Friday, February 17, 2017

Supernatural Friday: World Building in Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy

I have always been fascinated by world building. From science fiction to fantasy to horror, there must be reasons why a character or a whole slew of characters would
react as they do in their world. Their actions, their thoughts, the reason they fall in love with the person they do, it’s all about how their universe revolves.

It determines what kind of story you’re writing. Like Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series. She built a whole world, making it hard science fiction. She gave reasons for why the dragons were needed and how the alien world and its people were. Now, The Witch and the Familiar by Sapphire Phelan, is set otherwise in a city that Tina Epson lives in.  Other scenes are set in Hell. Readers find that Tina works for an independent bookstore in town, Cup of Tea and a Book. She lives in an apartment she moved in after leaving her parents’ house. Except for a few friends, she lives alone in town, as her parents had moved to Florida after retiring. She’s mortal in the first book and likes to live a normal life. But in this world building, this character never gets a chance for that, as unusual circumstances make her come to a decision for normalcy or not.

World building makes the author research the myths, legends, and fairytales. If you want to know about vampires, then nonfiction books and online websites about vampires are a good place to start. Some of it will find its way into the book; more snippets later will sneak in. A lot of the author’s research may never find their way into the storyline. But it’s good for the author to have all the information for their own use, to look at when writing. One more thing with world building is readers bring expectations to reading, like rules of beings and creatures of myth, legend, and fairytales. The reader will have these in their mind. You will have to take the vampire, werewolf, god, or ghost, and make the reader go past these rules and believe you made another way these beings to behave. Your explanations do not have to be the most fantastic, but you do have to have them.

World building should include something else: background. Think of a movie. You have the main actors. But you also have the extras, or background as they are called in the movie business. You’re thinking, “No, extras aren’t that important, not when your hero or heroine is the real focus of the story.” But let’s look at the newest movie out, Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to be in the games as tribute to save her younger sister whose name had been drawn from the girls’ bowl for the Reaping. When Effie Trinker says, “Let’s give a big applause to our newest tribute,” no one says a word or claps. You know what they are truly saying. So those extras are important to the scene. The same goes for the book or short story you are working on. Later in The Witch and The Familiar, Tina and the demon bunny, Fluffy, are traveling through Tantalus, a part of Hell, encountering demons and lost spirits. These characters may not be in the story again, but at this point and time, they flesh out Hell, as much as descriptions of this version of the Pit looks like do.

When you build your world, another thing is that you must be consistent in your rules. That means keeping them as you began them. Editing will help in catching these kinds of mistakes. A good critique partner for just this would be another great thing to have. I have files on various important characters in my stories, their traits, what they do, etc… and use these to go back to if something comes up that I’ve forgotten about my character. After all, if what you’ve written goes against any of the rules you’ve created in your world, then there has to be a logical, rational reason it happens differently at the time, reasonable to you and the readers. Such as if iron is poisonous to the fey, but suddenly later in the story, the character can pass through a fence of iron, there must be a reason why they can do this time (maybe they had found a spell that enables them to). Don’t just have them unable to do something because it isn’t convenient to your story. Being consistent is what makes the suspension of disbelief your readers are willing to have held together.

Your world’s historical past should not overwhelm or dominate your current story. If it does, then you will bore your readers, most of all, you’re writing the wrong fiction. A paragraph of it will be all you need.

Is there an inventive language in your story? It’s okay, but don’t make it so difficult for your reader to understand that they can’t follow along or have to wade through it. If it makes your reader stop to figure out and ponder about it, well, it isn’t helping your pacing. The reader needs to be engrossed in the story so much they can’t put it down, and at no time, should it make them stop and close that cover. If the reader needs a degree to understand your book, then you lost the battle to keep most readers engrossed in your tale. Glossaries are a useful way to deal with this, but better if you don’t make your reader stop so much your reader to keep reading ahead. That’s not to say you can’t. But nothing that will stop the reader reading.

