Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Yeti

For as long as European travelers have ventured into Tibet, locals had repeated to them the legends of a huge apelike creature called the metob-kangmi, which translates roughly as "the filthy snowman."

The stories cover a huge area, from the Caucasus Mountains to the Himalayas, from the Pamirs through Mongolia to the far east-ern tip of Russia. In central Asia the creatures are called mehteh, or yetis, while tribes of eastern Asia refer to them as almas.' The earliest reference to them is a report in 1832 by B. H. Hodgson, the British Resident at the Court of Nepal, who tnentioned that native hunters were frightened by a "wild man" covered in long, dark hair.

More than half a century later, in 1889, Major Laurence Waddell was climbing the Himalayas when he came across huge footprints in the snow at 17,000 feet; his local guides told him that these were the tracks of a yeti. This, according to the guides, was a ferocious creature that was likely to attack humans and carry them off for food. The best way to escape was to run downhill because the yeti's long hair would fall over its eyes and blind it.

In 1960, after Everest mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary
claimed to have seen the creature's tracks.
Radar magazine ran a cover depicting a yeti attack. 

In 1921 an expedition led by Colonel Howard-Bury was making a first attempt on the north face of Everest. The men saw in the distance a number of large dark creatures moving against the snow of the Lhapta-la Pass. The Tibetan porters said these were yetis. In 1925 N. A. Tombazi, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, tried to snap a photograph of a naked, upright creature sot the Zemu Glacier; it had vanished by the time he focused the camera.

These legends and the sightings continued to leak back to civilization, always with enough doubt that scientists could dismiss them as lies or mistakes. Shipton's photograph of 1951 caused an enormous sensation because it was taken by a member of a scientific expedition who seemed to have no possible motive for stretching the facts. Besides, the photograph spoke for itself.

You can read more by purchasing the book: "Strange: True Stories of the Mysterious and Bizarre" by Colin Wilson and Damon Wilson here.

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