Thomas Bay

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Thomas Bay
Thomasroute.jpg
A kayak route passing through Thomas Bay, Alaska
Coordinates 57°01′53″N 132°51′13″W / 57.03139°N 132.85361°W / 57.03139; -132.85361Coordinates: 57°01′53″N 132°51′13″W / 57.03139°N 132.85361°W / 57.03139; -132.85361
Type Bay

Thomas Bay is located in southeast Alaska. It lies northeast of Petersburg, Alaska and the Baird Glacier drains into the bay. Thomas Bay is also known as "The Bay of Death" due to a massive landslide in 1750. It also has gained the name of "Devil's Country" when in 1900 several people claimed to have seen devil creatures in the area.

The bay is named for U.S. Navy officer Charles M. Thomas.

Natural history[edit]

Thomas Bay is known for being rich in gold and quartz. The wildlife has moose, brown bears, black bears, squirrels, wolves, rabbits, and other common Alaskan creatures. The land has been used for logging.

Bay of Death[edit]

In 1750, a native (Tlingit) village on Thomas Bay was completely buried by a large landslide. Over 500 native people died in the natural disaster. From that day on the bay was dubbed "The Bay of Death" or "Geey Nana" in Tlingit.

Devil's country[edit]

In 1900, the first documented account of the legendary devil creatures was written by Harry D. Colp. Harry Colp and three of his prospecting friends who are simply known as Charlie, John, and Fred, were staying in Wrangell, Alaska. As the story goes, Charlie received word from a native local of an area to mine for gold.

He told me to go up to Thomas Bay* and camp on Patterson River on the right side, travel upriver for about eight miles and then turn to the high mountains, and after traveling about a mile and a half, I would find a lake shaped like a half-moon.

Charlie went to check out the native man's story of the gold that was to be found in the mountains in May 1900. By the time he returned, June 1900, he arrived without a coat or his hat, and his canoe was empty, except for a large piece of quartz.

Moon Lake and the Devil Creatures[edit]

Charlie claimed to have arrived in Thomas Bay, but couldn't find the half-moon shaped lake. Instead he spent some time off an 'S' shaped lake (actually called Ess Lake). He claimed that the surrounding area seemed oddly void of life. There were no squirrels, no birds, etc. Wanting to get his bearings after he found his large chunk of quartz, he climbed to the top of a ridge. From there he could spot Frederick Sound, Cape of the Straight Light, the point of Vanderput Spit (Point Vanderput), and Sukhoi Island from the mouth of Wrangell Narrows. Behind the ridge, Charlie finally spotted the half-moon shaped lake, which is where the Patterson Glacier turns into a lake that turns into Patterson River.

It was from this point that Charlie claims that a swarm of devil creatures were making their way up the ridge from the half-moon shaped lake. Charlie claimed that he barely managed to outrun the strange creatures. He received several scratches along his back from the creatures. He never returned to the area.

Strangest Story Ever[edit]

The people who have had encounters with these creatures seem to go into hysterics and are usually deemed 'temporarily insane'. The creatures have always been described as looking neither like man or monkey, but covered with coarse hair and oozing sores. They are foul smelling. They are about four feet tall and have claw-like fingers.

In 1925, a trapper reported losing a dog in the hills there, but finding strange tracks, with the hind feet resembling a cross between a bear's and a human's footprints. The trapper returned later to find the traps, he had hastily left, some were sprung, some weren't. Some were destroyed. He took out to try to find his dog, and was never seen again. Taken from the book "The Strangest Story Ever Told" Harry D. Colp

In 1974 Harry Colp's daughter Virginia was interviewed by writer Irving Warner in Petersburg, Alaska. She was sure of the basic veracity of her father's narrative regards how he saw and lived it. She could and would not say whether it was true, false or some sort of mental aberration. She did, however, have confidence in her father's abilities and truthfulness. She had helped her father in the production of the story, and was extremely familiar with it. Naturally, she had fielded many questions about it afterwards. She did say, that large amounts of arsenic were alleged to be present in the watershed there, which might or might not go some distance to explain strange events happening to visitors. (addition by I.W.)

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