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Monday, February 9, 2015

JOHN GREEN'S 1992 INTERVIEW WITH BOB GIMLIN

Green:
This is John Green talking to Bob Gimlin in his home in Yakima Washington. This is with regard to the movie that Bob and his friend Roger Patterson made 25 years ago in Northern California Bluff Creek Area But we'll start a little further back than that. You've known Roger for a long time haven't you?
Gimlin: Yes. I knew Roger in the early 1960's. I met Roger about 1958-59.
Green: So that was before he got interested in Bigfoot?
Gimlin: Yes. I can't recall just exactly when he did start talking to me about Bigfoot. But it was probably in the early 1960's.
Green: Did you go out with him at all, looking into this?
Gimlin: Yes. Roger and I had gone out many times in different areas and over in the Mt. St. Helen's area and actually up in this area here because there was a fellow who said he sighted a bigfoot right up here at Cowiche Canyon near Yakima, which is about 20 miles from here. I went up there with Roger on that investigation. Of course, we covered as many of them as we could when they'd call or somebody would give us a report on something that's happening in the area. Roger and I rode [horseback] in the mountains quite a bit because I was training the horses at that time. Of course I rode a lot in the mountains and Roger would go along with me and he'd play tapes and talk to me about the creature. I was a skeptic in those days. I trusted Roger's thoughts and his knowledge, but I wasn't really convinced that they existed.
Green: How did you come to take this particular trip to California?
Gimlin: Well Roger and I had been over in the Mt. St. Helen's riding the roads and just more or less going by the lava rock caves and things when we came back from there... well, let's go back a little bit here...it started raining real heavy over there and this was in the last part of August and the first part of September. When we got back to the Yakima area, somebody in California had phoned Roger's wife and left a message that there had been tracks sighted on some new road they had been pushing back into the Bluff Creek area, ...that they were building logging roads into... you know, Roger wanted to leave right away, that is the reason we went down in to that area.
Green: Did Roger usually carry a movie camera with him?
Gimlin: Yes. Most of the time he had a camera that I can recall. I wasn't much on cameras but Roger did have a camera and prior to that he had been working with a guy up in this area here and that's when he bought the camera. I knew he had that camera, he usually kept it in his saddle bags on his horse.
Green: When you went to California, did you have some definite time you were going to spend there?
Gimlin: Yes, well we didn't know exactly because I was working construction at that time and I was in-between jobs, so I said yes, I can take off and go down there. I cannot recall the exact amount of time I was going to stay down there with him but we stayed longer than I'd planned on staying. In fact we stayed a week longer than I planned.
Green: How long were you there?
Gimlin: I think we were down there [California] a total of three weeks.
Green: ...and what were you traveling with?
Gimlin: I had a one ton truck with a horse van on it to haul the animals and all of our equipment. Of course we took all our supplies to stay as long as we needed to stay, the hay, the grain, our own food...because once we got in there, we never went into town.
Green: How many horses did you have?
Gimlin: We had 3 horses, two saddle horses and a pack horse. I had a saddle horse and Roger had a saddle horse and of course we had a small pack horse along.
Green: What was Al de Atley's role in this?
Gimlin: Well, Al de Atley was Roger Patterson's brother-in-law and he backed Roger financially with whatever expenses it took Roger to go to these places. He was supposed to help me on some of the expenses which I never did receive.
Green: So you provided the truck and the...
Gimlin: yeah, and the fuel, my own horse and my own food. The agreement when we left on any of those investigations was that whatever Roger spent that we would split the expenses with me but Al de Atley was backing Roger, because Roger didn't have a job at the particular time.
Green: ...so in fact he only financed Roger, he didn't finance your share at all?
Gimlin: No, he didn't finance my part of the trip at all. I had my own horse, my own equipment and my own food. I didn't expect somebody else to support me on that. It would have been nice if I could have gotten part of the fuel pay paid and expenses on the truck.
Green: So you went to an area where you heard tracks had been seen fairly recently?
Gimlin: Yes. Just prior to the time we had gotten there, they had sighted tracks on that Tuesday after being off over the Labor Day weekend. It had also started raining all up and down the West coast. By the time we got down there, these tracks supposedly were 3 different sizes and were just globs in the mud as far as I was concerned. We couldn't get any plaster cast definition of them at all.
Green: I never realized that you went down there for that specific set of tracks....
Gimlin: Yes, that's the reason we went into that area. I wasn't real anxious to go down there because I needed to go back to work, but Roger kept saying these guys were pretty good down in that area, I can't remember the fellow's name that called up here...
Green: ... probably Al Hodgson.....
Gimlin: Yes! It was Al Hodgson, but there was somebody else who had talked to Roger too, a guy that worked for the Forest Service.
Green: Syl McCoy maybe?
Gimlin: Yes, I think that was his name, yeah, McCoy... something like that. Course it took me a while around here to get things ready, so my wife could do my chores because I had animals at that time, to be able to feed them and take care of them...to be gone that long, ...[reflecting] ...why I had to make provisions for her to take care of the animals.
Green: That is interesting because I was there and saw those tracks you're referring too and when I was there Al Hodgson told me he was expecting Roger...well maybe he'd called him already by then.
Gimlin: ...may have...
Green: I took that to mean that Roger already had a trip there planned before that...
Gimlin: Uh huh, well I don't recall whether he had a trip planned prior to the call or not... in fact I don't think he did. Like I said, we'd been in the Mt. St. Helen's area and when I came back here I was going to go back to work in two weeks. Then I talked to him [Roger] again. We said we were kind of in-between jobs so we can take a couple of weeks off and that's mainly the reason I went on down and Roger went with me because it was my equipment.
Green: So what did you do when you got there?
Gimlin: Well first we set up camp of course. Then the way we do is just ride the roads, when these guys were working on the roads with bulldozers and everything, as quick as they'd quit working, we would ride up in that area and search for tracks or whatever we'd run into - then we would take the one ton pick-up when the equipment was off the road, so we could drive the roads. We would drive the roads at night real slow looking for tracks crossing the road. Of course in the day time we couldn't drive the roads cause they were working on the roads up in there. They had started logging in some areas and the logging trucks had started coming down from there. We covered as many miles as we could with the amount of time that we had. We could only go out so far then we had to go back to camp. I mean, we did ride back to camp and use the truck to drive the roads at night time.
Green: What happened on this particular day?
