New 2019 Cryptozoology Documentary – Nakani: The Wildman of the North

New 2019 Cryptozoology Documentary – Nakani: The Wildman of the North


Deep in the wilderness of Northern
Canada lies a mysterious region around which strange tales have swirled for
more than a hundred years. Located near the junction of British Columbia, Yukon,
and the Northwest Territories, the Nahanni Valley is a region replete with stories
of headless prospectors, hidden gold mines, tropical oases, lost tribes, evil
spirits, Indian curses, prehistoric monsters, and a mysterious ‘White Queen’.
For about a year now, the legends of the Nahanni have enjoyed a resurgence in
popularity. They have been mentioned in many different YouTube videos and
podcasts. A group of filmmakers from Calgary, Alberta, are currently in the
process of making a brilliant documentary on them called ‘Secrets of
Nahanni’. To learn more about this project, please check out the link in the
description. Quite a few people have seen my video ‘Interview with a Cryptid Hunter’,
in which I interviewed Frank Graves, an adventurer who made an expedition to the
Nahanni region in 1965. By the way, if you enjoyed that video, I have a feeling that
you’ll love another of my videos entitled ‘Legends of the Nahanni Valley:
Northern Canada’s Greatest Mysteries’, which also features and is narrated
entirely by the actress Kelsea Crowe. To find that video, just type the word
“Nahanni” into the YouTube search bar. The popularity of the Nahanni legends
seems to wax and wane over time, and to change with every generation. Back in the
early 1900s, the most popular of the Nahanni stories was the tale of the Lost
McLeod Mine, a golden bonanza and the Mackenzie Mountains discovered and lost
by two brothers who were found headless on the banks of the South Nahanni River.
In the 1940s, newspaper readers across Canada and the United States were
captivated by tales of a tropical oasis hidden away somewhere in the Nahanni
region where snow never fell and ice never formed. In the 1970s, the stories of
all the trappers and prospectors who have disappeared or turned up headless
in the Nahanni region turned the heads of magazine readers across the North
American continent. Today, however, the most popular of the Nahanni tales are
undoubtedly the stories of the many strange animals which are said to
inhabit this secluded vale in the Canadian subarctic.
In this video, we’re going to focus on one of those creatures, namely a
mysterious figure said to haunt the frozen forests of northern Canada. Very
little known outside of the Canadian territories and Alaska, this figure most
closely resembles the Sasquatch said to roam the rainforests of the Pacific
Northwest. To the Dene people who have inhabited the Athabascan wilderness
since time immemorial, however, these creatures are known as Nakani. The
script for the following video is essentially made up of excerpts from my
book ‘Legends of the Nahanni Valley’, edited slightly for the sake of context and
continuity. If you haven’t done so already, please consider getting yourself
a copy of this book. It consists of thirteen chapters detailing various stories and
legends endemic to the Nahanni region, and is the first and only book to deal
exclusively with the topic. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone with
an interest in history, folklore, mysteries,
cryptozoology, or the far-flung corners of the globe. To get yourself a copy of
this book, please check out the link in the description. “That he had nowhere seen the slightest
Indian sign bore out the redskin reports that the country was taboo and recalled
their superstitions that it was haunted by a race of prehistoric Troglodytes, or
Nakanies, as they called them, with repulsive gargoyle-like faces who lived
in caves cut from the living rock; creatures reported to be twice the size
of ordinary humans, who never missed a chance to carry off unwary hunters or
stray squaws and their powerful gorilla- like arms.” – Philip H. Godsell, ‘The Curse of
Deadman’s Valley’, 1950. From the Yowie of Australia to Yeren of China to the
Yeti of the Himalayas, huge hairy wildmen feature in folklore around the world,
and Canada is no exception. Undoubtedly, the Great White North’s most famous
wildman is the Sasquatch- the shy, reclusive giant said to roam the
rainforests of the Pacific Northwest; often colloquially referred to as
‘Bigfoot’. Less well-known are the Sasquatch’s coastal counterparts- the
emaciated long-haired Bukwus, or “Wild Man of the Woods”, said to haunt the
rivers and streams of Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Sound; and the
huge, dim-witted Dzunukwa of Kwakiutl and Nootka legend- an old, black-skinned,
red-lipped ogress purported to snatch up mischievous children and carry them
off in a basket to her forest lair. More obscure wildmen have been reported in
other parts of the country, from the Rocky Mountains of Western Alberta to
the rocky highlands of Labrador. Perhaps most mysterious of all, however, are the
various subhuman hominids said to inhabit the taiga, tundra, and alpine
areas of the Canadian North. Among the most prominent of these are the Nakani. Long before 18th Century Scottish explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie dipped
his paddle into the river which would come to bear his name,
Dene tribes from all over the North, from the eastern shores of the Mackenzie
River to the forests of Alaska, spoke of a mysterious wildman who harassed them
at night, often lurking in the shadows just beyond the light of the campfire.
