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. 

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