Gimlin: The day we got the film footage, I left early in the morning and Roger slept in. I just rode out and around, I always got up early and so I rode on out. My horse loosened a shoe and I came back in to tack the shoe on tighter. About 10:00, mid morning or so, I sat around there for a little while, because Roger was gone when I got back. Supposedly he had gone down the creek there, ..ah Bluff Creek there and after awhile he came back and asked what area I had covered that morning? I told him and he says why don't we ride up into this area we had ridden into before, a desolate type area down a couple of canyons, there's a creek running through it. So we went ahead and fixed lunch and he said let's get our gear together so when we ride out we can stay if we have to and stay a little bit later into the night if we need to. We packed up the pack horse and it was about mid day, perhaps a little bit after noon time when we went around this bend in the creek bed. There was a fallen tree and as we came around it there was this creature standing by the creek. That's when everything started happening. The horses started jumping around, raising the devil and spooking from this creature. Roger, well his horse was rearing up and jumping around. . .he slid off him, got his camera out of the saddle bags and started trying to get pictures of this creature as it was walking away.
The film footage that you see [the Patterson film] is what was acquired from that particular sighting in the few seconds that we had film to take pictures with. . .and then Roger ran out of film in the camera. The reason for him running out of film was. . as we were riding up there, we just took our time and fooled around. It was in the fall of the year, the maple trees were turning red and it was kind of pretty and Roger was taking pictures of me riding up the canyons, pictures of the trees and photographing the surrounding areas. So when this all happened, he didn't have much film left in the camera unfortunately. Of course, some of it was kind of blurry because he was running across the creek to get a better view, - a closer view of the creature in a better way and get more pictures of it. When he did run out of film, why naturally it was one of those old cameras, that he had to get under a poncho to change film.
We went to catch his horse and the pack horse because I kept my horse under control. I had my horse with me all the time. So we caught his horse, got the new film out of the saddle bags, he got under this old poncho and changed the film around. Then we tried to track the creature on up from where we had last seen it. We didn't have much luck doing it. Then we decided it was getting late in the afternoon. In that area, that time of year, the sun goes down about 3:30 or 4 o'clock. We wanted to get back and take plaster casts of the tracks and then go on into town to see if we had anything on film. We weren't sure from Roger stumbling and falling down on the sand bar and getting up and running, ..we didn't even have an idea that we had anything on film at that time...in fact it was doubtful that we did have anything.
Green: So you cast the tracks the same day?
Gimlin: Yes we did. In fact right that afternoon. By the time we got the tracks cast and the different deals that we did to cast the tracks done, it was getting late. It was almost dark by the time we got back down to the truck and got the horses fed and tied up. By the time we got into town at Al Hodgson's store, it was good and dark. I imagine it was about 8:30 or 9 o'clock. Then we went on over to...[reflecting] oh whatever town that was to mail the film up to Al de Atley, Roger's brother-in-law, so he could take it and get it developed to see if there was really anything on the film.
Okay, I'll go back a little bit to the casting of the tracks. I rode the big horse. The horse that I was riding was around 1200-1300 pounds. I rode him along side the tracks with this new film in the camera, Roger took pictures of how deep the horse's prints were in the soil compared to the creature's tracks. Then I got up on a stump which was approximately 3 to 4 feet, you know? We didn't measure it, probably should have. Anyway I jumped off with a high heel boot as close to the track as we could. Then we took pictures of that to illustrate the depth that my foot print went into the same dirt with a high heel cowboy boot and at that time I weighed 165 pounds. These were all things that we did prior to leaving the scene. It was a good thing we did, because that night when we came back, ..course we were pretty excited about just seeing it and we sat there and talked about it until about 12:30 or one o'clock in the morning.
Around 5:30 a.m. or so it started raining and it was just a pouring down rain. I told Roger we better get up and do something about the tracks or they'd wash out, and he said no, it would stop raining after a while. I went ahead and got up, put the saddle on my horse and decided I would ride up there while it was raining really hard and Roger says ah it'll quit, don't ride up there. I said no, I'm going to go ahead and ride on up there. I had gotten a couple of cardboard boxes from Mr. Hodgson's to cover these tracks the night before. So when I went outside to get a couple of these boxes that were folded up out there, they were just soggy old pieces of cardboard. I disregarded taking those back up there - so I rode back up to the scene, pulled some bark off some trees and covered up the tracks as best I could and went back to camp.
By then we decided it wasn't going to quit raining. The little creek that was six or seven feet across was now ten or twelve feet across and four feet deep! We were on the side of the creek which had to be crossed with the truck to get out to the main road. I said well I'm going to go ahead and cross the creek with the truck and get started out. And of course Roger thought it would stop raining and he suggested I leave him there and come back and pick him up.
In the meantime, why ah...they had called the track-dog people in Canada and they were supposed to come down. I think they had also phoned you, Mr. Green and Rene' Dahinden. I'm not sure when all that happened but I do remember the people in Canada had been called with the track-dogs to come on down to see if we could track it up on through the mountains from where we last saw it.
Green: I think it was the B.C. Museum that was called, cause that was the people who phoned me...
Gimlin: ...was that it? Oh, I couldn't recall just exactly how that went....
Green: ...a man from the museum had come down with me at the beginning of September...come down after I was there and told them the tracks were there.
Gimlin: Oh was that it? Okay well, I didn't remember just exactly how those sequences happened.
Green: yes, well it was from him I learned of the movie...the call must have gone to the museum...
Gimlin: ...must have, yeah, well Roger didn't do that, I think it was Al Hodgson. I think Roger had talked to him about the calling...well they had talked about it, but I was not present at the time they did.
Green: About how far was it from your camp to where this a...
Gimlin: Oh a calculated guess, I think it was about four miles...
Green: That movie that you took, comparing the depths of the tracks, that would be the one that you showed at the University of British Columbia?
Gimlin: Yes. That is the one shown in British Columbia.
Green: Are you aware that movie has been missing almost ever since?
Gimlin: Yes I am aware of that. I asked before Roger passed away and his reply was that Al de Atley had that somewhere. He didn't tell me exactly where. He [Roger] said that Al has the film in his possession somewhere. Of course I asked Al de Atley about it and he denied having it and denied it ever existed. That seems strange to me because I knew it existed and Roger knew it existed!
Green: ...and so did all the people at the University of British Columbia!
Gimlin: Exactly. See....so why the film disappeared, I'll never know and probably never find out....
Green: ...sounds almost as if Al lost it....
Gimlin: ...or sold it. Who knows what happened to it?
Green: ..well you'd think if it had been sold it would have shown up sometime...