The Dene were terrified of these elusive creatures, who were as vividly
real to them as the wolf and the raven, went to great lengths to avoid crossing
paths with them. One of the first frontiersman to write about these wildmen
was Father Emile Petitot, a 19th Century Oblate missionary who lived
among the Slavey and the Sahtu Dene of the North Country’s two great lakes. In
1876, Petitot wrote of a fear that spread among
the Indians each summer like an epidemic: “They live at times in continual terror
of an imaginary and me who pursues them without rest, and who they believe to
see everywhere, even though he doesn’t exist at all.” According to ethnographer
Cornelius B. Osgood, belief in the Nanaki was strong among the Slavey, Dogrib,
and Sahtu Dene a as late as 1929. When they suspected that a Nakani was lurking
nearby, entire Dene bands would often abandon their camps and seek shelter on
a nearby lake island, secure in the belief that their pursuer, for one reason
or another, was unable to cross over to the new campsite from the shore. On other
occasions, according to a Hudson’s Bay Company trader named John Firth, entire encampments would instead stand their ground and fire their muskets “into
the forest at suppositious wanderers in the night.”
According to H.B.C. trader B.R. Ross in his 1879 report entitled ‘Notes in the Tinneh
or Chipewyan Indians of British and Russian America’: “A strange footprint or
any unusual sound in the forest is quite sufficient to cause great excitement in
the camp. At Fort Resolution I have, on several occasions, caused all the natives
encamped around to flock for protection into the fort during the night simply
by whistling, hidden in the bushes. My train of hauling dogs also, of a large
breed of great hunters, would, in crashing through the branches in pursuit of an
unfortunate hare, frighten some women out gathering berries, who would rush in
a frantic haste to the tents and fearfully relate a horrific account of
some strange painted Indians whom they had seen. It was my custom in the spring,
during the wild foul season, to sleep outside at some
distance from the fort. Numerous were the cautions that I received from the
natives in my foolhardiness in doing so.” The names that the Indians applied to
their mysterious unseen enemies varied from place to place and from tribe to
tribe. To the Slavey, Kaska, and Mountain Indians of Mackenzie Country, they were
‘Nakani’. The Gwich’in who lived further to the north, in the frozen forest that
skirt the Arctic Circle, referred to them as ‘Mahoni’. The Koyukon Indians of the
Yukon River Valley called these creatures “Nakentlia”, or “Sneakers”, while
the Tanaina of Southwest Alaska referred to them as “Nantina”, or “Hairy Men.” Other
appellatives included “Bad Indian”, “Bellowing Man”, and “Bushman”. Although the
labels attached to these wildmen were numerous, Indian descriptions of them
were eerily consistent across the Northland. Most 19th and 20th Century
frontiersman who wrote about the Nakani in their books and journals were under
the impression that the Dene regarded them as hairy cannibalistic giants,
vaguely human in appearance, with red eyes and long muscular arms. According to
English adventurer Michael H. Mason in his 1924 book ‘The Arctic Forests’, the
Gwich’in of Peele River Country in the Northern Yukon described the Nakani-
or the ‘Mahoni’, as they called them- as “terrible wildmen with red eyes and of
enormous height, completely covered with long hair”. Their tremendous size was
attested to by the three-foot-long human-like footprints that they left in
their wake, as well as their alleged ability to tear entire birch trees from
the earth with their bare hands, roots and all. Similarly, Philip Godsell, who
spent much time around the campfires of the Slavey and Kaska during his years
as an inspector for the Hudson’s Bay Company, described the Nakani as
“troglodytes, twice the size of ordinary humans, who went about naked save for a
coating of evil-smelling hair”. In some articles, he likened them to gorillas and
gargoyles, and commented upon the superhuman strength and speed that was
said to possess. Many frontiersmen wrote about the incredible size of these
creatures’ footprints, which they left behind in the snow and muskeg.
