The Kotlik Howler

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on September 2nd, 2013

Illustration by AI An elderly couple from Kotlik heard a mysterious hollering while living at their summer fishcamp near their village. It was the strangest sound, said the man and the two suspected it came from Bigfoot, as depicted in this drawing.

Illustration by AI
An elderly couple from Kotlik heard a mysterious hollering while living at their summer fishcamp near their village. It was the strangest sound, said the man and the two suspected it came from Bigfoot, as depicted in this drawing.

Kotlik, with a population of 600, is the northernmost village in the Y-K Delta. It is one of the most rural villages in this region, situated along the southern shore of the Norton Sound. It’s name means “trousers” since the river system where it’s located looks like a pair of pants.

This summer, at the end of July 2013, a 70-year-old man and his 65-year-old wife had an experience with something they couldn’t understand. It happened at their fishcamp, a good distance from Kotlik.

One night, while sleeping, they were awakened by something bothering their cabin. It was making noise in the little porch of their cabin. “We thought it was a bear, so we didn’t bother checking it.” It was safer not to, in the middle of the night.

They hadn’t seen a bear in their camp but once about two years ago. At the time, their dog started barking fiercely toward the trees and the barking was scary to hear, the man said. “I grabbed my high-powered rifle and scanned the area from a high point in camp. Suddenly a brown bear stood up about 75 feet away.” He tried to chamber a round into his gun but it jammed. “Boy, lucky the bear did not come any closer to our camp. It had chased a cow moose and its calf to our area.” When his gun became unjammed he fired a couple rounds toward the animal as it fled.

The next night, the wife was awakened by the noise again. “You hear that?” she asked her husband. But he was sleeping. “Something was out there again, and this time it hit the house really hard and shook the cabin,” she told her husband the next morning.

After getting up and lighting the woodstove for heat and the Coleman stove for coffee, the man stepped outside and found nails and spikes all over the porch floor. “Whatever had slapped the cabin caused a coffee can full of the nails and spike to fall from a shelf in the porch and spill all over,” the man said.

Read the rest of the article here.

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

6 Responses to “The Kotlik Howler”

  1. DWA responds:

    A telling detail in here, one of the reasons I consider Natives such highly credible sources:

    On the third night, the dog barked toward the smokehouse, “but not in a way they bark at bears,” …

    To us Muggles, dogs bark. (Sorry, but a good way to contrast Native with Caucasian in the bush is to compare wizards with regular people.) To Natives, it all isn’t “snow,” and it all isn’t “bark.” Each gradation and type is named. It isn’t a matter of parlor talk but of survival.

    Plainly put: each of their five senses takes in much more than each of ours. It isn’t a physical difference (other than that the separation from our noisy, polluted cities maintains theirs in better shape).

    It’s cultural. They NOTICE. They have to.

  2. cryptokellie responds:

    Add also the Native sense of drama when “kidding” the Non-Natives, shall we say. As oral history, a wonderful story – as Bigfoot provenience, along with the “Berry Pickers” item – not so much. They are right about dogs having signature barks for different situations and encounters. Ever since my emergency open heart, quadruple by-pass surgery, my hearing has at least doubled. My cardiologist has no explanation for this. Among many other things, I can hear nuances and changes in timbre in my dogs vocalizations that I couldn’t discern before. It has taught me a lot more about my dogs than I knew previously. But enhanced hearing can be a curse at times…believe me.

  3. DWA responds:

    “Wogs kid whitey” has long been used as a dismissal of native testimony.


  4. cryptokellie responds:

    I’m not dismissing Native “testimony”. Quite the contrary. I’m merely saying that Natives often tell outsiders – note, I’m not using racial slurs – what they might want to hear and more for the sake of demonstrating their point of view through the combined/inherited histories and innate Native hospitality. I know that in oral histories, the lines of fact and fiction are often blurred into a more cohesive flow of experience. I understand that embellishment has a totally different meaning and context in oral history and is not viewed by the relator as “lying” as outsiders understand it. For Natives to be called a liar is a great indignity which cannot be laughed off as easily as modern people do when they are lied to by their friends, government, whomever.

    Remember, I agreed that there are enhanced hearing and other abilities…I am experiencing it first hand.

  5. DWA responds:

    I’m not saying there is anything conclusive about this account; I’m just saying that when Natives put them in I am a little more chary of simply calling bull on them. I think that they tend to have less inclination to lie or hoax, simply because they have less time and more to do than your typical YouTube hoaxer does.

    I see the practical-joker ‘explanation,’ like many other skeptical rejoinders, given to discount testimony without thought or research, something that tends to signify to me a desire to think what one wants to think.

  6. Goodfoot responds:

    “When his gun became unjammed”

    That’s one whale of a passive construction! Gun’s don’t “become unjammed”; there is a regimen a gun-owner must go through to unjam it. And it varies by make of rifle, which is, of course, omitted in the report. It’s very much an active process, not passive in any way, shape of form.

    They simply don’t unjam themselves, any more than they up and decide to shoot someone of their own volition. Simply put, there is no such thing as an “accident” with a gun.

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