Gimlin: Well you know Al and Roger toured with that film afterwards and it's hard telling what went on in those days and of course Roger made some deal with American National which I never did know...
I never was allowed to know the exact depth of it or what exactly happened there.
Green: But you know Rene' Dahinden and I were the first people to make a deal for the use of the film itself. Al brought to Seattle the film of the creature and a great deal of footage that Roger had taken of the waterfalls and trees and various thing like that. The footprint film was supposed to be there but it wasn't.
Gimlin: Was it suppose to be on the same role of film?
Green: Oh no!
Gimlin: It was just a different role of film then?
Green: Well, I don't remember now if he brought a lot of little boxes or whether this film had already been spliced
Gimlin: Yeah, see
Green: But anyway, we showed it expecting to find the footprint film but it wasn't there.
Gimlin: Yes, being as I didn't know much about movie cameras or splicing film or any of that sort of thing, anybody could have shown me the film and I wouldn't have been able to detect a splice except I knew what was taken [filmed] - -we all saw it, you know? Course the film footage of the creature wasn't that good but the other film footage was plain. It was taken during sun light hours and I thought it was a good film. I don't know what you guys thought about it, but I thought it was a pretty good film.
Insert: [History will no doubt record the greatness of the Patterson film, if not now on this 30 year anniversary, perhaps in the years to come.]
Green: Oh yes, as I remember I only saw it once but it was perfectly clear I thought[inaudible]
Gimlin: Well I saw it at the same time you guys did. I don't really recall everything that happened way back then you know. Course there was a lot of speculation at that time and Roger and Al had big dollar signs in their eyes you know. They were just going to go here and go there and well we did travel a lot with that film. There was a lot of money spent. Course _Argosy_ bought one article at that particular time, I think it was the fall of 1967 _Argosy_ bought the article. After that Al and Roger traveled with the film and promoted it somewhat.
That was about the time I went back to work because I didn't have any income. They just kind of cut me completely out of the thing. It took me forever to kind of even. well even after Roger died, I had to go to court to get any rights at all out of it which.[reflecting] you know was kind of an odd thing. But between Mrs. Patterson's attorney and her it was a deal where they did not recognize that I had any interest at all in the film. At one time I was supposed to be one-third partner on everything that happened. If there was money coming in, but then that all changed. The film itself, now maybe Al lost it, I really don't know what happened to that film footage where Roger and I took film of the tracks, my boot tracks and the horse's and so forth.
Green: Remember how deep the horse tracks were compared to that of the Sasquatch tracks?
Gimlin: The horse tracks were not as deep as the Sasquatch tracks of course. I just walked the horse through. I walked him as slow as I could but you figure he is distributing his weight on four feet. The tracks were better than half as deep but they weren't as deep as the tracks of the creature.
Green: But the area of the four hoof prints wouldn't be any greater than two of those footprints, would it?
Gimlin: No, no the hoof print area if you're familiar with sizes of horses hoof prints, well the horse wore a size one shoe, which is not quite 6 inches in diameter, probably more like 5 inches in diameter with a number one shoe on the front feet. The shoes were a little bit smaller on the back fee. They were size ones trimmed down is what they were. Of course I rode the horse too, so there was my extra weight plus the horse's weight plus the saddle and tack and everything I had on him. There was probably a total weight of about 1400 pounds.
Green: How about when you jumped off the stump?
Gimlin: Now when I jumped off the stump with a high heel boot in the dirt, the footprint went almost as deep as the creature's footprint. We didn't actually measure, we didn't have a ruler, we just took pictures of it. Viewing it [the film] you could actually tell better for depth. By looking at it and making a judgment on the sight of it, it wasn't as deep as the creature's footprint. They weren't exactly side by side either, they were probably two or three feet between my track and the creature's track but there was some distance between them. The soil was practically the same. That soil had all been washed in there from the flood a year prior. There could have been some variation in the soil. We really didn't get into it that deep, it was a thing where we were pretty excited about it all and there was a time element there to get all these things done before dark.
Green: You know when you walked around the tracks when you took that movie, your boot tracks were there too, weren't they?
Gimlin: Yes, right! We walked around it quite a bit trying to stay out of the tracks as much as possible.
Green: But still you would have been close then?
Gimlin: Oh yeah, just walking, we were close but the boot prints lacked a whole lot going as deep, considerable amount going as deep as the creatures tracks were.
Green: Going back now to what happened .When you first saw the creature, how did it come into view?
Gimlin: You mean when we first saw it John?
Green: Did you come around a corner or did you see it from a distance or?
Gimlin: No, it wasn't exactly a corner. We came around a bend. We were riding the creek beds, is what we were doing and so when we came around the bend in the creek, this thing was standing alongside the creek. Stand upright. We were about 60 to 80 feet away from it when we first saw it. Then at different times we were at different distances from it. At one time I was probably as close as 60 feet to it when I rode across the creek and got off my horse. When Roger ran across the creek, the thing immediately started walking away. Then whenever it was that the horses started spooking and throwing fits, the commotion started and the creature just started walking away.
Green: So it was standing when you first saw it?
Gimlin: It was standing still, right at the edge of the creek when we first saw it, yes.
Green: Right at the edge?
Gimlin: Right by the edge of the creek, yes.
Green: But fully upright?
Gimlin: Fully upright, standing upright, yes.
Green: What exactly did the horses do?
Gimlin: Well Roger was in the front and his horse tried to spin around and come back. I was riding behind him on the big horse leading the pack horse along. My horse was kind of spooky but not near as bad as Roger's horse. Roger's horse was a spooky little horse. He was a young horse of course. The horse I was riding was an older cow horse, been roped on and used for a lot of things. Roger's horse threw all kinds of fits and when Roger got off the horse, he ran off and the pack horse jerked free from me and ran off back down the way we came.
Green: Did Roger'[s horse buck?
Gimlin: No, it never did buck, just reared and jumped all around. His horse was in front of me and of course I wasn't looking straight at him all the time. This all happened in a couple of heart beats you know. It happened fast!
Green: But then Roger's horse didn't go down?
Gimlin: No. It didn't fall down, just reared up is all.
Green: Because this has been said since [inaudible] you know that Roger's horse fell down?
Gimlin: No, no his horse never did fall down. No.
Green: Okay, that's interesting. So did he get the camera while he was still on the horse?
Gimlin: Yes, while he was stepping down off the horse. Umm, a lot of people have asked me about that and they probably don't realize the agility that Roger had. He was a tremendous athlete. Roger had tremendous agility! He had been a rodeo rider, he did gymnastics and this wasn't a full size horse Roger was riding either. It was a pony, a small horse.
