Abominable Snowmen, by Ivan T. Sanderson, , at sacred-texts.com
14. The Eastern Horizon
Russian scientists appear to have been just as stunned as those of the West about a decade ago when they were confronted with the new turn in ABSMal events that took place after the Shipton foot-tracks uproar. Further, despite the fact that their jurisdiction has for a long time marched with the Great Barrier, and the expansion of their country was in the past centuries eastward, just as ours was westward, while their interests in inner Mongolia were multifarious, they don't seem to have known much more about this huge, truly mysterious subcontinent in upland eastern Eurasia than any other outsiders did. While the Westerners, led by the British, had been nibbling away at its southern border via India, and the Americans had shown some interest via China, neither had really even penetrated the great triangle. Some travelers considered rather intrepid had crossed it, and a few naturalists had accomplished bizarre tasks like unearthing nests of fossil dinosaur eggs therein, but the accumulated lack of knowledge about it mounted steadily. This is not to say that Europeans had not been traveling through it since very early times, for some became immortalized for their accomplishments like Marco Polo and the great Russian explorer Prjewalski in the last century. There were also lesser known but equally intrepid explorers, such as one Johann Schiltberger of Bavaria in the years 1396 to 1427. In modern times there have been men of exceptional perspicacity such as J. Nicholas Roerich and the
[paragraph continues] Englishman Peter Fleming. The list is of course almost endless, and in all this Russians have played a most prominent part. Yet, despite the fact that a very high percentage of these travelers throughout the ages seem to have mentioned ABSMs, and not just casually, the concept of the continued existence over enormous areas of some of our primitive ancestors, of sub-men, and possibly even of sub-hominids simply did not penetrate the collective mind of Russian scholarship any more than it did that of Westerners. The Russian expedition to the Pamirs went out every bit as unprepared as the Western expeditions to the Himalayas, with all the same preconceived notions and misconceptions, and it came back just about as mystified and empty-handed.
However, the Russians had in the meantime made special investigations in the Caucasus, and they had sent another party to the northern face of the Everest Block—which ended in a sad disaster—and they had offered their Chinese and Mongolian colleagues co-operation in investigating the whole matter. This intelligent approach was prompted in part by the growing tumult in the popular press and in scientific circles in the West about the "Abominable Snowman," and in part by certain historic discoveries of what may be called a purely bureaucratic nature by Prof. Porshnev. These prove to be a sad commentary on just about everything, but somehow make one feel a little better about some things. They demonstrate that we are not the only dumb clucks, or the only ones to let our scientific hierarchy obliterate any signs of novel thinking or unexpected discovery. I would like to tell this story in full not only for the sake of humanity but because its various facets point up just about everything that has been wrong with the study of ABSMery during the past century. Space does not permit and all I can give is the bare bones.
There lives in Moscow today a scientist by the name of V. A. Khakhlov who in 1913 submitted a full and detailed report on the east Asiatic ABSMs to the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences. This priceless material was shelved, he was denied funds to continue his field investigations, and he was frankly told to shut up. Professor Porshnev happened to
stumble on these reports in 1959 and sought out Dr. Khakhlov. He writes of his first interview: "Here he sits in front of me, this white-haired man, an emeritus scholar, a Professor of comparative animal anatomy, a scientist who made valuable contributions in the field of zoology. He talks about the discoveries he was about to make while he was a young man; his talk is enthusiastic and bitter at the same time. He is bitter not only at the general attitude taken by the pre-revolutionary Academy of Sciences, but at the action of his former advisory professor, P. P. Suschkin. In 1928, Suschkin came out with a startling, at the time, hypothesis; namely, that the region where the change from a monkey (sic) to a man took place was on the high plateaus of Asia … but not one word about the extensive contributions made by him [Khakhlov] or about his reports of the existence of `Wild Men' in Central Asia." Need I say more?
Nor was Khakhlov the only enlightened scholar and enthusiastic field worker who was rapped over the knuckles and threatened with limbo at that time for the same reason. There was a young man named B. B. Baraidin who in 1905-07 specialized in Eastern folklore. He was given a commission to travel through Mongolia to Tibet on assignment from the Russian Geographical Society of [then] St. Petersburg. While doing so he encountered an ABSM at close range, while in company with many others in a caravan, and a young monk pursued the creature, which the locals called an Almas. Baraidin made a full report on this, but his boss, one S. F. Oldenburg, head of the geographical society and Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, ordered him to delete all mention of the matter from his report, stating that "no one will ever believe that, and it may prove embarrassing." At least, they were direct about it in Imperial Russia!
