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Wildmen Of The Himalayas: Encounters With Yeti

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Writings of British officials residing in the Himalayan region of the Indian subcontinent during the nineteenth century contain sporadic references to sightings and footprints of wildmen called Yeti.

The Yeti were first mentioned by B. H. Hodgson, who from 1820 to 1843 served as British resident at the Nepalese court. Hodgson reported that in the course of a journey through northern Nepal his bearers were frightened by the sight of a hairy, tailless, humanlike creature.
Many will suggest, on hearing a report like this (and hundreds have been recorded since Hodgson’s time), that the Nepalese mistook an ordinary animal for a Yeti.
The usual candidates for mistaken identity are bears and the langur monkey. But it is hard to imagine that lifelong residents of the Himalayas, intimately familiar with the wildlife, would have made such mistakes. Myra Shackley observed that Yeti are found in Nepalese and Tibetan religious paintings depicting hierarchies of living beings.
“Here,” said Shackley, “bears, apes, and langurs are depicted separate from the wildman, suggesting there is no confusion (at least in the minds of the artists) between these forms.”
During the nineteenth century, at least one European reported personally seeing a captured animal that resembled a Yeti. A South African man told anthropologist Myra Shackley:
“Many years ago in India, my late wife’s mother told me how her mother had actually seen what might have been one of these creatures at Mussorie, in the Himalayan foothills. This semi-human was walking upright, but was obviously more animal than human with hair covering its whole body. It was reportedly caught up in the snows… his captors had it in chains.”
During the twentieth century, sightings by Europeans of wildmen and their footprints continued, increasing during the Himalayan mountain-climbing expeditions.
In November of 1951, Eric Shipton, while reconnoitering the approaches to Mt. Everest, found footprints on the Menlung glacier, near the border between Tibet and Nepal, at an elevation of 18,000 feet. Shipton followed the trail for a mile.
A close-up photograph of one of the prints has proved convincing to many. The footprints were quite large. John R. Napier considered and rejected the possibility that the particular size and shape of the best Shipton footprint could have been caused by melting of the snow.
In the end, Napier suggested that the Shipton footprint was the result of superimposed human feet, one shod and the other unshod.
In general, Napier, who was fully convinced of the existence of the North American Sasquatch, was highly skeptical of the evidence for the Yeti. But, as we shall see later in this section, new evidence would cause Napier to become more inclined to accept the Himalayan wildmen.
In the course of his expeditions to the Himalaya Mountains in the 1950s and 1960s, Sir Edmund Hillary gave attention to evidence for the Yeti, including footprints in snow.
He concluded that in every case the large footprints attributed to the Yeti had been produced by the merging of smaller tracks of known animals. To this Napier, himself a skeptic, replied:
“No one with any experience would confuse a melted footprint with a fresh one. Not all the prints seen over the years by reputable observers can be explained away in these terms; there must be other explanations for footprints, including, of course, the possibility that they were made by an animal unknown to science.”
In addition to Westerners, native informants also gave a continuous stream of reports on the Yeti. For example, in 1958 Tibetan villagers from Tharbaleh, near the Rongbuk glacier, came upon a drowned Yeti, said Myra Shackley in her book on wildmen. The villagers described the creature as being like a small man with a pointed head and covered with reddish-brown fur.
Some Buddhist monasteries claim to have physical remains of the Yeti. One category of such relics is Yeti scalps, but the ones studied by Western scientists are thought to have been made from the skins of known animals.
In 1960, Sir Edmund Hillary mounted an expedition to collect and evaluate evidence for the Yeti and sent a Yeti scalp from the Khumjung monastery to the West for testing. The results indicated that the scalp had been manufactured from the skin of the serow, a goat-like Himalayan antelope.
But some disagreed with this analysis. Shackley said they,
“pointed out that hairs from the scalp look distinctly monkey-like, and that it contains parasitic mites of a species different from that recovered from the serow.”
In the 1950s, explorers sponsored by American businessman Tom Slick obtained samples from a mummified Yeti hand kept at Pangboche, Tibet. Laboratory tests were inconclusive, but Shackley said the hand “has some curiously anthropoid features.”
In May of 1957, the Kathmandu Commoner carried a story about a Yeti head that had been kept for 25 years in the village of Chilunka, about 50 miles northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal.
In March of 1986, Anthony B. Wooldridge was making a solo run through the Himalayas of northernmost India on behalf of a small third world development organization. While proceeding along a forested snow-covered slope near Hemkund, he noticed fresh tracks and took photographs of them, including a close-up of a single print that resembled the one photographed by Eric Shipton in 1951.
Pressing onward, Wooldridge came to a recent avalanche and saw a shallow furrow, apparently caused by a large object sliding across the snow. At the end of the furrow, he saw more tracks, which led to a distant shrub, behind which stood “a large, erect shape perhaps up to 2 meters [about 6 feet] tall.”
Wooldridge, realizing it might be a Yeti, moved to within 150 meters (about 500 feet) and took photos.
“It was standing with its legs apart,” he stated, “apparently looking down the slope, with its right shoulder turned towards me. The head was large and squarish, and the whole body appeared to be covered with dark hair.”