World building is fun, as long as you think about presenting your world right. It’s all about drawing in your readers and keeping them coming back for more. It’s about giving them a vacation from reality they can suspend disbelief and enjoy.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Give a Werewolf a Valentine's Card

Every year on February 14th, most people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” Valentine’s Day. This day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but it has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. It was also dedicated to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus—those twins that fed at the teats of a she-wolf.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection in classical mythology. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus, and is known in Latin also as Amor ("Love"). His Greek counterpart is Eros.  Eros appears in Classical Greek art as a slender and winged youth, But in the Hellenistic period he became more and more portrayed as chubby boy, with the bow and arrow to represent uncontrollable desire.

Cupid is a minor character in myths who serves mostly to set the plot in motion. The only time he is a main character is in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons he experiences the ordeal of love.

The history of Valentine’s Day, along with the story of its patron saint is shrouded in mystery. February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. Also during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, another reason for Valentine’s day to be one of romance.

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, everyone martyred. One legend claims that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered him put to death.

Other tales suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before he died, the legends goes on to say that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression still in use today. 

So when you celebrate with your loved one on the 14th, think of how closely the supernatural has to do with a day for lovers.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Women Writers of Horror

Why would women write about monsters or ghosts? I am sure there are readers who say stick to writing romance or fantasy. But women have just as much right to write the scary stuff and about monsters as do their male counterparts. After all, in the long run, it's all about the story. 

At, an article mentioned how women writers “often found the supernatural a way to challenge and condemn their role in society.” It seems male writers have dominated supernatural fiction, those like M R James, Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Oliver Onions and others.  But female writers have been on the horror scene in the past, too. Shirley Jackson, for instance. She wrote, The Haunting of Hill House, the only story to this day that scared me in the daytime, in a room full of people. Others had to do it at night, with me in a room alone. Susan Hill who wrote Woman in Black, is another. A classic ghost story from 1892, is Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper. Her nameless narrator, suffering from post-natal depression, is confined to bed rest under the care of her doctor husband and begins to lose her mind.  Confined to an old nursery with ghastly wallpaper, she sees strangled heads and unblinking “bulbous eyes” in its pattern. Eventually, a skulking female figure appears, seemingly trapped behind the bars of its design. Is it the narrator’s own hidden self? When her husband enters to find her tearing down the wallpaper, she tells him “I’ve got out at last. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper so you can’t put me back!”

Do women authors use ghost stories to exorcise their resentments over societal restrictions? After all, it can be said that the ghost is the ultimate outsider – an absent presence, all-seeing and yet unable to partake of life in any meaningful way. Do we have insight differently from male writers? Can what a woman writes be more downright frightening than what a man writes? Is the way we pen the words on paper or type onscreen haunt the person as they read? Maybe we even make the monster sympathetic. Still horrifying, but a monster the reader just care about. Or not.

With February coming around and Women in Horror a theme for the month, this may be the time for readers to discover female horror authors. There are those I am sure readers already know about; Anne Rice, Sarah Pinborough, Laurell K. Hamilton and Caitlin R. Kiernan.  Others are Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Massie, Lisa Morton, Yvonne Navarro, Carrie Ryan, Cherie Priest, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and much, much more. A friend of mine, Kari Kilgore, published this great vampire dark fantasy novel, Until Death. It made the Dram Stokers nominations for first novel.  A good place to check for women horror writers is at Horror Writers Association. Try someone new today. 

So instead of picking up that Stephen King or other male horror authors, try several feminine writers instead. We just might bring "SCARE" to a whole new level.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Chinese New Year Begins--Year of the Rooster

The Chinese New Year 2017 begins January 28th. This year it is the year of the rooster. Every twelve years there is a Rooster year, beginning at Chinese New Year. A year of the Rooster always comes after a Monkey year and before a Dog year. Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029.

