This part of Alaska has more unsolved missing person cases than anywhere else in the world.
Why does Alaska have a missing person rate that’s almost twice the national average? Alaska state troopers conduct hundreds of search and rescue missions every year, but rarely find any trace of bodies, dead or alive. It’s as if they vanish—quite literally—into the middle of nowhere.
It’s entirely possible Alaska’s harsh terrain is to blame, but then why are so many people and planes lost without a trace—and specifically, why is so much of it concentrated in one area?
Here lies The Alaska Triangle, an area that ranges from Juneau to the northern Barrow region to Anchorage. It gapes across miles of lakes, mountains and wide-open spaces—and it has an ominous reputation.
The Alaska Triangle drummed up tons of attention when House Majority Leader Hale Boggs’ plane vanished Oct. 16, 1972, somewhere on the way from Anchorage to Juneau for a campaign fundraiser.
This government disappearance triggered the largest search and rescue operation up to that point in US history. Still, 40 military aircraft and more than 39 search days yielded no sign of wreckage or survivors. No scrap metal, no frozen boots. Nothing.
If you ask the indigenous Tlingit tribe, they might blame an evil creature called a Kushtaka, which loosely translates to “land otter man.” Legend has it, this shape-shifter tricks innocents by imitating a child’s cry or a woman’s helpless scream. Then it lures victims to to a nearby river and tears them to shreds—or turns them into another Kushtaka.
If that’s too far-fetched for you, consider the vile vortex theory, which claims there are geographical areas all around the world that radiate extreme electromagnetic currents. The Bermuda Triangle is a famous example, but other theorists think Stonehenge, Easter Island and the Egyptian pyramids all lie on vile vortices.
These mysterious pulls allegedly affect both mind and body, causing visions, disorientation and confusion. Oh, and they cause engine malfunctions, which would explain the plane crashes.
The fact remains, that in a state with a population smaller than San Francisco’s, roughly four in every 1,000 people get lost. And the scariest — and most likely — truth is that desperate souls go to Alaska’s desolate tundra because they never want to be found.