Young Baraidin had been befriended by a Mongolian scholar named Z. G. Jamtzarano, and when he told him of the incident, the latter was inspired to devote much time to pursuing ABSMs. This he did with the help of two assistants named A. D. Simukov and a Dr. Rinchen. The latter is now a Professor at the University at Ulan Bator, Mongolian D.R., still
most actively engaged in pursuing the matter, and has given a great deal of information to the Russian Special Commission. It was these "discoveries" in the attics of Russian science that did more than all the firsthand reports of tracks and encounters along the entire length of the Great Barrier to aid Prof. Porshnev in mounting a proper investigation of ABSMery in Russian territory. Yet there remained a great skepticism, right up till the time of departure of the expeditions and investigators. In the previous year (1957) one A. J. Pronin, a hydrographer from Leningrad University, had made the world press with a story that he had observed an ABSM twice, for a brief time but at some distance on the Fedchenko Glacier in the Pamirs. This had at first been proclaimed by, but then just as violently decried in the Russian press, to such an extent that the inevitable debunking—which as usual amounted to nothing more than some "expert" saying that he did not believe him—was seized on by everybody as final and absolute proof that all ABSMs have never been anything but myths. I am sincerely sorry for Mr. Pronin, but I must say that this also makes me feel a little better: for it is manifest that our press also is not the only muddleheaded group or the only one that jumps to grovel in abject compliance with the least pontification on the part of an "expert." Reviewing press reports on the 1958 expedition to the Pamirs, I find an almost similar story—first considerable enthusiasm and even pride in this open-minded and truly scientific endeavor, then a sad retrogression to the age-old bolt-hole … "Sorry to have to do this, dear Readers, but I'm afraid we have finally to bury the poor Snowman. He turns out to be just a myth after all. We hate to see a good myth die; we need them in this day and age, but … etc, etc, etc." I have a whole file on these periodical requiems on ABSMs, the latest, as of writing, a highly facetious lead editorial in the Christian Science Monitor anent Hillary's scalps. They make amusing reading but are a sad commentary on intelligence in whatever part of the world.
Nonetheless, although this expedition to the Pamirs did not bring back a pickled ABSM, it did bring to light a wealth of most fascinating reports. Not a few of these were from resident
[paragraph continues] Russians. One of the most notable only came to light later in a communication to Prof. Porshnev, who remarks of it in one of his articles: "Not only the "authority of official science" acts as a hindrance to obtaining more information about the "snow men." There are other obstacles as well, which incidentally still remain: lack of co-ordination in gathering data is the most important [or most detrimental of all]. Investigators working in different regions are not aware that similar data is being collected in another area and, lacking this most basic tool of science—comparison—they are unable to accomplish anything. As an example we can cite a recent communication from a geologist by the name of B. M. Zdorick. He writes that much to his regret while he was in the Pamirs in 1926-38 he had no information about the Himalayan ABSMs [called yeti], and just could not understand all the stories he was told about furry men, or even what he had seen himself (italics mine, Author) ."
"In 1934 Zdorick accompanied by his guide was making his way through a narrow path among a growth of wild oats on a little alpine plateau at about 8000 feet altitude between the Darwaz Ridge and the eastern reaches of the Peter the First Range. Unexpectedly the path leveled off and one could see how the grass was trampled on, the ground giving evidence that someone was digging around. There were splotches of blood on the path and remains of a gopher's skin. Just a little way from Zdorick and his guide, on a mound of freshly upturned earth, was a creature, asleep on his belly, fully stretched out. He was about a meter and a half in length (approximately 4 feet 10 inches). The head and the forward limbs could not be seen because they were hidden by a growth of wild oats. The legs, however, could be seen. They had black naked soles, and were too long and graceful to have belonged to a bear; his back was also too flat to be a bear's. The whole body of this animal was covered with fur, more like the fur of a yak, than the rich fur of a bear. The color of the fur was a grayish-brown, somewhat more prominent brown than a bear's. One could see the sides of the creature moving rhythmically in his sleep. The fear that took possession of the guide transmitted
itself to Zdorick and they both turned around and ran for their life, scrambling and falling in the tall, wild grass.
"On the following day Zdorick learned from the local residents, who were much alarmed by the news, that he came across a sleeping "dev". The local residents used another word in naming the creature, and Zdorick had the impression that they were using the word "dev" just for him, so that he could understand better. The local residents ventured the information that in valleys of Talbar and Saffedar there were a few families of these "devs"—men, women and children. They were considered like beasts, and no supernatural power was ascribed to them. They cause no harm to the people, or their stock, but meeting them is considered a bad omen.
