There are only two ways to recognize a Mitnaga-toj (miht nah gah TOHZ). One is if she shows you her true form. If that happens, you are going to die. Right now. It’s going to be painful; make your peace and get over it. She is not going to let you live.

The other, this is key to staying alive, is to look for the details. Mitnaga-toj aren’t shapeshifters, they put up an illusion, a projection, sort of, of a normal human being. This requires a concentrated effort on their part—if they slip up, that’s your cue to get the hell out of Dodge.

They’ve got to keep up everything—hair, skin, voice—so it really gives you ample opportunity to find the clues you need SO LONG AS YOU PAY ATTENTION.

If your friend or your mom or your boss or whoever starts acting funny, sure it could just be a cold. And the Mitnaga-toj will have access to all of their memories so trying to trick them that way won’t work.

  • Since their body is just an illusion, they won’t eat or drink any real food/drink in front of you—it would just fall to the ground. HOWEVER: They may create illusionary food/drink so that they appear to be eating/drinking.
  • Look for things like birthmarks—while she’s too concentrated on making it look like she’s breathing, she might forget about that little freckle on “his” left hand, or that scar on “her” knee.
  • Things that require movement are even harder for them to keep up: Clothes will be simple, probably formfitting so they won’t move around much. Hair is a big one—does it seem like their hair is actually blowing in the wind, or like she’s making it look like it is?
  • Smells may be strange—smells are very important to Mitnaga-toj, that’s how they find their prey, so they usually don’t let them fall by the wayside; but strong perfume and the like will irritate them. It covers up all the other smells and they can’t tell who’d be easy prey or not, so they can’t hunt, and it’ll bother their sensitive noses.
  • Shadows are the biggest one. She’s not only got to imitate how her body’s shadow would show up, she’s got to cover up her real one. If it seems like “their” shadow isn’t moving correctly—sort of like how cloth or hair moves underwater is how it usually looks, as opposed to matching the person’s body exactly—that’s a telltale sign. You’re not going to get a better one then that. If the shadow is missing, or part of it don’t seem to match the body, she’s being lazy—she could easily be on the hunt, your best move would be to get out of there before she decides you look like dinner.

If you honestly see her shadow, you’ll know why you want to get out of there. Try not to let on—go quickly but don’t make any sudden moves; don’t draw attention to yourself. Just get out of there.

Fighting her would be useless, don’t attempt. If she seems to have one of your friends or family don’t play the hero—assuming it’s not an illusion, they’re done for. Concentrate on getting the rest of your friends and family members to safety instead. If she’s impersonating a friend or family member, they are already dead and probably have been for a while. Don’t try to “talk them out of it,” it’s not them and it never was, it’s just an illusion.

Remember, the devil’s in the details—an early warning is the best way to escape.

PAY ATTENTION. Your life could depend on it.