Tag Archives: alaska

Man Pays Bills with Spirits of Ancestors

Anchorage, AK -18 Feb. 2009- Staff.  Utilities workers had to trek through frigid and icy conditions to a remote hillside 20 miles outside of Anchorage to settle Herman Moses’ account.  While they deal with delinquent accounts on a regular basis, the workers were lost for words when Moses offered them sevearal of his dead relatives as payment.  The Anchorage police department eventually resolved the situation, but not before Moses insisted on his bizarre proposal for several hours.    


Moses’ power and water bills, which hadn’t been paid in nearly 10 months, were lying in a heap by the door when they arrived, the workers say.  When confronted face to face by the threat of  having his power and water shut off, however, he offered a barter: several lamps, a vacuum cleaner and a non-functioning television, all which Moses claimed housed the spirits of his mother, aunt and many cousins.  

After a long discussion, the utilities workers called the police to mediate.  Shortly after police arrived on the scene, Moses agreed to pay his debt with U.S. currency.  Moses didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.  

A note, taped to a fence post at his residence, expressed resentment:

“The stingk [sic] of authoritee [sic] is too much. The spririts will HAUNT!”

Peter Kappiataitok, an Inuit shaman, or Angakok, serving native peoples in the Anchorage area, was less than enthused about Moses’ ploy.  “I personally find the notion that one can trap the spirits of their ancestors and use them to pay debts to be both insulting and offensive,” he says.  “This is the kind of thinking one would expect from the depraved or uneducated, certainly not an Inuit or anyone with enough sense to hold a normal job and pay their bills on time.”  

According to publicly available records, Moses is an active member of St. Jude’s methodist church outside of Anchorage.