Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hunt the Wumpus--For Real!

Now this is interesting. Don't know if it's legit, but, hey. So as some of you may know, I work primarily in the offices of an engineering firm here in Anchorage. This firm has a lot of North Slope projects, and workers usually spend two weeks there, two weeks home. The thing is, it's not like operations stop during the winter. And might I mention that the winter on the North Slope lasts much longer than here in Anchorage. They are above the Arctic Circle up there. They are a mile away from the Arctic Ocean. They stay inside and don't come out.
So anyway, one of my friends who works up there, Dean, was at Corp. yesterday (where I work) to talk about some worker's comp related thingamabob. We talked for like twenty minutes, but he mentioned that one of his friends had seen a "monster" during the winter up there. This other friend, Steven, tried to take a picture of the creature through the window, but his first attempt came out reflecting and the second attempt just caught the animal's side and back. It had to be a white creature, didn't it? Steven further claimed that blizzard conditions further prevented good camera work. At the end of this story, I told Dean that Steven was either making it up or was "smoking crack," which is of course illegal on the Slope. But Dean told me that he has proof in the form of a sketch that Steven etched out on a nearby piece of paper.
How Dean obtained this piece of paper, considering the two weren't working the same shift, was a question I failed to ask. Anyway, I told Dean to send me a PDF of the picture, and said picture arrived in my inbox today.
I copy it for you above. Another question that pops into my mind is why it's all crumpled up. It's as if Steven made a sketch, didn't like it, and threw it out, or it was thrown out by somebody else. Maybe Steven drew the initial creature, then, upon showing the sketch to other people, excitedly drew a horrible, horrible map designating the monster's last known position on the lower-left (nice job keeping the map separate from the creature, Steven). Anyway, Steven also managed to get a footprint down, although there's no scale bar or human print for scale.
In fact, the whole picture seems kind of vague to me. The top-heavy humanoid form could simply indicate a Slope worker wearing a white parka. Why there are claws on the hands are beyond me, and I question how well Steven could see this creature if, in fact, it was walking out in the middle of a blizzard. The feet are black because I guess the snow was high enough that he couldn't see any feet, but the footprint drawing seems to indicate a vaguely humanoid build, albeit with four large toes/claws. According to Dean's brief description, Steven thought the beast hairy and with "glowing orange eyes." Well, cat eyes glow too, but it's because they're reflecting light. That's probably what was happening here.
Hell, it could have been a Slope worker in a white parka with goggles on. If he had dark gloves on, I can see some moron thinking that the individual fingers represented talons.
But let's pretend for a second that the creature is real. Steven is apparently calling it a "Wumpus," not so much because "Wampa" was taken but because his favorite video game is the Atari's Hunt the Wumpus, which itself is supposedly a yeti-like creature. So that's kind of cool, but back to the "what if it's real" thing. If the Wumpus is to be taken seriously, we'd have esssentially a North Slope yeti, or perhaps bigfoot, but adapted to the colder Arctic climates. This would include, of course, a thick layer of white fur, like a polar bear. One wonders why the Wumpus doesn't just freakin' hibernate like every other North Slope mammal.
The strikes against this claim seem a bit severe. Still, I'm happy that Dean showed me the picture because it displays how nuts people can become up on the North Slope in the middle of winter.


Verdakk said...

Or the dude just wanted to draw a picture. Whichever the case, that is hilarious.

Luke said...

I love it.. I want to get confused and mentally challenged on the slope! ... I hope it's true, that'd be pretty awesome

lantaro said...

hahahaha that's awesome. i believe in the wumpus!! I'M SO STARTING AN ONLINE CLUB FOR THIS.

what am i, fuckin' high?

incidentally, no.