The Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, the Monster of the Himalayas
When it comes to mythical or paranormal creatures, the reputation of the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman is second only to ‘aliens’. The Yeti, depending on what you read and who you talk to, is a creature that looks very similar to an ape, a big bear, an orangutan, and a wild humanof disproportionate size.
In other words, the Yeti is the eastern version of the Big Foot of the western world.
Stories of this creature are usually based in the higher reaches of the Himalayan mountain range between permanent snow at around 20, 000 feet and the tree line which is around 14, 000 feet. It is, in fact, one of the oldest mythical creatures. Here is a brief history of how this myth was formed and named.
History of the Yeti; Origins of Its Name
The name ‘Yeti‘ is derived from Tibetan language, although other names for this creature also exist. Some of these names include Miche, Dzu-the, Migoi, Bun Manchi, Mirka, and Kang Admi. The most popular name of this creature, however, is the Abominable Snowmanwhich was coined by Henry Newman.
Henry Newman coined the term either through mistranslation of local words or deliberate artistic license in one of his articles.
The Yeti has been a part of human myths since ancient times. The first recorded reference of this creature was made in conjunction with Alexander the Great way back in 326 BC. Alexander the Great, during his bid to conquer the Indus Valley, heard stories of the creature and decided to see one himself. However, he was unable to spot the elusive creature as it never came down to lower altitudes.
The Yeti has been a major part of the mythical stories of the indigenous people of the Himalayan region. The traditional Yeti, before Buddhism came to the region, used to be treated as god or demi god with mystical properties. The rendition of those times was an ape like creature that carried a large stone to use as a weapon.
In the 19th century, the first references of the Yeti were found. However, authors who mentioned the creature either discounted it as fallacy or a normal animal like an Orangutan.
Even so, in the 20th century, the sightings and mentions of the creature increased significantly mainly because of increased interest in climbing some of the highest peaks in the world. The real impetus to the myth of the Yeti came in 1950s when photos of the creature’s footprints were taken and circulated by Eric Shipton in 1951. In the same decade, a supposed scalp of the creature, was found and analyzed. The claims were refuted by scientists. Subsequently, feces were collected and evaluated as well. The results were inconclusive but pointed towards a completely new species.
There were many other sightings and claims put forth by reliable people in the time. Some of these distinguished names include Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay, James Stewart, Myra Shackley, Don Whillans, Daniel C Taylor, and Joshua Gates.
As the Nepalese government realized the kind of attention that the myth of this creature was drawing, it decided to cash in on it by boosting its tourist sector. In 1950s, the government started issuing hunting licenses for the creature.
Not surprisingly, Bhutan has even officially dedicated a national park for the preservation of the Yeti. Moreover, in Nepal as well as Tibet and Bhutan, numerous businesses have popped up with the name ‘Yeti‘.
Interesting Facts about the Yeti
The main reason why the myth of the Yeti is so popular in the world today is simply because there are some very interesting facts pertaining to the creature. Consider the following.
* The actual myth of the creature is said to have started in Tibet and disseminated through the Himalayan region by the Sherpa, indigenous people of the region.
* The myth is deeply ingrained in the culture of the region with many ceremonies and festivals boasting of images and other similar references to the creature. For instance, the Mani Rimdu Festival of Nepal sees monks wearing masks of divine beings while dancing. The Yeti is one of these beings.
* The local tradition amongst the Sherpa is simply that the Yeti would only be visible to people who believe in it.
* The Yeti is very similar to the Big Foot whose sightings are peppered all over America.
* The creature is nocturnal in nature and is mainly visible in the nights.
* The usual sounds accompanying a sighting are whistles and growls.
* The creature is said to be extremely strong. According to lore, it can lift huge stones and cast them aside with just one hand. Some legends even show him as using large stones as weapons.
* Another related myth is that this creature is so strong that it can kill with only one punch.
* The creature is bipedal and walks and runs on two feet.
Scientific view pertaining to the Yeti’s existence
Scientific view pertaining to the Yeti is conflicting. The most common refutation of the creature being real is misidentification i.e. people mistaking a normal animal to be something larger than life.
There have been numerous animals that scientists suggest could be mistaken for the Yeti. These include the Langur monkey, the Tibetan blue bear, the Himalayan brown bear, and even a human hermit.
Even so, other studies, researches, and analyses have revealed inconclusive evidence of the Yeti being any known species. For instance, studies of hairs and feces have revealed that the samples are completely unique to anything existing in human scientific records. There are also hypotheses that this creature is nothing but the survivor of an extinct species known as Gigantopithecus.
A study was also conducted in the Barun Valley in 1983 by Fleming, Taylor, Tirtha Shrestha, and John Craighead. The research proved that the footprints and sightings were nothing but Asiatic Black Bear and its natural behavior. A result of these findings was the formation of the Makalu Barun National Park for protecting the bear. Also, a Japanese linguistic expert did a study in 2003 proving that the word ‘yeti’ is a derivation or corruption of the word ‘meti‘ which directly translates to a bear.