; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, August 03, 2015

Alaska's 'Hairy Man'

There have been many stories concerning the 'Hairy Man' in Alaska...especially in the southwest part of the state. More specifically, the Yukon River Delta and Kenai Peninsula areas.

Recently, The History Channel started airing 'Missing in Alaska' which explores the mysterious 'Alaska Triangle.' The show is promoted as:

The Alaska Triangle, a region in northwest Alaska, has more unsolved missing person cases than anywhere else in the world. Over 20,000 people have vanished in the past 50 years alone. Who or what’s behind these cases is unknown. Some believe it’s the work of local predators or simply the rugged, dangerous terrain, but legends thrive in Alaska, and the ominous history of disappearances in the area has drawn comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle. Working together with local experts and eyewitnesses, our team of investigators will go case-by-case to gather evidence, conduct tests, examine history and explore local myths to determine the most viable explanation for the disappearances, all while trying to understand the sinister mystery that is the Alaska Triangle.

In the investigative group includes a former undercover police officer, a local folklorist and my colleague, fortean researcher / cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard

Missing in Alaska - Hunted by the Hairy Man

BTW...Ken Gerhard will be joining Sean and I on Arcane Radio - Monday August 10th at 10PM ET / 7PM PT

The following articles and posts reference the 'Hairy Man' and other Bigfoot legends of Alaska:

Dana Kopanuk and his nephew were setnetting for whitefish on the Tarperrnaq River on a fall afternoon in 2011 when he said he saw the Hairy Man.

Kopanuk tells the story at his kitchen table in Bethel. He illustrates it with a pencil drawing he made of the area where they saw the Hairy Man.

The two were approaching their net when they saw someone walking through the willows on the bank. Kopanuk says the willows and brush would have been taller than he was, but this creature that looked like a man could easily see over the top of foilage. Kopanuk first registered it as a person -- until he saw that this creature was larger, hairier, and not wearing clothes.

Kopanuk said this creature didn't act like a person.

"If he were from camp, he would wait for us," Kopanuk said.

The two fishermen watched the creature for about 10 minutes until they moved along the river and the creature moved out of sight. While watching, it was difficult to comprehend what they saw, but Kopanuk said when they discussed it later, they decided it must have been Hairy Man.

Many witnesses leave their name off their account, not wanting to be tied to these strange encounters.

"I say my name and I believe what I see," Kopanuk said.

Kopanuk says he doesn't have theories about the creature he said he saw.

"I don't know where they live. I don't know how they survive," he said.

Despite the sighting, Kopanuk said he wasn't scared when he saw the Hairy Man because the creature isn't known to try to hurt people. To him, the story is simple.

"I saw what I saw," he said. "I'm not trying to defend it or anything."

At the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge office, large-game biologist Spencer Rearden isn't buying it.

"As a biologist," Rearden said, "Hairy Man does not exist."

Rearden grew up in Bethel. He studies moose and caribou, and says he doesn't need to believe in Hairy Man because these animals are fascinating on their own.

"They're more interesting. I know they're there. I see them." Rearden said.

Rearden says it would take a lot of hard evidence to change his mind.

"We would have to have hair samples. We would see footprints, possibly photographs and video," he said.

Margaret Nagasiak said she may have found that evidence pressed into the tundra.

She shows the picture of a print that she found when she was picking berries with a few family members. She says the photo shows a clear outline of toes, as part of a footprint larger than an average human foot.

"It felt like someone was watching us, but we looked around and we didn't see anybody," she said.

That feeling was a clue for the group to leave. They also noticed another harbinger of the Hairy Man's presence.

"It had some kind of stink smell," Nagasiak said.

Eyewitnesses say they're just sharing what they saw, despite a measure of skepticism from others.

"He's out there somewhere," Nagasiak said. "We just can't find him." - Locals in Bethel Report 'Hairy Man' Sightings


Is there a Bigfoot on Alaska’s North Slope? One Barrow family thinks so, and it has them worried about a remote cabin property they own about 35 miles south of America’s northernmost community.