"The geologist was very much surprised to hear that the "dev" was listed as an animal, and not a supernatural creature. He was told that the "dev" looked like a short stocky man, walking on two hind legs, and that his head and body were covered with short grayish fur. In the Sanglakh region the "dev" is seen very rarely, but they do roam about, either singly, or in pairs—male and female. No one had seen any young ones, but last summer they caught a grown one at the flour mill, where he evidently was eating either flour, or grain. This was at the eastern foothills of Sanglakh, only a few kilometers from Tutkaul. The captive was chained for about two months by the mill and was fed raw meat and flour pancakes. After that he broke his chain and escaped. They also pointed out a man who had a large scar on his head from a wound supposedly inflicted by the "dev". "
The list of encounters with, let alone mere sightings of ABSMs throughout the Pamirs region generally (as defined above) are literally endless. The same can be said of the other major areas of the Mongolian upland triangle. These areas are as follows: first the super-upland plateau of Tibet with its three principal super mountain ranges, in the south the Rim with the Karakoram, in the middle the Kunluns that turn south to the head of Indo-China, and along the north the Altyn Tagh, that leads into the Nan Shans and on to the Tsin-Lings of China. Second, north of the Pamirs lie the Alai-Tagh,
and from them stretch the Tien Shans to form the northern boundary of the Tarim Basin of Sinkiang. Next, north of these come the Grand Altai, forming the southern border of Mongolia proper. North of these are the Tannu-Ola and the mighty Khangai between Mongolia and Tannu Tuva. Still north again come the Sayan complexes and the Baikals, lying along the shore of the great lake of the same name. Then, in the Gobi Desert lie the Yablonovoi Mountains. Finally there are the Khingans running north to south between the Gobi and the eastern lowlands of Manchuria. There is some suspicion that ABSMery may have to be extended still farther north through the Stanovois, to the Dzhugdzhurs and Gidan Mountains which border the Sea of Okhotsk. There is also a most important triangle sandwiched in between the Nan Shans, the eastern end of the Tibet Rim and the upper end of the Indo-Chinese Peninsula, that has no collective name, but is filled with immense north to south ranges. This lies in Sikang, now incorporated into the Chinese Province of Szechwan. [All these subareas or natural provinces will be found on Map XII with the exception of the penultimate group which are in far eastern Siberia, and from which we have no definite ABSMery.] I cannot stress too forcibly the sheer volume of such reports and of those of foot-tracks, droppings, and other corollary evidence that have been found year after year all over all of these subareas within the great upland Mongolian Triangle. The full record of those that have been published—some 200, that have been properly investigated and assessed scientifically by competent specialists—will form the subject of another book. For now, I shall have to confine myself to a few samples and some further explanatory remarks about the country, vegetation, and general background against which they were recorded.
First, in the general Pamirs region, the Russian expedition brought to light half a dozen most recent and categoric reports. One was supplied by a man, described as "quite well-to-do," resident in Chesh Teb, who did a lot of hunting for pleasure. In 1939, in the spring, about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, while he was walking around he saw some man who actually jumped on him. "They started wrestling. This was a Gul-Biavan. The
hunter was very strong and tall and heavy and once he was able to lasso a bear. Now, this hunter wrestled with Gul-Biavan. The Gul-Biavan was covered with short, soft wool and the man could not get hold of anything. On the face of this man there was also short wool and there was a terrible odor coming from him. Finally, the hunter was able to throw the Gul-Biavan to the ground, but at the same time he lost consciousness himself. The villagers came upon the man and brought him home. When he came to, it was late in the evening and he told how he met the Gul-Biavan, and the villagers told him that he was lying on the ground, and the ground around him bore evidence of this wrestling match."
In the same area intelligent local people made many sworn statements such as "A man in Roharv was traveling with two others through the Pass of Karategin and Vahio, when they saw a naked man covered with short black hair, who was slightly taller than an average ordinary man, and which had a very strong smell" [italics mine]. As elsewhere all over the world, this matter of a strong stink attached to ABSMs keeps cropping up throughout the east Eurasian cases. Then, there was the hunter, Andam Kerimov, from a place called Uskrog between Roharv and Bodaudi, who called the creature he encountered a Voita (just another local name for an ABSM). It was not much bigger than a man, was covered with hair but not much on its chest. It had a bare face, and ears sticking out, the nose was wide, and "over the nose and on the ears he did not have much hair." Rather pleasantly the report states that "At the time Andam met the Voita he was leading a goat but gave way to him—the Voita." A group of hunters named Alaer, Altibai, Matai, Beksagir, and Tastambek who were with the reporter and his father one Abdurahmanov Abdulhamid, when encamped for the night, heard "something treading lightly on the grass" and running out apparently with a light saw what they called a Gul-Biavan about 6 feet 6 inches tall covered with hair. "It had a powerful and unpleasant smell." This was in 1951.
