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Alaskan Hauntings

Nava, Alaska, USA
January 2005

I have lived in Alaska my whole life. There are many ghostly and strange occurrences here. I am going to share a few stories that happened to me and family members starting back from the old days.

My family originates from a very small, cliffy Island in the middle of the Bering strait. My grandmother and other elders in the family would tell my sister and I about ghosts that haunted the Island. There is a lot of them because many people died by falling off the cliffs. There was one that I remember she would talk about, the spirit of a beautiful woman who fell off a cliff and on the way down her clothes got stuck on a rock and got ripped off. She also tried to dig her nails into the cliff and ripped quite a few off. Well anyways she died and her ghost would appear naked with bloody fingers and lure men off the cliff. I was also told of a young girl who wore her hairs in two braids that fell off the cliff and one of her braids got stuck on a rock and got ripped off her head. She would appear with one braid and the other half of her head bloody scalp. My uncle says he has seen them both a few times when he's hunting on the island.

In the early 1900s my people were forced to leave the island because of a large rock that the government feared would fall and kill everyone in the village. The rocks to this day never moved.

There is also a legend of little green men that walk around at night. My people call them ijigoks. Also other native cultures throughout Alaska see them too. People from White Mountain call then ijigees. My uncle swears he has seen them when he was snowmachining. He says they chased him. Very respected elders from a village called Golovin says a long time ago they befriended the ijigoks and they would help them with their dog team until one of their dogs killed one.

In the summer we would go to Golovin when I was young. Me and my sister would hangout with the village kids, mostly the boys. We all decided to go check out the graveyard. Village graveyards always freaked me out and still do. I never felt welcome in most. I figure it is because I'm half white and a lot of the elders that are buried there were from times that natives and white people didn't get along. Well anyways we were checking it out and we all were pretty scared. One of us was pretty clumsy and accidently stepped of a grave of a little girl who died at about the age of 4. We automatically heard screaming and crying of a young girl. Everyone thought it was me cause I was the youngest and were telling to shut up, but it wasn't. We freak out and got out of their ASAP. I feel terrible about being so disrespectful.

About a year ago my sister died in a car accident. She was buried in a Athabascan traditional graveyard. A close friend of ours and I went and visited her for the first time since the funeral last summer. It was a extremely calm day, absolutely no breeze at all. The air was thick because there was wildfires all around the area. I lit a candle and sat silently next to her grave for about 10 minutes. It got very uncomfortable for me and I was getting a little freaked out. It was like I could hear whispering in the trees and crunching in the woods. I felt like I was unwelcome and the spirits wanted me to leave. Finally I looked over at my friend and told her I didn't feel right and we should go. I could see in her face she felt the same way. We were both relieved and scared at the same time. We started walking back to the car and by this time I was literally shaking. When we got to the car I realized I left the candle burning. Me being big on the environment insisted we blew it out. When we go there the candle was out. We were freaked cause there was no breeze. We left and shortly after I broke out into hives and got a fever.

I've been back there once since then. The last time wasn't as bad but I still felt unwelcome. I decided that next time I go I'm going to burn sage and offer tobacco. It is also an Athabascan tradition to start a fire and to burn food to share with the spirits. Everyday I worry that my sister isn't welcome there. Some of the graves date back about 100 years or so. Back in the old days Athabascans didn't get along with Inupiats cause they fought over the land. I think that is the reason why I feel so unwelcome with me being a blonde hair Inupiat. I thank you for letting me share a piece of my culture.

Nava, Alaska, USA
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