Do supernatural beings exist between us? Are the ancient legends of sea Goddesses in Alaska true? Do mermen and mermaids indeed exist?
If so, then the encounters with these beings are not at all similar to the little mermaid.
Stories dating back to the first writings describe them as hostile creatures.
Unfortunately, ever since 1988, more than 16,000 people have vanished without a trace in a triangular area known as the “Bermuda Triangle of Alaska.” The missing person rate is twice the national average, with four missing person reports for every 1,000 people.
The search operations looking for missing Alaskans often go in vain due to the search area being as large as entire states in the lower 48. Missing persons are rarely found by the teams, moreover, the rugged wilderness makes finding missing persons all the more unlikely.
According to the native Inuit culture, some of the disappearances are definitely associated with supernatural beings.
Ancient Inuit accounts of Mermaids and Mermen
Here these creatures will be referred to as Mermen and Mermaids. However, the stories are quite unlike what we tend to think of as merfolk. Inuit myths and legends are usually short dramatic forms dealing with the wonders of the world: the creation, the heavens, birth, love, hunting and sharing food, respect for the aged, polygamy, murder, infanticide, incest, death, and the mystery of the afterlife.
A fundamental tenet of Inuit mythology is the belief in other worlds beneath the sea, inside the Earth, and in the sky where some gifted angakoks (shamans) have the power to journey in trances and in dreams, visiting places that ordinary mortals would only experience in the afterlife.
According to the legends, Qalupalik is believed to have green skin and it enjoys snatching children away if they get too close to the water. These Inuit sea goddesses are known by different names in different mythologies. They are compassionate towards some and fatal to others.
Legends of Sedna- The Sea Goddess
Throughout the Arctic, the legend of Sedna becoming a Sea Goddess is widely told. Sedna was a young girl who had a comfortable life, thanks to her father, a skilled hunter provided her with everything. Many Inuit suitors intended to marry her, however, she rejected them all. Even when her parents insisted it was time for her to marry she refused to follow tradition and obey them.
After quite some time, she came across a suitor who promised her a happy life full of furs to wear and food to eat. She agreed to marry him and took off to his island. Upon reaching his island, the man announced that he was not a man but a birdman dressed as a man. Sedna got furious after being deceived by the man she herself chose to marry.
Alas! she was trapped and could not find a way out. Her spouse was not a skilled hunter and could only provide her with fish to eat. One day, she got bored of eating fish and the same day, her father decided to visit her. As he came to know that his son-in-law was indeed a bird and his daughter was unhappy with him, he killed the birdman.
Sedna and her father sat in a boat and left for their island. When the friends of the birdman learned about his murder, they got furious and decided to avenge the death of their friend. They flew above the kayak and flapped their wings swiftly. The flapping of their wings resulted in a huge storm. The waves crashed over the small kayak making it almost impossible to keep the boat upright.
Scared to death, Sedna’s father thought that the sturdy storm would fill the boat with water and that he would drown in the icy waters. He threw Sedna into the water, thinking that it might calm the birdmen down, however it did not. Sedna held tightly to the edge of her father’s boat in an attempt to save herself. Fearing that she would tip him over, the father cut her fingers off, one joint at a time. From each of her finger joints, different sea creatures were born. They became fish, seals, walruses, and whales.
She fell deep into the water and became a powerful spirit. The spirit has a head and torso of a woman and the tail of a fish. She became a Sea Goddess and now controls the whole sea animals. Inuit have certain taboos that they must follow to keep Sedna happy.
Animals do not mind being available to the hunters for the sake of Sedna. Shamans comb her hair and braid them since she does not have fingers.
Legends of Qualupalik
Qualupalik is believed to have long hair and long fingernails and wears an amautik. It also has a pouch for holding babies. Parents in the Northern Arctic narrate the tale of Qualupalik to their children to discourage them from wandering off. Parents warn their children to stay away from the water bodies. It is believed that the creature captures children to raise them as their own.
