Folklore Profile: The Amikuk
In Inuit folklore, there are stories of monstrous creatures that are as deadly on land as they are in the water. These beasts possess a deep hatred for all mankind and will actively search for victims while out in the open waters off the Alaskan coast. These monsters are known as the Amikuk and they truly are a force to be reckoned with.
The creatures are most often described as being extremely long and almost human-like in shape. They are covered in thick, slimy dark skin that has the appearance of old leather and long, wide-set, spindly arms with fingers that taper off into points. The beasts are most often seen with two legs but have - on occasion - been seen with four. Regardless of count though, have the same long and spindly look and shape as the arms.
While in the water, the hatred filling the Amikuk keeps it constantly on the hunt for passing kayaks. The creature presses itself up against floating sea ice and waits perfectly still until it senses the ideal time to attack. Once a victim paddles within close proximity to the waiting beast, the Amikuk pushes itself off the ice and while continuing to swim, positions itself beneath the kayak above. Without warning the monster will shoot both its arms and legs out of the water and will wrap them tightly around the vessel before pulling it under the cold water. From here the Amikuk will proceed to try and drown the unfortunate passenger.
Even though the beast is often regarded as extremely deadly, the Amikuk is not always able to kill its victim after pulling them into the water, this is due to both how long the creatures arms are and how quickly the intended victim is able to swim. Sometimes they are able to get away and make it back to either solid ground or floating sea ice. But, just because the lucky soul manages to escape the beast doesn’t mean they are out of harms way, for the Amikuk also possesses the ability to burrow into both earth and ice, and move through it as if were still swimming. The soon to be victim can try and run all they want, but once the beast has locked its eyes on its prize, it will not rest until that prize is dead.
As it “swims" through the ground, the Amikuk produces a thumping noise that echoes out from its main tunnel and into the surrounding area. The vibrations caused by this thumping sound are said to be strong enough to freeze a fleeing victim in their tracks, this in turn gives the creature enough time to burst through the ground/ice below and kill the one above.
While a majority of the legends about the Amikuk depict it as being nothing more than a deadly monster, other legends talk of it being magical as well. In one story, the Amikuk is said to create a bird-like nest which it protects with extreme devotion even though it contains no eggs or young. The nest is said to contain nothing but a few scraps of magical fur or animal hide. If a human somehow managed to steal the Amikuk's nest, the scraps of fur inside would be able to repair anything broken that was placed upon them. It was also believed that the furs were capable of creating great riches out of thin air if the nest remained in the possession of the one who stole it for a considerable amount of time.
The final magical legend of the Amikuk talks of it being able to shape shift into an almost full human form. While in this form, the creature is required to pull a sled and can only walk in a straight line while doing so. If a human were to see an approaching Amikuk while in this form, they were to sit directly in its path. Since the creature is only able to walk in a straight line, they will not be able to avoid the sitting person and will ultimately begin to panic. While in this panicked state, the Amikuk will offer a gift in order to get the sitter to move, but the sitter is not supposed to accept. The unacceptance of the offered token will cause the Amikuk to become desperate and it will start to offer a better gift each time. The sitter is supposed to deny each offer until the creature presents its final and most valuable gift. At the acceptance of this offer, the sitter will become extremely wealthy and the Amikuk will continue on its way.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: https://luks96.deviantart.com/art/A-Mi-Kuk-328756770