- "I came here to this place many millions of years ago, before mankind was even upright. As aeons came and went, mankind appeared around me, and found names for me. Demon, spirit, Tuurngait."
- ―Tuurngait - Penumbra: Black Plague[src]
The Tuurngait is a sentient extraterrestrial being located under the North-Western Mine in the uninhabited frozen wastes of Northern Greenland, residing in a temple known as the Tuurngait Tomb of which a facility, Shelter Research Station, Greenland, was built around by the Archaic in order to study and contain the Tuurngait.
While it technically makes a minor appearance in Penumbra: Overture in the form of references throughout the game, the Persona Tardus artifacts, dogs and spiders of which it has infected with the Tuurngait Virus, it does not make a major appearance until it's role as the primary antagonist of Penumbra: Black Plague, and Penumbra: Requiem which takes place in the mind of Philip Buchanon after his death, an effect of the Tuurngait Virus.
Long before the arrival of the Archaic, the Tuurngait was worshipped by the Inuit, who believed it to be a benign spirit. However, when it was disturbed by the Archaic researchers, it spread itself through the ranks of the Shelter and turned them into husks that housed the Tuurngait's will within them. It tells Phillip at the end of Black Plague that it wishes no harm to humans, only wanting to be left alone. However, there are no signs that the Archaic actually wished harm to the Tuurngait, despite its claims to the contrary, and the notes found by the player all state that the Tuurngait virus was unleashed immediately after the discovery of the ruins.
This means that it's very possible that the virus was attempting to manipulate Phillip, which would explain why the monsters attempt to kill him throughout the series, despite the Tuurngait's statements that it wishes no harm. Left unexplained are the reasons that the Tuurngait felt it necessary to kill Clarence instead of simply reintegrating him, though this could be punishment for Clarence's separation from the Tuurngait in the first place, or that Clarence was unfit to be reintegrated (as the Tuurngait say "he was more human than he would have believed."). It's also unexplained why the animals in the first game were of lesser intelligence, according to Howard. The worms and spiders aren't explained either, but it seems likely that they were infected by the Tuurngait far earlier than when the Archaic set up shop there and mutated over time to fit its needs. Lastly, at the end of Black Plague, Philip seems to be succumbing to some form of infection, despite the Tuurngait's assurances that he was 'stronger' than Howard.
The Tuurngait's origins are unknown, remaining so throughout the series.
Tuurngait is actually part of Inuit Mythology
Some spirits were by nature unconnected to physical bodies. These figures were called tuurngait (also tornait, tornat, tornrait, singular tuurngaq, torngak, tornrak, tarngek). Some were helping spirits that could be called upon in times of need. Some were evil and monstrous, responsible for bad hunts and broken tools. They could also possess humans, as recounted in the story of Atanarjuat. An angakkuq with good intentions could use them to heal sickness, and find animals to hunt and feed the community. He or she could fight or exorcise bad tuurngait, or they could be held at bay by rituals; However, an angakkuq with harmful intentions could also use "tuurngait" for their own personal gain, or to attack other people and their tuurngait.
Though once Tuurngait simply meant "killing spirit", it has, with Christianisation, taken on the meaning of demon in the Christian belief system.
The Tuurngait Virus is a disease that can affect humans and animals, it was later discovered by the Archaic led by Philip's father Howard LaFresque and his crew members in Greenland. It was later tested and found out that one of its effects is mutation.
There are two Tuurngait Artifacts found through the Penumbra series. It is revealed by Dr. Amabel Swanson that the strange artifacts can spread the virus. The origins of the Artifacts origins are unexplained, however given names in the Greenland Site note.
Persona Tardus Edit
Persona Tardus artifacts seen throughout the three Penumbra series. These artifacts are Tuurngait in origin, and, in Penumbra, save the game when clicked. They are thought to absorb the memory and flesh of humans who touch them. They also resurrect Philip if he dies, however, they most likely do not have the effect of reviving Philip within the canon universe, as Philip isn't resurrected after the end of Penumbra: Black Plague.
Finis Specialis Edit
Persona Tardus are artifacts only found in Penumbra: Black Plague, acting as collectables that, once all have been collected, gives the player a reward. In-universe, they are regarded by the Archaic as having little real value, however are of great collectable value to the Lower Caste, likely a reference to the fact that they only serve to be collected for the reward for having all of them.
- The Tuurngait Artifacts also make a cameo in Penumbra developer Frictional Games' following game Amnesia: The Dark Descent as an easter egg.
- The Tuurngait in this particular game, as shown in the profile picture, have some vague Lovecraftian feel to them, being an ancient, Eldritch, unknowable alien horror. A theme that carries over to Amnesia: The Dark Descent as well.
|Major||Philip Buchanon • Tom "Red" Redwood|
|Archaic||Howard LaFresque • Spider Hater • Wilbur Frisk • Eloff Carpenter • Amabel Swanson • Richard Eminiss|
|Tuurngait||Tuurngait Hivemind • Clarence • Tuurngait Infected|