Some of the most interesting information collected on east Eurasian ABSMs comes from Khakhlov's original inquiries at
the beginning of this century, mentioned above. Khakhlov obtained most of this through that group of the Kazakh nation which had moved northeast and settled along the edge of the Great Barrier, north of Kirghiz territory and north of Lake Balkhash, in the area lying between the Abakan Mountains and Tannu Tuva. These people were actually foreigners to and were not acquainted with the uplands beyond the Barrier but they penetrated into it via certain lowland basins having entrances pointing to the west. The most notable of these is called Dzungaria which is an immense lowland pocket, into which the western steppes [i.e. prairies, to us] penetrate via two great valleys separated by the Tarbagatai Mountains. Patient inquiry by Khakhlov elucidated the fact that reports gathered by the Kazakhs from a wide area seemed all to come from Dzungaria. Khakhlov makes a point of noting that these reports came from herders, hunters, and those engaged in other pursuits strictly in that order numerically. His first most astonishing discovery, which has recently been much confirmed was that the ABSMs from that region had "been seen, captured, left footprints in sand, had an odor, resisted capture and yelled, and lived in captivity for a while."
"One witness, a Kazakh, stated that he was in the mountains of Iran-Kabirg and once, together with local herders, was taking care of a herd of horses at night. Toward dawn they saw some man prowling around and suspecting a thief, they jumped in the saddle taking along long poles with nooses which are used to catch horses, "arkans" [lassos]. Because the "man" was running awkwardly and not too fast, they succeeded in capturing him. While he was being captured, the "man" was yelling, or rather screeching "like a hare." Looking the captured creature over, the herder explained to the visitor that this is a "Wild Creature" not doing any harm to any one, and that he should be released.
"The "wild man" was a male, below average height, covered with hair "like a young camel." He had long arms, far below his knees, stooped, with shoulders hunched forward; his chest was flat and narrow; the forehead sloping over the eyes with prominently arched brows. Lower jaw was massive without
any chin; nose was small with large nostrils. The ears were large without any lobes, pointed back [like fox's]. On the back of his neck was a rise [like a hound's]. The skin on the forehead, elbows and knees hard and tough. When he was captured he was standing with his legs spread, slightly bent in the knees; when he was running he was spreading his feet wide apart awkwardly swinging his arms. The instep of the "wild man" resembled a human, but at least twice the size with widely separated fingers [toes]; the large toe being shorter than that of humans, and widely separated from the others. The arm with long fingers was like a human arm, and yet different.
"When the "wild man" at the insistence of the herders was allowed to go free, both Kazakhs followed him and discovered the place into which he had vanished: an indentation under a hanging rock strewn with high grass. The local residents offered additional information about these creatures: that they lived in pairs, seldom seen by people, and not at all dangerous to humans.
"A second witness found by Khakhlov stated that for several months he observed a "wild man" in the regions of the River Manass, or Dam. This creature of female sex was sometimes chained to a small mill but was also allowed to go free. The general description was the same as of the male: hairy cover of the skin, stooped, narrow chest, shoulders were inclined forward, long arms; bent knees, flat insteps, spread out toes resembling a paw, the contact with the ground flat without the instep. The head is described in the same fashion—absence of a chin and a rise in the back.
"This creature seldom issued any sounds and usually was quiet and silent. Only when approached she bared her teeth and screeched. It [sic] had a peculiar way of lying down, or sleeping—like a camel, by squatting on the ground on its knees and elbows, resting the forehead on the ground, and resting the wrists on the back of the head [see p. 316]. This position accounts for the unusually hard skin of the elbows and knees—like camel's soles. When offered food, the female ate only raw meat, some vegetables and grain. She did not touch cooked
Click to enlarge
(Center) A drawing made by Prof. Khakhlov of the Almas type of Abominable Snowman from native descriptions.
(Bottom, left) An ancient mask from the great Mongolian plateau. (Bottom, right) Reconstruction of head and face of the creature on the mask, drawn by Russian scientists.
meat, or bread, although later she was getting used to bread. Sometimes she would catch and eat some insects. She would drink in animal fashion, by lapping water, or sometimes she would dip her arm in water and lick the water. When she was allowed to go free, she ran awkwardly swinging her long arms, to the nearby reeds where she disappeared."
Khakhlov notes that "This creature * has nothing in common with the Jez-Termak (`Copper-Nails'), or with the Almas." This is a most startling statement but one of the utmost significance, and also one that has been totally overlooked. We find on analyzing the reports from the general Pamirs area that, despite variations in coat color, all ABSMs there appear to be of one type. This is about man-size, and in many respects very manlike with, as is frequently mentioned, something like a primitive language or at least a vocal communication system more elaborate than anything known among animals. Its footprints, while having a very widely separated and extra-large big toe, are said to be human in form. This type—which incidentally seems to be the same as the Caucasian Kaptar—is most commonly called by one of the names in the Guli-avan group [due, of course, to the regionality of the languages in the area] and extends north into and along the Tien Shans, and east into the Kunluns and the Karakorams. Moreover, I do not know of any remarks to the effect that there are more than one kind of ABSM throughout these three regions. The larger and more bestial Meh-Teh type with two semi-apposed toes begins only east of the Karakorams along the Southern Tibetan Rim and, possibly, in the Himalayas; though—and this
is exceedingly strange—I cannot actually find a single report of this type from any part of that range.