Green: Yeah, I've seen those little horses, he used to haul them in a Volkswagen bus
Gimlin: Yeah, we used to haul two of them in a VW bus. Roger rode these horses because they were easy to get on and off of because Roger wasn't a very big man. So actually when he was getting off his horse, he always kept that saddle bag ready. The saddle bag had two flaps on it to keep it buckled down. He kept one buckled and one of them unbuckled so he could get his camera in the event he needed it in a hurry and this was the case at that particular time.
Green: So he practiced getting the camera out of the saddle bags in a hurry?
Gimlin: Oh yeah, lots of times. Yes, he did, that was his theory that if he ever had to get it, ah kept the one buckle on there so it would not bounce out while he was riding and the other one loose so he could get it out in a hurry.
Green: Did Roger have a gun at all?
Gimlin: Yeah, Roger had a 303 British rifle in his saddle scabbard and I had a thirty ought six rifle in my saddle scabbard.
Green: Did you have any expectation that you might see one?
Gimlin: No. I surely didn't. I don't think Roger did either! We always carried rifles with us when we went into the mountains, at least I always did and I'm sure Roger did too.
Green: Had you discussed whether you would shoot at one of these creatures if you saw one?
Gimlin: Yes, many times. We had talked about it but decided unless it was necessary, we would never shoot. In other words, unless it was violent or attempted to attack us or something in that sense of the word, you know?
Green: So when Roger was off of his horse and ran after the creature with the camera, what did you do?
Gimlin: Roger said cover me as he pulled the camera out. If they don't understand what that means, well he didn't have any protection, just the camera in his hand and in case something were to happen
What I did was ride across the creek, pull my rifle out of the scabbard, stepped down off the horse and just stood there with my rifle. I never raised the rifle like I would shoot or anything like that, just held it in my hand and with the other hand held my horse to keep him from getting away from me.
Green: So there was never a gun pointed at the creature?
Gimlin: No never. I didn't point the rifle at the creature.
Green: Did you ever feel the creature was acting at all threatening?
Gimlin: No, it kept walking away all the time. It turned and looked around, once at Roger and once at me. The first time it turned and looked was the time a rode across the creek. I was off to it's right [reflecting[ behind it and that is when it made one turn with it head. Then when Roger relocated himself on a log, steadying the camera at one time, then when he ran to another position to get a better view and a better picture the creature turned it's head a second time and I assume it was looking at Roger. When you view the film, I never could really decide whether it turned to look at me or Roger because all these things happened tremendously fast and I was trying to hold onto my horse and a rifle at the same time and also keep an eye on the creature and Roger.


Green: Do you have much of a mental image now of what you saw as opposed to what you saw on the movie since that time?
Gimlin: I don't think that it's changed that much. Yes I still have a mental image of what really happened that day. There may be a few things I've over-looked or forgotten over the years but basically the time of the day and how the thing moved and what we did is pretty much still in my mind. Pretty exact in my mind because even though we were excited, you never seem to forget those things.
Green: When you first saw it, how big did you think it was Bob?
Gimlin: I thought is was about six and a half feet tall and I would have guessed it's weight at 250 to 300 pounds. It did have tremendous muscle bulk. This was an estimated guess at the time of course. I'm not used to seeing things like that. I was just guessing weight compared to the amount of muscle quarter horses have, it was as big as a quarter horse naturally and the height because we were up on our horses at the time we first saw the creature., Therefore it probably didn't look as tall as it really was. Now the horse I was riding was a 16 hand horse. One hand is 4 inches on a horse. My horse was 16 hands tall plus my saddle. That would make him approximately sixteen and a half hands high. Now of course, with me sitting up there, you can figure my eye level was about 9 feet high. So anything actually less than nine feet you would be looking down at it.
Green: Was it obvious whether it was a male or female?
Gimlin: Well, it appeared to be a female, but you know I had never seen one. I had never even seen a track until that day so I couldn't even make a statement whether it was male or female. But the film indicates that it had mammary glands, so we assumed it was a female.
Now they had told us that the tracks they found in the road were three different sizes. We talked about that at length and discussed it and assumed there was a male, a female and a younger one with those three different sized tracks. So our first assumption was it was a female.
Green: What color did it appear to be to you?
Gimlin: It was a dark brown, brownish color
Green: then it wasn't as dark as it looks in the film?
Gimlin: No, it wasn't as dark as it looks in the film. It was a long ways from being tan, but it wasn't a very dark brown like it shows in the film. It was a lighter color brown. Of Course it was lighter in different areas of it's body too, I suppose where the hair was shorter it was lighter or vice versa, it might have been darker where the hair was shorter.
Green: Can you remember details on it's face?
Gimlin: Yes I can. The face would have a flat type nose, the lips, I can't really remember what the lips looked like except it did have lips and we could see it's teeth. The eyes were large eyes but not big round eyes like a horse or a cow but there were large eyes. The hair on it's face was short. There wasn't a whole lot of hair around it's cheeks and down along side the face. the best I can remember is the face didn't have a whole lot of hair on it.
Green: What would the skin color be then?
Gimlin: It seemed like it was a brownish color skin [reflecting deeply]
Green: Was it doing anything with it's hands?
Gimlin: You mean a
Green: Well in the film they were just swinging.
Gimlin: Well John, that is all I ever saw. It never raised it's arms or anything to that effect. It just walked with an easy type motion away from us and swung it's arms like a human being. The best I can remember is the hands were about the same color as the face [Bob Gimlin now reflecting with a deep stare of recollections]
Green: The bottoms of it's feet looked quite light colored but that could be the sand
Gimlin: I think that is the case. The sand wasn't a white sand, it was kind of a funny type soil there where the creature walked through and it was lighter colored dirt. I think you can remember the color of the soil John.
Green: Oh yeah.
Gimlin: It was pretty light colored soil in there and might have been why the soles of the feet looked light in the film footage.
Green.In the movie, it hasn't quite disappeared when the picture stops because it looks as if it's about to disappear behind a big pile of.well it looked like a stump or pile of wood of some kind.
Gimlin: Yeah, it hadn't disappeared when the film footage ah, when Roger ran out of film because it traveled on, oh probably not half again the distance of where he [sic] but another thirty or forty yards. There was some trees down in that area. I suppose from the flood and so forth. There were many fallen trees and different things in that area. Then when the creature did disappear up a little draw, why I wanted to follow it. Of course Roger didn't want to follow it because he was on foot and he didn't want to be left there. We thought there was the possibility there were the two others around we didn't know at the time whether that was one of the ones that had made the tracks up above the scene or not.