Their tracks were purportedly man-like in appearance, yet much longer and
narrower. In some accounts, their big toe stood out from the remaining four.
Although their footprints never bore any nail marks, some said that the Nakani’s
fingers were tipped with long nail-like claws. By the mid 20th Century, the image
of the Nakani as an enormous hairy monster was making its way into books and
popular magazines, often in dramatic fashion. For example, an article entitled
‘Cursed Treasure of Deadman’s Valley’, published in the June 1968 issue of the
magazine ‘Saga’, maintained that the Nakani were “hairy demons who stand as high as a
Kodiak bear, are as swift as a bird in flight, and kill all things they can reach by
cutting off their heads. Their skin is so tough that a bullet will not penetrate
it, and cutting it with a knife is more difficult than cutting stone.” The Kaska,
Slavey, and Mountain Indians of Mackenzie Country long maintained that the Nahanni
Valley was the domain of the Nakani, and that these fearsome monsters resided
within its foreboding caves and canyons. This belief is attested to by the
region’s toponymy. According to Dene language expert Allen Adam, “Nahadee”, an
old native word for the South Nahanni River, means “River of Giants”. The Nakani were by no means confined to these remote mountain hideaways. Many of these
monsters tirelessly traversed the subarctic forests in search of prey,
often traveling extraordinarily-long distances without stopping for food or
rest, usually alone. Natives all over the Northland, from the coastal regions of
Alaska to the forests of the Yukon, lived in almost perpetual fear of them.
Nakani attacks occurred almost exclusively during the spring, summer, and
early autumn. The subarctic winter, on the other hand, though dark, miserable, and
bitterly cold, was mercifully devoid of these dreaded encounters. Where the
Nakani retreated to during the winter months was a mystery to the Dene. Some
said they retired to carefully concealed burrows that they dug from the
permafrost, where they spent the winter hibernating like bears. Others claimed that
they migrated south to a place where their kind were more numerous. Like the Nahanni Indians, the Nakani have
been blamed for the unusual number of mysterious deaths and disappearances
that have plagued Nahanni country since the days of Willie and Frank McLeod.
Legend has it that these monsters did their grisly work at night, prowling
about the river valley in the dark and quietly dispatching any campers they
happen to encounter, perhaps tearing, twisting, or hacking their victims’ heads
from their shoulders. Outside the Mackenzie Mountains, the Nakani hunted
traveling Indians, stalking them from concealment in the brush. Oftentimes, a Nakani’s intended victims only became aware of its presence when one of their
number, perhaps a scout on reconnaissance duty, stumbled upon its strange tracks in
the forest, or caught a glimpse of its dark figure out of the corner of his eye,
darting noiselessly into the bush. In other instances, the uncanny feeling of
being watched might serve as sufficient proof that a Nakani was somewhere nearby.
When a Nakani targeted a particular camp, it took up residence in the trees just
beyond the light of the campfire and waited. Sometimes it taunted its
intended victims by throwing rocks and sticks at them. It also, on occasion,
emitted strange whistling sounds or noises resembling human laughter. Often,
it would slip into camp in the middle of the night and steal food, typically fish,
either from drying racks or smokehouses, or destroy fish nets and other equipment.
Legend has it that the purpose of the Nakani’s visits were twofold. Its primary objective was
stealing women. Girls who strayed too far from the camp, especially at dawn or dusk,
were in serious danger of being abducted and dragged away into the woods, never to
be seen again. The other motivation that drew these monsters to Dene camps was
sustenance. If afforded the opportunity, Nakani would
snatch children and lone hunters and carry them off into the woods, where it
would devour them. On rare occasions, intended victims- most often young women-
narrowly escaped the Nakani’s clutches and returned to tell the tale. Those who
survived such encounters often described a powerful, nauseating odor which
preceded the attack. Others reported being beset by an overwhelming, almost
petrifying sense of dread, as if the Nakani had exercised some sort
of hypnotic power over them. Frontiersmen weren’t the only white men to document
the Nakani phenomenon. Another category of Caucasian to write about these
subarctic wildmen were ethnologists and anthropologists- professional academics
who included the tale in their peer-reviewed articles on Dene culture
and beliefs. Interestingly, the majority of these scholars extracted an entirely
different version of the Nakani legend from the Indians whom they interviewed.
