Abominable Snowmen, by Ivan T. Sanderson, , at sacred-texts.com
15. Some Obnoxious Items
You now have before you an over-all picture, and also some considerable separate details, of the statements made by all manner of people about ABSMs everywhere. It is an extraordinary galaxy of alleged facts. On the one hand, one could, I suppose, tear each individual one apart and suggest explanations of each of its parts. This is the procedure that both the general public, the newsmen, and the scientists have tried to do but, as far as I can see they have always fallen down on at least one, usually several, and often all of the separate aspects of these attempts, to say nothing of pure logic. On the other hand, looked at as a whole, all over-all suggestions put forward to explain the business as a whole, turn out to be equally illogical, often ridiculous, and usually demonstrably impossible. Take, for instance, the perfectly reasonable notion that the whole thing is a hoax.
This could well be so in any one place, for hoaxers are devilishly ingenious and conjurers are often really quite unbelievable. But, taken in the over-all of space and time—that is to say, as from about 500 years ago at the least, and all over most of five continents—the suggestion becomes a little ridiculous. If we insist, nonetheless, that the idea be pursued, we have to make the following assumptions.
Let us disregard everything except the matter of footprints and foot-tracks. These are of four basic types as reported and as copied in plaster of Paris—the pigmy with pointed heels;
the Meh-Teh type with huge second toe and separated big and second toes; the short, stubby man-sized Neanderthaler type; and the giant manlike with a double first subdigital pad. However, there are many variations of all three, though most notably of the first and third types and of these, particularly among the pigmies. These prints have turned up all over the world for, let us be ultra-conservative, and say at least a century. What is more, almost all of them have turned up in the most out-of-the-way places where they were least likely to be found—ahead of mountaineers who had lost their way, changed their minds, or who were breaking new ground; at the head of new roads; up uninhabited rivers deep in tropical jungles; and so forth. Sometimes they run on for miles.
This all being so, and it cannot be denied, if they were made by men for some reason, hoax or otherwise, those men must have been in association, world-wide, for centuries; have much skill; be reliably secret to a degree simply not known in other walks of life [especially the criminal]; and have a brilliant organization and tremendous sums of money behind them. One may perhaps also be permitted to observe that, being [as insisted upon by the skeptics] only human, they must have had an extremely powerful and coercive reason for making these ridiculous things. The notion that such a worldwide organization has existed, completely undetected for a century, seems, we must admit, to smack of the unreal. It is no good trying to explain one mystery by another even greater one. There is only one force that I can suggest that might foster such practices. This is some religious urge but I beg to leave this until later, for, to discuss it now, would be premature, while it would not be fully comprehensible until some other things have been said.
Still anent foot-tracks only, we then have to consider their being caused by men or other animals quite fortuitously and not by any specific intent. This is to say that, if made by men, they are due to strange foot deformities or to wearing foot-coverings of odd design. Nothing like the form of any of the four basic types of ABSM prints are known to be left by men. There is a recurrent theory that those left in snow
are simply man's or animals' tracks which have been enlarged or deformed by melting and regelation. Not by any means have all ABSM tracks been found in snow. Quite the contrary: most of them have been found in muds and other soft soils. Melting cannot occur in mud. Another idea is that the tracks in snow are the result of animals loping along, putting two or more feet exactly into the same place or even—as recently suggested by Hillary—a whole group of animals, such as foxes, stringing, which means all following their leader and jumping exactly into the same spots as that leader.
Foxes do string in exceptional cases, and there are some animals that sometimes do place their hind feet almost exactly into the impressions made by their forefeet, especially some bears. However, in neither case can the resultant imprints ever possibly go on for mile after mile—especially in mud—without ever so much as a single apparent toe impression being out of place. The very idea is so preposterous as not to be even worth while considering. The ABSM tracks just go on and on with each right and left foot constantly and consistently reproducing itself exactly.
Still another idea is that the tracks in snow were left by men wearing partially worn-out footgear. In this case, however, the wearers must, in the first place (and for centuries to boot, and all over tens of thousands of square miles of territory), have possessed that extremely rare abnormality (a longer second than first toe) on both feet, as described above and in detail in Appendix B. Further, the footgear must always have worn out exactly and precisely, so that all toes on both feet were exposed, while the worn edges of the footwear never, ever, once, left any impression. This also is, of course, so manifestly absurd as not even to warrant further discussion. And so the whole of this wretched business goes. It does not matter which way you turn with regard to the tracks, but that you come up against a manifest absurdity.
