Like most people, you’ve no doubt been entranced by the idea of the Bermuda Triangle since childhood. A small region in the world where people simply vanish without a trace and with no explanation. The Bermuda Triangle is a fascinating piece of mythology that has captured the world’s imagination for a lifetime and entered the common lexicon.

But the reality is that more people go missing in the Alaska Triangle than the Bermuda Triangle…

Perhaps not surprising given that Alaska has America’s most unforgiving wilderness. But the figures are simply jaw dropping. Over 16,000 people have gone missing, without a trace, in the Alaskan Triangle since 1988. So, what is the cause of the vanishings within the Alaskan Triangle and why are so many people just disappearing?

The biggest attention that the area has attracted, and the most notable disappearance was the disappearance of American politicians in October 1972. The private plane carrying Alaskan Congressman Nick Begich and US House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, alongside their aides, vanished while flying from Anchorage to Juneau on a state visit. A wide search was conducted by the US military covering 32,000 square miles (an area larger than the country of Belgium) and not even a piece of debris was found let alone the occupants of the plane.

Hale Boggs was one of the members of the Warren Commission (appointed by President Johnson), looking into the assassination of JFK. Robert Ludlum later wrote about the missing plane in one of his novels, speculating that it was a reprisal assassination for the JFK inquests. J Edgar Hoover reportedly also had an axe to grind against Hale Boggs and foul-play has never been far from speculation.

After the 1972 event, more planes went missing, hikers started going missing, tourists started going missing and the Alaskan Triangle gained a missing person rate at double the U.S national average. It’s reputation as a gateway into the unknown was cemented.

In any given year up to 2,000 people go missing within this region (missing in the sense of never being seen again and the remains never having being found).

The harsh wilderness is more than likely the reason for people disappearing – it’s a needle in a figurative haystack. The area consists of dense forestry, mountain peaks, glaciers, caves and savage wildlife. Not to mention the frequent possibility of avalanches. The wilderness of Alaska is a vast and beautiful death trap.  

But despite the natural perils, the mysteries also give way to the more fantastical theories.

Bigfoot would be the most likely explanation into the missing person case (if you are to believe the Bigfoot fanatics); however, Bigfoot doesn’t account for the plane crashes. Be that as it may, Bigfoot is an icon in American tradition, and you can’t have a “wilderness gone wrong” story without mentioning Bigfoot. Some local Alaskan villagers have even claimed to have relocated on account of the Bigfoot monster being within the vicinity of their community and terrorising the locals.

The Alaskan wilderness is also allegedly haunted and houses some frightening local spirits. The Alaskan Triangle gives home to the indigenous legends of the Tlingit people. These are Native American locals whose mythology includes that of a shapeshifting Half-man/Half-otter called Kushtaka. The legend goes that Kushtaka captures the lost hikers in a soul stealing exercise, having feasted on the souls of mortal men.

Another theory is that the Alaskan Triangle is located within inter-dimensional Vortexes (this is similar to the numerous theories about the Bermuda Triangle).

Such vortexes are said to open doorways into the spiritual worlds or take you to another realm. Which can explain why so many people disappear in the region without a trace. They are being transported to the nether-regions (or the never regions for sceptics – get it?).

Terence Roberts (penname of Ivan T Sanderson) proposed the theory of vile vortices, even going so far as to suggest that such phenomena are because of a wrinkle in spacetime or a magnetic aberration. The Bermuda Triangle, the Devil’s Sea and the Alaskan Triangle are examples of such regions. It may sound hooey, but who knows right?  

There are (not surprisingly) numerous UFO sightings and stories of alien involvement. Lovers of lore will always postulate on extra-terrestrial activity in mysteries such as these. And there was a strange report in 1986 of a Japanese airliner being stalked by a UFO (Japan Airlines Flight 1628 incident).

And a personal favourite would be the theory of the Killer Mermaids (an episode into this was aired by the History Channel in 2020). One of the most famous mermaid sightings took place in 1608 by English Explorer Henry Hudson. Hudson sailed around his namesake of Hudson Bay and explored much of the North-East of North America and allegedly laid eyes on a half-fish/half-human beauty that had his boat enraptured.  

The marine biology off the coast of Alaska is diverse and beautiful. This includes the majestic Orca that live in small pods, generally found off the Aleutian Islands.

But does it harbour beautiful mermaids? Or something more deadly?

The natives in the Arctic have a legend about the Qalupalik (this is an Inuit legend and not native to Alaska). The Qalupalik is a green-skinned Mermaid like creature with an evil twist. She has long claws, vicious teeth, human legs and a tail to help steer through the waters. Her favourite food is young children. The Qalupalik was an old legend told by Inuit mothers to warn their children about playing near the coast of the sea.

There have been sightings of the Qalupalik far from its Canadian base and off the coast of Alaska. Perhaps the Qalupalik developed its palate away from children?

The figures of missing people within Alaska are eye-watering. The fact is that 4 in every 1,000 people go missing in Alaska every year, and for a state so sparsely populated, is terrifying.

It has more mysterious vanishings than the Devil’s Sea and it has more than the widely famous Bermuda Triangle. And yet despite this, the Alaskan wilderness is a hugely popular tourist destination and to be honest, a look at the pictures and you can see why, despite the perils…

What are your theories?