In this version, the Nakani are not huge hairy hominids, but rather a
strange-looking bedraggled Indians. Most academics who wrote on the subject agreed that the Nakani, according to their Dene informants, were Indians who became
wild after engaging in murder or cannibalism. As a result of their hard
life in the bush and their separation from society, they acquired a frightening,
grotesque appearance. Their faces were gaunt and their bodies emaciated on
account of malnutrition. Their skin was often caked with filth and grease, their
hair unkempt, and their clothing worn and ragged. Oftentimes, their outfits were
strange or incomplete. One knife-wielding Nakani,
for example, was said to have been seen wearing nothing more than hard-soled
shoes made from untanned hides and a headscarf. Others were purported to wear
strange boots which could not be purchased at any trading post in the
region. Although the Nakani described by academics were literally wild men bereft
of civilization, some of the attributes with which they were ascribed were
distinctly inhuman. For example, although Osgood described the Nakani as “a
human being, generally an Indian, dressed either in the fashion of an Indian or a
white man,” he also maintained that it wore “tremendously large
boots which are noted by the tracks he leaves in the mud”- tracks
evocative of the long, narrow footprints left by the hairy giant of frontier
legend. In a similar vein, anthropologist Richard K. Nelson wrote that the Koyukon
Indians of the Yukon River Valley described the Nakani as being among the
“large animals”- a creature that was neither Man nor Beast, but something in
between. Most academics dismissed these inhuman
qualities as inevitable distortions added by Dene storytellers who hoped to
make their tales more interesting to the listener. The Nakani, they firmly
maintained, was nothing more than a man (or, in rare occasions, a woman) who became
separated from society, either having been banished for some crime he
committed or isolated through some tragedy such as starvation or revenge
warfare which claimed the lives of everyone else in his band. The Dene were
afraid of these wild Indians because they considered them crazy and
unpredictable, well aware of the deleterious effect of extreme isolation
on one’s mental state. Many of those who have written on the subject have
concluded that the Nakani was a boogeyman who served to dissuade women,
children, and lone hunters from wandering too far from the safety of the camp.
These people maintained that the Nakani legend is probably a relic of bygone
times when the Dene tribes of the Canadian North were in a state of total
warfare with one another. During those days, Dene raiding parties would
stealthily approach their enemies’ camps during the night and, hiding in the brush,
would steal any women and children they found alone on the outskirts. As Poole
Field put it in one of his letters, “In trying to run the stories down, and by
careful investigation, I’d finally come to the conclusion that it originated
from the old days when practically all the Indians at one time or another used
to make raids on each other, and would take anything of value found in the camp
conquered, killing the men and taking any women or young girls or boys back to
their own camp. After Dawson was struck and the civilized portion of the country
became policed, it was given up, but still, some of the younger men, and also some of
the older ones, would take hunting trips into the country that was claimed by
other tribes, and while doing this they would hang around any Indian camp at
night in some case they would capture a young girl that some of them had taken a
fancy to and take her back to their own tribe. Each tribe, if the occasion just
came right, would give a foreign tribe a good scare anyway, even if they didn’t do
any worse. In the tribe that I was traveling, with there was a grandmother
that had been stolen as a girl from the
Pellies, and another from the [Loucheux] tribe at Peele River, and I know several
on the Pelly at the time of which I write.” Some believed that the Nakani legend
specifically derived from warfare between Dene tribes and the more
southerly Cree, who, equipped with HBC muskets that were far superior to
traditional Dene weapons, invaded the North Country in the late 1700s,
pressured by their fur trading rivals to the south. One of the most intriguing
theories regarding the nature of the Nakani
is that this figure is a ‘cryptid’ or ‘hidden animal’, specifically a species of
great ape endemic to North America. Some cryptozoologists (as experts in the study
of hidden animals are known) suggest that the Nakani might be the same
species as the Sasquatch, another suspected North American hominid. Some
have theorized that it is a remnant Neanderthal or Denisovan- archaic
humans generally believed to have gone extinct about 40,000 years ago. Others
believe that it might be a relative of Gigantopithecus, an enormous, possibly
bipedal ape that disappeared from the jungles of Southeast Asia around
100,000 years ago. Others still hypothesize that the Nakani is an
entirely new species of hominid which has yet to be accepted by the scientific
community, Homo sapiens, or modern humans, are the only species of great ape widely
believed to have migrated to the Americas in ancient times.
