Ah, Alaska. The land of caribou, soon-to-be-extinct glaciers, the Aurora Borealis, Eskimos, and perhaps something a little more sinister.
And I do mean 'little'...
At least that's what an email, which has been circulating as a warning, seems to be telling the locals. The Alaskan Bush isn't so safe. In the tundra lurks the ircenrraq, lying in wait to disorient, discomfort, and trap unsuspecting humans.
Ircenrraat, from Central Alaskan Yup'ik tradition, are little, mischievous creatures who live in the tundra. While their meddlesome ways often are notorious among the native peoples, every so often the myth attracts a little outside attention.
On May 7th, a man from Marshall stumbled across a young boy at Pilcher Mountain, all alone, in an area inhabited by large tundra brown bears. He was confused and has been crying. He had no recollection of where he was or how he had gotten there. He did, however, recall being lead away by "little beings" to the site where he encountered a young girl who had been kidnapped in a similar manner some 40 years prior. The ircenrraat decided to release him... at which point he was discovered by the man.
Similar stories have been heard over the years, and Pilcher Mountain itself is alleged to be a hotbed of ircenrraat activity. Thanks to the worldwide web, the man's warning email was forwarded on and his tale reached an Anchorage reporter.
Was the youth telling the truth? Do small creatures resembling elves or gnomes conceal themselves in the frozen Arctic?
Or has the permafrost and lack of daylight warped people's imaginations?