When most people ponder on the "big three" of cryptozoology, they are thinking of the Loch Ness Monsters, Bigfoot, and the Abominable Snowman. Though many assume these beasts to be mythical, a body of intriguing evidence exists for each. Of the three, the Abominable Snowman is the cryptozoological animal longest known and discussed in the West.
The more proper name is Yeti, but most Westerners have been more familiar with the moniker "Abominable Snowman." "Abominable Snowman" is a phrase coined, accidentally, by a Calcutta Statesman newspaper columnist, Henry Newman, in 1921.
It happened when Newman wrote about the 1921 sighting by Lieutenant Colonel (later Sir) C.K. Howard-Bury and his party, who saw dark forms moving about on a twenty-thousand-foot-high snowfield above their location, the Lhapka-La pass on the Tibetan side of the Himalayan mountains, and viewed them through binoculars. This is the first credible Western sighting of what until then had been mostly a shadowy tale (at least to Westerners) of strange, hairy upright creatures in Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, Mustang, and Nepal. Howard-Bury would later, on September 22, 1921, find footprints "three times those of normal humans" at the site where the dark forms were moving about.
The Sherpas insisted that the prints were those of the metoh-kangmi, as Howard-Bury rendered it. Kang-mi loosely means "snow creature." The metoh part should have been written as met-teh, which translates as "man-sized wild creature."
Newman's mistake was caused in part by Howard-Bury's mistransliteration of the Sherpa word. Howard-Bury did not understand that the Sherpas recognized several types of creatures; on this occasion they had used a generic, not a specific, term. The error was compounded when Newman changed Howard-Bury's metoh-kangmi to metch kangmi, which he explained as a Tibetan word meaning "Abominable Snowman."
In any case, this proved to be a pivotal event in cryptozoological history. As Ivan T. Sanderson wrote, "The result was like the explosion of an atomic bomb." The melodramatic name "Abominable Snowman" spurred gigantic press interest. Newspaper coverage multiplied as more and more expeditions sought to climb Mount Everest.
The true origin of the phrase "Abominable Snowman" has been misrepresented over the years. For example, on a 1992 episode of the television series Unsolved Mysteries, a well-known Irish explorer wrongly claimed that the creature got its name because of its horrible odor.
The real animal behind the name is neither abominable nor a true creature of the snows. These beasts usually appear to live in quiet retreat in the steamy mountain valleys of the Himalayas, using the snowy passes as a way to move from one spot to another, leaving behind huge mysterious footprints. They are not -- contrary to another widespread misunderstanding -- white. And they are not a single creature.
A better generic term for Abominable Snowman is the Sherpa yeti, loosely meaning "that there thing." Yetis are known as huge creatures -- humanoid beasts, covered with thick coats of dark fur with arms, like those of anthropoid apes, which reach down to their knees.
A description of the reportedly three types of Yeti is discussed, in depth, within that entry.
Copyright © 1999 by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
In April 1977, thirty miles off the coast of Christchurch, New Zealand, the trawler's nets of a Japanese fishing boat, the Zuiyo-maru, snared a huge animal carcass of an unknown origin. The crew hauled the monstrous body out of the ocean onto the deck, and Michihiko Yano, the ship's assistant production manager, measured the creature and took some now-famous photographs. The creature was thirty-three feet long and weighed about four thousand pounds. It had a snakelike head at the end of a long, slender neck, giving it an unwhale-like appearance. Some of the crew thought it was a rotten whale, but others were not so sure. After great difficulty, the stinking Zuiyo-maru Monster was thrown overboard.
Media attention in Japan focused on the plesiosaur-like appearance of the creature. Interest in Sea Serpents rose. Toys were produced of the Zuiyo-maru Monster.
But Yano had taken samples of the "horny fiber" from one of the monster's fins. Tests determined the Zuiyo-maru Monster was a decomposed basking shark, although few today know that part of the story.
Copyright © 1999 by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great reports from days gone by. Interesting coverage of the cryptozoologists who came before the most recent ones. Very good read.Published 1 month ago by Patti West-Truby
I was very disappointed with this book. Instead of a book with great stories about the legendary creatures with great illustrations, it had many entries on cryptozoological... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Edward Smith
I have a great interst in Cryptozoology, and this is a good start. It could be better with a number of other unkown creatures such as the Fouke Monster, Flying Humanoids, etc. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Zaba9901