If archaic humans or some other variety of great ape really traveled to the
Americas in prehistoric times, how did they do it? Most anthropologists believe
that the first humans to arrive in the Americas traveled from Siberia to Alaska
via an ancient bridge of land and ice. The first of these nomads are believed
to have followed large game herds across the Bering Strait around 13,000 years
ago, near the end of the last Ice Age. At that time, North America was dominated by
two great glaciers: the western Cordilleran Ice Sheet and the
easterly Laurentian Ice Sheet, which met at a point just east of the Rocky
Mountains. During an event known as the Wisconsin Glacial Epoch, these glaciers
began to melt, opening up a longitudinal passage that ran down the length of the
continent. Seeking greener pastures, many of the nomads followed this passage south.
Their descendants multiplied and scattered across North and South America,
forming the various nations whose members are collectively known today as
Amerindians. Is it possible that other less advanced hominids- perhaps the
ancestors of the Sasquatch or the Nakani- also crossed from Siberia to the
Americas via Beringia? Fossil evidence clearly indicates that both Neanderthals
and Denisovans inhabited Northeast Asia around the same time as Homo sapiens. And,
intriguingly, Russian folklore contends that the Altai mountains of Central Asia
and the boreal forests of Siberia are home to hairy subhumans eerily evocative
of North American wildmen, known respectively as the “Almas” and the “Chuchunya”. Although most scientists believe that human beings were the only hominids
to make their way to the New World prior to the Age of Exploration, a tantalizing
archaeological discovery made near the Gwich’in village of Old Crow, Yukon, in the
late 1970s indicates that the Canadian North was occupied by intelligent tool-
wielding animals at least 12,000 years before the first Paleo-Indian set foot
on Alaskan soil. In the Bluefish Caves, located about 110 miles from the shores
of the Arctic Ocean, anthropologist Jacques Cinq-Mars
discovered a mammoth bone which appeared to have been fashioned into a caribou
fleshing tool around 20,000 BC. More recently, some archaeologists have argued
that a mastodon bone unearthed near San Diego, USA, during a routine highway
excavation in the early 1990s, coupled with a handful of primitive stone tools
discovered nearby, constitutes proof that some sort of intelligent hominid lived
in the Americas as early as 130,000 BC. The bone in
question bore spiral fractures which indicated that someone, or something, had
smashed it with a rock when it was still fresh, presumably in an attempt to gain
access to the nutritious marrow within. Flat cobblestones and round stones
discovered nearby bore markings which implied their employment as primitive
hammers and anvils. One of the most intriguing pieces of evidence supporting
the notion that the Nakani are real flesh-and-blood cryptids is the fact
that they share a number of peculiar attributes with
supposed wildmen from all over the world. For example, 19th Century Slavey
trappers, whose only connection with the Outside was through a handful of
missionaries and the HBC traders with whom they haggled, claimed that the
Nakani made whistling calls, left behind huge footprints, had a penchant for stone
throwing, and emitted a putrid odor somewhat akin to the smell of rotten
flesh- characteristics which the Coast Salish of the Fraser Delta ascribed to
the Sasquatch, and Aborigines of the Australian Outback to their own wildman,
the Yowie. Harrowing stories of encounters with the Nakani have been a
staple of Dene campfire conversations for countless generations. Unfortunately,
most of these tales have long since been lost to history, as is so often the case
with oral lore. One old Dene story which survived to the present day, recorded as
it was in 1964 by northern folklorist Charles J. Keim, tells of a Nakani
which haunted the woods surrounding Old Crow, Yukon, not far from the Bluefish
Caves. According to this narrative, a young girl tasked with gathering spruce
branches for her bed wandered a little too far from the camp. The Nakani, who had
been watching her from concealment in the trees, “snatched the girl and
took her back to his cave”. There, he bound her hands with babiche and
tethered her to a tree stump situated just outside the cave’s mouth so that she
could not escape. After spending several days outside the Nakani’s lair, the
girl asked the wildman to give her some privacy.
