It is a mask or is it real? Is is a cryptid or is it a skinwalker? These questions when through my mind when my research colleague, Don Monroe, shared this photo with me.
He has a brief chance meeting with someone who had this photo on his phone and said it was taken by a prospector on Mt. McKinley in Alaska. The man's wife was a bit uncomfortable with the talk and they ended it and left the establishment.
But, they left a lot of questions too.
Upon looking at it closely on the computer, I had to wonder about the lower half of the face and the top not seeming to match. It looked like a skinwalker who would pull an animal skin over top and become the creature. Skinwalkers are something of native legends of witches who can shapeshift. If ever one took on a face in a photo, this would seem to be it.
The eyes are wolf-like, the teeth a gnarled mess that seems like the mouth would have trouble hinging closed. The lower half of the face seems to be of a similar color to the area around the eyes, as if something was pulled over the head.
We can't begin to wonder how the person who took the picture survived the encounter.
This photo has brought up a lot of questions, ones I hope to learn more about.
I looked up skinwalkers in Alaskan legend.
LINK: The Kushtaka is a shape-shifting otter man that inhabits the southeastern portion of Alaska and a little bit of Canada. Unlike most skin-walkers, Kushtaka is said to only take the form of otters, half-otters half-men, and sometimes just hairy men.
I will continue on my path to learn more about this photograph.