The Port Chatham Horror
I don’t want to be hypocritical. I just finished typing a scathing indictment of the stupid. In particular, people who will believe anything they read on the Internet without even considering that it might not be true or they might want to investigate to determine whether or not it is true before they start shouting it from the social media rooftops. I love folklore. I love forteana. And I come across stuff all the time on the Internet that makes for good articles, thus I write about said stuff. Does that make me guilty of also spreading misinformation, even if my purpose is merely to entertain? I hope not. I do try, whenever I link to something about which I doubt the veracity, to tell the reader that the information is unsubstantiated. The deal with Port Chatham, Alaska is like that. I cannot say conclusively where the legend ends and the facts begin with this one. Take it as a mixture of the two.
It is a fact that people have disappeared in and around Port Chatham. This is Alaska we’re talking about, so that in itself isn’t so unusual. But are the numbers disproportionate? And is there something more than the harsh terrain and weather responsible? According to ALASKA MAGAZINE: “Nanwalek elder Malania Helen Kehl, who was born in Port Chatham in 1934…explained that her parents, along with the rest of the village, grew weary of being terrorized by a creature the Alutiiq called a Nantiinaq, meaning half-man, half-beast…many of the residents refused to venture into the surrounding forests, and over time, abandoned their homes and the village school, and moved…Earlier records made by [a local] cannery…showed that the site had been vacated once before. The cannery supervisor noted in 1905 that all the Native workers evacuated the area because of ‘something’ in the forest…The stories did not stop with the abandonment of the village. A goat hunter in 1968 claimed to have been chased by a creature while he was hunting in the area. In 1973, three hunters took shelter there during a three-day storm and claimed that each night something walked around their tent on what sounded like only two feet.”
Is there really a “Nantiinaq”? Is it the same thing as a Sasquatch or a Yeti? And did it cause the residents of Port Chatham to abandon their village in fear? If I were actively trying to spread disinformation, I would proclaim a hearty “Yes!” to those questions. As it is, well, it’s a fascinating story, isn’t it? True? I don’t know. I know that it’s true that there are legends.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!