Sarah Skin has been camping at the cabin every year for the last half-century. In the last three years, she and her family say they've repeatedly seen 10-foot tall, bipedal creatures that are black, brown or grayish in color. Skin said that they've seen the creatures three years running, each time in the fall when the family heads to the cabin to hunt for caribou.

Before that, she’d never seen anything like the Bigfoot, as she refers to the mysterious beasts, anywhere near her cabin, located about halfway between Barrow and the community of Atqasuk.

“People from a long time ago used to see them, I guess,” Skin said. “I’m 50 years old and I've been camping out here my whole life, and I've never seen anything like this, ever.” - alaskadispatch

As the previous article states (through the link) there is a tradition of hairy hominids in Alaska...including the following:

Nantiinaq: Half Man, Half Beast

homertribune.com - Malania Helen Kehl, Nanwalek’s eldest resident, is frequently called upon around the village to impart her memories of how life used to be on this southern-most tip of the Kenai Peninsula.

Among her remembrances are medicines used to heal the sick and ways of preserving sea lion meat in barrels for winter. She also is one of the last to tell the ghostly story of how the village of Port Chatham came to be deserted; why the abandoned town was shunned, and those who once lived there vowed never to return.

Malania was born Jan. 25, 1934 at Port Chatham, then a small village founded at the edge of a peaceful moorage. The village once offered shelter for many people, including Capt. Nathaniel Portlock’s ship on his 1786 Alaska expedition. But when Malania was a baby, the family abruptly moved away from Chatham, leaving the house and every board of its frame behind.

What frightening situation caused John and Helen Romanoff to take their children and flee to Nanwalek?

“We left our houses and the school, and started all new here,” Malania said in a recent interview, speaking in her traditional Sugt’stun through translator Sally Ash. “There was plentiful land here for gardening and people. My parents built a house on the beach.”

What had frightened Malania’s parents hadn’t been a single event. Over a “long period of time,” a nantiinaq (Nan-te-nuk) – or big hairy creature – was reportedly terrorizing villagers. And Malania also told of the spirit of a woman dressed in draping black clothes that would come out of the cliffs.

“Her dress was so long she would drag it,” Malania said. “She had a very white face and would disappear back into the cliffs.”

The goose-bumped terror felt when people encountered these spirits was nothing compared to what happened to Malania’s godfather, Andrew Kamluck. He was logging in 1931, when someone or something hit him over the head with a piece of log-moving equipment. The blow reportedly killed him instantly.

Malania isn’t the only one to tell of strange events at Port Chatham. Port Graham Elder, Simeon Kvasnikoff, said he remembers when nantiinaq was blamed for the disappearance of a gold miner.

“This one guy over there had a little place where he was digging for gold,” Kvasnikoff said. “He went up there one time and never came back. No one found any sign of him.”

Another story recounted the experience of a sawmill owner named Tom Larsen, who had a job cutting wood for the old fish traps. He told of spotting nantiinaq on the beach once. After going back to his house to get his gun, he returned to the beach and “the thing looked at him,” Kvasnikoff said. For some reason, Larsen decided against firing a shot.

In an April 15, 1973 issue of the Anchorage Daily News, a feature article told of the abandoned cannery town of Portlock near Port Chatham. The writer had learned the story during an evening spent with the school teacher and his wife at English Bay (Nanwalek) while on a boat trip.

The story is told:

“Portlock began its existence sometime after the turn of the century as a cannery town. In 1921, a post office was established there, and for a time the residents, mostly natives of Russian-Aleut mix, lived in peace with their picturesque mountain-and-sea setting.”

According to the ADN story, sometime in the beginning years of World War II, rumors began to seep along the Kenai Peninsula that things were not right in Portlock. Men from the cannery town would reportedly go up into the hills to hunt Dall sheep and bear, and never return. Worse yet, sometimes stories would circulate about mutilated bodies that were swept down into the lagoon, torn and dismembered in a way that bears could not, or would not, do.

“Tales were told of villagers tracking moose over soft ground. They would find giant, man-like tracks over 18 inches in length closing upon those of the moose, the signs of a short struggle where the grass had been matted down, then only the deep tracks of the manlike animal departing toward the high, fog-shrouded mountains …”
The article goes on to tell how the fed-up townfolk decided to move en masse, and by 1950, the U.S. Post office had closed there.

