Our story this time comes from Noah Yassi who is a long time resident of Yellowknife, Canada. It takes place in the Nahanni National Park. Now you know that I had to do some research, because that’s what I do. Nahanni National Park Reserve is in the Northwest Territories of Canada, and is approximately 300 miles west of Yellowknife. The centerpiece of the park is the South Nahanni River.
Tribal legends describe a wolf-like evil spirit that roams the valley and kills people by biting their heads off. Though the so-called “Headless Valley” lies in Canada, its resident monster has been sighted in Alaska at least once by an American mechanic who described it as a “wolf on steroids.” The cast and crew of the American TV show “Alaska Monsters” claimed to have narrowly escaped an encounter with the beast.
Now, here is Noah’s story.
Life here is simple and relaxed. We do have our moments, but for the most part everything depends on the weather. Vacations are short, but always planned. The last thing you want is to be trapped in the wilderness or out of town. Yellowknife is a capital city, but the population is only about 20,000 people. Compare those numbers to American City and I think you get the idea.
I was about ten years old when my story occurred. My family was set to head to Nahanni. We go there every summer to enjoy camping, fishing, hiking and a host of cultural activities that you can only find there. The local tribes depend on the summers to to make it through the winters, so they go all out.
One morning we planned a hike and packed enough food and water to make a day of it. It was still a bit chilly in the mountains in June, but worth it because the sights are nothing short of breathtaking in spring. We had just finished lunch when a rare snowfall began. It is not unheard of for it to snow in June, but it is rare. It never lasts long so we weren’t concerned. When it began to get heavy we decided to turn back and finish the hike on another day. Most likely tomorrow all of this will be gone.
It was then my dad that noticed the tracks in the snow. They were wolf-like, but the spacing and size were off. They were much too large and spread out. The night before we had been telling each other ghost stories around the campfire. One of the stories was about a wolf spirit that is said to inhabit the area. One thing was for sure these tracks were following us!
My dad took the lead we all followed close behind. There was my mom, two sisters, my brother Joshua and I. We were coming down a steep but passable down slope when we heard the first sounds. At first it was a guttural growl. Something out of those wolf-man movies of the early 70’s. It became louder and more pronounced the closer we got to the valley. My dad told us to group up and stay on the path. He reached into his pack and pulled out his hand gun.
As we rounded the corner we saw what was an impossibly sized wolf-like-creature. It was blocking the path and bearing its teeth like some evil devil hound. My dad ordered us to back-up and fired his gun into the air. The beast seemed to know what that meant and dove into the deep forest. We waited there for some time until dad gave us the all clear. I remember that I was holding onto my brother and that he was shaking.
We walked about another half hour. The snow had finally stopped and the lower we got the warmer it got. Soon we were laughing and talking about what we had seen. My brother said, “Dad fought the beast and won. He was the hero of the day!”
It was then we heard the Howl-Scream. I don’t know what else to call it. It sounded like a half-human half-wolf howl. It was close, too close. The sound shook all of us to the core. The girls began to cry and I remember hanging on to my brother again.
Another sound blasted out from the forest. Something definitely had died. My dad said it could have been a bull elk. Whatever it was, it sounded horrible. We picked up the pace and finally made it back to the campground. All of us were very happy that we had rented a cabin for this trip and finally felt safe again. We never finished that hike that summer and no one ventured past the activities provided by Inuit tribe.
– Noah Yassi, Yellowknife Canada.
Noah went on to say that they returned to camp there many times over the next few years and never had another experience like that again. They even ran into a pack of wolves, but as scary as that should have been, real wolves could not hold a candle to what they saw that day. Cryptozoologists speculate the saber-wolf might actually be a remnant population of dire wolves also called “bear dogs”. Descriptions of these creatures make it sound more like a wolf, but who can tell with evil spirits, really?
The Nahanni Valley has been steeped in folklore and mystery since it was first inhabited around 9 to 10 thousand years ago. Many tribes were afraid to settle within the region because they believed it to be an evil, haunted place inhabited by various spirits, specters, and devils. Those who did come here, such as the native Dene people, told of mysterious creatures lurking in the vast forests.
In 1908, brothers Willie and Frank McLeod came prospecting in the valley just as many others had done before them. The two packed up their gear, headed out into the wilderness, and never returned. After a year had passed, it was presumed that the brothers must have succumbed to the elements or any of the countless perils the area had to offer. Some rumors suggested that the two had succeeded in finding one of the mythical veins of gold thought to dot the valley and had made their fortune. Then, just as suddenly as they had vanished, the two men were found dead along the river. Their bodies had been decapitated and the heads nowhere to be found.
Mysterious monsters or dire wolves? I leave that to be your choice. Either way if you ever find yourself in the Nahanni National park watch your back. It appears that some of the locals are looking to watch yours!
This story first appeared on the podcast in episode #345. You can listen to that show here.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the podcast this week we continue the theme of cryptid wolves but this time from new mexico. We will be talking about the Navajo legend of the Skinwalker. You can listen to this podcast on Thursday at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from Apple Podcasts, stream it on Stitcher Radio or on the mobile version of Spotify. Do you prefer the radio? We are heard every Thursday at 10:00 pm and Sunday Night at 11:00 PM (EST) on AMFM247.COM. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link