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Itillimaniq: Sleepwalking

George Agiaq Kappianaq,
I too used to itillimajuq and I would see others itillimajuq. They seemed to see something that was not there. Some people who are experiencing itillimaniq can be frightening, especially when they have their full strength. Whenever I would itillimajuq too much, I would become very scared. It would seem like this thing was coming at me and I would have my hands raised, but I wouldn’t be able to grasp anything. I would be very scared. Sometimes itillimaniq makes no sense at all. One time I seemed to be totally awake in a tent. There was a stick and I placed it on my mother’s shoulder. I was trying to climb the stick but I would slide back down. Maybe that’s not quite what I was doing. I don’t believe it was real. I’m trying to help you understand itillimaniq, but I don’t know any other way to explain it. I think it is like you are having a bad dream that makes you scared. You seem to be seeing things that aren’t there. (Page 101)
This chapter reveals all the whats and whys of sleepwalking. The sleepwalker, the person that itillimajuq, walks and does things while they are asleep; they are not aware of their actions. They dream and their dreams are often scary, which results in panicky behavior perceived as irrational by people who see the person sleepwalking. Sleepwalking is mostly observed among children. Adult cases are rare and particularly frightening. Overtiredness seems to be a key factor of sleepwalking. Back in our elders’ youth, children who accompanied adults on hunting expeditions used to go to bed late after a tiresome day. Those circumstances were particularly prone to sleepwalking. The phenomenon is less common nowadays.

One should wake up the sleepwalker, especially if the person goes outside and might fall into the water, but one should never jolt them awake, otherwise it might scare them even more. Itillimaniq is already a scary experience, at least according to Pisuk and Agiaq, who both relate their personal experiences. Sleepwalking is not dangerous, no one ever got killed because of it, and it has nothing to do with shamanism, the tarniq or the tuurngait. In some cases, the sleepwalker can see things that are not really there, but that is just a regular, albeit particularly potent dream, not a vision per se. Nevertheless, angakkuit were able to free someone from sleepwalking, and, in some cases, the itillimaniq of a child could be considered meaningful. Pisuk tells that his two sons were able to fly for a while, either with their body or only with their tarniq. Out of body travel is only briefly discussed at the very end of the chapter, almost as a prelude to Chapter 10, where it is the main topic.