As to stories, accounts, reports, and suchlike verbal statements there is really little we can do. They lack any kind of proof, and they fail to supply any kind of concrete evidence. The most one can do about them is to submit them to a
crude statistical analysis to see if they display any pattern. They do; but it really only makes matters worse. Here you have a mass of illogicalities that appear to have a logical pattern; yet the pattern points to a further illogicality. Stories can only be repeated; while what we need is some concrete evidence—something physical that we can examine, try to analyze, and explain. Are, therefore, foot-tracks all that we have of a concrete nature? The answer to this is, of course, and as you must long ago have realized, no. There is, or is alleged to be, much other perfectly good physical evidence. There is also some cognitive, and also corollary evidence.
All evidence may, in fact, be broken down into six categories under three major heads—to wit, Intrinsic, Cognate, and Corollary. Under the first are actual physical items such as [alleged] whole mummies of ABSMs; dried heads or skulls; and parts, such as hands, on the one hand, and bits of skin and hairs, on the other, and including scalps, a bag said to have been made from a yeti skin, and some whole skins. Of the second category, we have, first, footprints and tracks, and secondly, excrement, while there are a few allegations of other possibly extraneous items such as beds, lean-tos, and primitive constructions in caves. Of the third category we have three quasi-concrete forms of alleged evidence: first, reputed calls and other sounds; second, stinks said to have been given off by the creatures; and, third, reports of things having been moved by them. These are of course almost as inconclusive (and illusive) as mere reports, in the absence of photographs or sound recordings. Finally, under the corollary class, we also have drawings and paintings, carvings and statuaries that are said to depict ABSMs.
The variety of all these items is paltry and the actual numbers of examples of each that we have are really quite fantastically small but it does seem incredible, at least to me, that this is all that has been produced over the ages for such a large series of alleged existing entities spread almost all over the world. I will admit that one hardly ever finds so much as a scrap of any dead wild animal anywhere but one would have thought that, even if no photos have been taken
due to the creatures being nocturnal, at least one might have been shot, if only in self-defense. Of course, there are plenty of stories of them having been shot, but no parts seem ever to have been preserved. This is, perhaps, the most suspicious part of the whole affair—plain lack of concrete evidence. Further, most of what has now been produced has been shown either not to be of an ABSM, or definitely to be a relic of something else. Let me take these obnoxious items one at a lime.
Starting with parts of the animals themselves, we actually have nothing but an allegation of a (nonexistent) skeleton from B. C. Then, there are reputed to be some complete mummies of ABSMs in several "Tibetan monasteries." A most erudite Tibetan, by the name of Tshamht bRug Dzün DahR dzhe Löh Bu, stated (in 1953) to Nepalese officials that he had inspected such corpses in monasteries at Riwoché in the Province of Kham, and at Sakya on the road between Shigatse and Katmandu. Then, a complete, dried head of a Meh-Teh is said to have been in the possession of the headman of the village of Chilunka, some 50 miles northeast of Katmandu for the past 25 years. Next, there are three mummified hands preserved in sundry of the Nepalese monasteries. These are desiccated skeletons of hands and wrists with some ligaments and dried flesh attached. One, kept at a place called Makalu, is attached to a forearm. A man says he has part of a skull of an Oh-Mah from California but he has not yet produced it. This completes the roster, except for a bag alleged to have been made of yeti skin, and three (or just possibly four) conical caps also allegedly made from their skins. Two whole skins were also produced.
This is a pretty paltry showing to begin with, but it actually boils down to practically nothing when critically examined. Let us so examine these items.
1. Neither any complete mummies, nor the dried head have actually been seen by anybody other than the respected Tibetan named above.
2. The two skins turned out to be and without any doubt:
first, of a Sloth-Bear (Melursus)—i.e. that from Mustang and mentioned above; and, second, that of a Blue Bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus). This was obtained in Bhutan by the 1960 Hillary Expedition.
3. The hand and wrist, with forearm, turned out to be that of a Snow-Leopard (Panthera uncia) .
4. The hands and wrists (without forearm) are either two or three in number. There is a considerable mystery about these. All three have been photographed at Bhang-Bodzhei (i.e. Pangboche); one by several people; the other two only once as far as I have been able to ascertain. [All three are displayed among the photographs.] These I have numbered Figs. 2, 4, and 3. The first is the much photographed one; the second was published by Prof. Teizo Ogawa of Tokyo University; the third was photographed by I do not know whom.
Fig. 2 has rather broadly flattened metacarpals. The thumb is complete; the 2nd finger has only the basal phalange; the 3rd finger is complete; the 4th and 5th fingers are missing.
Fig. 4 has the thumb complete; the 2nd and 3rd fingers complete; the 4th with a small basal piece of the first phalange only; and a complete 5th finger.
Fig. 3 has a complete thumb; [possibly] two joints on the 2nd finger; a complete 3rd finger; and apparently no phalanges at all on the 4th and 5th.
