Bigfoot Encounters

Koosh taa kaa - Kooshtakah - Kooshtaka - Kushtahkah - Kushtekaa - Kushtaka - Kushtacah - Hootslan  

I have found many pronunciations and spellings for: “koosh-tay-kaw;” Alaska’s ancient Southeastern Tlingit Native Americans use koosh taa kaa to mean a hair-covered giant, not an otter or otterman, this is different although there is some dispute among anthropologists. Journalist Steven Levi spelled the term this way, Kushtacah and it allegedly is a term to define a sasquatch-like being who lives deep in the woods, often in caves, underground burrows and rocky outcroppings.

An ancient Haida-Tlingit narrative states that the koosh taa kaa live deep in the woods or on unoccupied islands in the deep and darkly forested areas that to this day go essentially uncharted; the Kushtacah whistles through its teeth and imitate birdcalls such as wood hens, grouse and other game birds. They call like coyotes, timber wolves and animals with such accuracy as to be unable to tell the real thing from the sasquatch mimic. The Kushtacah are said to be accurate marksmen with rocks, pinecones and often use small sturdy branches as lances to impale the hunted game. Kushtacah are taller people, most covered in hair, 7 feet tall on average with bulk according to size. The two tribes in ancient times traded among themselves until the Hootslan began stealing. They were sent into the mountains where they lived a life removed.

Much folklore is associated with the Haida-Tlingit perception of the creature. It is said, when one is fixed on seeing what makes the whistle, these people go up into the woods or are drawn into the woods never to be seen again.

In the 1950’s near Craig and Haidaburg on Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska, a woman was sitting at home alone; her husband had disappeared while out hunting. They believe the koosh taa haa got him and his wife felt like something had been watching her in her house. The next morning they found footprints by her window. So men gathered in her house the next night, the koosh taa haa came back and when the men went after it, the koosh taa haa was no where to be found. The frequently used term in their native tongue is the word “Hootslan,” a non-typical term used by the indigenous people of Alaska, mostly elder Tlingits. The natives fear the creature and avoid its habitat. (Caribou Man, see citations)

Harry D. Colp described a miner's encounter with the Kushtaka, in an account, which was later published as "The Strangest Story Ever Told." He also referred to them as the “Thomas Bay Devils” in Thomas Bay, Alaska. Colp and three other prospectors teamed up in 1900 there in Wrangell, AK. They sent Charlie, one of the four, to Thomas Bay to look over a gold prospect, while the others sought grubstakes to pay their expenses. Charlie went about 50 miles up the coast to the location. There the rains kept him confined to his tent for several days. He then went out, trying to locate the landmarks given to him by an Indian. By chance, he found a gold-flecked quartz ledge and loosened a piece with his gun, breaking his gunstock in the process.

As he was taking his bearings, he said, a couple of beings he called "devils," that looked like both men and monkeys, came after him. These shaggy beasts, with long, coarse hair, stinking and covered with sores, pursued him back to his canoe. During the chase, they screamed and scraped his back with "long claw like fingernails."

Charlie said he came to (regained consciousness) in his canoe, which was drifting at sea. He was cold, hungry and thirsty. He returned to his comrades with nothing but the clothes on his back, his canoe and oars, and the chunk of gold quartz. He declared he had enough of Alaska. In exchange for his passage back to Seattle, he told his tale to the other three. Two more of Colp's partners returned to the site of the gold-speckled quartz ledge. Once again, they returned with strange tales of "devils." One of the partners was said to have gone mad. Other prospectors who scouted the same area were reported by Colp to have suffered frightening experiences and to have behaved in a strange manner afterwards. Mysterious happenings occurred as late as 1925, when a farmer reported losing a dog in the hills there, but finding strange tracks with the hind feet resembling a cross between a bear and human’s footprints. A trapper in the area disappeared. Searchers found his outfit and tracks, but no trace of the man. (Virginia Colp and Mary Barry) The complete story is uploaded, very interesting and can be read here:

Caribou Man (1914 – 2003) A Yupik elder born and raised deep in the Alaskan wilderness and his brother John; helpful conversations and continued email correspondence through the latter’s granddaughter Leanne until his death in 2003. While alive, Caribou Man had many stories to tell, most of them believable, one or two encounters questionable and perhaps exaggerated. According to him, bears live harmoniously in the same habitat with sasquatches, each respecting the others right of way and food sources. Caribou Man called them “people” not animals; they have their own culture, their own way of doing things. He said they laugh, they cry, they get scared when their family is threatened and he said they morn and bury their dead.

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