Friday, 28 August 2020

UNHCEGILA and Haietlik.snake like beasts


Cryptid profile time once again, for those new here, this is where I take a look at a cryptid or cryptids and their history and reported sightings and give a score on the probability of the animal existing in more than myth and legend.

For those of us that like to hunt down cryptid animals, looking for creatures which are similar across different cultures and found in different parts of the world provides an amount of corroboration for the similar stories that are shared across different cultures.

The distances can sometimes be far and the cultures vastly different, on other occasions the similarities may be almost, exactly the same.

This brings me to the two cryptids for today.

Both snake like beasts that are believed to found in the wilds of north America with two groups of native American tribes having legends of separate animals, that too me at least, seem to be the same beast.

 So, let's take look at the animals known as UNHCEGILA and Haietlik.




These two monsters are from Lakota and Nootka legend and hold a special place in the native people's minds.

 The UNHCEGILA is most commonly associated with the Dakota and Lakota Sioux tribes.
There are a number of differing spelling for the cryptids if you are searching out first U-n-c-e-g-I--la, then U-n-h-c-e-g-I-l-a, and U-n-k-t-e-h-I.
 The Pronunciation also varies by dialect.

The cryptid is said to inhabit the rivers and of the Lakota territory, a serpentoid beast which it is claimed has been responsible for many unexplained disappearances and deaths.

The legends tell-tale of A mighty Saltwater Snake

Seen swimming up rivers and polluting them, before it flooded the land with salt water. This turning the soil baron so nothing could grow.

A couple of native boys from the family of a great warrior of the bear clan, with the help of their bows and a little mystical power manged to slay the beast.  They managed to fire their arrows into one of the seven vulnerable spots on her body.

 The cryptid did not die quietly it writhed and thrashed over the land, causing yet more damage.

Adding to the dire situation, the Sun scorched the flesh from the now dead animals' bones and sucking up all the moisture. This according to the myth is how the Badlands were created. In a twist of fate or a coincidence this area is full of fossilised dinosaur bones which may have inspired or contributed to the legend.  

Moving on to the HAIETLIK,(hey-i-e-leak) a animal that is also named the "lightning serpent".

 Legends say, the haietlik was both a friend to  and a weapon of the thunderbirds, it was used by them to hunt whales.

The description of the beast tells of a huge serpent with a pointed head which was sharp as a knife and it possess a tongue which can shoot lightning bolts.

The haietlik would shoot this lightning at whale injuring them so that the hunting thunderbird could capture and carry off its prey.

 The haietlik it is said makes its home among the feathers of the thunderbird, here it lays waiting to be unleashed with a flap of the bird's mighty wings.

A more grounded habitat for the creature is like the first cryptid with Nuu-Chah-Nulth people saying it calls the inland and coastal waters home.

The cryptids association with the hunting of whales saw it being used as a talesman, British sailors visiting the Pacific Northwest in 1791 reportedly saw representations of the haietlik painted on the sides of canoes.

Images of the haietlik also appear in petroglyphs on the coast of British Columbia and as decorations on whaling harpoons.

The creature is an important cultural figure that is part of the ceremony for a marriage between a chief's daughter and the son of another tribe.

Another marriage ceremony involved dancers in haietlik masks entering the house of the bride's family.

The crytpid is also a mascot the  Canadian Forces 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron has a badge that features a red haietlik in a Northwest Coast art style

There have been sightings of  creatures that fit with these legends. Mysterious universe published an article in which the writer Terrye Toombs penned that there is a sea serpent which often emerges in Alaskan folklore which again sounds similar to our two cryptids.

I quote the article as follows “In mythology, the Tizheruk are large, snake-like sea creatures that are believed to roam Alaska’s waters,” Toombs wrote. “They are described as having a head 7 feet long with a tail ending in a flipper, for a total of 12 to 15 feet long. Tizheruk were said to snatch people from docks and piers.”

In 2009, a surprising piece of footage taken by a fisherman off the Alaskan coast, which appeared to show some large, serpent-like creature swimming in the ocean waters.

Paul LeBlond, the former head of the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of British Columbia, was quoted by Discovery News saying, “I am quite impressed with the video, although it was shot under rainy circumstances in a bouncy ship, it’s very genuine.” LeBlond is also coauthor of a book, “Cadborosaurus: Survivor From the Deep,” which makes the case for “Caddy,” the name given to the sea serpent that occasionally is seen there in the region.

Many have claimed to see Caddy over the years, and a number of carcasses have washed ashore which were believed to have belonged to the creature; most of these, however, were identified later as the remains of known species like sharks and whales.

“It must be a mammal or a reptile,” LeBlond said of the serpent like creature in the fisherman’s 2009 film, “since it oscillates up and down in a vertical plane, which eliminates sideways-oscillating fish.” This description appears to be consistent with similar reports of humped, serpent-like creatures seen along the Pacific coast for more than a century.

