Strange Tails | Kushtaka And The Bay Of Death

North of Petersburg, Alaska is Thomas Bay, also known menacingly as the Bay of Death by the native populations because of a devastating landslide in 1750 that claimed 500 villagers. Since that time, the land was thought to be cursed and little activity happened over the years. It wasn’t until the 1900’s gold rush era that Thomas Bay developed its most infamous history. Its a story that combines a cursed remote lake, a shapeshifting half-man, half sea otter, and the gold rush. What could be more Alaskan?

The Tlinglit’s legends desrcibe the Kushtaka as being a shape shifting, half man, half otter trickster. It’s been known to lure fishermen and chlidren away from their loved ones with whistles and by mimicking calls of a baby crying.  Some accounts of the story describe the Kushtaka as ripping the wayward soul to pieces , while other versions tell of the kushtaka changing the victim into a Kushtaka themselves. Local lore also mentions that no one should speak the kushtaka’s name, especially three times in a row. This is thought to evoke the beast. The creatures are said to live throughout southeast Alaska.
One of the most famous descriptions of the the Kushtaka folklore surrounds Thomas Bay. In the 1900s, A gold prospector by the name of  Harry Colp wandered into the cursed land near Patterson Glacier in search of gold. In his eye witness account, known as “The Strangest Story Ever Told, ” Colp reports traveling into Thomas Bay and discovering a Half Moon shaped lake. It’s here that the story gets crazy. Click here to read the actual story.
The Kushtaka myth lives strong in Southeast Alaska. Next time your out on the water, remember this tale. You might not be alone out there in the vast Tongass National Forrest.  Happy Halloween!  Strange Tails Image Gallery Here


  1. It’s never a wise thing to mention evil spirits outside of the context of seeking knowledge of them. And it should always happen on sacred ground where one is protected and sacred spaces that are ritually cleared. And never at night always at day time.

    Looks like this creature is a form of Calling Spirit or Caller. Callers are evil spirits (both demonic and none demonic) that change their voices to lure away intended victims.

  2. Jose are you Native American? I have seen many of them (different hair types and two different face types and sizes as well) and have experience many things from them. I often wonder what they really are since they have powers most us don’t have.

  3. Can I simply say what a relief to discover a person that
    really knows what they are discussing on the web. You certainly understand how to bring a problem
    to light and make it important. More people really need to read
    this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

  4. I remember exchanging tales of this creature when I was a kid. With my new batch of friends outside of Southeast Alaska, I’ve brought it up once or twice but they had never heard the story! I was glad to find this through a google search so I could properly warn them when they go out to fish and hunt!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: