Over a century ago, terror ripped through a remote settlement near the Traverspine River in Labrador. A strange creature had emerged from the woods. It stood on two legs with a white mane of hair on the top of its head. Trying to scare it off, a villager managed to fire off a gunshot before the creature retreated into the bush. It left strange tracks in the snow. The footprints were 12 inches in length with two broad toes. For the next two years, sightings of this strange creature were recorded all over the area. And so began the mystery of the Traverspine Creature.
Labrador remains one of the most remote places in Canada. It was the last place in the western hemisphere to be populated on account of how far away it is from the Bering Strait. Made up of rocky shores and barren tundra, the extreme terrain and arctic temperatures make survival in Labrador difficult. Those who inhabit this remote area are a resilient people, much like those who lived in Traverspine decades ago.
Author Adam Shoalts discovered the tale of the Traverspine Creature while he was doing research for his master’s degree. What he found particularly interesting was the level of detail recorded in the story. History is full of legends of unknown creatures that lurk in the wilderness – yetis, wendigos, sasquatches, the list goes on. But these stories tend to be murky and lack real compelling evidence. In the case of the Traverspine Creature there were six different eyewitness accounts – including that of a doctor. Every account had the same specific details – the creature was tall with a white mane and sharp teeth. It walked on two legs but sometimes dropped down on all fours. The more information the author dug up, the more he became enthralled with the mystery. So much so that he decided to check out Traverspine for himself and see what clues may still be hidden in the now abandoned settlement. He recruited his old friend, an MMA fighter that was used to long hours of physical endurance, and together they took a long and desolate journey to discover the remains of a hundred-year-old village. The area is so far off the map, the only way to get there is by portaging through kilometres of uninhabited wilderness. Piecing together clues of the town’s landscape from articles written decades ago, the pair finally come across a decaying cabin – the first hint of the abandoned settlement.
I listened to The Whisper on the Night Wind: The True History of a Wilderness Legend on e-audiobook. Narrated by the author, the story has a strangeness about it as he describes moving across the remote landscape. Every flickering shadow and faint noise in the distance gives the reader the sense that an unknown creature could appear from the wilderness at any moment. Equipped with only minimal gear and a night camera, the pair venture deeper into the forest, looking for any signs of the Traverspine Creature.
Anyone looking for a real-life mystery need to look no further than The Whisper on the Night Wind, one of WPL’s Early Winter Featured Reads. The author fully investigates the history and legends of Labrador with every step of their journey, hoping to find the answer to a hundred-year-old question. Could there be an unknown species lurking in the wilderness? You’ll have to pick up the book to find out.