It would seem that Khakhlov's creatures from around Dzungaria are also of the Guli-avan type and that they extend north to the Grand Altai and beyond to the Sayans. The descriptions of those from the Nan Shans [which is to say the northern rim of the Tibetan super-uplands] seem also to be similar. This creature, which gives every indication of being a Neanderthaler-type of sub-man, and whose footprints exactly match those of a Neanderthaler discovered in a cave in Italy, * would seem to be a mountain dwelling form: in fact, they are montane forms, for not one single report of them from down on either the lowlands or even on the Mongolian Plateau itself have ever been recorded.
From the latter, which is to say Mongolia proper [with the Khangai Mountains that arise in its center] and the vast Gobi Desert, together with the Ala Shan, the Ordos, Turfan, and even possibly the lowlands of Dzungaria and the Tarim, we get reports only of the little Almas. These are much smaller and apparently even more human, and seem always to have been regarded simply as extremely primitive humans; hairy and without speech understandable to us, but having more or less all the human qualities such as suckling human infants and even, it has been alleged, "trading" with normal humans, in that they would leave skins at appointed places, and take away certain simple basic articles left there by the nomadic tribesmen in return. There is even a report of a scholar in a
[paragraph continues] Mongolian monastery who was a hall-breed Almas. This report comes from Prof. Rinchen, mentioned previously, and reads: "There was a lama in the Lamin-gegen monastery who was famous for his scholarship, and known under the name of—"a son of an Almasska." The father of this lama supposedly was captured by Almas and begot a boy with an Almas woman. Both father and son eventually managed to escape by joining a passing caravan. The boy was allowed to become a pupil in a monastery and achieved scholarly fame." The same informant, one Gendul from Khuremal of the Bainkhongor District, recently told [Dr. Rinchen] that in 1937 he saw in a monastery, Barun-Khure, an entire skin [or hide] of an Almas which was fastened to the ceiling of the temple. This skin was taken off by a cut along the back so that it remained practically intact and one could see that it had human-like legs and arms. The face was framed by long hair hanging from the head. The entire skin was covered with cabalistic signs and painted by the lamas. This Almas was supposedly killed in Gobi and brought as a gift to the monastery by a famous hunter, Mangal Durekchi."
Although I am getting somewhat ahead of my story, I would like to point out that the idea of a half-breed Neanderthaler becoming a great scholar is not to be scoffed at. Those sub-men had relatively large brains, while there is really no evidence that a large brain is necessary for a large intellect. One should take to heart the couplet that states:
and note that Anatole France's gray-matter capacity was only 1100 cubic centimeters while that of a proto-Neanderthaler so lowly as Rhodesian man was 1280!
Professor Rinchen, already mentioned, reports that a man by the name of Anukh, traveling in the South Gobi in 1934 with a companion "noticed in thick growth of saksaul grass a 4 strange, two-legged creature that started running away from them. "Dzagitmegen"! [saksaul grandmother] decided both, and, making lassos out of rawhide, they started in pursuit of
the creature. The fast Gobi camels had no difficulty in overtaking the creature whose body was covered with short wool. At the sight of people twirling the lassos, the creature issued such a piercing cry that the frightened camels would not budge any further and the creature was able to escape behind a rocky furrow."
Then, again, there is the story of "a caravan on the way to Kuku-khoto in Inner Mongolia. The caravan was traveling from the region of Uliasutan in Eastern Mongolia and approaching the southern borders of Khalkhi when it was decided to stop for rest near a place thickly grown with saksaul grass. When they were ready to start again the man who was sent to get together the camels could not be found anywhere. An old experienced guide told the men that in this location may be some "Dzagin Almas," and advised that more than one man should go searching. After a while the three men who were sent out to search came to a cave and saw on the ground in front of it signs of struggle between two people—one having shoes, the other barefoot. The frightened men did not attempt to enter the cave and, recovering the camels, returned with their observations to the caravan, insisting that all should go to the help of their companion. The old guide again cautioned them against such an act. He stated that the Almas never kills people but, having captured one, will hole up for a while and will not come out of the cave. He suggested that they should wait till they came by on their way back and then attempt to free their comrade.
"And so on their way back they came to the same spot and, arming themselves with a gun, they decided to hide near the cave and wait till the Almas came out. They waited a whole day, and then toward sunset out of the cave emerged a two-legged creature covered with hair all over. A shot sounded and the creature fell dead. Reloading the gun, the men ran into the cave looking for their lost companion. They found him, but he seemed wild and listless. He never told anyone what occurred in the cave, he avoided talking to people, and in two months time he died."