With the exception of the photograph by Prof. Ogawa, the pictures available are extremely bad; taken from angles that distort the whole, and fail to bring out any of the details needed; and they are not so much generally useless as misleading. I have been unable to ascertain who took the only pictures of Fig. 3 that I have seen. They are overexposed. However, I have a notion that they are of the underside of Fig. 2, being held in bright light by some local helper. The only discrepancy between Figs. 2 and 3 is the [possible] extra phalange on digit 2.
Ignoring Fig. 3, therefore, we have two very old mummified and obviously hominid hands. The most notable is
[paragraph continues] Fig. 1, in which the metacarpals do, indeed, seem to be very wide and flattened.
5. Scalps are preserved at places usually written Pangboche, Namche-Bazar, and Khumjung. There may be another at Thyangboche. * As of the time of writing, that from Khumjung has been demonstrated by both blood and hair analysis to have been made from the shoulder-patch of a hoofed animal of the goat family known as the Himalayan Serow (Capricornis sumatrensis thar). Sir Edmund Hillary had one made for him in 1960 from the rump of a fresh Serow skin that he had shot. The hairs are identical. The hairs from the other two scalps seem to be also from the same animal.
6. The bag yielded hairs that are again microscopically and in general appearance identical to those of the scalps.
Thus, out of the entire roster of alleged bits of ABSMs we are left with two desiccated hands and wrists, one of which looks human, and one of which looks like that of a Neanderthaler—possibly, according to Prof. W. C. Osman Hill of London; almost definitely, according to Soviet scientists. Both these hands are extremely old.
Hairs from all of these specimens and from isolated tufts found on rocks, in bushes, on the ground, and associated with piles of excrement, have been microscopically examined. They show rather a bewildering array of characters. The identification of hairs is not nearly so easy as the layman might think. Hairs from different parts of the same animal look quite different, and we ourselves have five different kinds on our bodies at all times—head-hair, normal body hair, axillary hair, pubic hair, and some remaining lanugo or "fluff" like that on newborn babies. Even these look different, microscopically, at the tops [tips] and basal portions [bottoms]. Then, if you will just watch your dog around the year, you will see that he changes his coat twice, and that his winter pelt is quite different from that of his summer one. Also, many animals have patches of all kinds of strange and special hairs—like those
on the necks of moose, the rumps of some deer, and the quills of porcupines—quite apart from bristles, or facial or cranial vibrissae, which is to say whiskers and feelers. Also, almost all mammals are plentifully supplied with all manner of skin glands and many of these are surrounded by, or filled with, most extraordinary hairs. One of the four most valuable fixatives for our expensive perfumes comes from glands [called pods] on the insides of the legs of a certain kind of oriental deer. These grow the oddest bristles. Trichology, or the study of hairs, is an enormous subject as the late Dr. F. Martin Duncan of the London Zoo demonstrated by assembling the largest collection of mammalian hairs in existence during a lifetime but without anywhere approaching completion.
Blood analysis from specimens leached from old and dried skin or flesh samples is even more difficult but it is, if accomplished at all, considerably more precise. At least, you can say what it is not. Serological [or blood] comparisons have now been made between material obtained from various alleged bits of ABSMs, and compared with some Primates (i.e. monkeys), Man, rabbits, horse, dog, and some others. The results, unfortunately, have proved to be doubly inconclusive; first, in that none have matched and, secondly, because just the most likely types of known animals with which they should have been compared either have not been used or available. What is most needed in the case of, for instance, the Meh-Teh is a good comparison with the various mammals listed in Appendix D and, above all, with Mongoloid Man. As a matter of fact, none have actually been tried against either Gorilla, Orang, or any Macaque Monkey —the most obvious choices, one would have thought. Even more curiously, none of them have matched with any kind of goatlike animal (the Capridae) although the hairs from the same specimens match those of the Serows exactly. Thus, there is either some deliberate trickery here, or the scalps from which the serological specimens were taken are not Serows and the hairs only look like those of that animal. This, admittedly, does present rather a perplexing question.
Altogether, therefore, there is really practically nothing of a concrete nature even alleged to have come from or be of any ABSM that we can pin down. Matters are a little better with the next major category of physical evidence. These are the Cognate—i.e. the ichnological, which means the study of footprints and tracks—and scatological, or excrement. I will leave the former for further discussion (see Appendix B) after dealing with the scatological.
