Thursday, September 27, 2018

North Country Forteana

“Strange stories of Alaska and the Yukon” is a collection of Fortean-themed stories taken from old Alaskan and Canadian newspapers. The time period covered is roughly 1880-1930.

The compiler, Ed Ferrell, believes (or wants to believe) that the tales are true, but personally I'm skeptical to most material in this volume. Many seem to be the kind of stories gold-diggers or hard-boiled pioneers *want* to be true, including discoveries of unusually productive gold mines or Eden-like tropical valleys (with a lot of game animals!) in the middle of the Arctic. Others may be based on Native folklore, such as the story of the Pygmies.

I admit that I want a few of these strange tales to be true myself, mostly those dealing with crypto-zoological creatures (including living mammoths) and discoveries of evidence for advanced pre-Ice Age civilizations. Also included are tales about lost cities, petrified forests, an entire mountain of cinnabar and bizarre huge mirages. And yes, haunted houses…

Regardless of whether you believe in these “yarns” or not, they are entertaining or at least interesting. Shall we say five stars?

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