In Wooldridge’s opinion, the creature was definitely not a monkey, bear, or ordinary human being.

Wooldridge observed the creature for 45 minutes but had to leave when the weather worsened. On the way back to his base, he took more photographs of the footprints, but by this time they had become distorted by melting.
On his return to England, Wooldridge showed his photographic evidence to scientists interested in the wildman question, including John Napier. At a distance of 150 meters, the creature appeared quite small on the 35 mm film, but enlargements did show something humanlike.
Describing the reactions of those who saw his photos, Wooldridge stated:
“John Napier, a primatologist and author of the 1973 book Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality, has reversed the skeptical position he had previously expressed, and now describes himself as a Yeti devotee.
Myra Shackley, an archaeologist and author of the 1983 book Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma, has seen the full sequence of photographs, and believes that the whole experience is very consistent with other reports of Yeti sightings. Lord Hunt, leader of the successful 1953 Mount Everest Expedition, who has twice seen Yeti tracks himself, is similarly convinced.”
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The story of Bigfoot, hit by a train in 1880

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Cryptozoologist Scott White of the International Bigfoot Society spoke to an elderly woman named Rita Swift, who told him a story told by her grandfather.

Her grandfather’s name was George Huhn, and in the late 19th century he worked as an engineer on a train that ran along the US-Canada border.

One night, while they were passing through a forest somewhere in the middle of nowhere, their train hit something on the tracks and it was something so large that it damaged the cowcatcher – a device made of metal rods that was attached to the front of the train.

Below is her story:

“My name is Rita Swift. I live in Orange Co. California. In 1945, my grandfather George Huhn told me a story about the time his train hit a large Ape creature and bent the cow catcher on his train.

“This was in the 1880’s and he was an engineer on a train that ran along the borders of the US and Canada. It was night, and all of a sudden their train hit something and they stopped the train, because the cowcatcher was dragging on the tracks.

At first they thought it was a moose, but when they all got out with their lanterns, they discovered this huge smelly Ape, hung up in the catcher. They had only lanterns for light, and they were in the forest, basically in the middle of nowhere.

“It took most of the crew to pick it up and lift it into an open flat car. They noticed it was structured differently from a Gorilla of Ape, and smelled so bad, the crew got the smell on them.

“They left it on the flat car, because it took at least 2 hours to straighten out the cow catcher. Good thing my great grandfather was also a blacksmith. They were at least 2 hours from the next water tower and station of sorts.

“The break man noticed Indians sneaking around in the forest, but thought they had disappeared. When they were ready to go, the crew checked on their smelly passenger, but he was gone.

“They looked for tracks and decided the Indians had dragged it away into the forest and across a stream. They found the tracks and pieces of hair and of course the smell. They washed up in the stream and were glad to get rid of it. The smell had even remained in the flat car.

“My great grandfather took pieces of the hair back, and gave it to a doctor he knew in Michigan. They had all decided the creature had escaped from a circus or sideshow. Great grandfather thought it was 8 feet tall and weighed at least 500 lbs.

“It took six men to carry it off the tracks. When my daughter was a student at California State University at Fullerton in 1986, I met a Professor of Anthropology. The reason I was there, was I donated Indonesian Fighting Swords to her dept.

“They were very old and had belonged to my husband. I just didn’t feel comfortable having them in my home anymore. I noticed in her office she had information on the walls about Big Foot. I told her the story and she believed it was documented.

“My grandfather said the Ape had a different face than what he remembered of a Gorilla. He said the teeth were like humans, but extremely wide and large. The body hair was thick dark brown, with light tipping and the eyes were large and dark. He said they agreed it was a male because of it’s genitalia.

“Grandfather continued as a railroad engineer on the Colorado Wyoming line until he retired in 1925. He fought off outlaws with his six shooter from the cab. I have a photo of Grandfather with the crew, stopped in Eads, Colorado, with a large cannon hole in the side of the engine.