Roger was a little bit upset about that so he wanted to catch his horse and get some more film in the camera. It took quite a while to catch the horse and to catch the pack horse as well and tie them up. Then we rode on in pursuit of the creature. Now see, the way it went
to see if we could see more tracks or [reflecting again] I don't know, I thought maybe we could see this creature again. I don't really know why I was thinking that. We never did see it again, but we saw scuffs in the gravel and in the creek bed there that indicated where it had possibly ran when it went out of sight. We measured 68 to 72 inches in the stride which was not even close to accurate because it was, as I have said, just scuffs in the gravel. Then we tracked on up the creek bed quite a ways. We saw one wet half of a footprint on a rock as it went up into the mountains and that was as far as we went with it.
Green: So there wasn't sand to show footprints beyond where you saw it?
Gimlin: No, it was gravel mostly, but there was sand and dirt where it went across the creek, but it never left a footprint in the sand or in the dirt or soil. It did leave a wet mark on the rock in the creek where is went across and went on into the hills from there.
Green: Were you ever closer to it than Roger was while he took the pictures?
Gimlin: Yeah, I was. When I rode across the creek and got off my horse I was closer than Roger was with the camera at that time. I rode fairly close to the creature.
Green: and I suppose Roger wouldn't have had much of a look at it because he was looking through the lens of the camera all the time
Gimlin: Well yes, I feel that I had a better look at it. We talked about it like I said when we got back to the camp that night we stayed up and talked about that for hours. You know, talked about what each one of us had seen. There was things that I had seen about the creature that Roger didn't. Of course, he couldn't see it too well, because he was looking through the camera.
Green: When you got off the horse, what size did it appear to be then?
Gimlin: Well, to be plum honest with you, I didn't even think about sizes at the time it was going away. It was large, but I never gave any thought to how high it was or how heavy it was because it was moving away from me. That was about all that was in my mind at that time. That this creature was of no threat to us and oh yeah, I was trying to keep my horse under control cause you know I never had any idea what might happen and I sure didn't want to be on foot!! So I knew I could get back on my horse and maybe if I had to.[pausing reflectively] Well if I had too, if I had to shoot it and it didn't go down, I could get on my horse and I could get out of there and Roger would have to fend for himself [slight grin]. I'm not a coward, but I'll be darned if I was going to stick around if this creature got violent, you know? So I was concentrating on keeping my rifle in my hand and my horse under control [his voice fading off in deep recollection]
Green: There is of course, this widespread opinion that this was some kind of masquerade having the film of course there is a certain amount of blurring and a certain amount of under exposure of the creature itself. You can't see the face, for instance. You had a much better look at it than that, what was your impression?
Gimlin: My impression is that there is a creature and I don't feel it was a man in a suit. If it had been a man in a suit, I don't know how they would have gotten him back into that particular area. I have heard this story and thought about it many times. God! At one point with the film circulating all around and people criticizing, I was almost to the point of not being even sure myself. But I thought about it all these years and I'm quite sure it wasn't a man in a suit. I saw the face. I saw the expression on it's face. With all the muscles in the arms and legs, I don't know how it could be a man in a suit! Plus I never had anything to do with a man in a suit and if Roger did, how would he know I wouldn't shoot it?? [slight hint of a smile on Gimlin's face] In my opinion, that creature was not a man in a suit.
Green: Could you see the muscles move when it walked?
Gimlin: Yes, I could see the muscles clearly and that was one of the deciding factors in my opinion that this was *no man* in a suit. The thighs, the buttocks, the arms and shoulders, you could see it move clearly underneath the hair.
Green: You have estimated this thing to weigh a great deal less than the horse and yet the footprints were deeper, what explanation could you think of?
Gimlin: Well you asked my estimation when I first saw it.
Green: No, no but
Gimlin: Oh you mean afterwards? Well God John there was no way of really knowing. We knew it had to be heavier than it appeared to be when we first saw it. Of course, we thought the horse's weight was distributed on four feet and I'm not good with the mathematics of such things but ah .if you figure 1400 pound horse distributed on four feet would be about 350 to 400 pounds, so we figured it must have weighed much more than we originally figured. Course Roger did some research by going over to the zoo in Seattle, watched the gorillas there and asked how much they weighted and so forth. They had one over there named Bobo and I don't remember his weight exactly but I do remember he weighed more than it looked like he weighed.
Green: Yes, I did the same thing with those same gorillas.
Gimlin: Uh huh,
Green: and there was a female gorilla there that was quite small but was *tremendously* heavy
Gimlin: Yeah John, that is what Roger was telling me. I wasn't all that interested at the time, whatever it was you know? In the end it probably weighed approximately 500 pounds to make tracks that deep in the dirt. Of course, when it walked, it kicked up a certain amount of dirt from the pressure of the toes pushing away.
Green: Well it would have to distribute the weight on different parts of the foot when it walks otherwise there is no way it could have made a deeper print than the horse.
Gimlin: Yes, right.
Green: If it's feet were put down flat each foot would have an area as big as three of the horse's feet
Gimlin: Yes.
Green: You would have to roll that imprint in some way or another
Gimlin: Yeah, right.
Green: So when you saw it, up until that moment you had never seen a track?
Gimlin: Never. Never seen a track at all, that's right.
Green: And you weren't at all convinced that there were any such animals to be seen?
Gimlin: That is true. I was not convinced that they really existed. You know, I figured Roger must have had a reason. He showed me plaster casts and I heard different stories from people who had seen then, so I thought well maybe there is something to this but I just didn't believe in them basically, didn't believe it was possible they could exist. Even after we got the film many people said ah they don't exist and still people tell me it's a bunch of malarkey you know? There will always be a certain amount of people you just can't convince less they see one.
Green: Well when you did see it, there wasn't any doubt you were looking at an animal was there?
Gimlin: There is no doubt in my mind at all.
Green: Okay, that ought to do it Bob, -thanks a lot!
Gimlin: You're quite welcome John.

ABOMINABLE SNOWMEN ARE HERE!

Abominable Snowmen Are Here! 1961


A large part of the earth is unexplored, uninhabited, unmapped, unknown, and a great
many unbelievable creatures  long believed extinct or merely myths
have been found there. Now, after 30 years of scientific research and
study, this famed zoologist makes the startling statement...