Specimens of excrement have been collected from various points in Nepal in the Himalayan area; allegedly from some points in eastern Eurasia (see Russian reports); and from the northern Californian area. Some specimens of the first and last have been most carefully analyzed in modern veterinary and medical laboratories and quite a deal of information about both their composition and the parasites in them collected. A lot can be learned about an individual animal from its excrement, as everybody knows from the common medical practice of stool examination. The study, as conducted scientifically, falls into two parts—first, that of the entire individual mass; second, that of its microscopic composition. Also, cultures are prepared from it, so that any contained organisms may be multiplied, examined, and identified. Also, the eggs of worms and other such comparatively large parasites are searched for and identified. All of these processes give us information about the animal that originated the specimen.
In the gross form the faeces alleged to be those of ABSMs, fall into two very clear-cut types—those from the Himalaya which are of large but not excessive man-size and are said to come from Meh-Teh and Teh-lma; and those of the Oh-Mahs from California. The only reliable examination of the former made in the field was made by Gerald Russell who had had many years of such field studies in Africa and the Orient while collecting mammals, reptiles, and amphibians for museums. He reported the form to be generally humanoid and the contents to be: "A quantity of pika (Ochotona) fur; a quantity of pika bones (approx, 20); one feather, probably from a partridge chick; some sections of grass, or other vegetable matter; one thorn; one large insect claw; three pika
whiskers." Later, he examined also what appeared to be Teh-lma droppings near the river where he had found those creatures to be eating giant frogs. These contained bones of that animal and vegetable and insect remains in about equal proportions. Analyses of other Meh-Teh faeces have been made and variously reported but most of these stress the occurrence in them of remains of the little Lagomorph, the Pika or Whistling Hare (Ochotona) . Further, Tom Slick was shown piles of the fresh entrails of these little animals on mountain screes where ABSM tracks were found. The locals asserted that the yetis hunted these little animals in their retreats between the loose stones, crushed them, partly ripped off their skins, tore out their entrails, as we might gut a fowl, and then ate the rest raw.
The Californian droppings are an altogether different matter, and I express myself this way advisedly. First, the individual piles of droppings are of enormous size, some (as that shown in Figures 10 and 11) being, as the ruler indicates, over 2 feet long. This was not an accumulation, all its parts being obviously of the same age. [Porcupines sometimes create toilets that they visit regularly and add to for long periods.] Their gross form is, moreover, of two distinct kinds—masses of fair (man-sized) faeces, and droppings of equal volume but of positively enormous man-shaped individual faeces. Sometimes these latter have a most extraordinary ropelike formation as if produced by a double bowel with interlocking spiral twists. Other samples have not, however, shown this twisting.
This presents one of the most positive bits of evidence for the existence of an ABSM, whatever it may be. Just about the only thing that can not be manufactured—at least to fool a medical man or a veterinarian—is faeces. Then, there is no large mammal in North America that can or does produce such droppings. The only alternates are large Ungulates or the larger Carnivores. The droppings of all the former are all pellet-like—from Moose to the smallest deer [and the Moose, incidentally, is not and never has been found in the Washington-Oregon-California coastal ranges, nor even in the Cascade-Sierra-Nevada Ranges] while that of the larger cats
[here, only possibly the Puma] are most distinctive and do not, of course, contain mostly vegetable matter, as these Oh-Mah faeces do. The only remaining animals are the bears. Black Bear (Euarctos) are found in that region, and it is just conceivably possible that a few Brown or Dish-faced Bears (Ursus) might still be lingering there. Both these animals are omnivorous, but, as may be seen from the photographs, their droppings do not look at all like those of the local alleged ABSMs. There is, however, a matter that I urge most strongly should be considered along with these discoveries.
It appears that in certain circumstances human beings may give rise to just such faeces as depicted here. I have information on two such eventualities. The first is of Alaskan Eskimos who go on an almost exclusive diet of whale blubber in lean winters. This causes not just chronic constipation but a major blockage of the lower bowel which may result in retention for many weeks or months. Then, the family group goes in search of certain willows, the astringent bark of which they strip and eat. This acts as a very violent purgative. As a result of this, they finally manage to eliminate but not without great pain, splitting of the anus, and a great loss of blood. The sorry process was most graphically described to me in a letter from a U.S. Government agent in Alaska.
The other example of this medical obscurity that I have on record is that of what are called in China "Shensi-Babies." These are single, enormous, extremely solid faeces, eliminated by confirmed opium eaters, and sometimes by opium smokers, who have gone into prolonged periods of withdrawal due to narcotization; during which evacuation is ignored or actually physically impossible. Resultant faeces, when elimination does occur, are said to be, on occasion, as much as 2 feet long and 4 inches in diameter. It is just possible that some of the Amerindian peoples of our and Canada's northwest might have been periodically or occasionally subjected to some influences, odd diet, or narcotic that could cause like phenomena.