It could be that all of these creatures really are merely legends. Or, perhaps it could be that the cultural comparisons between “old” and “new” seen here represent something else; something akin to a long-running commentary on unusual things seen in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, by natives and newcomers alike.

As a final note, I wish to briefly reference a passage from another article of mine, published last month, where I referenced the discovery of a new species of whale off the Alaskan coast late last year. The relevant quote is as follows:

“It is worth noting that in late 2016, a new species of whale was discovered, following the discovery of an unusual carcass on an Alaskan beach. Japanese legends had previously told of a dark colored, beaked whale, though no particular associations had been made between the alleged beast and any modern identifiable species. Upon discovery of the Alaskan “mystery carcass,” questions about the creature led to the discovery that a set of bones on display at a nearby educational center also belonged to this variety of whale, which was soon determined to be a newly discovered species.”

With new species still turning up in Alaska’s coastal waters, maybe we should keep an open, but cautious mind, when it comes to the potential that a few additional new species might still turn up.

Here is a more in depth look at this beast

Its Not only native American folklore that has snake like and Serpentine monsters at its core.

Snakes hold a special place in our psyche, many people have a fear of the animals and this makes them a target often being used to symbolize both positive and negative elements by ancient cultures.

Around the world there are many stories of cryptid snakes and snake beings.

In African mythology, an ancient snake god made the sun, moon and thereafter the earth, which he formed from a lump of clay.

 The god also created a set of twins, the primitive beings, called Nummo.

 The twins were half human half snake a form that has been linked to the idea of a ruling reptilian race.

Central America has long history of popular serpent gods.

 The ancient Mayan book, Chilam Balam, tells us that the first people to inhabit the Yucatan were the Chanes or People of the Serpent. The mythology says the Chanes were led across the sea by the serpent god Itzamna, who ruled by his esoteric knowledge rather than strength.

 Feathered serpents were also often depicted, Quetzalcoatl being one of the most prolific.

Moving over to Asia In China the serpent god is depicted as the famous dragons of Chinese mythology.  Naga featuring heavily in all legends associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.

In India like china The Nagas were purported to be an ancient serpent race which descended from the sky. The Ancient Book of Dzyan, possibly one of the oldest Sanskrit sources, speaks of the ancient Indian myths. The Nagas were said to be human above the waist and possess the tail of a dragon or snake. They could also turn themselves into either fully human or fully serpentine form. Since female Nagas were portrayed as extremely beautiful, Indian Dynasties claimed their family origin as a union of a human and Nagi, a female Naga.


Egypt is the location of many strange mystical animals.

The serpent commonly associated with immortality and the gods in the Old and Middle Kingdom periods in Egyptian mythology. A snake was depicted on tombs carrying the Pharaoh off into the sky, to the land of the gods. The snake came to be a symbol of kingship around this time and appeared on the headdress of the Pharaohs.

Snakes are also feature heavily in Christian beliefs.

the Old Testament, references serpent god ancestors, in what is becoming somewhat of a pattern. Snakes are strongly associated with the story of Moses. It is written that god instructed him to make a serpent-head idol so that when anyone was bitten, they could look at the serpent-head idol, at which point their bite would heal.

And we can skip over probably the most famous snake in history, the serpent in the Garden of Eden, found curled around the tree of life who gave forbidden knowledge to all mankind.

In Greek and Roman mythology, the snake symbolizes a guardian spirit, this has seen many found carved into ancient altars. In the temple of Athena in Athens, a snake held in a cage was believed to be the reincarnation of Erichthonius, an early king in ancient Greece. This is very similar to the practices carried out in South America.

 Medusa and other gorgons (female creatures) had sharp fangs and live snakes for hair. The association of women and serpents extended to Medea, who was pulled in a chariot led by serpents, as well as the Minoan snake goddess who held a snake in each hand.

The Celts also associated snakes with wisdom, fertility and immortality, and tended to connect them with healing pools and water.

This bringing us full circle and back to Native American Indian tribal beliefs.

the snake again is a symbol of fertility and rebirth. In their mythology, the giant snake Unhcegila  can swallow a human in one gulp! Native American mythology also included a symbol that represented a snake deity called Avanyu that brought storms to the land.

This in the same way as our two cryptids.

So, are these giant serpents just creatures of myth and legend or could they have existed?

We know of the Titanaboa a giant snake that surely if seen by early man could have inspire these legends, the Anaconda of today impresses with its size but for thousands of years the legends of truly giant and monstrous serpents have persisted could this be because there are still giant snakes out there waiting to be discovered?

Sometimes seen and inspiring legend.

I think so and my score for giant serpents is a 100%

What do you think let me know in the comments below?


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