Legends of the Himalayas - The Yeti
For a European, Nepal is still one of the most mystical countries in Asia. There are several reasons for this, the relative isolation of the country, the Buddhist religion, which is most strongly associated with this country, and of course the Himalayas.
Modern science has made it possible to learn about the whole world, very few places remain unexplored. Perhaps only the deep seas and the highest mountain peaks still hide their secrets from us. It's no wonder that legends are attached to every high peak in the world. Thus, the Himalayas can also boast many legends, as ten of the world's fourteen mountain peaks higher than 8,000 meters are located here. However, these legends are not only linked to climbers, but also to the unusual natural environment.
One of the oldest and regularly recurring legends is connected to the Himalayan wild man, the yeti. The origin of the legend is obscure, but it is certain that the yeti is one of the most popular mystical creatures worldwide. Everyone - locals and climbers alike - is talking about a mysterious and unknown creature who lives in the remote, uninhabited, high altitude areas of the Himalayas and has supernatural abilities. According to the natives, it is very fast, able to increase its size with energy from the sun, and able to absorb and use the energy of people nearby. According to legends, this supernatural and legendary creature is a bipedal creature nearly two meters tall, weighs up to 150 kilos and has silver colored fur with reddish markings. According to the locals, it looks more like a human-like animal than a primitive human-like creature. It comes and goes like a hairy ghost, it can't really be tracked, it mysteriously appears out of nowhere like a mystical being.
Even the many different names used by the locals reveal that even they are not fully aware of what the yeti is. The Tibetan word "yeti" means bear of the stony place, while "miche", also used by Tibetans, means human bear. "Bun manchi" used by the Nepalese means jungle man, while "kang admi" also used by them means snowman, which is sometimes used in the form "metoh kangmi" which means man-bear snowman. You can already see from the names that we are dealing with a mystical creature whose origin is a true mystery.
Sherpas and other indigenous tribes have been passing down legends about the yeti by word of mouth for thousands of years. For the first time in Western chronicles, a Roman traveler Pliny the Elder reported on the yeti in his book written in the first century. According to his description, he heard here about an animal of extraordinary speed, which sometimes walks on all fours, but can stand up and assume the form of a human being. You can only catch the yeti if you are very old or sick. His body is covered with hair, his eyes are sea green and his teeth are like those of a dog.
In the following centuries, there are no records of the Yeti in the Western world, the primary reason being that Nepal was difficult for Westerners to access due to its geographical location and political/social isolation.
It is no wonder that the word of the yeti began to spread again when the first Western travelers and climbers appeared in the Himalayas. The first record comes from BH Hodson, who reported that his servant saw a huge, hairy creature, which the locals called "rakshas", meaning demons. The next news comes from 1899, when an English army officer LA Waddell found huge footprints in the snow near a mountain peak. His companion said the tracks were from a yeti, but Waddell didn't believe him and decided they found the tracks of a larger-than-average bear.
The XX. In the 19th century, as the number of foreign travelers and climbers in the area increased, so did the number of yeti-related news, horror stories, and sightings. In 1913, a creature was captured by Chinese hunters and kept in captivity until its death five months later. According to their description, the creature had human-like hands and feet, a black ape-like face, and a body covered in silver hair.
From the 1920s, sightings increased, large human-like creatures were seen several times from a distance and footprints 15-18 cm long and 10 cm wide were found several times.
One of the strangest stories comes from 1938, when Captain d'Auvergne, curator of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, traveled alone across the Himalayas. According to his claim, he was injured in the mountains during his journey and a human-like creature well above two meters rushed to his aid. He took him to his cave and nursed him until he was well enough to continue his journey.
In 1950, climbers in the Nepalese part of the Himalayas found pieces of a mummified finger, which zoologists and anthropologists were unable to identify, but according to their investigations, it showed similarities with Neanderthal ancestors. Later, geologists surveying the sites repeatedly found footprints that experts were unable to identify.
Since the 1950s, yeti scouting expeditions have been regularly launched into the area, but until now no one has been able to obtain convincing evidence of the existence of the yeti. They found more clues and findings suitable for examination, which instead of giving a reassuring answer to the questions, only increased the mystery.
Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes conducted research based on two samples attributed to the yeti. He compared the samples with the GenBank database containing data of known species and came to the surprising and shocking result that they completely match the sample taken from the jaw of an ancient polar bear found in Norway. According to the professor, the most likely explanation for the yeti is that it is a subspecies of brown bear, descended from the ancient polar bear.
Whether this is the solution to the legend of the yeti or not, the phenomenon has captured the imagination of many. The phenomenon has inspired countless books, films and video games, turning it into a truly iconic figure.