The monster obliged and turned his back while she moved behind the tree stump,
contenting himself with holding one end of her tether in his hand. Somehow, the
girl managed to free herself from her bonds when the Nakani was not looking.
She stripped naked, dressed the stump with her clothes and bonnet, tied her
tether to the stump, and stealthily slipped away into the woods, homeward
bound. When some time had elapsed, the Nakani, oblivious, called out to the
girl to see if she still required privacy. When she failed to answer him, he
tugged on her tether and was surprised to find that he could not move her. The
wildman began to sing a love song and move towards what he thought was his
prisoner, dancing as he went. “What a surprise he had,” wrote Keim, “when
he leaped and hugged a stump!” In the 2007 book ‘The History and Stories of the
Gwichya Gwich’in”, Eliza Andre, a Gwich’in elder from the settlement of Tsiigehtchic,
Northwest Territories, located at the confluence of the Mackenzie and Arctic Red Rivers, related an old local story involving a Nakani. Once, an old woman and
her grandson went out into the bush to snare rabbits. One day, when they were
inspecting their traps, the grandson stopped dead in his tracks. “Grandmother,”
he said. “I hear something.” “What do you hear?” the old woman asked. “Back past our
trail, someone is making noise”. The old woman listened very carefully until she,
too, heard the sound. Immediately, she stuffed the rabbit she had snared into a
bundle, threw the bundle over her shoulder, and set out for camp as fast as
she could, urging her grandson to follow quickly. When the pair finally reached
their tent, the old woman promptly built a fire,
hastily skinned the rabbits, and threw their intestines onto the burning wood.
Slowly, the intestines began to sizzle. “By this time,” wrote Andre, “they could both
hear someone making noise inside their camp. Someone was approaching their camp,
drawing nearer and nearer.” In preparation for their encounter with
what could only be a Nakani, the old woman gathered the hot
intestines and crouched by the door of the tent, waiting.
Sure enough, the intruder, who was indeed a Nakani, poked his head through the tent
opening. His ravenous eyes fell upon the old woman and her grandson. Immediately,
the old woman slapped the creature in the face with the hot intestines. The
Nakani howled in pain and surprise and reeled back from the tent, clutching his
scalded face. With a heavy thump, he landed on the ground and lay still. “The
following morning,” Andre continued. “they went out to investigate the incident of
the previous night. They found a big bushman stretched outside their camp.
They did not bother to do anything to him but instead retired to their tent,
never to be bothered again for a long, long time.” It is possible that the first white men
to have a brush with a Nakani were HBC engage John McLeod and his crew during
their expedition up the West Branch of the Liard River in the summer of 1831.
One night, while resting by the fire after a long day of tracking and
portaging, the voyageurs were harassed by an unseen assailant who hurled stones at
them from the shadows. Although McLeod speculated that this
marauder was probably a Nahanni Indian, native legend suggests that this stone
throwing provocateur, considering his behavior, may have been a Nakani. In his
2002 book ‘Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology”, author George M.
Eberhardt related a Nakani encounter had by a native named Paul Peters in August,
1960. While at his fishing camp, located ten miles down the Yukon River from Ruby,
Alaska, Peters watched a Nakani make its way along a rocky beach towards his
dogs, “which were whining and acting strange”. The creature was broad- shouldered and very muscular, and walked
on two legs like a man. It was covered in black hair and was about 6’6” tall. Suddenly, perhaps frightened by the dogs, the Nakani altered its
course, climbed a steep hill overlooking the river, and disappeared into the bush. Far from being an obsolete phenomenon
relegated to the 19th and 20th Centuries, Nakani sightings still occur with
casual frequency in the wilderness of Northern Canada in Alaska. On July 28,
2016, for example, the CBC published an article describing a Nakani encounter
reported by Tony Williah, a Dogrib native from the settlement of Whati, Northwest
Territories. Earlier that month, while boating from his hometown to the
northern tip of Lac la Martre, Williah spied a plastic bag bobbing in the
water. Hoping to retrieve the object, he pulled his boat alongside it. While he
reached down to grab the bag, a rogue wave tipped his boat over, and Williah found
himself immersed in freezing water. After struggling in vain to right his vessel
and climb back inside, he decided to swim for the nearest island. Hampered though
he was by his waterlogged clothing, he managed to reach the island and crawl
onto its rocky shore, exhausted and chilled to the bone. “All of a sudden,”
Williah told the CBC, “there was a big man standing beside me. He must have
walked away, because they heard some branches break through the bushes. I
packed up my clothes in a white bag and readied myself to leave.” And leave he did,
though not before spending a terrifying 48 hours alone on the beach, certain that
the isle’s mysterious resident was watching him from concealment. On July, 19,
2016, Williah was rescued by an RCMP and Canadian military search party and taken
to the Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, where
he made a full recovery. He later claimed that he never slept a wink throughout
the entire ordeal. One blogger who commented upon Williah’s experience
suggested that the Dogrib’s Nakani sighting may have been a case of what
has been called ‘Third Man Syndrome”- a phenomenon reported by explorers, outdoor
athletes, and disaster survivors in which a mysterious guardian angel-like figure
appears in times of extreme difficulty to offer comfort and assistance.