Quite a number of faeces have now been examined in properly
equipped laboratories, and a few proper reports have been issued. However, the findings have not been pursued to their logical conclusions, and there has been a marked lack of any desire to issue positive pronouncements on them. I have seen such reports on Oh-Mah samples from northern California; of alleged Meh-Tehs from Nepal; and of the Teh-lma from the lower valleys of that area. The first appear to have been almost exclusively of vegetable matter; the second were of mixed content with pika hairs and bones included; and the third were basically vegetable matter in essence but included bits of insects. In two cases [one, a set of examinations made in a medical laboratory in Oregon of Oh-Mah faeces; the other run for Bernard Heuvelmans in the Brussels Institute] the eggs of certain parasitic worms were found. In both cases these were identified as belonging to the group known as the Trichocephalidae, and specifically of the genus Trichuris. This family of Nematode worms includes the "Hook-Worms." There is a species of Trichuris—vide: T. trichura—that is found in Man; other species come from a variety of other mammals. The size and proportionate measurements (width to length) of the eggs of each species are known and are quite distinctive. Those found in Brussels from the Teh-lma faeces appear to have conformed with the species that comes from sheep: those found in the Oh-Mah faeces were of three kinds. In a report on these, the specialist reporting stated that they could not be identified, however, due to their deterioration. Nonetheless, he got exact measurements of them and they could quite well have been identified, at least within certain limits. I am constrained to quote from this report:
"The largest egg is out of the range of human parasite ova, though Nematodes with such large eggs have been reported occasionally from various other primates." From this, the writer concluded that "The specimen (of faeces) is not human … is most probably primate … is most probably from a sheep or other herbivore."
This statement is equivalent to the British Museum's now famous dictum (see Chapter 19) that "Now you can see for yourself that this Abominable Snowman footprint is that of
a bear … or a monkey." At this point I do refuse any longer to remain civil, though I still refrain from publishing the name of the expert who made the statement about the worm eggs. This is the kind of double-talk that one has to contend with, ad nauseam, in ABSMery; it is wholly unscientific; and, it is probably a deliberate evasion of the issue. The really alarming aspect of all this is that not a few samples of alleged ABSM droppings have now been collected and submitted to professional analytical laboratories but there does not appear to be any record of just what has been submitted to whom, what the latter found, or any proper carry-through of the analyses. There may be perfectly clear and valid evidence lying around in somebody's files showing that these faeces were produced by an anthropoid, if not specifically by a Pongid or a Hominid. If there is, we ought to hear about it—and in print—for the very simple reason that gross excremental masses of the size and nature of those from which the samples were taken could not have been dropped by any known mammals in the areas where they were found. Since this is so, if they contain species of parasitic worms found only in Man, anthropoids, or other Primates, it can mean only one thing—namely, that such a type of man, anthropoid, or other Primate lives where said droppings were collected.
Of what we call Cognate evidences of ABSMs, other than the scatological and ichnological; which is to be considered later and see also Appendix B, there are but a few isolated and not well authenticated items. Among these are "reports" or rumors that some Sherpas had found crude stoneworks in areas that they said were inhabited by Meh-Tehs, on the basis of droppings, animal refuse, and other items they said they found within them. This, in some measure, concurs with the lone story from British Columbia by the Amerinds of having found what they appeared to indicate they thought was a sort of incubation chamber constructed of crude piled stonework in a cave (see Chapter 3) . Apart from this, we have the reports of a few central Eurasians, as given by the Russians, that the Almas dig holes in the ground and cover them with brush.
Of corollary evidence, we have really very little also. First, there are reports from many areas—central and eastern Eurasia, the Himalayas, Malaya, Sumatra, Mexico, Guatemala, South America, California, and British Columbia of extremely strange, high-pitched, long-drawn-out, gurgling whistles being associated with sightings of ABSMs and at other times when something unseen was heard moving about in the immediate vicinity. To these reports we may add the weird and unnerving sounds reported by the members of the first American Karakoram Expedition in 1938 (see Bibliography) . I note also that Hillary, even after debunking the Khumjung scalp, and attempting to explain all the foot-tracks in snow by suggesting that they were made by foxes "stringing," chose the sounds reported said to be made by "yetis" as being one of the things that have not been explained. I find this rather odd as almost anybody can imitate any sound or can make up all kinds of weird calls. Mammals and birds, and even insects and reptiles, and especially amphibians make the most astonishing noises and variety of noises. A small spherical frog (Rhinophrynus dorsalis) known to the Mayas of Yucatan as the "Waw-Mooch" only makes a noise after a sudden rain but, although the animal is only about 2 inches long, this may be heard for over 2 miles. The tiny Demidorff's Galago (Galagoides demidovii), a minute Primate, that can sit in the palm of your hand, lets out screeches that make the whole forest ring for a mile, when a lusty man cannot make himself heard shouting at the top of his lungs, even when in sight of the persons whose attention he is trying to attract.
