ON a bitterly cold night in November 1930, a Canadian hunter by the name of Joe Labelle walked into a village on the shores of Lake Anjikuni.
Lake Anjikuni lies near the Kazan River in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, Canada.
He was exhausted and cold, but happy. He was on good terms with the Inuit residents of the village, and knew he would gain shelter there for the night.
But something was wrong. An eerie silence had descended over the village, and not a single soul was to be seen – not even a dog.
As he traipsed from cabin to cabin, a horrible truth dawned upon him; the place was absolutely deserted.
There was only one person in the village; himself.
Stranger still, in one residence he found a pot of steaming stew still bubbling on the stove.
The clothing of the residents was all in place – something they would never have left behind, given the weather – and many sleds could be seen lying around.
Wherever the people had gone, they must have gone on foot, he concluded.
However, when he circled around the outskirts of the village, there wasn’t a single footprint in the snow.
As Labelle pondered over the enigma, he realised that he was suffering from frostbite.
He stumbled to the local Post Office and managed to send a telegraph to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who promptly dispatched several officers to investigate.
As they searched the village, they stumbled upon something truly bizarre.
The local graveyard had been desecrated. Every corpse had seemingly been disinterred and removed.
It wasn’t just the living who had been taken, but the dead.
Further investigation uncovered a team of sled dogs buried under the snow. They appeared to have died of starvation.
The final mystery was about to manifest itself.
On the horizon, the officers of the RCMP could see an intense, blue, pulsating light. After several minutes it faded from view and did not return.
Three miles away, and several hours earlier, a fur trapper by the name of Armand Laurent and his two sons were heading for shelter in a nearby cabin, when they were astonished to see above their heads a cigar-shaped object drifting silently overhead.
Before they could react, the object morphed into a bullet-shape and headed off in the direction of the Anjikuni village.
They went to the cabin as planned, and were surprised when they were joined by a detachment of RCMP officers who told Armand that they were heading to Lake Anjikuni to deal with “a problem”.
The RCMP have dismissed the story out of hand. On their website they say: “The story about the disappearance in the 1930s of an Inuit village near Lake Anjikuni is not true.
“An American author by the name of Frank Edwards is purported to have started this story in his book Stranger than Science.
“It has become a popular piece of journalism, repeatedly published and referred to in books and magazines.
“There is no evidence however to support such a story.”
Unfortunately, this dismissal appears to contain a number of glaring inaccuracies.
Reporter Emmett Kelleher is said to have published an account of the mystery in December 1930 in the newspaper La Pas, Manitoba.
Just the day before, another paper, the Danville Bee, seemingly scooped the story.
The earliest report, as far as I can determine, appeared in the Halifax Herald on November 29, 1930.
The idea that Frank Edwards invented the story is, quite simply, untrue.
We also know that, contrary to earlier denials, the police did investigate the disappearance immediately.
Unfortunately, the officer who carried out the investigation simply spoke to the owner of a trading post several miles away who hadn’t even heard of the village, let alone the disappearance.
Next week I’ll attempt to figure out just what did happen to those missing villagers ...
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