You've come a long way, and the sign up ahead says, "Welcome to Creepy Alaska." This is the Last Frontier, a realm of vast untracked wilderness, where monsters and evil spirits slither through the darkest parts of the land's day-long nights. There aren't many Alaskan urban legends. But that doesn't mean the state is devoid of local legends and tall tales. On the contrary, the state is home to dozens of monster and ghost accounts, chronicling everything from UFOs to murder. Here's some of the best scary stories from Alaska.
This Alaskan monster is 100 percent real.
Robert Hansen, later known in the media as "the Butcher Baker," was a serial rapist and murderer in Anchorage, AK, who abducted, raped, and murdered at least 17 but up to 30 women in the area between 1971 and 1983.
Particularly gruesome and terrifying was the fact that Hansen, after imprisoning and raping the women for an extended period, would fly them in his private plane to a remote area, release them, and then hunt them like game animals, killing them with a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle and other weapons.
Hansen was only discovered because one of his victims managed to escape in 1983, which led to a police investigation, and Hansen's eventual conviction.
His case was the basis of the movie The Frozen Ground, starring John Cusack and Nicolas Cage, in 2013.
In 1986, a Japanese airliner en route to Anchorage, AK, from Iceland encountered three UFOs who followed it for nearly 400 miles above the Alaskan wilderness (and yes, right through the middle of the Alaska Triangle.)
One of the objects, described as twice the size of an aircraft carrier, appeared to be some kind of mother ship. The two others were possibly scout vessels. The pilots, with permission from air traffic controllers in Anchorage, engaged in evasive maneuvers to try and avoid the UFOs, but to no avail. The strange, spooky craft maintained pursuit, outmaneuvering the airliner, for almost an hour, not backing off until the plane approached the skies near Fairbanks, AK.
When asked to speculate why the UFO was so interested in their flight, the pilot humorously remarked that the plane had been carrying Beaujolais wine from Paris, and maybe the aliens wanted some of it.
Talk about grace under pressure.
Inuit legends describe a wolf-like evil spirit of the Nahanni Valley that kills people by biting their heads off. Though the so-called "Headless Valley" lies in Canada, its resident monster has been sighted in Alaska at least once by an American mechanic who described it as a "wolf on steroids." And the crew of the American TV show Alaska Monsters claims to have narrowly escaped an encounter with the beast.
Cryptozoologists speculate the saberwolf might actually be a remnant population of dire wolves, or even amphicyonids - also called "bear dogs" - of the Eocene. Descriptions of the creature make it sound more like a bear-dog than a wolf, but who can tell with evil spirits, really?
In Alaska, there's the legend of the beast of Lake Iliamna, a giant, pack-hunting fish that has been terrorizing people on the lake's surface since prehistoric times. Both Aleut and Tlingit legends feature tales of the lake monster, and several modern sightings have lent the stories a bit of credibility with cryptid hunters.
One of the most astonishing encounters with "Ji-Gi-Nak" - the Aleut name for this beast- occurred in 1967, when Chuck Carpuchettes saw the monster swimming in the lake while he was flying over it in his plane, and later decided to fish for it. He and a friend attached tuna hooks baited with caribou meat to a float plane using 5/16" stainless steel cable. Something in the water bit the hooks and towed the plane around the lake. When the plane was recovered, they found that the meat was gone and the tuna hooks had been straightened out.