Jun 19, 2019 I Jason Offutt

Exploring Canadian Monsters: Nunavut

If you want to travel to the ends of the earth without visiting Oymyakon, Siberia (the coldest inhabited place on earth with an average temperature of -15.5 degrees Celsius), the Canadian territory of Nunavut would be a close second. Nunavut, the largest Canadian territory at 2,093,190 square kilometres (the size of Saudi Arabia), has a population of roughly 38,000 people, most of whom are Inuits. The territory’s largest (and only) city, Iqaluit, has a population of, 7,740. Is it cold in Nunavut? Sure. The average high temperature for the village of Eureka in the northern part of the territory is -15, just .5 degrees warmer than Siberia. Nunavut includes islands, rivers, mountains, forests, arctic tundra and the Qalupalik.


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The Qalupalik in Inuit art.


A green-skinned humanoid creature with long hair and knife-like fingernails lies in wait under the waters that surround Nunavut. The Qalupalik lives in the sea, watching and waiting for a child to wander close to shore, then attracts the child close to the water with a hypnotic hum. It grabs the child, tucks it into an amautik (an Inuit parka with a baby pouch) then spirits it off to sea to keep it forever, per the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News.

Frank Boas, in his book, “The Central Eskimo,” relates the story this Inuit legend is based upon:

A woman who lived with her grandson was so poor the two rarely had food. The boy cried so much from hunger his grandmother summoned a Qalupalik to be rid of him. The creature came, wrapped the boy into its parka, and vanished into the ocean waters. Remorseful for her actions, the grandmother asked hunters in her village to search for her grandson. When the weather warmed and the ice cracked, the boy ventured to the surface to play. When hunters approached him, the boy, who did not want to return to his grandmother, tugged a seaweed rope the Qalupalik had tied around him and the monster pulled him back into the water. This repeated until the hunters snuck up on the boy, cut the rope and took him back to his grandmother.

This story kind of makes me feel sorry for the Qalupalik.


A whale swimming in frigid waters.


An ancient beast lurks beneath the surface of Dubawnt Lake near the border of the Northwest Territories. At 774-foot-deep, the lake, with a surface area of 3,630 square kilometres, is large enough for the Angeoa, a creature about the size of a sperm whale. The local Inuits claim the Angeoa is a hostile black beast with an enormous fin; it flips boats and eats the fishermen.

Canadian environmentalist Farley Mowat spoke with an Inuit man in the 1940s who claimed the Angeoa overturned his father’s kayak in the late 1800s. The monster ate the second man in the boat.


The Mahaha. (Courtesy of inuitmyths.com.)


Giggles should be reserved for clowns, but then again, clowns are scary too. The Mahaha of the north is a thin, blue-skinned being that roams mostly naked through the snow, glaring through pure white eyes for human victims. Oh, and giggles flow from its permanent, Joker smile – it always giggles.

The legend of the Mahaha stretches back centuries. This entity wanders through the deadly cold, barefoot and dressed in rags, its long, greasy hair hanging low on its back. The creature approaches people it has mesmerized by its maniacal giggle and touches them with long, thin fingers. A cold radiates through the victim’s body and the Mahaha begins to tickle them – until the victim is dead. When found, the victims often wear a smile frozen onto their face.

This frozen demon, however, is stupid. Many Inuit tales describe how a person tricked a Mahaha into taking a drink of water, then pushed the creature into the waves.



This red-eyed shapeshifter is particularly loathsome as it only preys on children. The entity sneaks into villages in the guise of whatever it chooses – often deer – and lures children into the wilderness where it snatches them and hides them. The children almost never see their families again. The only way these children can escape is if the child is clever enough to talk the ijiraq into releasing them.

The ijiraq can be seen straight-on only if they choose. Otherwise, people can see the ijiraq from the corner of their eye, but when they turn toward the creature, it becomes nothing but shadow. These creatures of shadow are believed to inhabit a place between worlds and are part of each, but also neither. Legend has it the ijiraq were once Inuit who hunted game too far to the north and became trapped between the worlds of the living and dead.

One other trait of the ijiraq is confusion. When hunters encounter ijiraq, they often see mirages and become forgetful, returning from hunting trips empty handed although they don’t know why.



People have encountered Bigfoot in Canada? Who knew?

Over the years, residents of Sanikiluaq (a small village on Hudson Bay’s Flaherty Island) have witnessed a six-to-eight-foot-tall human-like creature lurking in the shadows. In 2001, the monster grabbed the attention of the Nunavut government.

Per the Nunatsiaq News, a government official found enormous human-like footprints that’s gait measured one metre. The average human male gait is less than half a metre.

"It’s definitely not a bear," Weenusk Chief Abraham Hunter said in an interview with Canada’s National Post. "I looked at them. They were six feet apart, walking."

Jason Offutt

Jason Offutt is paranormal investigator, an author of several paranormal books such as “What Lurks Beyond,” “Darkness Walks: Shadow People Among us,” “Haunted Missouri,” and “Paranormal Missouri” and a teacher of journalism at Northwest Missouri State University.

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