LAST week I detailed the mysterious disappearance of an entire village of Inuit people who lived adjacent to Lake Angikuni in Canada.
A local trapper by the name of Joe Labelle stumbled across the deserted settlement on a bitterly cold night in 1930, and contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Researchers have posited all manner of exotic explanations; everything from the “alien abduction” theory to attack from demonic entities drawn from the annals of Inuit culture.
A subsequent “investigation” – carried out by the police themselves – led them to conclude that there was no mystery.
The villagers had probably migrated temporarily to another location.
Later, the RCMP alleged that, “The story about the disappearance in the 1930’s of an Inuit village near Lake Anjikuni is not true ... there is no evidence...to support such a story.”
We now know that this simply isn’t true.
An old trading post owner told the investigating officer – Sergeant J Nelson – that Labelle actually lived in the south of the North-Western Territory and had probably never came within 100 miles of Lake Angikuni.
However, if this were true we are left to ponder who alerted the police in the first place on the night the disappearance occurred.
Nelson allegedly poured cold water on the account by journalist Emmett Kelleher which appeared in the newspaper La Pas, Manitoba.
Intriguingly, he didn’t take issue with the facts. He is said to have reverted to the stock-in-trade tactic of sceptics and attacked Kelleher’s professional integrity.
In fact, there is no evidence that Nelson ever visited the village or even spoke to Joe Labelle and the other witnesses.
Sceptics have suggested that Kelleher never existed, but if that’s the case why did Nelson go out of his way to criticise him? Did Nelson ever really criticise Kelleher in the first place? The sceptics might have a point here.
The newspaper accounts referred to in last week’s column have been questioned.
Sceptic Brian Dunning claims to have searched microfiche copies of the publications in question and found no record of the stories in them, as claimed.
If true, this is indeed problematical, although it doesn’t weaken other pieces of evidence which support the story’s veracity.
In 1976, the November edition of Fate magazine carried an article by Dwight Whalens in which he produced documentary evidence that the RCMP had indeed carried out an investigation despite earlier denials.
Despite this, it is still common today to hear sceptics say: “The police say there was no disappearance and the village never existed. The case is closed, solved.”
The RCMP originally didn’t deny the disappearance, but claimed that there was probably a rational explanation for it; the villagers had probably migrated until the winter was over.
The testimony of Joe Labelle disproves this idea completely.
We also know that the nomadic Inuit peoples migrated before winter, not during it, and would not have left all their belongings and clothing behind.
And if they did migrate temporarily, why did they never return?
Still, the sceptics both cling to and perpetuate the myth that the story was made up by Frank Edwards in his 1959 book Stranger Than Science.
The truth is that there just doesn’t seem to be a rational explanation for this case, although we can’t discount the possibility there may be one.
Naturally, researchers have posited all manner of exotic explanations; everything from the “alien abduction” theory to attack from demonic entities drawn from the annals of Inuit culture.
Even the first person on the scene, Joe Labelle, suggested that the disappearance was due to an attack by the Inuit sky deity Torngasuk and his evil hordes.
All we can say is that the villagers disappeared, and they disappeared so quickly that they didn’t even have time to gather their belongings – including their guns – or even eat the food cooking on their stoves.
To those sceptics who instinctively reject the more exotic explanations, I would simply say this; “Okay, then – tell us what really did happen to those people.”
For more on this mystery, click HERE.
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