Monday, September 27, 2010

Who was Lillian Alling?

In the early 1920s, a young woman named Lillian Alling arrived in New York City, joining the hordes of people processed through Ellis Island seeking prosperity and a fresh start in the New World.

Soon, for some unknown reason, Lillian decides to return to Russia-by walking across North America to Siberia. Over the next three yeras, Alling was spotted in Fargo, North Dakota and Atlin, BC. By 1927, she had crosed the continent alone and mostly on foot-almost 4,000 km wiht only the clothes on her back and a lead pipe for protection.

She spent the winter on the BC Coast, part of it in Oakalla prison farm. Some say she was imprisoned for vagrancy; others claim the local constable put her in jail because he was concerned she would try to head north during the bitter winter months. When spring arrived, Alling was off again and seen on the treacherous Telegraph Trail - the only land route between Quesnel and Hazelton. There were rumours of love with a linesman and glimpses of her in Northern BC.

What happened to Lillian Alling? Did she walk all the way back to Russia? Or did she perish en route?

We may never know, for nothing more was ever heard of Lillian. Like the mists in the mountain passes or a trail of footprints in the snow, she disappeared, becoming part of the myth of the North.

VO will explore this real-life, larger-than-life mystery with the world premiere of Lillian Alling on October 16.

We hope to see you there!

Ask me anything