Personally, I lay little store by "noises," per se, but I must admit to having been profoundly shaken when the Amerindian couple, the Chapmans, in British Columbia gave out with exactly the same strange whistling call for their Sasquatch, that young Mr. Crew had given for me [and which I recorded on tape] in California, though neither party had ever heard of the other's existence. It is equally strange too, and it may be equally significant that, as far as I can make out from written descriptions, just the same very queer, very unhuman, and nonanimal-like (and invariably described as unearthly)
calls have been attributed to ABSMs all over the world. [The awful roaring of the Mapinguary, the Didi, and others I lay no store by at all. All manner of most unlikely animals roar worse than any bull that ever lived in Bashan.]
Another possible corollary matter is that of the smell—or, rather, stink—of ABSMs. This has been remarked upon by Amerinds of both North and South America, Sumatrans, especially by the rubber tappers on the Malayan estates, and by Himalayans, Tibetans, and Mongolians. In fact, an overpowering "animal stink" is an almost regular attribute of close proximity to an alleged ABSM. This is a rather odd fact, but it makes some sense if these creatures really exist and are sub-hominids. One of the most terrible ordeals to have to undergo is to live with the nice little Pigmies of the Ituri Forests of the Congo Uele. They give off a smell that amounts to an overpowering stench and which is, to us, absolutely nauseating. * After many years of collecting wild animals and living with them, both in their native haunts and in captivity, I can tell quite a number of them down even to species, and blindfolded, simply by passing by their cage and sniffing. The greatest "stinkers," it has always seemed to me, are the Primates, and the larger ones in particular. I don't really mind it, but the smell of a large Mangabey is to me sensational, and I can tell before I enter a monkey house if they have a specimen of that genus housed there.
Whatever we may say about "stinks" has little meaning until somebody devises some method of bottling a smell and testing it against that of other living creatures. This is such an abstruse idea that it need no longer concern us and we may simply put the whole matter back into the same class as that of mere reports. I believe that the few other similar
facts that have been offered as evidence of ABSMs may be likewise treated. These amount to little in any case. First, there was a cairn raised by climbers on the top of a sacred mountain in the Himalayas that was destroyed; then, some boulders came down upon travelers at various places such as British Columbia, the Himalayas, and Manchuria. These could well have been set rolling by fleeing animals, by small vibrations set up by the travelers themselves, or by their conversation, especially where rocks are split at night by frost and may be teetering on a brink waiting only for the slightest imbalance to set them rolling. In California we have the reports of large oil drums having been actually toted across a road and thrown or rolled down slopes and of sections of culvert and other large objects like the wheel of a tractor-crawler being moved. But these, too, are simply reports. We have no physical evidence even in the form of photos of said objects before and after displacement. They are worthless as evidence of anything.
This leaves us—apart from the ever-recurrent tracks—with only depictions. What we need here is just one still photograph, however hazy, but we do not have even that. It is true that, however keen and agile a photographer may be, it is only a few times in a lifetime that he is at the right place, fully attending, with the right camera, film, lense, exposure, light, and everything else, and all pointing the right way at the right time to get a really worth-while news-shot. It does happen, but it is solely by luck. You could travel the Himalayas for two lifetimes with the best cameras ever invented at the ready and never even see an ABSM: and if you did, you still might be too scared, excited, or overcome even to press the necessary button. Bird photography is bad enough, but there you have either the nest or a feeding station to set the stage for you. Big game you can drive into in a jeep, and other rarer animals you can stalk, but the results you get diminish by some kind of geometrical recession compared to the rarity of the object sought. To get a filmstrip of an ABSM is really asking too much—and more especially since most, if not all of them, are alleged to be nocturnal.
To this end, trip-wires attached to infrared cameras and snooper-scopes have been advocated and tried. So far nothing has been obtained from either, except some excellent shots of startled deer and bears, though the wires have been tripped, broken, stepped over and apparently crawled under; and even, on one occasion, the camera was broken, while on another—and get this—it was opened, the film removed, and the camera itself replaced! That was no ABSM, unless our whole idea of human evolution is completely haywire. All of this latter took place in California! [And these are not the only suspicious happenings in ABSMery in that area.]