Intriguing though it may be, this explanation cannot account for
another potential Nakani sighting reported in the Fall of 2012 by two
Inuit women from Quebec’s northern Nunavik region. While picking berries near the
village of Akulivik, Maggie Cruikshank Qingalik and her friend spotted a
strange creature out on the tundra. Initially, the two ladies thought
that the figure was another berry picker. As it got closer, however, they realized
that it was covered in long dark hair. “We weren’t sure what it was at first,” said
Qingalik in an interview. “It is not a human being. It was really tall and kept
coming towards our direction, and we could tell it was not a human.” Qingalik estimated that the creature was around three meters, or 9’10” tall. Its footprints were later found to be 40 centimeters, or 15.7 inches, long. Over the years, hundreds of wildman sightings have been
reported on the Pacific Coast of Alaska, the historic homeland of the Tlingit
Indians. Although many of these eyewitnesses referred to the figure they
encountered as a “bushman”, evoking the Nakani of Dene lore, some of the
descriptions they furnished correspond more closely with the classic portrait
of a Sasquatch- a supposed ape-man whose coastal range, some believe, extends from
California to as far north as St. Michael, Alaska. Indeed, the Nakani is not
the only wildman said to inhabit the North Country. As Pierre Berton put it in
his 1956 book ‘The Mysterious North’, “the Mahoni who flit through the Peele River
country in the northern Yukon are enormous hairy giants with red eyes who
eat human flesh and devour entire birch trees at a gulp. The predatory
Sasquatches of British Columbia’s mountain caves are eight feet tall and
covered with black wooly hair from head to foot. There are others all akin to
these: the terrible Brushman of the Loucheux of the Upper Mackenzie with, his
black face and yellow eyes, preying on women and children; the Weetigo of the
Barrens, that horrible naked cannibal, his face black with frostbite, his lips
eaten away to expose his fang-like teeth; the 8-foot head-hunting mountain men of
a Nahanni; and these imaginary beings of Great
Slave Lake, whom the Dogrib Indians simply call “the Enemy” and fears so
greatly that they must always build their homes on islands, safe from the
shoreline where the Enemy roam. In my book ‘Legends of the Nahanni Valley’, I talk
about eight more wildman legends endemic to northern Canada
and Alaska, including the Wendigo of Cree and Algonquin folklore and the Kushtaka,
or “Land Otter Man”, that the Tlingit say haunt the Alaskan coastline. I also
offer a more thorough description of the various ethnological theories regarding the
nature of the Nakani and include a few more Nakani sightings that require more
context that I was prepared to give in this video, including a fascinating
encounter that took place right inside the Nahanni Valley itself. If you’d like
to get yourself or a special someone a copy of this book, please check out the
link in the description.

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8 thoughts on “New 2019 Cryptozoology Documentary – Nakani: The Wildman of the North

  1. Thanks for watching! If you enjoyed this video and would like to help support this channel, please check out my book 'Legends of the Nahanni Valley': https://www.amazon.com/Legends-Nahanni-Valley-Hammerson-Peters/dp/099395586X

  2. While I love the lore of Nahanni, I dread it's becoming widely known and popularized for yuppies and wilderness entertainment tour freaks.

  3. Don’t let those American Yahoo!’s up there or those gas/oil prospectors , they’ll screw everything up, why? because I’m a proud American and I approve this message. 😀

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