2017 Is a Fire Rooster Year.   Characteristics of a person born under this Chinese Zodiac has them as trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping, and responsibility at work. Roosters have five virtues: literary, military prowess, courageous, benevolent, and trustworthy.
According to Chinese astrology, the year of one's birth sign is the unluckiest year in the 12-year cycle. People in their zodiac year are believed to offend  the God of Age, and incur his curse. In a year of your sign, horoscopes for all aspects of your life will not be very good. However, you can reverse fate by attention to the God of Age “star” and warding off bad luck.
By Wearing Red — Drive Away Bad Luck
Red is one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, standing for prosperity, loyalty, success, and happiness. Red can drive away bad luck and evil spirits.
And wearing red during your zodiac year (or zodiac year) will bring you good luck and give you a good year. You can wear a belt, socks, shoes, or clothing, all in the color, red. Red underwear is highly recommended during your zodiac year.
However, there is a rule that you need to pay attention to, or the red won't ward off the bad luck. You cannot buy, for example, the red underwear yourself. It should be bought by a spouse, family member, or friend.
By Wearing Jade Accessories
Besides wearing red, you can also wear jade accessories during your zodiac year to ward off bad luck, like pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets.
By Facing the Right Direction — Face Away from Tai Sui
People are often told by fortune-tellers that Tai Sui will bring bad luck. In theory, you can make use of Tai Sui to bring good luck, by facing in the opposite direction. For the roosters this year, the position of Tai Sui for each year in its cycle, you must face west (270 °).
People adjust the direction of beds, seats, desks, and even where they live and work to get Tai Sui behind them", in an effort to incur good luck. For example, in 2017 (a year of the Rooster) Tai Sui is in the west. In 2017 Roosters adjust your furniture and dwellings to face east to get good luck. When doing something important, such as a business negotiation, Roosters should face east, and you will stand a good chance of succeeding.
To keep the Chinese lunar calendar within half a month of the traditional solar calendar, there will be a leap month in 2017 (a second lunar month 6 starting July 23rd). So there are 13 lunar months instead of 12, which means there are 384 days in Rooster year 2017.

The Chinese Zodiac has the horse, tiger, rat, rooster, dragon, snake, goat, monkey, ox, dog, cat, rabbit and the boar.

The new year celebrations were born out of fear and myth. There is an ancient Chinese legend that told of a man-eating predatory beast called Nian. This creature was fierce, and had a long head and sharp horn. Nian dwelled deep in the sea most of the year, but on every Chinese New Year Eve it climbed onto the shore, and devour livestock and harm humans in a near-by village. Every Chinese New Year's Eve, the villagers would take their old and young and head for the mountains to hide from the monster.

One Chinese New Year's Eve, a grey haired man appeared in the village. He asked permission to stay for the night and assured everyone that he would chase away the beast. No one believed him. When it was time to go hide in the mountains, the old man steadfastly refused to do that. The villagers departed without him.

The beast arrived at the village to wreck havoc as usual, but it was met with a sudden burst of exploding firecrackers. Startled by the noise, the flashes of light and red banners flying about, it turned about and fled back into the sea.

The next day, when the villagers returned from the mountains, they found everything intact and safe. The old man had left, but they found the remains of the three precious items he had used to chase the beast Nian away. They all agreed that the old man must be a deity who had come to help free them of the beast.

From then on, every Chinese New Year's Eve, families hung red banners, set off fire crackers, and light their lamps the whole night through, awaiting the Chinese New Year. The custom spread far and wide and became a grand traditional celebration of the "Passing of Nian" ("Nian" in Chinese means "year"). So celebrating the Chinese New Year is "passing of Nian" or "Guo Nian" in Chinese. 

Today, the 15-day New Year festivities are celebrated with a week of vacation in metropolitan areas of China. Much like the Western New Year (January 1st), the biggest celebration is on the eve of the holiday. But aside from New Year's Eve, there are other important days of the 15-day New Year Festival, including:

JIE CAI CENG: Welcoming the Gods of Wealth and Prosperity On the 5th day of New Year's, it is believed that the gods of prosperity come down from the heavens. Businesses will often participate in setting off firecrackers as they believe it will bring them prosperity and good fortune for their business.

