Alaska Papers Join the Hunt For Hairy Man
February 3, 1993 by Rosanne Pagano AP
Anchorage, Alaska (AP) He's as big as Bigfoot, not so abominable as the Snowman and elusive as Sasquatch. He's Alaska's Hairy Man, and a statewide group of newspapers is on his legendary tracks. ``I think there are very few people who've actually sighted Hairy Man, but there are plenty of stories,'' said Chris Casati, editor of Anchorage-based Alaska Newspapers.
The group operates seven rural weeklies from Cordova to Bethel to Kotzebue with a combined circulation of 17,000. The papers have started asking readers to send in stories about Hairy Man, a folk creature who inhabits the vast tundra around southwest Alaska. ``People here really do believe it and I respect that,'' said James MacPherson, editor of Bethel's weekly newspaper, the Tundra Drums.
recently raised havoc in remote Quinhagak by tramping around in the snow
with foot-shaped pieces of plywood to make fake Hairy Man tracks. Worried
calls poured in to police.
Alaska anthropologists say the theme of the big-footed hermit is universal -- a regional equivalent of urban tales such as the vanishing hitchhiker. Phyllis Morrow, a Fairbanks cultural anthropologist who has studied the indigenous people of southwest Alaska for 15 years, says other village legends deal with people who get lost and become wild. One story talks about a boy who ran away long ago and is glimpsed today, through his shaggy hair.
says he has never seen Hairy Man. But he knows he lives. ``He's just as
alive in our legends as if he's standing right in front of me,'' Active
said. ``He's out there because we talk about him.''