The only things "visual" that we are offered of ABSMs are a few very clear and precise drawings in old eastern Eurasian manuscripts, as we have related in the last chapter; some alleged "paintings" in monasteries in Nepal and Tibet, of which, I may say, I have never seen any photograph or reproduction; some sketches made under the direction of persons who have said that they have seen an ABSM; and a number of "artists' conceptions." These seem to me to be of values directly proportionate, in diminishing degree, according to the order listed. The ancient Mongolian texts really do show something and, being from very precise treatises on specific subjects [medical] and showing a large number of known animals most accurately and distinctly, they do seem to be worth-while of serious consideration. Monastic wall paintings might be fine if we could only have a look at them. Sketches made for those who allegedly have seen something don't say much, though it has to be borne in mind that police artists can, by questioning witnesses, finally produce drawings of wanted persons so accurate that they are immediately identifiable.
Mere artists' conceptions I lay very little store by, except those made by artists who are also zoologists, anatomists, and anthropologists—and such are far and few between indeed. Some of the grotesqueries produced in the name of science and especially of paleoanthropology and primatology, are simply fantastic. A lot of mere animal art is just as absurd—like Audubon's mammals which he twisted into all manner of
impossible poses or stances in order to get them onto a piece of paper. Some of the "Apemen," "Cave Men," and "Our Ancestors" that have been published in serious works are an affront, and some of those that have appeared in higher-class magazines are absolutely laughable. You may remember one large series in color of some Stone Age people allegedly going about their daily lives which appeared a few years ago. In these elegant paintings all the men looked like ads for male muscle-building and most were clean-shaven and obviously of absolutely one hundred per cent pure Anglo-Saxon stock, while the women had figures like Hollywood starlets, but without certain mechanical aids, and long wavy hair. Their caves were swept clean; there was not so much as a scrap of bone in sight, and the firewood was all neatly sawn into handleable lengths! In one, there was even a herd of grade-A Jersey-type domestic cattle in the offing.
And so we are left only with the matter of tracks. And about these I have few words to say at this point. First, Ichnology, or the study of tracks of all kinds, forms a science of its own, with a sound methodology, and a very high degree of competence. It is divided into three major divisions: (1) that of animals, (2) that of people, and (3) police work generally, or that of everything that can leave a track. There is a strange thing about ABSM enthusiasts of both schools—pro and con—and this is that they simply do not seem ever to have realized that the most detailed studies have been made of all manner of man and animal tracks, and that photographs of many and detailed scale drawings of most have been published and are readily available. It seems, also, that the skeptics have not ever really looked at the published photographs of ABSM tracks or of the extant plaster casts of them. Had they done so, an enormous amount of verbiage and published mileage would automatically have been eliminated.
As an example, people are still suggesting that Meh-Teh tracks are made by bears. Bernard Heuvelmans' book, On the Track of Unknown Animals, has been available in English since 1958, and in it he shows in the simplest of terms the difference between bear tracks and hominid tracks, and how
one may invariably be distinguished from the other. There is nothing difficult about this: it is, in fact so simple that one would have thought that even the skeptics would have spotted it. [Simply stated, bears walk with their toes turned in and have their outer toe the biggest, whereas hominids walk either straight ahead or with their feet turned a bit outward, and they have their first or inner toes the biggest.]
The tracks of all bears and almost all other Himalayan, Tibetan, North and South American, and most other mammals are now known and on record. At the same time, the police forces of the whole world have for over a century been studying intensively all manner of tracks left by everything that moves and especially of people. If you only knew how much they can deduce from a single heel imprint, you would think a few more times before breaking and entering even your own home when you have forgotten your keys. Then again, as Tschernezky has shown, criminologists have made a special study of human feet—and come up with some extremely odd ones; such as those illustrating his paper (see Bibliography). Engineers—and especially road engineers—can work out to the last pound the weight of anything that leaves an imprint on any kind of soil or other compressible surface. Thus, with a large enough set of scale-drawings of animal imprints and tracks before you on the one side, of human footprints on the other, and some proper ones of ABSMs in the middle you don't have to wade through all the tripe that has been written upon this matter. All you have to do is take a good look.
The more technical details I have assembled in Appendix B. There are displayed the prints allegedly left by the various ABSMs, each duly tagged and, following these, you will find those of all the animals that have been brought up in this discussion with the exception of some absolute absurdities like one-legged giant birds and so forth. Then, there are the human feet and imprints from normal babies to grown giants; dwarfs, midgets, and abnormalities. Alongside these are those of the Pongids or apes. It has been said that one picture is worth a thousand words: these I think are worth a volume apiece.
[paragraph continues] In fact, without going into a lot of detail, technical or otherwise, it is quite plain that none of the ABSMs are either those of any known animal or any known type of human being. It but remains for me at this point, therefore, to draw your attention to a few salient and outstanding facts about these ABSM prints.
