Hey Bookworms! How about this weather, y’all? It’s been so cloudy and cold lately I’m going stir crazy. My writing buddy Smoky loves winter weather but between her sky high blood alcohol level and her hair she’s pretty much a human Molotov cocktail. I doubt she can register the cold at all. Since the weather insists on being terrible I thought we’d talk about a cold weather creature called Ijiraq.
The Ijiraq is a shadow creature/shapeshifter from Inuit folklore. The Inuit people live in Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. It’s colder than cool up there. It’s ice cold. Alright? Alright. Alright. Alright. The story goes that the Ijiraq were once Inuit themselves, but they traveled too far north and got caught between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Now the poor suckers are doomed to walk with one foot in each world; but never belong to either. That’s why GPS is such a wonderful thing. You get where you’re going on time and you don’t get turned into a cursed shadow person. Technology is an absolute wonder.
Being turned into cursed shadow creatures has made the Ijiraq into some seriously grumpy Guses. It also gave them some creeptastic powers. In their natural form, they can only be seen from the corner of your eye. You can’t see one straight on. Think about that the next time you see something out of the corner of your eye. Probably you’re surrounded by shadow people.
Ijiraq can shift into the form of any animal or human they want, but they tend to favor caribou. How can you tell if the caribou you’re kicking it with is friend or foe? Well, they have glowing red eyes no matter what they shift into. Due to their otherworldly nature they have a disorienting effect on people. It’s kind of similar to the way you feel after watching Twin Peaks. Baffled, afraid and kind of panicky. So if you roll up on a chipmunk and become immediately confused or if you see Kyle McLachlan lurking nearby that’s likely not a normal tree rat.
Ijiraq aren’t interested in growing their numbers like the Kushtaka. They just want to make you feel as lost as they do and maybe to murder you. Whatever. If they come upon a human traveling and they’re feeling frisky they’ll give you the David Lynch treatment with their shadow people power and then chase you around in their caribou form until you’re totally lost.Then they leave you to die. Sometimes they kidnap children and carry them off somewhere and leave them. Maybe they become kidcicles and maybe they find their way home. If they really don’t want to play, the Ijiraq will just devour you.
Any way you slice it the Ijiraq are just salty buttheads that anyone would want to avoid. I think some good old fashioned talk therapy could really change their lives, but first they would have to really want to change, ya’ know?
Anywhoodles, always remember that, if you’re traipsing through the woods and you see some kind of glowing eyed reindeer, it’s not suffering from seasonal allergies. It’s an Ijiraq and you’re pretty much screwed. All the more reason to stay inside this winter if you ask me. Why wander around in the cold when you could put on your jam jams and watch a movie instead of getting tortured by the world's deadliest reindeer? Gillian Anderson has a new show on Netflix and watching it probably won’t get you killed. Choose wisely Bookworms.