Featured, History

The Terrifying Myth Of Qallupilluit

Nmesoma Okwudili


February 27, 2024

Deep within Inuit folklore lurk the sinister Qallupilluit, ominous beings that haunt the icy Arctic coastlines, concealed amidst ice floes. These malevolent creatures are said to snatch unsuspecting children who dare to venture too close to the treacherous waters, instilling fear in the hearts of those dwelling in the icy realms.

This terrifying myth has two functions: it warns children away from the dangerous surroundings and presents a sombre image to people who think the Qallupilluit are genuine. There are rumours that these supernatural entities have foretold numerous abductions, leading to a long list of missing children, particularly in the northern regions of Alaska.

The Qallupilluit have no beauty, in contrast to the sea’s captivating sirens. Imagine them with their fingers webbed like monsters from a nightmare, their skin covered in ugly scales, and their long, oily hair falling down their hideous figures. These frightening creatures instill fear among the Inuit people with their large pouches and intimidating coats, referred to as amautiks.

For centuries, the Inuit have passed down this spine-chilling narrative, weaving a tapestry of fear and caution that transcends generations. The haunting presence of the Qallupilluit continues to cast a shadow over the desolate landscapes, where the icy waters conceal secrets and nightmares alike. Beware, for the myth of the Qallupilluit may just be more than a story – it could be a bone-chilling reality lurking beneath the frozen surface.

To maintain their existence, they are dependent on the naive vigour of children. Usually hiding along the edge of the water, these animals wait for times when kids are by themselves. They attract the kids with an odd hum, and then they quickly grab them and suck them into their pouches before disappearing into the cold. Eventually, the effects of these incidents became apparent to the inhabitants of Alaska.


A number of historians suggest that the Qallupilluit is the Inuit version of the familiar North American figure known as the Boogeyman. Living under thin layers of ice, they take advantage of the shallowness by tapping the surface in the shallow places, enticing children with their sounds and trapping them when the ice gives way.

The actions the Qallupilluit take towards children are a matter of debate, with no proposed scenario carrying positive connotations. While many believe that the Qallupilluit is a humanoid creature with a penchant for consuming humans, there are conflicting accounts regarding its appearance and gender.

Some assert that it is a feminine being, using children to maintain its long, flowing hairdo. Devoid of families of their own, certain narratives suggest an inability to bear children, compelling them to abduct human babies and raise them as their own.

The story of the Qallupilluit is still a well-known one in the Inuit society. A popular picture book called “The Orphan and the Qallupilluit” provides the younger generation with the first visual representation of the animal and its behaviours. This story is still told to prevent children from walking on thin ice or getting too close to places where the water breaks.

As a symbol of generational dread and warnings, the Qallupilluit is highly significant to Inuit culture. Its evasiveness and the variety of accounts it provides add to the mystery and encourage discussions about its impact on children.

The animal is a metaphorical protector of hazardous areas, and tales about it serve as a means of warning children against taking unnecessary risks, such as stepping out on thin ice. These stories’ ongoing popularity—particularly in popular illustrated books—underlines their significance for cultural preservation. As a result, the Qallupilluit transcends from a legendary creature to a cultural icon that upholds morals and promotes safety.


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