The thing to observe in the Sasquatch-Oh-Mah-Sisemite Mapinguary type is that it apparently walks straight ahead with its feet turning neither inward nor outward. Therefore, it must bend or flex between the foot (the metacarpals) and the toes (digits) along a line at right angles to the line of travel. This gives us a point of reference to begin our study. If this is so, what at first looks like the "ball of the foot" is really a subsidiary pad at the base of the big toe [that, in all Hominids, unlike the other toes has only two joints]. The real ball of the foot is behind this so that, it is, despite its enormous size, really very short and broad. It has, in this example, what is called an Index of only 1.61—i.e. the number of times the width goes into the length. Further, the big toe is enormous. Then again, it will be noted from the photograph of this same print that there is a very pronounced and sharp ridge of clay running right across under the angle formed by the toes as they curve downward to obtain purchase. This is an invariable feature of the Oh-Mah prints. Now, even with our kind of short toes, mud would squeeze up between them in leaving a print of this nature. With these very long toes it should leave an imprint like that of a long-toed monkey. As it does not, something must have stopped it and piled it up. This can only be a webbing that runs up to the base of the terminal joints on all the toes.
The Meh-Teh or classical "Abominable Snowman" prints of the Himalayas, at first sight look just about man-sized but, when you handle a plaster cast of one, you get a profound shock. The thing is positively enormous and in some respects rivals the Oh-Mah prints which, though longer, look almost delicate and which are certainly in comparison most "refined." These things, as may be seen from the depiction of an impression of one alongside that of an ordinary human footprint
are grotesque, and bestial. They also show features that, though not at all apelike in fact, digress from the human pattern most widely. They have an enormous big toe; but they also have an even more enormous second toe; and both are widely separated from the other three little toes, and they curl curiously inward toward them. This thing is not human at all.
The Ksy-Giik—Almas of Eurasia are notable for the size of their great toes and also for that of their "little toes," both of which are wide. The whole foot, moreover, is very short and broad and splays out in front. Otherwise it is human enough. I would just ask you to look at the outline of an imprint left by Neanderthal Man in the cave of Toraino in Italy. I do not think that I need to say any more on this score, except to remind of the Russian scientists' identification of one of the mummified hands.
The Pigmy type—Agogwe—Sedapa—Teh-lma—show a rather wider variety of form, but most display the peculiarity of a pointed heel, combined with small size, compactness, and more or less equality of toe length. This is the easiest print to fake and it is the nearest to some animals, but it has its oddities. Actually, I do not think we have enough accurate tracings or photos of them to assess, and the only plaster casts that seem to have survived are not worth-while. [The best proved to be those of Malayan Sun-Bears!]
Whatever is making the so-called ABSM prints thus comes in at least four forms. Moreover, these four forms have persisted for centuries. If this is all the work of a secret society it has four national chapters, but each of these would appear to be allowed to operate in the territory of others, for often three types will appear in one area, and in several there are two. The method of indentation of the prints also is most ingenious, for it has been estimated by road engineers that some in North America—which had no "impact-ridge" around them, as they would have if they had been stamped into the ground, but had distinct "pressure-cracks" all around all of them, which can be caused only by a steady push downward —have been calculated to have needed a minimum of 800-lbs
each to be made! Also, if a device is used, it must stride along, not roll, for it can surmount inclines that no man can, can step over things, go around things, alter its stride on either side or both sides, pivot, flex, dig in with its toes going up and its heels going down, and do a lot of other things that no machine built could do unless it stood about 50 feet tall, and was so loaded with gadgetry that it would weigh tons. Yet, whatever does make the "Bigfeet" can go under an 8-foot tangle of branches without doing more than break off the little dead twigs.
Thus, of actual physical evidence for the ABSMs we have possibly one or two desiccated human-looking hands, a few piles of excrement, and, now, some hundreds of miles [in the aggregate] of tracks. We are right back where we started—with lots of reports but practically no facts. Is there anything else or anywhere else that we can try for information? There is. Two leads seem promising. Let us turn to these and see what we can unearth.
335:* The correct transliteration of these is Bhang-Bodzhei, Namdzhei-Bazaar, Khumh-Dzhungh, and Dhyangh-Bodzhei.
343:* This they do not "mean" to do; and it is really no discredit to them. Negroes say that Whites smell like boiled, not too fresh, rabbit; some Whites say that Negroes smell awful, even to the fourth generation; and peoples who eat a great deal of "hot" or "piquant" foods may indeed have an extraordinarily powerful aroma, so that the old adage about Turkey-Buzzards refusing to eat Mexicans could actually have some basis in fact! Nor must we forget that what we call "sex" is possibly based, in its cruder forms, on smell, our most delicate sense. In fact, all animals stink.