Urban Legends

Alaska Triangle Urban Legend and the Kushtaka

Fans of the strange and mysterious are familiar with the Bermuda Triangle Urban Legend. However, there is a similar region in Alaska, full of the unexplained. And as you may have guessed, it’s called the Alaska Triangle.

The Story

Alaska Triangle

Twice as many people go missing in the Alaska triangle than the national average. Since 1988, over 16,000 folks have disappeared in this area—never to be found. This mysterious region runs from Anchorage in the south, to  Juneau in the southeast panhandle, to Barrow, a small town on the state’s northern coast.

Most Famous

In October 1972, a small private plane vanished while flying the Alaskan triangle. U.S. House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, Alaskan congressional representative Nick Begich, aide Russel Brown, and bush pilot Don Jonz were aboard. This tragedy brought the region to the attention of the public.

Fifty civilian planes and forty military aircraft, plus many boats, searched 32,000 square miles for the missing plane and its crew. The expansive search did not result in answers, however. Authorities found no men or plane or wreckage—not even remains. Not a trace.

Blame it On


Investigations blame Alaska’s harsh weather and unforgiving wilderness for these disappearances, however, the ingenious folks of this region blame something else.

The Tlingit call it Kushtaka or Kooshdakhaa, meaning land-otter man, a legendary shape-shifting creature that appears in numerous modern literary works. Like: Kushtaka by David Pierdomenico and William Giraldi’s novel Hold the Dark—which was made into a Netflix movie.

In Anne Mc Caffrey’s book Maelstrom: Book Two of The Twins of Petaybee, a shape-shifting deep sea otter that calls himself Kushtaka, appears.


In some accounts, the Kushtaka can assume the shape of any species of otter. Others suggest it can shift into only one kind of otter. Legends about the Kushtaka’s behavior conflict as well.

Some report it as cruel, luring Tlingit sailors to their deaths. In other retellings, it imitates the cry of a baby or woman, coaxing the person into the river. Once there, the Kushtaka shreds the person’s flesh from his/her/their body.

However, some suggest it is friendly and a hero, and saves lost persons from freezing. The Kushtaka gives the individual otter-like illusions of a family member or friend and transforms the lost soul into another Kushtaka, thus saving them from freezing.

Other Explanations

Some researchers believe a swirling, energy vortex—a portal to another dimension—occupies the Alaska Triangle. Entities from other worlds travel through this portal into the Alaskan wilderness and take lost people back with them. This would explain why investigators never find remains.

I rather like the Kushtaka legend or travelers from another dimension explanations for the disappearance of individuals and planes in the Alaska Triangle. Kushtaka, because it’s creepy. And entities taking lost individuals to another dimension beats freezing or starving to death.  How about you? 

Clara Bush
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10 replies on “Alaska Triangle Urban Legend and the Kushtaka”

Very interesting. I’ve never heard of any of this. What a crackerjack you are to bring the diversity of topics that intrigues you our way so that we, your readers, can delight in learning all kinds of weird and engaging tales.

I didn’t know of the Alaska Triangle. I do like hearing about the strange things that have happened like this, and of the Bermuda Triangle. I want to believe the people that disappeared were taken to another dimension, and are okay, just in a different place. 🙂

In reply to barbara.
Hiya Barbara, sorry for my late response. Sonia, my superhero web designer, was re-designing my webpage. Thank you for your comment. I like the portal to another dimension theory, also. I mean if I had a portal to another dimension, a remote region in the wilds of Alaska sounds like a perfect location.

Me too! Of course I’d want it to be a nice place, not scary! haha 🙂 I do see you have a new look to your blog. Very easy to read. 🙂

I vaguely remember hearing about the Alaskan Triangle when I was younger. Reading your blog brought that back to the surface. Now I want to go do more research. I am with you. I would rather believe they were swooped up into another place or time instead of freezing to death and bones being used as toothpicks for giant otters.

Hello Alicia, thank you for visiting. And please forgive my tardy response. My website has been in re-design mode for a bit, and we needed to work out a few kinks. Hahaha. I love “toothpicks for giant otters.” Too funny. Definitely agree, another dimension is far superior to being dessert. Please let us know if you find more to this Urban Legend. I’d love to hear it.

How about the Alaska black pyramid..
Big answers for the triangle shrouded in cover up an erased reports. I enjoyed the read on the kushdakkah my step dad is tlingit.

Gosh, Akimplant, don’t know how I missed your comment. Sorry. And thank you. Glad you enjoyed the Kushtaka blog. I haven’t heard of the Alaska black pyramid.But I will definitely check it out.—Thanks, again— Clara

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