The Abominable Snowman is elusive. He came to western notice in 1832, when B H Hodgson – British Resident at the Court of Nepal – talked of natives being frightened by a ‘wild man’ covered in long dark hair.
Later, in 1889, while exploring the Himalayas, a Major Waddell came across huge footprints in the snow at an altitude of 17,000 feet. Numerous similar incidents occurred, and then, in 1951, the Everest explorer Eric Shipton returned from the Menlung Glacier clutching a photograph of a footprint 18 inches long and 13 inches wide.
This is all part of the known history of the Abominable Snowman, or Yeti. Many stories have been built up about the creature. It is hard, now, to work out whether we are dealing with fact or myth in such tales. For instance, we have the story of Zana, a wild woman who was taken in by a Himalayan tribe and had several children by various tribesmen. Unfortunately, Zana died about 1890 and no proof can be forwarded that she was a Yeti.
As with Nessie, the Yeti has many cousins, including the Sasquatch – or Bigfoot – of the Americas, and the Russian Alma. In 1967 Bigfoot is said to have appeared on a movie film taken at Bluff Cove by ex-rodeo cowboy Roger Patterson. This is just one of hundreds of sightings; if, of course, it wasn’t a clever hoax. So again we have creatures covering many cultures, and while Nessie frequents most remote lakes worldwide, the Yeti frequents snowy, rocky uninhabited regions throughout the world.
Sherpa Tensing – of Everest fame – described the Yeti as some 5 feet tall, bipedial with a conical head and covered in reddish brown hair. From this and other sightings we get a picture of a creature with teeth like a man’s but larger; with no under layer of hair, skin can sometimes be seen, and they often grasp things but without using the thumb. They climb trees, swim and run as fast as a horse. They shelter in holes, travel in breeding pairs, throw stones, eat small animals and vegetable roots and have a distasteful smell.
With many human characteristics, Dr Myra Shackley has suggested that he is the last vestige of Neanderthal Man. Others have suggested he is the missing link, while still others have put sightings down to the Tibetan Blue Bear.
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