Reverting to the creatures called Jez-Termak * which is alleged to mean Copper-Nails [meaning, of course, "fingernails"] we should note that this name is applied to a larger, grosser, and more bestial type of ABSM than the Dzungarian Ksy-Giik, and is alleged to be found on the super-uplands of Tibet. It is said to be clothed in rather long, shaggy, very dark gray to black hair, and to have fingernails of copper. The implication in the folklore on this type and in all undocumented stories about it asserts that their nails are actually made of copper. This idea is illogical and as near impossible as anything could be but there could be a very simple and logical explanation for it. It is that the fingernails of some primates and notably adult gorillas are quite often bright copper-colored and even look burnished. The explanation seems to be that they are stained—as the material of which all nails and claws are made, known as keratin, so readily is—by the juices of certain fruits, barks, or berries on which they feed. I have collected monkeys of more than one species in Africa that displayed remarkable variations from the described coat-color and pattern by reason of bright red areas in the inguinal region; sometimes on the lower face, and even on the chest and inner arms. After preparing skins, it is a custom to wash them in warm soap and water before drying them for museum preservation. On doing this to these monkey pelts we were amazed to find that all this bright copper color washed out and left the fur pure white or yellow. Experiment elicited the fact that the ingestion of certain fruits, selected for us by local people, although looking green and otherwise quite innocent, produced this vivid red stain on the pelt of caged monkeys within a matter of days by dribbling from the mouth or anus; and, when said fruits were eliminated from their diets, the color persisted for weeks. Their fingernails also remained bright copper-colored until they grew out from the bottom up.
While everybody has for centuries been alluding to Tibet
as the real center of ABSMery, there turns out to be surprisingly little of a concrete nature from that vast land. This may appear astonishing but should not be regarded as indicating that there are no ABSMs there. Quite the contrary, it appears to be the true "heartland" of the whole matter but, as I have been at pains to try and explain above, there is a deep-seated, proto-religious prejudice against speaking of the matter to foreigners while, at the same time, the number of foreigners to visit Tibet throughout the ages has really been extraordinarily small. However, almost all of those who have visited the country and written about their travels have mentioned ABSMs.
The American William W. Rockhill wrote in 1891 of hearing many stories from Tibetans in Pekin, China, and elsewhere of the "Hairy Mountain People" of their country but he discounted these reports as being merely cases of mistaken identity; namely, of bears. However, he goes on to say: "One evening, a Mongol told me of a journey he had once made to the lakes in the company of a Chinese trader who wished to buy rhubarb from the Tibetans, who annually visit their shores [i.e. the lakes of central Tibet]. They had seen innumerable herds of yaks, wild asses, antelopes, and Gérésun Bamburshé. This expression means literally "wild men"; and the speaker insisted that such they were; covered with long hair, standing erect, and making tracks like men's; but they could not speak."
W. M. McGovern in his book To Lhasa in Disguise (1924) says: "In nearly all parts of Tibet one finds the tradition of the existence of a primitive race of men, former inhabitants of the land who have been driven out of the plains by the Tibetans and who now dwell only in the passes and in inaccessible mountain crags. My own servant referred to them as snow men. They are said to be great hairy creatures, huge in size, and possessed of incredible physical strength. Although having a certain low cunning, they are deficient in intelligence, and it is the intellectual superiority of the Tibetans that has enabled them to oust the primitive snow men from the plains. It has been permitted to no white man to meet these snow men." He adds at another point that "Rockhill, who came
across this tradition in the extreme eastern part of Tibet [i.e. the land of the Dzu-Teh] suggests in his Land of the Lamas that the wild men may be nothing other than bears! For other parts of Tibet this explanation could scarcely be valid, since in many parts of Tibet, as, for example, in Kampa Dzong, Pari, and the surrounding districts, bears are unknown."
This is a rather significant statement in view of the constant insistence that all kinds of bears [though all varieties of the Eurasian Brown Bear] are found all over Tibet. Actually, it does not matter a "tuppenny-damn" whether they are so found or not, because the Tibetans know their local animals and their distribution much better than any outsiders do, have completely different names for bears and ABSMs with qualifying terms for the various kinds of each—none of which for one kind of creature could in any way be confused with those for the other—and would never for one moment confuse one with the other. Further, Rockhill himself states in another passage that "Lieutenant Lu Ming-Yang, when speaking of wild tribes to the north of the Horba country, assured me that men in a state of primitive savagery were to be found in Tibet. Some few years ago [that was before 1890, Author] there was a forest fire on the flank of Mount Ka-Lo, east of Kanze, and the flames drove a number of wild men out of the woods. These were seen by him; they were very hairy; their language was incomprehensible to Tibetans; and they wore most primitive garments made of skins."
