed beard. Well, what’s left of him anyway. He is splattered all over the car. At my feet are the police officers. One has his chest ripped open. The other has her organs over her face, and still another is missing his head.

I examine the car and see broken windows. It had crashed at some point. I walk down the aisle and see the mangled remains of men, women, and children. A crash didn’t do this. There is no way a wreck can take someone’s intestines and wrap them around the holding bar like a coiled serpent.

“Hello!” I yell. I say the same words every time. “Anyone there? What the fuck happened?”

I look down at my hands and they are dripping crimson. My eyes scan my body again and I am naked. Goosebumps are all over my flesh and there is skin underneath my fingernails. I hold my hands up and stare at them.

“What the hell…” Something crunches under my feet. I stare down at it and see a severed jaw.

The sinews and ligaments are wiggling and dripping blood. Then I remember Ronnie. He got on the subway with me. We were going to the movies because they were having a horror triple feature.

“Ronnie!” I call. “Where are you, man?”

I step over more dead people and go into the next car. I see Ronnie. The expression on his face is sheer panic. His brown eyes are gazing into me and he is missing his ears. Blood trickles down his neck and for some reason, all I can focus on are the drops which are on a few strands of his neck hair. His fingers are missing from his hand. They had been shoved in his mouth and he resembles a bad Dick Tracy character.

I sob and tremble. “Ronnie! Oh, God! Ronnie!” I grab him and shake him. The fingers spill out of his mouth and topple onto the floor. “Shit,” I mumble and step back.

I remember now.

I know what’s coming.

I have the same memory lapse for a while then when I get to this point it all comes back to me.

I peek over my shoulder and remember Hannah. My beautiful, blonde angel who loved me like no other. She came with me because we both love horror movies. Too bad I couldn’t save her. She is sprawled out on a seat with her throat ripped to shreds. Her hip bones are missing too.

Who the hell can rip out hip bones?

You can The thought arose from the recesses of my mind. “Bull shit!” I yelled. “I did not!” I clasp my palms over my ears. “Shut the fuck up and get out of my fucking head!”

I spin in circles and scream. All I notice are the blood stains splattered on the car. I stop then grab Hannah and hold her in my arms.

“Who did this!” I yell. I fling my head back and cry. I pull a hand away from Hannah and wipe my eyes then blood mixed with tears stream down my cheek.

You did this, the voice in my head says again.

I throw Hannah’s corpse down in rage and glare up at the ceiling. I clench my fist and lift them towards the heavens. “I did not!”

Yes, you did.

“Bull shit! You liar!”

Then the events play through my mind. I killed all these people. I killed Ronnie. I killed Hannah. I killed those kids. The revelation is too much for me. My knees grow week and I fall to the ground. I can feel the warm blood on my naked butt. I pull my knees to my chin and bury my head into them. I weep and rock, smelling the copper scent of blood and organs.

I don’t know if this is hell.

I don’t know if this is reality gone mad.

I don’t know if this is quantum physics on hallucinogens.

All I know is I can sense the full moon even down in this subway and I am going to have my transformation.

And this shit is about to happen all lover again.