Even into more recent times, nantiinaq reports haven’t stopped entirely. A man who prefers to remain anonymous tells his story.

“In 1990, while I was working as a paramedic in Anchorage, we got called out on an alarm for a man having a heart attack at the state jail in Eagle River. He was a Native man in his 70s, and after I got him stabilized with IVs, O2 and cardiac drugs, my partner and I began to transport him to the Native Hospital in Anchorage.”

En route to the hospital, the paramedic and the Native man, an “Aleut” from Port Graham, talked about hunting. The paramedic had been to Dog Fish Bay and was once weathered in there.

“This old man sat up on the gurney and grabbed me by the front of my shirt. He got right up to my face and said, ‘Did it bother you?’ Well, with that question, the hair just stood up on the back of my head. I said, ‘Yes.’ “Did you see it?” was his next question. I said “No. ..Did you see it?” He said “No, but my brother seen it. It chased him.”

In August of 1973, Ed and two others were bowhunting for goats and black bear when a storm forced them to take shelter in Dogfish Bay Lagoon.

“We beached our skiff and let the tide run her dry. After a dinner of broiled salmon we turned in to our tent. Back in those days, the best tent I had was a dark green canvas job with a center pole and no windows or floor. We left the fire burning and cleaned the pots and pans so as not to attract bears during the night and turned in,” Ed wrote.

The sky was clear, but the wind was howling through the old growth timber that lined the shore. Sometime around 2 a.m., Dennis woke Ed after hearing what sounded like footsteps outside the tent. It wasn’t a bear. Ed said the walking – or rather creeping – continued until it half circled the tent.

“In August, there is still some light in the sky until about 10 or 11. I recall that we all were embarrassed about being afraid about the coming night. We had a flashlight and the rifle in the tent between us, locked and loaded. I finally dosed off but woke right up when Dennis squeezed my leg. The illuminated hands of my watch showed it was 2:30. Joe was already sitting up and had the rifle in hand. I heard the first step, not more than about 10 feet from the back of the tent. Slowly. Then another and another. Whatever this was, it sounded like it was walking on two feet. It made the same semi-circle around the tent. When we finally got enough courage to crawl out of the tent and turn the flashlight on, we saw nothing. No tracks, nothing. The third night we decided if it bothered us again, we would come out of the tent shooting. We were actually scared. It never came back the third night and the following day we had a break in the weather and got the heck out of there.”

Though Sasquatches became something of a popular phenomenon in the 1960s and ‘70s in the Lower 48, the nantiinaq in Sugt’stun culture has been around for a long time. According to the culture, he might be a different kind of creature, a tragic half-man, half-beast who wasn’t always in this condition. He perhaps used to be fully human.

Elder Nick Tanape said he doesn’t discredit the stories about nantiinaq, but says he’s never seen one.

“I think there’s something to them,” he said.

Malania said that, once her family moved to Nanwalek, the nantiinaq stayed far away and left them in peace. It didn’t follow them, and for that they were grateful. She grew up, raised 13 children and remains one of the few regional elders who can pass on the old traditions.

Malania – a favorite among the young people of Nanwalek, especially when she tells stories – learned many things from her grandmother, who was a traditional healer.


Alaskan Cryptid: The 'Hairy Man'

The Urayuli or “Hairy Man” is a famous Cryptid located in Southwest Alaska. It has several other names, such as Arulataq, Bushman, Big Man, Tent Monster, Nant’ina, and Woodsman.

The Urayuli, as described, stands about 6 to 10 feet tall and is covered with shaggy, coarse hair or fur of approximately 2 to 4 inches long. It has glowing eyes and is said to look somewhat like the extinct primates. Its arms are elongated enough that the creature can reach its ankles.

The Urayuli lives in the wide tundra areas near Lake Iliamna. This quick and agile Alaskan Cryptid is oftentimes seen traveling at night and is a fast swimmer. It is often blamed for stealing fish and dogs, as well as destroying the tents of nearby campers. Many people from that particular region have their stories of encounters with the creature.

