During an Everest expedition in 1951, a long trail of footprints were discovered by Eric Shipton. Shipton was 20,000 feet above sea level at this point of his climb when the footprints were discovered. Using an ice pick for scale, Shipton laid it next to the prints. The footprints were measured to be from 12-13 inches. This was the first piece of physical evidence captured about the Abominable Snowman. The photos have been the subject of a lot of criticism, but most people claim it’s one of the best pieces of evidence of the Yeti’s existence.
Welcome! It’s time for another Mythological Throwback Thursday, and this week Team Metalalia venture into the sacred peaks of South Asia, the Himalayas, in search of the elusive yeti. Don’t hold your breath– the air’s pretty thin.
The word ‘yeti’ is a loanword from Tibetan. The Tibetan term is a compound of the words for ‘rock’ and ‘bear’. Other Himalayan people know the yeti as Kang Admi– ‘snow man’, or mi-go– ‘jungle man’. The appellation ‘Abominable Snowman’ was coined in the 1920s by a British officer on an expedition around Everest.
Early anthropologists were told that the Lepcha people native to the Himalayas worshipped a ‘glacier being’, a god of the hunt that looked like an ape and carried a large stone as a weapon.
Most local cultures agree that the yeti is a rare and secretive creature, that leaves little trace of itself behind. Many footprints in the snow believed to have been left by a yeti have been photographed, but these make for unconvincing evidence, and trophies like scalps or hairs have been analysed by experts and identified as belonging to other creatures native to the Himalayas. In 1959 an expedition claimed to have found yeti faeces: on analysis an unknown parasite was discovered within them. Cryptozoologists, who study creatures thought by the wider scientific community not to exist, claim that this is an indication that the yeti may well exist.
In Pangboche, a Nepalese village nearly two and a half miles above sea level, a Buddhist monastery claimed to possess the hand and forearm of a yeti. The story went that a monk seeking to meditate in a cave stumbled across a resting yeti. When he returned to the cave later in life, the yeti had died, so he took some of the remains. The hand was stolen and smuggled out of Nepal by Westerners, and though most of it has disappeared into a private collection, those primatologists who had access to fragments of the sample claimed it is Neanderthal in origin.
In more modern times, explorers and experts have settled upon the explanation that the yeti of legend is nothing more than one or more species of local bear, known to be bipedal at times. In particular, the Asiatic brown bear spends its early life in trees to avoid aggressive older bears, which gives its feet a peculiar shape that means its footprints can be mistaken for human or ape-like tracks.
Regardless of what the truth may or may not be, the yeti remains one of the world’s most famous cryptid legends. The search for the yeti has led to conservation efforts in Nepal and Tibet, protecting the Himalayas for other native species.
Join us next week to meet the queen of the gods herself! I wouldn’t let her down, if I were you…
A botanist, a photographer, and their Sherpa guide explore the Himalayas. When the guide learns of his wife’s abduction by a yeti, he forces the explorers at gunpoint to rescue her. They trek for days through the frozen mountains as the yeti harasses them by causing avalanches. They reach the yeti’s lair too late. The guide’s wife is dead, although no one seems too concerned. However, the explorers catch the yeti and take him to America for study.
The yeti flies to Los Angeles in a refrigerated box that injects him with drugs. He is detained by the Department of Immigration. They insist that the yeti is human-like and shouldn’t be allowed to enter the U.S. without a passport. In the meantime, the yeti escapes. He stalks the sewer system with the police in pursuit. They eventually shoot him dead. In the last scene, one of the policemen becomes a father. Congratulations!
Today was the first snowfall of the season so I wanted to watch a movie with snow in it. The Snow Creature didn’t disappoint. The film’s first half captures the danger and isolation of the Himalayan wilderness. The characters trudge among craggy rocks and snowdrifts. They struggle with their heavy packs and drink a lot. The howling wind is heard in the background of every single scene. Driven insane by the tragedy of his wife’s abduction, the Sherpa guide gets drunk and leads his hostage comrades on a mission of revenge against the yeti. Its dramatic stuff! When the yeti arrives in Los Angeles, Snow Creature becomes a rather run-of-the-mill monster movie. The yeti is always in the shadows because he looks like a man in teddy bear pajamas.
Snow Creature uses realistic locations. The mountains are appropriately frigid and treacherous. Back in America, scenes in a sewer and a meat packing plant also look great.
Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. I learned about the Himalayas.