QALUPALIK
Story by Brandon L. Parsons (2014)
QALUPALIK4.jpg
QALUPALIK (by Joy Ang)

When you live in one of the most remote, frigid, unforgiving areas of the world and are isolated from other groups of people, interesting things start to happen to your belief-system, your myths and your society's tales. The Inuit of the far north of North America have some of the oddest yet most provoking yarns to tell when it comes to the explanation of the universe, quite unlike any other civilization's outlook on things. However, there is one area in which they are the same as EVERYONE else in the world, and that lies in the fact that they have a deliciously dark story they tell their kids to get them to stop acting like little jerks, eat their meals, and generally behave themselves. In each Inuit village, they instruct their wayward kiddos on the realities of the dank, wet, cold and always-hungry QALUPALIK (kah-loo-pah-lick)...

Qalupalik; see "ugly" in the dictionary!
Qalupalik; see "ugly" in the dictionary!

Qalupalik are a race of mysterious, rear-end-ugly, ocean-dwelling beings that cruise the shallows off the icy coasts of the northern shores of North America in search of their next meals. They are human-like...sort of...with long seaweed-ish, straggly hair, grey-green skin and long finger nails (complete with sludge, grime and rotting fish-guts under them). Their legs appear as rather froggish in nature, though with the grey, wrinkled skin of a sea-lion, and their grotesque feet are webbed. Their faces...well, those tend to claim their WORST features, with beady, black eyes, pulsing gill-slits, slimy, smooth, greyish skin (think like that of a manta ray), smallish mouths crammed full of small, sharp needle-like teeth, and a look of pure hungry misery in every expression.

A Qalupalik lurking...
A Qalupalik lurking...

Qalupaliks wear an amautiit (which is a type of fur-lined pouch that Inuit parents wear to carry their children around in) with the idea that they can snatch innocent babies and carry jerkish, disrespectful children who disobey and talk smack to their parents away. Actively mouth off often enough to mom and dad and you automatically find yourself unknowingly on the Qalipalik's radar.
An Inuit "amautiit," occupied by a small child...
An Inuit "amautiit," occupied by a small child...

The Qalupalik would lurk under fishing boats and around the shallows along the coasts around the village just waiting for a chance to explode out of the water, catch the unsuspecting kid unawares and toss it into it's pouch, and dive back down into the depths with its prize. According to the story, Qalupaliks had a very distinctive, groaning, creaking hum they would let out under their breath before they would actually appear. A smart kid would be on the lookout for that noise! Whether or not the Qalupalik simply kept a collection of smart-mouthed kids down in the gloomy, murky sea-bottoms with them forever or simply snacked on the unfortunate kiddos depended on just how far the desperate parent in question wanted to go to make their kid see reason and not screw off so much! It also acted as a warning to the well-behaved kids as well; don't wander off, especially down by the water, without an adult or the Qalupalik will GET YOU!!! Funny how parents will invent nightmarish things to knock some fear into their kids to get some kind of good behavior out of them...a worldwide phenom!

Check out the short animation by film student Michaela Martin done in 2014, simply titled "QALUPALIK." Creepy, kind of disturbing, especially at the end, but worth a look to see what the Inuit imagined this creature to be!




Return to Native American Gods and GoddessesReturn to Mythopedia Go to Mythopedia Facebook Page
Qalupaliks up to no good...
Qalupaliks up to no good...