This is a pretty startling statement, for Rockhill was a rather nasty kind of skeptic, given to debunking anything possible and imbued not only with the then current pomposity of all Western travelers, but with an almost modern craze for mediocrity and the disposal of all things that did not fit the accepted pattern. Having disposed of ABSMs proper as "bears standing on their hind legs" he then fell with a wallop into a report on primitive "humans," with hairy bodies, in a place where they "ought not to have been" [at least by Victorian estimation], and all on the say-so of a Chinese lieutenant. It is a strange commentary on the closed mind of even a famous traveler and at the same time an eye opener on our subject,
for we must not forget that there is still ample room for whole hosts of mere "primitives" let alone ABSMs all over this vast Triangle. Further, we must not forget those forlorn people; still, at least until recently, maintaining a Bear-cult, called the "Hairy Ainu" of the Japanese island of Hokkaido. They seem to have been Caucasoids of an extremely early vintage and they certainly were hairy [and in some cases still are, despite their persecution!]. Hairy chaps, wearing skins, running out of burning Tibetan forests do not quite coincide with then  or even current anthropological beliefs but this is no reason to gainsay their previous or continued existence. Apparently Tibetans took, and still take, all this quite complacently.
Just to make matters worse, this same Rockhill must add still another brief passage that states "Legends concerning wild men in Central Asia were current in the Middle Ages. King Haithon of Armenia, in the narrative of his journey to the courts of the Batu and Mangu Khans, in 1254-55 A.D., speaks of naked wild men inhabiting the desert southeast of the present Urumchi." Almost everybody who has traveled in Tibet both before and since the date of these statements have reported the same thing and some have said they have met the creatures. But, I stress again, these are all foreigners, since the Tibetans themselves just won't talk about the business. One story that has always fascinated me is that of a Kirghiz named Saikbaia Karalaein who told the Russian investigating commission about a Chinese family who had started wandering during the war and finally settled in Tibet. It appears that one of their women disappeared and they thought her to be dead. However "a year later she came back, and told them the story that she was taken, while gathering wood, by what she called a Kish-Kiik, or wild man. He was comparatively little different from an [ordinary] man but was covered with hair and could not speak. She also said that she was expecting a child by him. Hearing that, her husband killed her; and he was taken by the police. The woman also told where the wild man's den was. They went up there and actually saw wild men and women all covered with hair."
On several occasions Tibetans of higher education have said (see Chapter 12) or have been reported to have stated that they know of three distinct types of ABSMs in or around the periphery of their super-upland plateau, while, in addition, they speak of two "animals" with manlike or super-anthropoid characteristics. These latter they identify as, first a giant monkey and, secondly, the Meh-Teh. Of the other three "Man-Creatures" they are quite cognizant, affirming that they are first, the little dwarf Teh-lma of the lower valleys; second, the man-sized hairy one [i.e. the Kaptar, Guli-avan, or Ksy-Giik type]; and, third, something quite else. This is the mighty Dzu-Teh type known elsewhere as the Gin-Sung; a real giant, shaggy-coated, and able to stay for long periods in the ruggedest country; dangerous, a stock raider, but possessed of an almost exactly human-type foot. This, they and everybody else, agrees is not found along either the Himalayas or the Southern Tibetan Rim, nor even in the Nan Shans, but is confined to the unnamed triangle between these, upper Indo-China, and the Chinese escarpment. This same type seems to prevail also in the Tapa Shan, the Tsin-Lings, the ranges between Shensi and the Gobi, and again north along the mighty Khingans that separate the Gobi from Manchuria, and on into the Little Khingans that lie athwart the northern edge of that province. Also, as I said before there are indications that this type of ABSM may exist still farther north in the Stanovois, Dzhugdzhurs, Gidans, and even in the Anadyrs. This is of the utmost significance since it is only a skip from there to Alaska, while this Dzu-Teh type ABSM seems to conform very closely, if not be identical with, our Sasquatches and Oh-Mahs.
Here indeed is a strange situation to contemplate. We start out with a suggestion that there might possibly be some one kind of as yet uncaught and undescribed animal, probably an anthropoid [or a race of runaway human delinquents] in the Himalayas which somehow got colorfully called "Abominable Snowmen" and we end up with a whole galaxy of unknowns, spread over five continents, and concentrated in eastern, upland Eurasia, where, by the word of those people who know most about the subject locally, speak the local languages, and
have devoted the most time to the matter, there appear to be no less than five very distinct types, each with its own characteristics and habitat; namely, (1) the Mountain Neanderthalers of the West, (2) the little Almas; also Neanderthalers, or mere primitives, of the hot deserts, (3) the bestial Meh-Teh of the Tibetan upper plateau, (4) the giant Dzu-Teh (Gigantopithecus?), Tok, or Sasquatch-type and (5) the tiny tropical, forest-dwelling Teh-lma of the southern valleys. This may sound fabulous but, the deeper you delve into the reports and the background, the more obvious and logical this becomes.
