Yeti Sightings Continue to Give Us Chills
Disney, Doctor Who, Scooby-Doo, Monsters, Inc. and lots of other popular films and TV shows have brought stories of the Abominable Snowman, or the Yeti, into popular culture. But could these tales be more than tales? Is this creature actually real?
The Birth of the Term “Abominable Snowman”
In 1921, the explorer and politician Charles Howard-Bury took a team to go and explore Mount Everest on an expedition called the “Everest Reconnaissance Expedition”. On his journey, he saw some large footprints and was told it belonged to a “metoh-kangmi”. This basically translates to mean something like “man-bear snow-man.” Some of the porters of the expedition were later interviewed by a reporter for The Statesman in Calcutta called Henry Newman, under the pen name “Kim”. He misspelled metoh as “metch” which is not a Tibetan word and then mistranslated the entire term incorrectly, stating it meant “filthy.” He then took it a step further and changed it to “abominable.” This is where the term first took flight and sparked its initial interest from the western world.
The Legend of the Yeti
While this may have been the first time the “Abominable Snowman” was mentioned, it was not the first time the Yeti itself received interest. Legends of the Yeti are quite popular amongst those who live in the Sherpa communities who live approximately 12,000 feet high in the mountains of eastern Nepal. Yetis are described as gigantic, shaggy white or grey ape-like men. Said to have huge feet and large sharp teeth, encounters depict them residing high in the snowy mountains, roaming around alone.
Yeti as a Sherpa Bogeyman
Shiva Dhakal put 12 traditional folktales into his book, which is called Folk Tales of Sherpa and Yeti. The stories detail scary tales of Yeti who are always figures of danger and fear. “Perhaps, folktales of Yeti were used as a warning or, likely, for morality, so that kids wouldn’t wander far away and they would be always close and safe within their community. Some say that Yeti is just a fear that has been built inside the head of mountainous people to make them stronger and more fearless in the harsh weather,” Dhakal told the BBC.
But it wasn’t only the Sherpa who feared the yeti. In one of the most famous alleged yeti sightings, an entire hiking group was massacred in what has become known as the Dyatlov Pass Incident. While many have shot down the yeti hypothesis, the scene of the 10 deaths was bizarre and unexplainable to say the least. A decimated tent had been cut open from the inside, with proof indicating that the group had retreated from the tent under their own will. Three of the dead bodies were said to have died from violent trauma too severe to have been caused by a man. Theories of an avalanche were quickly dispelled as all members of the group were discovered beneath only a thin layer of snow and bodies found within tree cover showed the trees undisturbed. One of the party was missing her tongue. Adding to the macabre oddity of the scene, several of the deceased showed signs of high radiation. While this may confound the yeti theory, the events of Dyatlov Pass remain a mystery to this day.
The Yeti in Mythology
According to author H. Siigar, there are pre-Buddhist beliefs amongst Lapcha, Himalayan people who worshipped a “Glacier Being” as God of the Hunt. He also said that those who belonged to the Tibetan Bon religion believed there was a “mi rgod” or “wild man” who was an ape-like creature that carried a big stone that was his weapon and made a swooshing sound. They reported that the blood of the creature was used in various religious ceremonies.
Potential Yeti Sightings
There have been countless reports from visitors of the high mountains who claim with absolute certainty that they have seen creatures, matching the description of the yeti. Footprints can be found all throughout the Himalayas. Photos have been taken of the footprints, yet they can’t be used as full proof evidence. Some hairs thought to belong to the yeti were tested. At first they were thought to belong to a prehistoric bear. Upon further investigation they were found to belong to the brown bear.
Different species of humans are still being discovered around the world. In 2008 the remains of the Denisovan species was discovered in a cave in Siberia. This species survived for hundreds of thousands of years, dying out about 40,000 years ago. Another species recently discovered are the Homo floresiensis, also called “hobbits”, who lived in Indonesia until 12,000 years ago. It’s possible that the yeti is an undiscovered species of human, living hidden in the snowy mountain tops. The mystery remains for now, as reports continue to come in about these wild and mysterious creatures of the snow.