Alaskan Ghosts

Episode 16: Alaskan Ghosts

In May of 1973, the chief mate and two sailors on the Alaska State ferry Malaspina saw a sight about which they are undoubtedly still telling their grandchildren. On a clear Sunday morning near Twin Island in the Revillagigedo Channel north of Ketchikan, a huge vessel suddenly ap­peared dead ahead. Lying broadside to the path of the ferry, it was about eight miles away and was an “exact, natural, and real” ship.

The three men, in two different locations on the ferry, reported the same sighting. With binoculars, they scanned the strange vessel and saw sailors working on deck. The ferry crew watched the strange ship for ten minutes, and then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, it vanished into thin air.


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Meet your host for Episode 16: Alaskan Ghosts

Steve Levi is a 70-something writer in Alaska. He specializes in the impossible crime and the Alaska Gold Rush.  An impossible crime is one in which the detective must figure out HOW the crime was committed before he can go after the perpetrators.  As an example, in THE MATTER OF THE VANISHING GREYHOUND, the detective must figure out how a Greyhound bus with four bank robbers, a dozen hostages, and  $10 million can vanish off the Golden Gate Bridge. Steve’s books can be seen at and He also does two historical uploads a week.  Send Steve your email, and he will include it in the mailings.


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The historical key to understanding the Alaska Railroad is that it started as a Socialist dream.  It was a profit-making instrument owned by the government. By the time the railroad finished, the dream of socialism as a governmental form had died.  The Russian Revolution showed how flawed socialism by a national government was, the hard-core socialist, anarchist, and syndicalist radicals had been deported on the BUFORD, and the end of World War I flooded American stores with consumer goods. The Roaring Twenties had started, and everyone was making money, and there was no longer a need to have a ‘socialist’ government.