Abominable Snowmen Are Here!
By Ivan T. Sanderson
True Magazine, November 1961
Sooner or later somebody
always asks me: You don't think there is such a thing as an Abominable
Snowman, do you? My reply is always the same: No. I believe
there are hundreds if not thousands of unknown anthropoids, of at least
half a dozen kinds, running all over five continents. And I usually
add for good measure: But they're not men, none of them lives
in snow, and we have no right to call them abominable.
That has ended a great many conversations, and not a few friendships,
but with all the evidence, which has become available over the years,
I feel it's almost in a league with asking me if I really believe that
the earth is round.
To begin with, let us dispose of the ridiculous title Abominable
Snowman. It is a complete misnomer and extremely misleading. Worse,
it is usually prefixed with the article the, just as if there
was but one lone, mate less, childless and parentless monster that has
been pounding about the eastern Himalaya and south Tibetan upper snowfields
for 50 years  a forlorn abomination, left over from the past or,
perhaps, just spontaneously created out of the mists.
As to the adjective abominable, I don't think we can call
any living creature by that name. The things are probably quite decent;
just scared, and demanding only that they may lead their lives in peace.
Whether they may be called men is also debatable. In my opinion,
some are and some aren't. I am firmly convinced that they range from extremely
primitive humans, without true speech, tools or knowledge of fire making,
and still in varying degrees hairy, to one or two still undiscovered large
apes in Africa. In between, some appear definitely to be Neanderthal sub-men
such as inhabited Europe in the ice age but which have lingered on in
eastern Asia, while others are even farther down the Hominid (Man) branch
of the family tree, being what used to be called Ape-Men.
Then, quite different from all of these, there is the creature the Nepalese
call the Meh-Teh, the original Snowman, and which is
to science truly abominable. By the footprints it leaves and all
the descriptions of it and its behavior by eyewitnesses, it is the most
bestial of all. What is more, the tracks it leaves are not Hominid, Pongid
(Ape-like), or even really anything in between. They are quite unlike
anything we know, dead or alive.
But it is the word snow that bugs the whole business. Since words
are intended to convey meaning, nobody can be accused of stupidity for
supposing that this title is intended to indicate either a man made of
snow, or a man that lives in or on snow. Since nobody seems
dense enough to believe the former, one can only assume the latter.
But this, too, is ridiculous. Many of these tracks have been found on
permanent mountain snowfields, and there is nothing at all under these
snowfields, which could sustain any living creature. While they cross
these snowfields when going from one place to another, thus leaving the
tracks which have been seen by Sir Edmund Hillary, among others, they
actually live in the forests which, admittedly, often come right up, to
the snowline.
Having thus, I hope, disposed of the business which has done more than
anything else to muddle the whole issue, I will now proceed to answer
your second question: But how on earth 'could' there be such creatures
running about all over the lot?
This is a very good question because it can be easily disposed of. First,
a very large part of the land surface of our earth is uninhabited. A considerable
part of this is still unmapped, unused, and has not even been explored.
About a seventh of it is said to be covered with permanently frozen soil,
and over most of this, which is in the Arctic and sub-Arctic, there sprawls
an endless forest of tightly packed spruce trees known as the taiga.
This runs right around the top of the world from northern Russia, through
Siberia, to the Bering Straits, and then picks up again on the lowlands
of the Canadian Northwest Territories and continues unbroken right across
our continent to Labrador. It is virtually uninhabited, and only in the
two last decades have roads been driven into it.
Of the remainder of the land surface, a third is either uninhabitable
hot desert or its surrounding scrub lands. Little of the latter is permanently
settled, and the major part is totally unused and seldom crossed. Of the
remainder, nearly half is covered with forests. Although some of these
forests are dotted with human settlements, they are mostly what we call
wildernesses, and most of them are unmapped. People get lost in Maine
every year, and there is a 15,000-square-mile block in northern California
that is only just being surveyed. There are areas of over 1,000 square
miles in the Mississippi Valley bottomlands that are crossed by only one
third-class road and can show but half a dozen settlements.
There are great tracts even in old Europe that are complete wildernesses,
but even more fantastic are the uninhabited blocks in subtropical and
tropical countries like southern China proper and India, which we think
of as positively bulging with population. And Communist officials empowered
to look after minorities in China reported only five years
ago that completely wild, hairy people without speech, clothes, tools
or knowledge of fire had been captured in the border province of Yunnan
and taken to the capital city of Kunnling.
There is another reason why I am so certain that Abominable Snowmen can be existing in many areas of the world. This is due to the fact that
many huge creatures have been discovered, and even in regions where
the local people had no idea that they existed. In 1960, for example,
the regular Mountie air-patrol spotted in the Canadian Northwest
Territories, not 100 miles from the new road being pushed up to the Arctic
Ocean from Alberta, and within 50 miles of a Mission Station established
a century ago, large herds of what is either the second or third largest
form of the Ox Tribe. These were groups of pure-blood Woodland Bison (Bison
athabasca), an enormous ice-age species not known to exist in a pure
strain anywhere.
This was bad enough, but at least it was in the seemingly endless Taiga forest. In 1958, however, another creature  also either the second
or third largest member of the Ox Tribe  turned up in the thickly
populated Indo chinese Peninsula. This creature is quite fabulous, the
males having wide-spreading horns like the extinct Aurochs of Europe,
father of all our western domestic cattle, but with huge tassels sprouting
upwards from about a foot below their tips. What is even more significant,
the discovery of this animal was at first positively denied in scientific
circles, although the man responsible took a complete skin and skull to
Paris.
I could go on and on: the Coelacanth fishes, thought to have been extinct
for 60 million years, turning up on the breakfast tables of the Comoro
Islanders; the second largest land mammal, named Cotton's Cerato or White
Rhinoceros found only in 1910; the forest giraffe or Okapi of the Congo
in the same year, and so on. But what is the use? May not these two sets
of facts  the general unexplored nature of our earth, and the discovery
right up till now of herds of huge beasts right at our back doors  suffice to affirm my contention that many undetected creatures 'can' still
be existing almost in our midst?
At this point, I believe you will be saying to yourself: Yes,
this is all very well, but those are real animals. These snowmen
are nothing but stories, however important and reliable the people who
have told these stories may be. Is there any concrete physical evidence
of their existence? The answer is a definite Yes.
I think we will have to admit that foot tracks are fairly concrete,
so let's begin by taking another look at those of Abominable Snowmen or
ABSMs (as I will refer to them from now on) and at the circumstances in
which they were found.