“This was in 1898, when some outlaws on horses pulled up an old Confederate cannon along the tracks, and fired at the engine. The crew chased them away, but left the train damaged. They were on their way to Durango carrying bank money from Denver.

“Grandfather would never tell stories that were not true. He was a devout Methodist, and said his prayers so loud every night, the whole house could hear him.

“He had originally come from Amish in Mercer, Co., Pa., but left to fight for the Union in the Civil War. His father did not accept his decision, and he never returned to Mercer Co. He was born in 1845 and died in 1947, in Claremont California.”

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Moehau: New Zealand’s Bigfoot

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Tony Lucas’s depiction of a Moehau. Photo:Cryptidz.Fandom

The Moehau is a legendary monster in Maori mythology, originating from the central plateau region of the North Island of New Zealand. It is said to be a large, hairy, man-like creature that inhabits the dense forests of the region and is known for its fearsome roar and aggressive behavior.

Description of the Moehau

The Moehau is described in Maori legend as a large, hairy, human-like creature with a fierce appearance. It is said to have long arms that reach down to its knees, and sharp claws on its hands and feet. Its hair is described as dark and shaggy, covering its entire body, and its face is said to be savage and frightening.

The Moehau is typically depicted as being six-seven feet tall, with a powerful build and an intimidating presence. Some legends describe the creature as having a mane of hair around its neck and glowing eyes that can be seen from a distance in the darkness of the forest.

Moehau Sightings

Reports of sightings of the Moehau are rare and mainly come from the central plateau region of the North Island of New Zealand, where the creature is said to inhabit. However, these reports are largely anecdotal and lack concrete evidence.

The sightings are often described as fleeting and difficult to verify, with people claiming to have seen a large, hairy, human-like creature moving quickly through the forest or hearing its distinctive roar echoing through the trees.

The most common evidence of the Moehau is found in the form of footprints.

Rex Gilroy holds up plaster casts of possible Moehau footprints. Photo: Haunted Auckland

In 1903 some very large footprints were found in the Karangahake Gorge in the Coromandel.

In 1971 a trail of huge footprints was discovered on snow-covered ground by a park ranger in the Karangahake Gorge.

In 1983 a man hunting a deer came across fresh footprints near the Heaphy River that appeared to be far larger then a normal human’s.

In 1991 in the Cameron Mountains of the South Island some campers hastily abandoned their camp after finding some unsettlingly large footprints near their site.

Newspaper articles about the Moehau. Photo: Haunted Auckland

Several witnesses report having been attacked or chased by a Moehau. In 1970 some campers in the Coromandel abandoned their camp after a 6ft tall hairy man beast continued to screamed loudly and threw rocks at them.

Just two years later in the same area a hunter watched as a 6ft tall, ape-like creature worked its way through the bush on the other side of the gully. The hunter went to investigate and found large footprints left behind.

An undated report in New Zealand’s Sunday News told of the owner of the Lake Mahinapua Pub on the South Island’s West Coast regularly having his garden raided by a huge man-beast. The Moehau was particularly fond of his silver beet.

Killed by Moehau?

A few early account existed where people were reportedly killed by Moehau. The headless body of a prospector was found in the Martha Mine in 1882 and was blamed on a Moehau. A few years later, not far from the Martha Mine, a woman was dragged from her shack and found dead with a snapped neck a few hundred meters away.

Was the Moehau an Escaped Gorilla?

The theory that the Moehau is an escaped gorilla is a relatively recent and controversial one. It suggests that the creature may have escaped from a zoo or animal park in New Zealand and survived in the wild, leading to reports of sightings and encounters. This theory is based on the idea that the description of the Moehau as a large, hairy, man-like creature with sharp claws and a fearsome appearance is consistent with the physical characteristics of gorillas.

However, this theory is largely speculative and lacks concrete evidence. Gorillas are native to Africa and are not found in the wild in New Zealand, so it is unlikely that one could have escaped and survived in the wild there. Additionally, the forested regions of the central plateau are remote and inhospitable, making it unlikely that an escaped gorilla would be able to thrive there. The majority of experts in the field reject the idea that the Moehau is an escaped gorilla, and it remains a creature of legend and myth in Maori culture.

A video describing the Moehau, Maori Bigfoot

Have you ever seen a Moehau or something similar in your neck of the woods? Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this article you may be interested in the Moehau’s cousins: Bigfoot and Batutut.

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