Looking for Alaskans

Today I will be posting four MPs from Alaska, making the total number 105. By comparison, South Dakota, which has about 100,000 more people living in it, has a whopping eight missing persons on Charley. What is it about Alaska that causes people to disappear in such numbers? Offhand I suppose it’s a number of factors:

1. People from outside Alaska go up there to disappear — Christopher McCandless being one (idiotic) example.
2. Alaska is such a huge fracking place that it’s hard to find the people who disappear in it. One guy I’m posting today might have vanished in an 8.5 million acre national park that’s accessible only by air and water — or maybe he didn’t, no one knows. The Powers That Be gave up looking fairly quickly because they just had no idea where to go.
3. Relating to #2, the state’s weather and terrain is so severe that it can basically eat people alive and does on a regular basis.

I’ve got a longtime Friend Of My Youth from Alaska — she calls it “the world’s biggest small town.”

(Hands up to anyone who gets the literary reference in the title of this blog post.)

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22 thoughts on “Looking for Alaskans

  1. Elin December 7, 2013 / 3:51 am

    The reason I became interested in missing persons is the fact that my grandfather’s brother went to Alaska and disappeared there. We all assume he died in the woods somewhere as he was interested in hunting and sometimes went on hunting trips that lasted months but of course we have all speculated that perhaps he took on a new identity and lived on somewhere else. Now he is dead, he was born in 1896, but it would have been lovely to know what actually happened. If you go to this page you can see his draft card from 1918 which is one of the last traces we have of him: http://aforum.genealogi.se/discus/messages/241/62012.html.

    • Meaghan December 7, 2013 / 3:57 am

      Kind of reminds me of Ambrose Bierce who went missing in Mexico.

    • Meaghan December 7, 2013 / 4:02 am

      Wait a minute…Swedes got drafted? Didn’t they manage to stay out of both World Wars?

  2. Princess Shantae December 7, 2013 / 8:54 am

    Also ppl go to Alaska to enjoy the outdoors but they don’t realize that the woods they’re used to are just play-pretend woods compared to what they’ll find in Alaska. You could have real good outdoors skills for Maryland say, but the wilderness in Maryland is NOTHING compared to Alaska. It would be like somebody used to the lake at their local park thinking they have the water skills to go take a kayak out on the ocean off Australia.

    • Kat December 7, 2013 / 9:12 pm

      Can I get an amen. Ignorance, arrogance, whatever you want to call it ( I have a vote in for sheer stupidity), this is unforgiving territory in every way. Oddly, I’ve been watching the new show Railroad Alaska and it does highlight some of the living dangers there. I can’t imagine just trying to wing it there.

  3. Elin December 7, 2013 / 12:03 pm

    Meaghan, he was drafted in the US, I assume he was a citizen by then otherwise I guess he wouldn’t have been drafted.

    • Meaghan December 8, 2013 / 11:08 am

      Oh, okay. Makes sense.

  4. Justin December 7, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    More missing people in Alaska because that is pretty damn unforgiving country. The weather drops below anything in the Continental United States will ever see short of the next ice age in the winter and is so freaking huge, that if you get lost with out any means of communication, finding you will be next to impossible if no one knows where you went. Wildlife will reduce your remains to complete non-existence. As I was once told by someone who lived there: Alaska kicks EVERYONE’S ass.

  5. Jose December 7, 2013 / 9:27 pm

    why is there so many people missing from Nome?

    • Kat December 7, 2013 / 10:53 pm

      I would guess it is more populated than other outskirt cities. Just a guess though, plus if there was a killer in there, that would be an operating base. Just my opinion.

    • amy December 7, 2013 / 11:52 pm

      You know what they say- “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like Nome” (ducking)

      • Kat December 8, 2013 / 8:18 am

        Hahahahaha. Good one. Wish I’d thought of it first though!

    • Meaghan December 8, 2013 / 11:07 am

      I don’t know. I don’t even know if there are more people missing from Nome than other places, or if I just know about those from Nome and not those from other places.

  6. Princess Shantae December 8, 2013 / 9:40 am

    Ever heard of Carl McCunn? (spelling?) He was a wildlife photographer who spent a lot of time in Alaska. In the early 80s he took a trip into the back country of Alaska for the summer, but he forgot to make arrangments for the pilot to come pick him back up. So in the fall it started getting cold and he ran out of food and couldn’t catch or shoot enough to keep going, so he shot himself. They found his body in his tent a few months later. That’s the kind of bad thinking that gets ppl in trouble in Alaska.
    Also there is a big problem with alcohol among some of the native Alaskans. Alcohol obviously makes you more likely to get lost or freeze to death, and there’s also ppl that will prey on drunken Indians just because they can. Sad but true, there’s ppl that think its just a sport to find a drunk Indian and beat him up and dump him someplace.

    • Kat December 8, 2013 / 11:12 am

      Spelling correct, I went and looked him up after I saw this post. Now right there is what we call a Charlie Foxtrot. There were so many things that went wrong. I don’t know the name of this, and it isn’t really funny, but all I can remember is the one guy, no idea on name, that Ron White used in his routine that went up there (I think it was Alaska) to see bears and got eaten by one. I’ll admit I laughed my ass off when I saw the RW routine on TV, but if you think about it….no. Just no.

      • Meaghan December 8, 2013 / 11:16 am

        Timothy Treadwell. There’s a documentary about him.

    • Zorro December 9, 2013 / 6:19 pm

      He “forgot” to make arrangements to get out of the Alaska wilderness come winter?? And he had already spent a lot of time in Alaska?? Unless he had an IQ in one digit this is not the whole story. I have no idea what really happened, but this level of stupidity is beyond belief.

      • Meaghan December 10, 2013 / 7:21 am

        I looked up his Wikipedia entry and it says he made tentative arrangements for the pilot to pick him up but I guess didn’t confirm them.

  7. Princess Shantae December 8, 2013 / 8:07 pm

    Tere’s just some ppl who are really not fit to be allowed to go around without a leash. The phrase “a danger to himself and others” comes to mind.

  8. Zorro December 9, 2013 / 4:15 pm

    I checked this out, and followed some links to places maintained by Alaskans. Reading in between the lines, there seems to be an active drug culture in Alaska. Some accusations of people “snitching” or refusing to “snitch”… Check out https://www.facebook.com/SeekingAlaskasMissing. Also of course the natural world is especially unforgiving there.

  9. Amy White December 15, 2013 / 9:34 pm

    John Green 😉

  10. Chickeys February 8, 2014 / 2:37 am

    To the Carl McCunn story, it’s mentioned in Krakauer’s book Into the Wild. McCunn did not make return arrangements with his original pilot, but he managed to signal a different plane from the ground. Unfortunately, he gave the pilot the I’M FINE signal (a wave from a standing position) instead of the SEND HELP signal (lying down, playing dead). So the pilot did not return or send help.

    (I know these signals sound crazy but they are real!)

    As a lifelong Alaskan, I was taught to respect the wild, because it WILL eat you. All the factors of terrain, weather and remoteness combined mean exactly zero mercy to the unprepared.

    It always pains me to read about Alaskan MPs, because it hits close to home…

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