Saturday, June 9, 2012

Angikuni Lake

In 1930, a newsman in The Pas, Manitoba, reported on a small Inuit village right off of Lake Angikuni. The village had always welcomed the fur trappers who passed through occasionally. But in 1930 Joe Labelle, a fur trapper well known in the village, found that all the villagers had gone. He found unfinished shirts that still had needles in them and food hanging over fire pits and therefore concluded that the villagers had left suddenly. Even more disturbing, he found seven sled dogs dead from starvation and a grave that had been dug up. Labelle knew that an animal could not have been responsible because the stones circling the grave were undisturbed. He reported this to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who conducted a search for the missing people; no one was ever found.
Such is the story as it appears in Frank Edwards's 1966 book Stranger than Science; other versions appear in Whitley Strieber's science fiction novel Majestic (fiction) and Dean Koontz's horror yarn "Phantoms". The World's Greatest UFO Mysteries (presented as fact) has an even more detailed version, as do other websites and books, adding other standard details such as mysterious lights in the sky, empty graveyards, and over a thousand people missing. The earliest version of the story is found in the November 27, 1930, Danville Bee, written by journalist Emmett E Kelleher. That article contained a "photo" that was later found to be from 1909 and had nothing at all to do with the story. The incident appears to have been forgotten until referenced by Edwards's 1966 book.
The RCMP has since dismissed the case as an urban legend, claiming that the story originated in the book Stranger Than Science by Frank Edwards. The RCMP also states, "It is also believed that such a large village would never have been possible in such a remote area" (despite the fact that the aforementioned book the RCMP references mentions just 30 people and one grave). The RCMP states that it has no record of any unusual activity in the area.
Despite the modern RCMP explanation, an older one can be found from 1931, issued by the RCMP itself after an investigation that the modern RCMP does not acknowledge. The 1931 RCMP considered the whole story untrue, although later investigations indicate there may have been some permanent or seasonal abandonment of structures by their occupants, a normal event that could be confusing to anyone not familiar with the area and conditions—it was not sudden, and nothing of any real value was left behind. The November 1976 issue of Fate Magazine also studied the story, arriving at similar conclusions.