YUAN XIAO JIE: Festival of Lanterns The 15th day of the New Year is known as The Festival of Lanterns and marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. All types of lanterns are lit throughout the streets and often poems and riddles are often written for entertainment. There are also paper lanterns on wheels created in the form of either a rabbit or the animal of the year (Pig for 2007). The rabbit lantern stems from a Chinese myth or fairytale about a female goddess named "Chang E" who jumped onto the moon. So she wouldn't travel alone, she brought a rabbit with her to keep her company. It is said that if your heart is pure enough, you can see the goddess Chang E and her rabbit on the moon on this day.

Called "hong bao" in Mandarin, the red envelopes filled with money are typically only given to children or unmarried adults with no job. If you're single and working and making money, you still have to give the younger ones the hong bao money. The color red denotes good luck/fortune and happiness/abundance in the Chinese Culture and is often worn or used for decoration in other celebrations.

The Dragon is present in many Chinese cultural celebrations as the Chinese people often think of themselves as descendants of the mythical creature. On the fifth day of the New Year when many people have to start going back to work, they will also have the Dancing Dragons perform in the front of the office building. On the 15th day of the New Year (Yuan Xiao Jie), they will also have a lot of dancing dragon performances. The dragon represents prosperity, good luck and good fortune.

Traditional Foods

The Chinese New Year's Eve meal is the most important dinner of the year. Typically, families gather at a designated relative's house for dinner, but these days, many families often celebrate New Year's Eve dinner at a restaurant. Many restaurants require reservations months in advance. There are also some families that hire a professional chef to come cook at their house. Chefs are often busy running from one home to another cooking dinners for different families on New Year's Eve.

Chinese New Year is a 15-day celebration and each day, many families rotate celebrations between homes of their relatives. The festivies are day-long and sometimes, a family ends up cooking two meals for their relatives, once at lunch and once at dinner. These dishes used to be all made from scratch, but now people can easily buy them prepackaged at the supermarkets.
Eight Treasures Rice (contains glutinous rice, walnuts, different colored dry fruit, raisins, sweet red bean paste, jujube dates, and almonds). 

"Tang Yuan" - black sesame rice ball soup; or a Won Ton soup.
Chicken, duck, fish and pork dishes.
"Song Gao", literally translates to "loose cake"- which is made of rice which has been coarsely ground and then formed into a small, sweet round cake.
"Jiu Niang Tang" - sweet wine-rice soup which contains small glutinous rice balls
a sweet soup made of cut-up fruit: Cut fruit is added into hot/warm water which has had a thickening agent (like cornstarch).

Based on the Lunar Calendar
The date of Chinese New Year changes each year as it is based on the lunar calendar. While the western Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun, China and most Asian countries use the lunar calendar that is based on the moon’s orbit around the earth. Chinese New Year always falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Other Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam also celebrate new year using the lunar calendar. 
Though Buddhism and Daoism have unique customs during the New Year, the Chinese New Year is far older than both religions. Chinese New Year is rooted in much a celebration of spring just like Easter or Passover. 

Depending on where rice is grown in China, the rice season lasts from roughly May to September (north China), April to October (Yangtze River Valley), or March to November (Southeast China). The New Year was likely the start of preparations for a new growing season. 
Spring cleaning is a common theme during this time. Chinese people clean out their homes during the holiday. There is another possible reason for the New Year celebration just a way to break up the boredom of the long winter months. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Supernatural Friday: Holy Guacamole! It's the Chupacabra!