The distinctive nature of each of the five is perfectly in accord with the varying nature of other groups of mammals. Take for instance the wild sheep of this area. There are distinctive species and/or races in each of the great mountain blocks, while other hoofed animals replace these on the lowlands or comparative lowlands; one set on the hot deserts, another on the upland cold deserts. Then also, the actual geographical distribution is also perfectly consistent, in that one kind inhabits the far west (the Caucasus) and the western fringe of the plateau; another the comparative lowlands of the middle; a third the eastern mountainous edge; still another the Tibetan Plateau and its superimposed mountain ranges; and the last only the warmer valleys of the extreme southern periphery of the area. These divisions, furthermore, coincide with the distribution of both vegetation and vegetational types of growth. For instance, the arrangement of the latter going north from the Pamirs to the Sayans up the Great Barrier parallels (but is different botanically from) that going up the eastern escarpment from Indo-China to the Stanovois in Siberia. The whole picture, in fact, despite its enormous complexity [and our gross over-all lack of knowledge of the area] is perfectly logical and consistent with all natural facts and factors.
To reiterate—and I cannot help doing this and for some very real reasons—we should wipe away our sense of helplessness and hopelessness on taking our first look at Map XII and just remember that this tremendous mishmash may be quite
simply divided into five parts: the Great Barrier on the west; the central desert basins; the Great Barrier and escarpment on the east fronting Manchuria and China; the Tibetan super-uplands and their mountains; and, last, the fringe area of the Himalayas. This is eastern Eurasia in, as it were, a nutshell. The only things left over are the two enormous masses of uplands and mountains in Siberia, west and east of the Lena River respectively. These, however, do not at the moment concern us.
And so we find ourselves ending our world tour in an area that is only one stage removed from where we started. The animal life and much of the vegetation of far eastern Siberia is identical to that of our extreme northwest. What is more, as you go south from the Bering Strait on either side—down through Siberia on the Asian side, or through Alaska to the Yukon, and British Columbia on the American, you pass through the same succession of vegetational belts and mountainous zones at each latitude. Many large animals, like the Brown or Dish-faced Bears and the large Red Deer or American Elk, have crossed from one to the other in comparatively recent times. The Amerinds seem to have done the same too; and the Arctic or Eskimo-type Mongoloids even later [unless they were on both sides all the time]. As I asked at the outset, what was there to prevent the Neo-Giants from doing so also, at some time? They are, of all the ABSMs, apparently the most rugged, surpassing in this respect the Neanderthaler Kaptar-Guli- (or Gulb) -avans, the desert-dwelling Almas, and the little warm-forest Teh-lmas. That the Meh-Tehs did not do likewise seems to me fairly reasonable for it would appear that they are more apes than men and, like all of that ilk, are neither catholic in their tastes nor so readily adaptable as are the Hominids. Like the Gorillas in Africa and the Orangs in Indonesia they got into a special environmental niche and have remained stuck therein.
Turning to another aspect of the matter; the Pithecanthropines were manifestly lowland creatures and had plenty of space. Why should they go barging off into upper Siberia? Then, although there are Mousterian (Neanderthal) type
stone implements scattered all over Manchuria and eastern Eurasia, the sub-men who made them—the Neanderthalers—appear to have been essentially a western species that spread from western Eurasia. The Teh-lmas and little Sedapas on the other hand need hardly be considered as candidates for emigration to North America; they are tropical types. It would seem to me that, if the Dwendi are just pigmy Amerinds, there are no ABSMs in the New World other than Neo-Giants except for the alleged Shiru of Colombia. What this might be I certainly don't know, and a great deal more than is at present on record about it will have to be established before anybody can hazard even an educated guess. But, life being what it is, I would not really be a bit surprised if it was the first ABSM to be collected in the flesh!
317:* Known locally by the names grouped around the stems Ksy and Giik. The latter means "wild" as in At-Giik, Wild Horse.
318:* In the spring of 1948 the official caretakers of a cave known as "The Witch's Cave" near Toirano in Italy [all caves in Italy are government controlled] obtained permission to blast through what proved to be 11 feet of flowstone forming a blockage to one of the cave's passages, in the off-tourist season. They had seen bats flying in and out of a small hole leading into this and had rightly assumed that unexplored areas lay beyond. On breaking through, extensive passages with clean, smooth, wet, clay floors were found. On these there were enormous numbers of foot-tracks of large cave bears, of modern-appearing man, and of what are obvious Neanderthalers, together with many artifacts and even evidence of some kind of game played by throwing clay balls at a circle on the wall. The cave seems to have been finally abandoned and sealed by the flowstone curtain about 50,000 years ago. An outline tracing of one of the Neanderthaler footprints found therein is reproduced in Appendix B.
321:* This term actually means "The Mountain one that scrambles using its hands," as is explained in the Glossary in Appendix A.