Footprints can appear in all manner of soft and resilient surfaces;
both dry, like sand and gravel; and wet, like mud and snow. Despite all
the folderol about those found in snow, far more have been found in mud
and sand, and of course exclusively so in all lowland areas in subtropical
and tropical lands. The story of their discovery is seldom dramatic, but
when it is, it is exceedingly so.
The best known is undoubtedly that of the famed mountaineer, Eric Shipton,
in the Everest Area in 1951. The next most familiar is the California
affair, which I reported in 'True' in December 1959. In both cases it
was not, however, so much the incident itself that made such an impression,
but the definite and more or less unassailable proof that was obtained
at the time in the form of photographs and plaster casts, plus the fact
that in both areas the tracks were seen by several people at the same
time.
Further, these people were educated men with reputations of the highest
order. Yet, the world at large was not ready at either time for such an
event, nor was the public in any way prepared to accept it.
Eric Shipton was exploring a range of mountains near the Everest Block
named the Gauri Sankar, on the South Tibetan Rim. One Michael Ward and
the Sherpa, Sen Tensing, accompanied him. On the afternoon of the 8th
of November they stumbled upon a fresh track made by a Meh-Teh.
This was in powdery snow on the southwestern slope of the Menlungtse.
The individual imprints were absolutely clear-cut. Their maker walked
on two feet. The track was followed up for over a mile to an ice moraine,
into which the men could not follow. The Meh-Teh had jumped some
crevasses and had dug its toes in to do so just as any human would.
The tracks and prints were photographed, and the form of these prints
and the stride of the track corresponded with similar discoveries of dozens of others, both previously and since. The photographs, and molds based
on them, were exhibited in London alongside those made by bears and a
large monkey. I may add that the keynote of this exhibit was Now
you can see for yourself that these so-called abominable snowman tracks
are only those of a bear  or a monkey! If you will compare
the tracks pictured with this article with those of a bear or a monkey
you will see how ridiculous this is. How even a stay-at-home scientist
in a museum be so stupid I fail to understand.
The California affair was altogether different. There, enormous footprints
turned up night after night all over a new road being bulldozed into a
wilderness area not 100 miles from the town of Eureka. They were inspected
by several dozen hard-boiled and highly practical-minded bulldozer operators,
loggers, and road-engineers and even by press photographers. They were
up to 22 inches long, appeared night after night out of the impenetrable
forests, went up and down impossible slopes, meandered around the machinery
left parked at night, and then wandered off back into the wild with 60-inch
strides. They caused a great stir, which prompted some enquiry. This brought
to light the fact that such things had been reported off and on for a
century all over the area and as far away as Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Further, they linked up with similar sightings in British Columbia.
Tracks, which play such an important part in the whole business of ABSMery,
have been found all over the world. Several of the casts made from these
tracks are so clear and perfect that the musculature of the bottom of
the feet that made them has been worked out in detail. In some types this
proved to be very human in form, as with the so-called <I>Almas</I> of
northeastern Russia. In others, it is absolutely not human, as in the
Meh-Teh. In the Oh-Mahs of California, with a second pad
under their big toes and their apparent webbing of all the toes up to
the first joints, we have something almost  but not quite  human.
This is really quite an impressive showing, and when we come to properly
appreciate the fact that tracks have been reported by Mongolians, Chinese,
Nepalese, Tibetans, Russians, Persians, Africans, Malays, Hollanders,
Belgians, and members of most other European nationalities all over the
world, and by Canadians and other North, Central and South Americans  year in and year out for over a century, it becomes very hard to see how
anybody can really doubt the existence of ABSMs.
Also, you will have to admit that such theories as the hoax, the misidentification,
the tall-tale or the pure lie become so utterly ridiculous that they are
not worth even discussing. The real trouble about them, however, is that
they are just about the only points of view you ever read on the matter.
And one and all, they are nothing more than attempts to disprove the whole
business by trying to debunk one small aspect of it. No better example
of this can be given than the circus put on by Sir Edmund Hillary early
this year.
Hillary stated in an article published before he went to the Himalayas
that his secondary objective was to get what he called a yeti (an over-all
local misnomer for any ABSM). He is a mountaineer, not a zoologist or
anthropologist, so he went clean through the country in which the ABSMs
live and up on to the sterile, foodless, mountain snowfields. Also, he
had a party of no less than 600 along with him. Failing, as a result,
to get within miles of any ABSM, he was faced with two choices: either
admit failure, or somehow disprove the whole idea.
He chose the latter course; had a scalp made from a skin
taken from a rare local animal named a Serow; borrowed one of the old
caps made to look like an ABSM scalp (and which was admitted to be a fake
by the villagers he got it from); invited a most excellent Nepalese gentleman
named Kunyo Chumbi to come along and flew off around the world, displaying
the cap on television and handing out hairs and bits of skin to scientists.
With these bits went a challenge to identify the hairs and dried blood.
It took a scientist in Paris just one day to identify the hairs (as being
from a Serow) but, strangely, micro-photos of them did not match those
made of hairs pulled from other scalps in Nepal by other scientists! On
the basis of this confusing and meaningless test Sir Edmund presumed to
claim that no ABSMs existed.
Then Hillary was asked: if the debunking of this scalp disproved the
existence of all ABSMs everywhere, how about the tracks that he himself
had several times reported? To this he produced the amazing reply that
they were all made by a string of foxes following a leader and all landing
precisely with all their feet in exactly the same hole, and then all these
holes being enlarged by melting precisely to the same size and shape.
(We have been unable to trace any reference to any species of fox ever
being collected in these upper montane regions.) To the two questions,
how then did these tracks invariably show not only clear toe marks of
a very special arrangement, but also distinctive musculature impressions,
and how could such tracks be made in mud which does not melt, he gave
no answer!
Equally idiotic was the suggestion made by a person named Michael Peissel.
Peissel wrote that men wearing a kind of mukluks, which had worn
out in front so that they left toe impressions, made the tracks in the
Himalayas. He further said that such tracks are deliberately pointed out
by the Nepalese as a tourist attraction! Should this be so, even in that
are, all said men must have had both feet constructed in one of the rarest
known ways  an abnormality in which the second toes are longer than
the first, and are also bigger, and separated from the others; while they
must all have been positively enormous people with feet almost as wide
as long, and all have been twice the weight of a normal large man.
