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.
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.
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.
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?