El chupacabra, or just chupacabra, is a legendary cryptozoology creature that has been haunting various areas of the globe from the initial reports from Puerto Rico in March 1995. The term “chupacabra” is derived from Spanish, with chupar meaning “to suck” and cabra meaning “goat.”
In March and August 1995, attacks on more than 150 farm animals left officials dumbfounded. Eyewitness accounts in local newspapers spoke of a creature with a “reptilian body, oval head, bulging red eyes, fanged teeth, and long, darting tongue.” Farm animals in Puerto Rico were found to be drained of blood with puncture wounds in the neck, with no meat taken from the animals’ bodies. The situation in Puerto Rico reached such a fever pitch that Mayor Jose Soto recruited volunteers to hunt the creature weekly for nearly a year, with no success.
When chupacabras are reported, they usually fall into one of two categories. First, and most common in connection to the Puerto Rico incidents, is a chupacabra that is reptile-like in nature, with leathery greenish-gray skin and spines running down the spine of the back. Most ties it was said to be approximately three to four feet tall and bipedal – standing and hopping like a kangaroo.
The second that is considered the more common version of the chupacabra is more like a strange breed of wild dog or coyote. This version lacks the hair of a dog, but features the pronounced spinal ridge or “spikes” similar to the reptilian chupacabra. This four-legged, dog-like chupacabra is also known for fearsome fangs and claws used for draining animal’s blood. The “mark” of the chupacabra on the victims is typically one to three holes, and in the shape of an upside-down triangle where the three holes are apparent.
While the chupacabra or “goat sucker” seems to be a recent cryptozoology finding, the Mayans may have encountered this cryptoid centuries ago. In
Mayan mythology, it was known as the death bat or vampire bat. Stories reveal a creature with a bat or lizard-like face, two arms and the ability to turn into a statue during the day. The creature’s sharp snout even lends itself as a device that could suck blood from victims. Even more findings identify terms like “goat sucker” found in Mayan literature as early as 1400 B.C. No doubt, this must be the vampire bat, as it did suck blood, most times from animals.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Join Me at Marscon This Weekend

I will  be a guest at Marscon at the Doubletree Hotel, 50 Kingsmill Road in Williamsburg, Virginia this upcoming Martin Luther King Weekend (January 13th through 15th). I have my schedule (below), plus you can view what other panels, workshops and more will be happening during the convention:

My schedule
Friday 9pm – Ghost Hunt--meet in the hotel lobby (yes, I am leading this and you can bring your own camera, camcorders and recorders to record for yourself too)

Saturday 10am – Fantastic Beasts and How to Write Them - How do you describe the movement of a dragon? What happens when a shapeshifter becomes a sea wyvern? These authors discuss the technicalities of creating larger than life creatures realistically. Panelists: Todd McCaffrey, Mari Mancusi, Pamela K. Kinney, D.C. McLaughlin

Saturday 2pm – Cosplay: Old School vs. New School - Before it became known as Cosplay it was simply known as Costuming - What is the difference or is there any? Panelists: Birdy, Erica Bortnick, Cheralyn Lambeth, Mera Babineaux, Pamela Kinney

Saturday 7pm – Dragons in Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction - Panelists will talk about how dragons are incorporated in these genre fiction and what makes the dragon a hot commodity for them. Panelists: Pamela K. Kinney, Margaret S. McGraw, Mari Mancusi, Joelle Presby

Sunday 10am – A World full of Monsters - From Blutbads to Zauberbiest, La Llorna & The Jersey Devil - join us as we explore the worlds of Grimm, Supernatural, and Teen Wolf and their use of the many creatures from history and other diverse cultures. Monsters such as the Kitsune of Japan, the Djinn of the Middle East, or the Chupacabra of Mexico and they have been used in these shows’ interpretations as well as some of the cultures that brought them. See what it takes to defend humanity from creatures that do more than just go bump in the night. Panelists: Pamela K. Kinney, D.C. McLaughlin

Sunday 12noon – Indie Publishing: Getting Known as an Author - Most people understand what marketing is, but far fewer understand the role that publicity pays in selling your work. One without the other often falls flat…but when your local newspaper won’t talk to you, how do you get publicity? Come hear how our experts do it. Panelists: Chris Kennedy, Pamela K. Kinney, Kim Headlee, Tabitha Grace Challis, D.C. McLaughlin

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Supernatural Friday: How Really Abominable is the Yeti?

