Nick Redfern is the author of 30 books on monsters and unexplained mysteries, including Monster Files; Monster Diary; Memoirs of a Monster Hunter; and Strange Secrets. He has appeared on more than 70 TV shows, including the History Channel's Monster Quest; Science's The Unexplained Files; and the National Geographic Channel's Paranatural. In this excerpt from his "The Bigfoot Book". Nick recounts a tale from World War II...
The Second World War brought forth death on a massive scale, worldwide carnage, and the atomic bomb. It also brought forth a number of reports of savage man-beasts. Two prominent cases came from the former Soviet Union, one in 1941 and the other -in 1944. The source of the first account was a respected figure in the Medical Service arm of the Soviet Army: Lt. Col. V. S. Karaperyan. The location was, rather notably, not far from the Caucasus Mountains, from where numerous reports have surfaced of the Bigfoot-like Almasty (see "Almasty Expedition").
For around twelve weeks, Karapetyan and his unit were stationed at Buynaksk, in the Republic of Dagestan, doing their utmost to lessen the alarming expansions across Europe by the Nazis. One particular morning, and quite out of the blue, a Buy-naksk-based police officer visited Karapetyan's camp and shared with him some astonishing news.
High in the surrounding cold peaks, a man had been captured by local villagers. This was not a normal man, however. Rather intriguingly, he was described as an espionage agent in "disguise." It was a description that puzzled Karapetyan—at least, until he saw the man up close, in an old barn where he was being held, and then realized it was actually a very apt description. Karapetyan said:
I can still see the creature as it stood before me, a male, naked and bare-footed. And it was doubtlessly a man, because in entire shape was human. The chest, back, and shoulders, however, were covered with shaggy hair of a dark brown color (it is noteworthy that all the local inhabitants had black hair). This fur of his was much like that of a bear, and 2 to 3 centimeters long. The fur was thinner and softer below the chest. His wrists were crude and sparsely covered with hair. The palms of his hands and soles of his feet were free of hair. But the hair on his head reached to his shoulders partly covering his forehead. The hair on his head, moreover, felt very rough to the hand. He had no beard or mustache, though his face was completely covered with a light growth of hair. The hair around his mouth was also short and sparse.
The man stood absolutely straight with his arms hanging, and his height was above the average—about 180 cm. He stood before me like a giant, his mighty chest thrust forward. His fingers were thick, strong, and exceptionally large. On the whole, he was considerably bigger than any of the local inhabitants.
His eyes told me nothing. They were dull and empty—the eyes of an animal. And he seemed to me like an animal and nothing more.
As I learned, he had accepted no food or drink since he was caught. He had asked for nothing and said nothing. When kept in a warm room he sweated profusely. While I was there, some water and then some food (bread) was brought up to his mouth; and someone offered him a hand, but there was no reaction. I gave the verbal conclusion that this was no disguised person, but a wild man of some kind. Then I returned to my unit and never heard of him again.
Only three years later, and as the Second World War continued to rage, yet another encounter with a Russian wild man occurred, also in the Caucasus Mountains. In this case, the source of the story was a police officer, Erjib Koshokoyev. As the resident of a small town in the mountainous area, it was Koshokoyev's responsibility to ensure that there was no Nazi incursions in the area—which he did a very good job of thwarting, by all accounts.
As part of his job, Koshokoyev led regular horseback sorties into the mountains: the last thing anyone needed were hordes of German troops overrunning the area. On a dark, autumn night in 1944, the unit of men was conducting its regular search of the area when, suddenly, one of the horses reared up-seemingly in terror—and threw its rider to the ground. Exactly why became immediately obvious. Standing in the shadows, and at a distance of around seventeen or eighteen feet, was a tall, human-like figure coated in reddish hair. For a few seconds, no one moved, such was the terrifying nature of the situation. That is, until the creature suddenly broke into an astonishing-ly fast run and the band of men raced after it.
As the beast charged across the cold, dark landscape, it noticed an old shepherd's but and threw open the door and slammed it shut—an action that suggested a fair degree of intelligence on its part. To his credit, Koshokoyev quickly deduced that whatever the beast was, it should be taken alive. Koshokoyev was already thinking about having it transferred to a military-scientific detachment at Nalchik, which was the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.
The operation to snare the primitive man was not going to be an easy one, so Koshokoyev whispered to the group that they should approach slowly and carefully to surround the hut, ensuring that the thing had no way to escape. Unfortunately, the plan didn't go as Koshokoyev had hoped.
In some fashion, it appears the hairy man realized what was afoot and bunt out of the hut, racing around it in wild and frantic fashion. Although terrified by the monstrous appearance and horrific nature of the beast, the men did their best to keep calm. That worked—at least, until the monster charged at them, which resulted in the group scattering. The man-monster vanished as it headed into a large, wooded ravine.
One final, strange thing: according to Koshokoyev, the animal was partially dressed in what resembled a torn and tattered kaftan. It was never seen again.
LEGENDARY... LURKING... NOTORIOUSLY ELUSIVE
Famous sightings, mythic folklore, and sensational hoaxes. I—What are we to believe? Does a hulking, hairy, 800-pound, nine-foot-tall, elusive primate roam the woods and forests throughout North America—and the world? What should we make of the grainy videos and photos and the thousands of eyewitness reports? For skeptics and enthusiasts alike, The Bigfoot Book: The Encyclopedia of Sasquatch, Yeti, and Cryptid Primates explores and explains the mysterious beast's history and its enigmatic existence in the present day.
Whether called Sasquatch, Yeti, Bigfoot, or something else, bipedal primates appear in folklore, legends, and eyewitness accounts in every state of the union and many places around the world. You'll learn of hoaxes, witness the creation of myths, hear frightening personal accounts, and see the startling historical records. Documenting the facts, hearing witnesses out, and scrutinizing the evidence, The Bigfoot Book investigates the reality, the fiction, and the history, as well as the conspiracy theories, notorious frauds, the world of the supernatural, the television shows, movies, and literature, and everything to do with the celebrated ape-like creature.
With nearly 200 entries and 120 photographs, drawings, and illustrations, it covers 400 years of folklore, mythology, history, pop culture, scientific reports and findings, and much, much more. It includes everything from the Abominable Snowman to Zoological Society Revelations. This richly researched reference, overflowing with fascinating information, will make you think—and maybe even reconsider your next camping trip.