- Grave of the Mad Trapper of Rat River – Northwest Territories - Atlas Obscura
- Who Was the Mad Trapper of Rat River?
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The RCMP officers camped near the cabin for about a week. Their siege ended when they discovered that the fugitive snuck out his cabin. Despite the below freezing temperatures of the Arctic winter and blankets of snow and sheets of ice, Johnson was a hard man to find. The trackers in the posse believed he hid his footprints by walking through the tracks of caribou herds and by doubling back in old prints. RCMP officers caught up with Johnson again at the end of January , and another fire fight ensued. After this second shoot-out, one Mountie, Constable Edgar Miller, was dead and the Trapper escaped again.
On Feb. Hersey, was wounded and Johnson was dead. The Mad Trapper's corpse was flown to Aklavik for an autopsy to see if more could be learned about the man who wounded two Mounties and killed a third. The pathologist reported that Johnson was emaciated at the time of his death, weighing only pounds, which was about 30 pounds less than what was considered healthy for his frame.
Sigvald's family did not hear from him after he left and always wondered what happened to him.
Grave of the Mad Trapper of Rat River – Northwest Territories - Atlas Obscura
Jorgensen and Gour also assembled a team of forensic scientists to examine the bones and take DNA samples for genetic and isotope testing. Forensic anthropologist Dr. Owen Beattie, of the University of Alberta, estimated that Johnson was about 5'10" and years-old, give or take nine years. Beattie discovered that he had scoliosis, or a curve to the spine, that would have caused back pain.
Owen Beattie, examined the skeletonized remains.
Who Was the Mad Trapper of Rat River?
It took a pile of wrangling to get legal approval for exhumation, then obtain the consent of native peoples who laid claim to the land in which the Trapper was interred. Due to permafrost, there was only a slight window of time when the archeological dig could be made. And the exact location of the grave was in doubt. Perseverance came down to the last available day when the team and film crew zeroed-in on a shallow grave with a rotten, wooden casket.
Using archeological skill and precision, the forensic scientists carefully detached the lid and exposed a perfectly preserved male skeleton.
There were no longer traces of flesh or fabric, but what gleamed in their faces was gold bridgework from a sneering skull. Sweet used dental records made in to positively identify the ghostly remains as that of the Mad Trapper. The team cataloged the bones, making three interesting observations. One was a deformity in the spine which led to questions as to how the man could have performed the physical feats described in legend. Second was that one foot was considerably longer than the other, again questioning his mobility.
And third was the entry and exit marks of a bullet path through the pelvis which was consistent to the reported fatal wound. The remains were replaced in a new casket and re-interred in the original grave. Back at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Sweet and his colleagues developed a perfect DNA profile of the Trapper. Descendant DNA profiles were developed for these men and compared to the known biological signature of the Trapper.
One sidenote is that oxygen isotopes developed from the teeth enamel indicated that the Trapper originated from either the mid-western United States or from Scandinavia. Click Here. Thought you might be interested in some of my work on the case. Have some fresh leads, and a different perspective , and a likely candidate. I am very curious about this. My great grandfather disappeared in after the fire of his store. His daughter son in law and grand daughter died in the fire also.
After the fire he disappeared never to be heard from again. And I mean nowhere nothing. No one could find him. I have just had my DNA done so did my step sister.
Are they still trying to match the DNA? We are from Illinois. Hi Garry, Its Brian Connor here again. You advised me to read Dick Norths book The mad trapper of rat river, well ive just finished and what a great book. Good info on the man going by the name Arthur Nelson, who ever he was he was showing tne classic symptoms of what would be known today as Asbergers, socially awkward and uncomfortable, preferring to be alone,very adept and a loner. The detailed mugshots of Johnny have absolutally no facial resemblance to Albert Johnson whatsoever.
He is way off the mark with that one Thats my opinion anyway, im sure if a modern day expert looked at these they also would confirm the facial features are very different. Dick Norths experts must have been on grandpas soda pop at the time.. I agree with you about Johnny Johnson, Brian. I do think there might have been something to the man North says used the name Arthur Nelson. Great stuff Garry.sampphomiraking.tk
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Will you keep an update on your site of the outcome? I,like a lot of others are very interested in this story, you seem to be at the forefront of this mystery, im sure if anyone gets to the bottom of this you will be the one. How does this person fit into the mad trapper story? I read on a Canadian newspaper which was following the story at the time, that a news reporter said he knew the man and he was a farmer from Empress….? Coming from Scotland i hadnt even heard of a place in Canada called Empress.
Have you seen this newspaper article? It was written days after the death of Albert Johnson. I havent seen this on anything else ive researched just thought i would pass it on incase there was anything in it. Kind Regards Brian. Thanks, Brian.
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However, all forensic evidence obtained from the exhumation indicates the Mad Trapper originated in Scandinavia and may have spent time in the US Corn Belt. As a result of this blog post, I got a lead from a credible source in Norway who the Trapper really may be. It was an old family secret and recorded in a letter dating back to the time. I tracked down the closest relative by name and had a DNA test done. It was unrelated but there may well have been a break in the biological chain and this is still the right track. Fingers are crossed :. The gold bridgework remains in the skull reburied at Aklavik.
From what I read, there were two areas in the US where this type of dental work was done at the time — Chicago and San Francisco. The police at the time put out bulletins describing the dental work but never found matching records. I have seen the grainy sepia pics of a suspect at the time Arthur Nelson and cant believe there is any argument. The hair and facial shape. The slightly stooped body stance, this was definitely the man in the death pictures. Thats maybe the question that will solve this. Has there been any investigations into who Arthur Nelson was as I am sure the pics are the same person.
I have also had a theory for a few years that he may have actually been Albert Johnson as there doesnt seem to be any evidence of it not being his true name. He gave this name before any Mounties were looking for him, before any of this drama happened. Maybe he was honestly giving his real name at this point. I believe the Arthur Nelson lead was followed up in the original police investigation and then the DNA team eliminated him.
It certainly has merit although we did a DNA comparison to a living relative but it was excluded.
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Thanks for your interest, Brian. This case can still be solved. Hi Garry. Thanks for your reply. DNA tests have ruled out the Johnny Johnson theory. The family's last letter from Johnston was posted from Revelstoke , British Columbia early in They never heard from him again.
According to the radio interview a relative was arranging for DNA tests. He proposed too many coincidences to ignore the possibility of Sigvald Pedersen Haaskjold from Norway emerging as Albert Johnson.
Sigvald had become obsessed with the notion that the authorities were still looking for him after evading conscription during the First World War. He had built a fortress-like cabin on Digby Island on the north coast of B. This author points out circumstantial evidence for this case. In a televised exhumation of Johnson's corpse was aired  in which DNA comparisons were made to confirm Johnson's identity.
A forensic team sponsored by the Discovery Channel exhumed Johnson's body on August 11, and conducted forensic tests on his remains before re-interring it in an attempt to confirm his true identity conclusively. All candidates tested against were eventually excluded with percent certainty. By analyzing isotopes in Johnson's teeth, it was determined that Johnson was not Canadian but likely grew up in the Corn Belt of midwest America or possibly Scandinavia. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For British film, see The Mad Trapper film. This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. This article may need to be rewritten to comply with Wikipedia's quality standards. You can help. The discussion page may contain suggestions. September Discovery Channel. Archived from the original on 23 April The Mad Trapper:Unearthing a Mystery. Heritage House,