It is similar to the stories of the Namahage in Japan or the Krampus in Germany. Using their greenish, webbed hands they can capture both children and adults. The Qaulupalik uses a porch-like garment to capture its victims as it heads back into the water.
Stories of the Qalupalik originate in the northernmost regions, but now it appears the creatures could be moving further south in search of prey. As climate change affects the Arctic, sightings further south are reported.
Could it be due to the movements of potential prey like salmon? It’s one theory. Today, salmon are disappearing from much of their ranges and getting smaller. Maybe, that’s pressuring Qalupalik into more populated areas.
Encounters with Merman and Mermaids
In the series, “Missing in Alaska”, witnesses have described creatures that may be merman or mermaids. A fisherman narrated that he lost his friend to the water and he observed a green-webbed hand appearing on the boat. An enigmatic entity snatched a net from the fisherman. In another case, a witness lost his friend while hunting for shellfish on the shore. He heard a scream and ended up finding webbed footprints in the sand.
Accounts of Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson is the first European to sail across the bay. He wrote in his logbook about a mermaid that his crew saw in 1608. His account tells that, mermaids indeed have human features.
“One of our company, looking overboard, saw a mermaid, and calling up some of the company to see her, one more came up, and she was then close the ship’s side, looking earnestly on the men. Soon afterward, a sea came and overturned her. Her back and breasts were like a woman’s, her body as big as one of us; her skin very white, and long black hair hanging down behind. In her going down, they saw her tail, like the tail of a porpoise, and speckled like mackerel. Their names that saw her were Thomas Hills and Robert Rayner.”
Many have suggested that the sightings of mermaids could be sea cows. However, these accounts put that suggestion to rest.
The Kushtaka or Land-Otter Man
Tlingit and Tsimshian people indigenous to southeastern Alaska believe in the existence of Kushtaka also known as Land-Otter Man. It is also considered by some as the Bigfoot of the Alaskan Triangle. The Horror associated with this creature is that it steals souls and attacks viciously on the people.
According to Discovery:
“Legend has it that the creature appears to travelers in an irresistible form (such as a relative or vulnerable child) to lure victims to a nearby river, where it tears them to shreds or turns them into another Kushtaka.”
First Stories of Merfolk
In ancient Mesopotamia, various deities such as Oannes, and Atargatis were linked with Mermen and mermaids. According to Britannica:
“Oannes, as described by the Babylonian priest Berosus, had the form of a fish but with the head of a man under his fish’s head and under his fish’s tail the feet of a man. In the daytime, he came up to the seashore of the Persian Gulf and instructed mankind in writing, the arts, and the sciences. Oannes was probably the emissary of Ea, god of the freshwater deep and of wisdom.”
Tales of Goddess Atargatis were popular in Syria. These tales may have led to the Greek stories of Aphrodite.
Enki– The Sumerian God of Water
Enki was the Sumerian God of water. He was also one of the Annunaki. He was a mermaid-like God who saved humans. Physically, Enki was represented like the astrological sign for Capricorn, half-goat, half-fish.
It is also believed by many that he was a merman who saved humanity from a flood sent by the God, Enlil.
Accounts of Mermen and Mermaids in Various Cultures
Legends of mermen and mermaids are popular all around the world. In ancient Greece, Triton was revered as the son of Poseidon. In Hindu culture, people worship mermaid Goddesses such as Suvannamacch, the golden mermaid. Matsya is the fish avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.
According to the Vishnu Puran, Matsya was the first of Vishnu’s ten primary avatars. He is described to have rescued the first man Manu from a great deluge. Matsya is depicted as a giant fish, often golden in color, or anthropomorphically with the torso of Vishnu connected to the rear half of a fish.
In Japan, stories of giant humanoid sea creatures known as Ningen from Antarctica are popular. No one exactly knows what these white-colored massive creatures are, but numerous vessels claim to have witnessed the humanoid beings rise from the depths of the ocean.