With first snow of the year in my area, winter, the cold and all that snow made me think of a cryptid perfect for the first Supernatural Friday blog post of 2017. The Yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman. So get a cup of hot chocolate, sit back with your computer, laptop, or tablet, and enjoy reading.
The Yeti is a cryptid creature that has long inhabited the remote and mostly uninhabited Himalayan Mountains, including Mount Everest, in central Asia, including Nepal, Tibet, China, and southern Russia. This being has been mainly seen as an erect bipedal animal, usually over six feet tall, with weight estimated between 200 and 400 pounds, covered with red to gray hair, and it makes a whistling sound, has a bad smell, and is usually nocturnal and secretive.
The Yeti has long been a revered figure in Himalayan mythology that predates Buddhism. The various peoples inhabiting Tibet and Nepal in the heart of the lofty range, which includes Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, do not see the Yeti as a proto-human type of creature but instead a man-like animal that seems to exist with supernatural powers. The Yeti comes and goes like a hairy ghost, just showing up rather than being found by tracking. Stories are told of the creature having been seen flying through the air; killing goats and other livestock; kidnapping young women who are taken back to a cave to rear children; and throwing stones at humans.
Even the indigenous names of the Yeti reflect its mythological character. In some regional dialects, it is known as Meh-Teh, or Migoi—translated as “wild man of the snows.” There had been one journalist stationed in Calcutta who mistranslated one of a Sherpa’s words for the Yeti as “filthy” – or in British empirical lingo – “Abominable.” This is no doubt where the term, Abominable Snowman came from.  The Tibetan word Yeti is a compound word that roughly translates as "bear of a rocky place," while another Tibetan name MichĂȘ means "man bear." The Sherpas call it Dzu-teh, translated "cattle bear" and is sometimes used to refer to the Himalayan brown bear. Bun Manchi is a Nepali word for "jungle man." Other names include Kang Admi or "snow man" which is sometimes combined as Metoh Kangmi or "man-bear snowman." Modern Yeti researchers, including mountaineer Reinhold Messner, believes that Yetis are actually bears that sometimes walk upright.
The Yeti's existence has long been known by Sherpas and other Himalayan inhabitants who observed the mysterious creature for thousands of years, including an account by Pliny the Elder, a Roman traveler, who wrote in Natural History in the first century AD: "Among the mountainous districts of the eastern parts of India…we find the Satyr, an animal of extraordinary swiftness. These go sometimes on four feet, and sometimes walk erect; they have also the features of a human being. Due to their swiftness, these creatures are never to be caught, except when they are either aged or sickly…. These people screech in a frightful manner; their bodies are covered with hair, their eyes are of a sea-green color, and their teeth like those of the dog."
The legend of the Yeti was first reported to the western world in 1832 in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal by British explorer B.H. Hodgson, who said his guides had previously spotted a hairy bipedal ape in the high mountains. Hodgson believed the red-haired creature was an orangutan.
1899 was the first recorded Yeti footprints. This was done by Laurence Waddell. He reported in his book Among the Himalayas that the footprints were left by a large upright hominid. Waddell was, like Hodgson, skeptical of the stories of the mysterious ape-man after talking to locals who had not actually seen a Yeti but had heard stories of them. Waddell figured the tracks were left by a bear. The first detailed sighting of the Yeti came from N.A. Tombazi, a Greek photographer on a British expedition to the Himalayas, He watched an upright hairy figure walk like that for a while, stopping on occasion to uproot or pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes. He remembered to grab his camera to take a photo, but the Yeti had vanished by then.

Yeti, not unlike Sasquatch and other legendary cryptids fascinate up for years. And we feel safe, being indoors in our warm homes, reading about a monster that stalks the freezing cold, snow-ridden landscape of the Himalayan mountainous range. It can’t get us—right? But the next time you hear something outside of your home in the dead of night, where snow covers the land like some icy blanket and your breath leaves your mouth like frozen clouds, it might be smarter to stay in that warm bed instead of investigating those abominable sounds.