The Mad Trapper of Rat River: Who was Albert Johnson?

He is known as Albert Johnson. But that wasn't his real name. Entering into Canadian folklore as, 'The Mad Trapper of Rat River,' he didn't seem to have a family or a past.

Arriving in Canada's north on a raft, he aroused curiosity because he didn't even take the steps to get a trapping license. He built a cabin and lived there by himself in the secluded wilderness.

This was the 1930's and the Depression was devastating the world. It wasn't unusual for a man to want to get away.

But soon his neighbours started complaining that their traps had been tampered with and everyone suspected the newcomer.

Two RCMP officers had to walk the 60 miles to confront Johnson. But he wouldn't talk to them. When one stared into the window of his cabin, he put a sack over it. They had to go back and get a search warrant. Now four officers returned and, when one of them tried to force the door open, a gun fight broke out. One of the officers was wounded. Retreating yet again, nine officers returned-this time with dynamite. They blew up the cabin but Johnson survived the blast by crouching in a hole. What ensued was a 15 hour stand off. The officers had to retreat again.

Now Johnson abandoned his cabin and started walking. He moved with incredible speed and stealth. The temperature was often -40 and there were constant blizzards. He'd scale cliffs with superhuman ability and by now, thanks to the radio, most of the world was paying attention to this manhunt. Legendary Canadian pilot Wop May was called in to see if he could spot the fugitive from the air. May realized one of the reasons Johnson was travelling so fast was because he was following Caribou tracks. May saw his footprints leave off when he would make camp for the night.

Finally the RCMP caught up to Johnson in a clearing and he was killed in a final gun fight.

And, on his body, he had gold and over $2000 in money! Considering inflation, that's $31615 in today's cash!

So who was Albert Johnson? Nobody knows. There have been theories as many single men went missing, looking for a new life in the 1930's, but to this day DNA tests have proved inconclusive.

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