Since pretty much the entire United States feels like it’s been transported to Alaska, I thought I’d share some stories about Alaskan ghosts. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many good ghost stories there are about the forty-ninth state. And, although I really hate to give anyone extra chills in this weather, these stories sent a shiver up my spine.
The first story is a Yupik Eskimo ghost story. (The Yupik are the indigenous people of Alaska and are related to the Inuit and Inupiat people.) This was told by an older member of the community in her native tongue and translated into English. I found the story at Tundra Medicine Dreams which is a blog by a Family Practice Physician’s Assistant who lived in Alaska among the Yupik people for a while.
Seeing a Ghost – by Minnie Carter, translated by Annie Carter
Once upon a time there was a white man who traveled from Quinhagak to Bethel by dogsled with an Eskimo man from Eek. The weather was really cold. The time was after Christmas. They came to the abandoned fish camp at Enhiak. They brought their food and stuff into a house and found out that they had no kettle. The white man couldn’t have tea in this cold weather.
They were camped near a graveyard. The white man said that he had seen kettles and pots by the graves. The Eskimo just wanted to make a campfire and have something to eat. The white man really couldn’t wait to have tea, but the Eskimo told him not to get a kettle from the graves. But the white man went up to the graves and picked up a kettle to make tea. The kettles and pots had small bird eggs in them. He dumped the junk out of the kettle and as he was coming back to the camp he bent down and put snow in the kettle and went into the house and put it on the fire. The kettle started to boil.
The white man made tea. The Eskimo didn’t want any tea.
After tea, when the Eskimo had eaten and the white man had had his tea, they got warm. They put wood on the camp fire. They got sleepy. When the days got shorter they started getting ready for bed early. Just when they were getting ready for bed they heard something which seemed to crack. It cracked harder at the door. They wondered what it was. The door was shaking and it seemed as though fog was coming around the door. The white man asked, “What is it?”
And the Eskimo said the ghost was coming in.
The fog went whirling up toward the ceiling. The white man didn’t believe there could be a ghost coming. On the floor, the grasses (grass mats used as floor coverings) stood up, even though the white man and the Eskimo stood on them, pinning them to the ground. The grasses stood straight up on the floor. The door had not opened when the ghost came in; it came in at the bottom of the door.
The ghost came in all white, his face was covered with something like leather, like muskrat on an old parka. The ghost came in all the way. The white man got scared and started running in the house. He was crying in the house, running around trying to get out, but the door could not be opened. The white man went over beside the Eskimo, and the Eskimo tried to think of what to do. The ghost was coming and the Eskimo stood up very fast. While this was going on they were afraid that the ghost might kill them by whirling them like a bome [ed. note: ? … no idea].
Then the Eskimo went right over to the ghost, as he used to hear was the right thing to do with ghosts, and put his hand on the ghost’s neck and it felt very cold, it was like the ashes from a burned wood fire, and as he had heard about ghosts, he put his hand on the ghost’s head. Then the ghost started going down under the ground, disappearing. When the Eskimo thought he’d try to push it harder, the ghost came back up a little. The ghost disappeared into the ground and the ground where the ghost disappeared was whirling. The Eskimo remembered that he used to hear stories about what to do about ghosts so he used his mukluks to step on the whirling ground and it stopped whirling. The grass mats on the ground that had stood up fell to the ground and the white man took the grasses and threw them outside very fast.
They started getting ready to go. They packed their bags. They packed their sleds and didn’t put out the campfire. They left the dogs ready to go when they went in the house. They didn’t want to waste time getting the dogsled ready.
They traveled not too far from where the graves were. Then the white man patted the Eskimo on the back and told him to look behind. It looked like a sun, a really red ball was following them. The Eskimo took out his knife and put marks on the snow crossways. They continued traveling. The red fire ball got to those marks and started sinking into the ground.
They started to get sick before they got to the village of Eek. Where the trash was, the Eskimo man told the white man that they would have to roll in the trash after they had seen a ghost. They rolled for a while. Then they got really sick. They went to the preacher’s house and left the dogs by the trash. In the house the preacher realized why they came and made some tea for them. They got really sick and started vomiting.
They were well the next day. They left and got to Napakiak safely. They were still scared and were really looking out for ghosts. Even though it was in the day time, they were scared.
Moral of that story – let’s not steal stuff from graveyards and then use them as kitchen utensils!
The next two stories were from a Facebook page called Native Ghost Stories. There are a lot of great stories on that page, about all kinds of ghost stories by indigenous people. Both of these entries are from someone who lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.
I grew up with a lot of experiences and I am going to start telling some of the stories. I think just about each house I have lived in, we have had things happen in. My first couple stories I will tell you happened in Fairbanks, Alaska. Please excuse my spelling and grammar because I’m on my phone..
When I was in 7th grade, my family rented a big beautiful log home and I lived there with my step dad, mom and brother. We heard that the man that built the house died of a stroke, and his widowed wife was a really nice white lady and we had a really good deal renting it.
One of my first experiences that I could not explain was, one time my mom told my brother and I to wash the dishes, So we decided to go upstairs first and grab the stereo and some CDs so we could listen to music while we cleaned the kitchen. We went to my brother’s room and the rooms were kind of weird and could actually be two in one rooms, if that makes sense.
Well, we opened the first door and I grabbed his stereo and my brother was going thru CDs and I was telling him what to grab and we were talking. Then all of a sudden, the second door in his room slammed open! We looked up and there was a big black figure standing against the wall! We screamed, and we both threw what we had in our hands.
We both tried going down the single person stairs at one time. You would think my older brother would let his sister go first, but we were trying to just get out of there. My mom remembers our blood curdling screams and heard us running downstairs.
I literally jumped into my mom’s lap!! We told my dad who never believes in things like that because he has never experienced anything like that in his whole life. He went upstairs and checked and nothing. This was the beginning of many stories
Here is her second story:
So I’m telling another story from when we lived in our log cabin in Fairbanks Alaska.
In Fairbanks it would get like -50 in the winter and we lived pretty far out and any neighbors were a good distance away. Well, I believe that somethings were meant for some people to see and experience and then you have people who have had no experiences so it’s hard for them to believe.
Well, we had two driveways and one was short and steep and we could sled down it, and one was long and that’s the only one we could use for our car. When it would be like -50, my brother and I, and even my mom, would see this figure at the end of our short driveway and it would pace back and forth. At times it looked like it glided. We knew it couldn’t be a person in that weather and why would they be walking back and forth?
This thing would show up and we would watch it. Almost like it knew it couldn’t come up the driveway. Let me remind you it would be like -50. We always had the plan to call 911 if it ever tried to come up the driveway but we knew it wasn’t a person. It would be down there for long time pacing, but as soon as my stepdad would get close to being home, it would be gone. My stepdad isn’t a believer and never really believed us. This is one of many stories at the Fairbanks log home.
See, another reason not to venture out when it’s below zero outside, you never know who might be gliding back and forth at the end of your driveway!!
Be safe! Stay warm! Cuddle up with a warm blanket and a good book – or tell ghost stories around a blazing fireplace. (And think warm thoughts!)
Like what you read? Find more stories by Terri Reid here.