In 1956, a fisherman spotted the Urayuli as he was anchoring his fishing boat on the beach at night. A biologist from Ketchikan had later found and took a photograph of huge human-like footprints on the same beach.

In 1982, in the city of Dillingham, a hunting guide showed a picture that he had taken of the Urayuli standing on a mountain ridge. It had an approximate height of 10 feet and a weight of around 750 pounds, with long reddish brown fur.

In July of 1999, along the banks of the Kiseralik River in Alaska, a group was able to take a photo of a pair of huge wedge-shaped footprints that they had noticed in the mud. The footprints were estimated to be about 12 to 14 inches long and 3 inches deep, and were approximated to be at least 6 feet apart.

In the same year, a black-haired huge creature was seen standing on two legs in the Cold Bay of Belkofski. It stood about 14 feet tall and had the appearance of an Ape, with very long arms and legs.

Legendary accounts say that children who go out of the house at night get lost in the woods and are transformed into the Urayuli. Perhaps, this tale was told to children so they would be afraid to go out at night and stay at home instead.

Encounters with the Urayuli are mostly harmless and undisruptive. But, like any other beings or creatures, it will surely defend itself if it feels that its life is being threatened. - travelinalaska


The Delta Discovery reports on very interesting real-life encounters between the native people and the 'Big Hairy Man.' Here is one of the narratives:

Some years ago, my brother Allen and I went moose hunting up the Tuluksak River during one weekend in late September, when moose hunting used to be 30 days long. We brought along Mitchell, a friend who worked at the Bethel Hospital as a licensed practical nurse.

It took most of a day to get way up the Tuluksak River in a 40 hp short shaft and jon boat and we camped pretty close to the Kilbucks. The next morning, we heard a bull grunting upriver inside a feeder stream, so my hunting partners went to go check on it while I went off in the opposite way, a little downstream from our camp. My brother said they could hear the bull grunt and rake brush occasionally, and despite their best efforts to coax him out, it did not show himself.

I myself had stopped on the edge of a clearing on top of high ground and hid myself in brush to watch the river and clearing for animals. Some time later, I saw something walking across the clearing but it was walking upright like a human. I first thought it was an animal, either a moose or a bear, but as it came closer, I couldn’t really figure out what it was. I saw the upper part of the body – head and shoulders – above the tall grass, and when it reached high ground it walked with a side-to-side sway of the body, like a person does when climbing a hill.

Then I thought it might be another hunter – but as far as we knew, we were the only ones in the area and we didn’t see any other hunters or camps below us. The odd thing about this “person” was that it had reddish hair all over, and the morning sun glistened off its head and shoulders. It was a couple hundred yards away or more.

Then Mitchell or my brother broke a dry stick while walking down to camp. The noise of the breaking stick was loud during the calm sunny morning and it carried far. The man-beast suddenly straightened up and froze, looking in the direction of the noise. A few moments later, it side-stepped slowly toward a couple spruce trees about 18-20 feet away and stopped between them, standing still. It watched for a long time for the source of the noise.

I also watched the animal for a time. The hairy man never moved. After a while, I realized this was not an animal that I knew and I began to feel a little uncomfortable about it, so I slipped out of my hiding place and walked quietly back to camp.

When I told my brother I’d seen some kind of animal, he got excited that I might’ve seen a moose instead. We all went to check the spot where I saw the creature but it wasn’t there anymore.

In fact, we saw nothing more during our hunt so we headed back to Bethel before dark set in, since we all had to go back to work the next day.

In Search Of The Kushtaka: Alaska's Other Bigfoot The Land-Otter Man of the Tlingit Indians

Raincoast Sasquatch: The Bigfoot / Sasquatch Records of Southeast Alaska, Coastal British Columbia & Northwest Washington from Puget Sound to Yakutat

Arctic Homestead: The True Story of One Family's Survival and Courage in the Alaskan Wilds

Strange Stories of Alaska and the Yukon

Strange Northwest: Weird Encounters in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington