Somewhere in the southern reaches of Alaska, an abandoned seaside village resides. Many of the buildings that stood in the once-robust town have long since vanished. Explorers trekking out to the area will mainly find a single dilapidated cabin occupying a large, desolate field by the ocean surrounded by a dense wall of pine trees. It’s an ominous sight; the building lingers as a ghostly reminder of the lives that once inhabited this place. It remains unoccupied among the painted mountain ranges as thick, heavy clouds sulk over the region.
A Thriving Coastal Village
The town of Portlock, more commonly referred to by locals as Port Chattam, was once a bustling community located in the Kenai Peninsula. It was established in the early 1900s as a fish cannery town due to the region’s bountiful salmon. A lush forest surrounds the town, and various wildlife such as bears, wolves and moose roam within the trees. The members of this community mainly consisted of Russian and Alutiiq descent, the latter of which had thrived in the rugged Alaskan region for more than 7,500 years.
With the port town prospering and Alaska having been established as a U.S. territory only about a decade before, Portlock constructed a post office in 1921. Seasonal workers, miners and hunters regularly camped in the area, and the villagers lived in relative peace. From the outside, the small, tight-knit community seemingly existed in an idyllic and serene reality. This assumption was misleading, however. In 1905, all the cannery workers suddenly abandoned their posts, refusing to return to the town until the following year. Something had terrified them enough to justify leaving; something, they said, was lurking in the forest.
Things Are Not Right In Portlock
Despite the unusual occurrence, things were relatively uneventful in Portlock until the early 1930s. In 1931, Andrew Kamluck, a logger and Portlock resident, headed into the forest one day to gather wood. Once he reached his destination, he began to work. He labored alone, using nearby logging equipment to help him with the task. While chopping wood, Kamluck was suddenly struck on the head with a piece of the log-moving equipment. He died instantly. Some of the townspeople who later came upon the scene would see Kamluck lying lifelessly on the ground. About 10 feet away, the logging equipment — too heavy for anyone to effortlessly lift alone — had remains of his blood.
Kamluck’s death shook the community. Who could have killed him, and why? The residents would never receive answers, and since this incident, strange and deadly occurrences continued to plague the seaside village. Rumors swirled around the region, and the neighboring villages began to suspect something was deeply wrong in Portlock.
Beware the Forest
A few workers from the cannery one day decided to get together to go out hunting for Dall sheep. Once they were ready, they gathered their gear and disappeared into the thick tree line bordering the village. As they traversed through the dark forest, the ground gave way to thick patches of bright green moss while rivers quietly burbled nearby. The air became piercingly silent as they made their way up the mountain; the twigs that broke under their feet echoed loudly throughout the area. Although they were only planning to be gone for a few hours, none of them came back home.
Once family members and other cannery workers realized what had happened, they formed a search party to look for them but couldn’t find any of the missing workers. Eventually, they gave up, and life went on in the town. But once it began to rain, bodies appeared in nearby rivers and lagoons, which had apparently washed down from the mountains. They were badly dismembered; the limbs of the bodies were shredded apart so viciously, the villagers that had recovered the bodies couldn’t think of any of the local wildlife capable of attacking this way.
Another group of hunters had been scouring through the forest while tracking a moose. As they were doing this, however, they noticed an odd set of footprints that followed the same tracks the moose left behind. They were human-like, although the prints were over 18 inches in length. As they continued, they came across a small clearing where tree branches had been destroyed, and blood was everywhere. The moose tracks ended at the clearing, but no carcass could be found. The strange footprints continued past the clearing and straight up the mountain.
A resident named Tom Larsen went out one day to chop wood. As he walked by the beach, he came across something that chilled him to the bone. A figure stood by the shoreline, destroying the fish wheels used to catch the salmon. It was extremely tall and hairy and stood on two feet. Larsen quickly turned around and hurried back to his shack to retrieve his rifle. He wasn’t sure what it was, but he needed to stop it from further damaging the wheels. He ran back to where he saw the beast and prepared to fire. Right when he did so, the figure slowly turned its head and stared directly at Larsen. Its features were grotesque, and Larsen later described it as looking devilish. He felt so unnerved he couldn’t fire a shot. After a long moment, the creature turned and walked off into the forest.
By this point, the villagers were in a state of panic. Previously, hunters, miners and locals often ventured into the forest without incident. Now, however, several people continued to disappear without a trace. They referred to the creature as the Nantiinaq or half-man, half-beast. Over the next several years, bodies continued to turn up in a mutilated state. The residents could no longer tolerate journeying into the forest. By the late 1940s, the residents all retreated in a mass exodus, leaving behind personal belongings as they departed to distant villages. The postmaster remained behind and may have been the last person to stay in Portlock.
For about a year, the postmaster remained behind since the post office needed to stay open. Every day, he kept the operations going, and every night filled him with dread. Despite the empty village, he regularly heard something stalking around at night; he often glimpsed something lurking in the treeline. Finally, in 1950, Portlock’s post office officially closed, and the postmaster left.
Since its abandonment, Portlock has succumbed to the elements. Most of its buildings fell into decay and eventually disappeared. What was once a scenic and remote port town is now a desolate region beyond recognition. Some of the cannery equipment remains behind as fragments of a once-vibrant town, becoming a part of the pristine wilderness of Alaska. To this day, no one can explain the multiple murders or the creature they witnessed, and to this day, people rarely venture out to Portlock. Whatever terrorized the residents may still be haunting those forests.