Apart from tracks, the physical evidence for the existence of ABSMs
consists of a few alleged scalps (and they are definitely not all made
from the skins of goat-like animals), a few whole skins reported by Mongolian
scientists; some mummified hands; several collections of fresh droppings;
a lot of hairs; some analyses of old blood; and the identification of
some odd internal and external parasites taken from said scalps and droppings.
Apart from this, everything is reportage  of weird calls made
by, appalling smells from; animals found killed by; cairns on mountain
tops being moved by; rocks being hurled by; beds being made by, and a
few other minor categories.
Perhaps the most concrete evidence we have are two or three mummified
hands. Two are preserved in a monastery in a small place in Nepal called
Pangboche. There is a great mystery about one of these because it has
only been photographed once, but then by one of the greatest students
of the subject with the very highest standing  Professor Teizo Ogawa,
of the School of Anatomy of Tokyo University. It is the most perfect shot
and shows some most significant features. Professor Ogawa has not yet
completed his examination of it, nor published his report, so that he
has made no final pronouncement on its identification.
The other hand has now definitely been pronounced, and by none other
than Professor B. F. Porshnev, head of the Special Commission to Study
ABSMs set up by the Soviet Academy of Sciences, to be that of a Neanderthal
sub-man, such as inhabited Europe and northern Asia during the last ice
advance. Significantly, a fresh footprint from central Asia of a form
of ABSM called Guli-Yavan almost exactly matches one left in an
Italian cave some 50,000 years ago by a Neanderthaler. A stalactite curtain
sealed the cave and when broken into in 1952, these tracks were found,
as fresh as if they had been made the day before, in the clay covering
its floor.
The other most definite and concrete evidence we have is the scat or
droppings. This constitutes a substance that cannot be manufactured or
faked. And in several cases there was no other animal known that could
deposit them. Also parasites found in these droppings have been found
to be odd in several respects, notably that some are known only from animals,
some only from human beings, and others from nowhere previously. The same
goes for certain mites taken off the scalps and other hairy bits of ABSMs
examined.
This brings me to the question I know you have been hankering to ask: Then, why hasn't anybody seen one? This question often crops
up in newspaper accounts and articles on the subject in a rather glib
form, such as: These creatures, never seen by a white man... (etc.)
This to me is an astonishing statement because there are literally dozens
of reports of all the different kinds having been seen all over the world,
and by all manner of people from the humblest peasants and most primitive
tribesmen to military doctors in the Soviet Army, famous British mountaineers,
and even roving American scientists. In fact, there are as many cases
of sightings on record as there are of tracks.
The whole business, indeed, was kicked off in modern times by a very
definite sighting. This was made by none other than the famous explorer
and mountaineer, Col. C. K. Howard-Bury, when on the first real attempt
to climb Mount Everest in 1921.
On November 21 of the year 1921, the party was on the way from a place
named Kharta to the famous Lhapka-la Pass when somebody spotted a number
of large dark objects moving about on a high snowfield well above them
and at some distance. These were observed by the whole party and through
binoculars, but they were too far distant to identify. When the mountaineers
reached the area on the next afternoon they found large numbers of huge
tracks which they described as being three times as big as normal
footprints.
They were obviously left by some creature walking on its two hind legs,
but Colonel Bury later said he thought that a large stray gray wolf had made them! The Sherpa porters disagreed, saying definitely that it
had been a party of Meh-Tehs, and this name got garbled by an Indian-telegraphist
and came out as Metoh-Kangmi. This, an Englishman in India said,
was Tibetan for Abominable Snowman, (The expression happened
to be Nepali, and the Englishman did not speak either that language or
Tibetan, but let it pass.)
Actually, there had been others in that general area that had reported
seeing the same or similar types of creatures. There is a person by the
name of Hugh Knight who is supposed to have met one face to face. It was
shaggy and carried a crude bow and arrow. Then there was the famous botanist-explorer
named Elwes who reported to the Zoological Society of London that he had
seen one run over a ridge in 1916.
After Howard-Bury, there was a positive rash of sightings by Europeans,
most notable being the case recorded by one A. N. Tombazi, a member of
the Royal Geographical Society of London, while on a photographic expedition
to Sikkim. This gentleman observed one through field glasses for some
time: it was grubbing for roots with a stick on the other side of a valley,
and later he found its footprints (which were just like those of Shipton's
ABSM).
Numerous Russians have also seen ABSMs, quite apart from the one reported
in the Pamirs by A. J. Pronin of Leningrad University, which caused so
much excitement in 1957. I can quote but one example: that of Prof. V.
K. Leontiev, chief of the Conservation Department of the Dagestan A.S.S.R.,
which lies between the Caucasus Mountains and the Caspian Sea.
While on a routine reconnaissance of one of the enormous game reserves
in his territory, this experienced field naturalist saw one of the local
ABSMs, calling it a Kaptar, and observed it at a range of from
only 50 paces until it disappeared ahead of him seven minutes later about
half a mile ahead. His description is completely scientific and most detailed,
and he took accurate scale drawings of the imprints it left. It was about
seven feet tall, clothed in shaggy hair, had very wide, stubby feet with
widely spread toes and an enormous big toe. Its head was small above the
ears. It was stoop-shouldered and had a rolling, shambling gait, but when
Professor Leontiev fired a shot at its feet, it waltzed about and then
made off up a very steep slope with incredible speed. The full report
is some 40 pages long and a masterpiece of Russian devotion to detail.
Detailed as the Russian accounts are, they are as nothing to those recorded
by Mongolian scientists. Unfortunately it would be worthless repeating
these because, in our lofty western manner we consider anybody living
in the area east of Russia as what we choose to call natives and anything they, like our American Indians, Africans, and others say,
we discredit. Let me therefore turn to the account of a Hollander of higher
education, which was published in a scientific journal in Java.
This mans name was Mienheer van Herwaarden, and the incident occurred
in 1923, in an area surrounded by rivers called Poeloe Rimau, in the province
of Palembang, in the island of Sumatra. Van Herwaarden had been hunting
wild pigs and gone to bush to await their appearance at a
feeding ground. Something in an isolated tree caught his notice and, going
to look, he saw clinging to the trunk a creature covered with thick black
fur and with a considerable mane depending from its head and running down
its midback. After observing it from only a few feet he started to climb
the tree but the creature immediately moved upwards. After talking soothingly
to it but getting no response, he tried bolder tactics and again started
climbing, but this time the creature scrambled out on to a limb that sagged
with its weight and then it dropped about ten feet to the ground and started
running away. Van Herwaarden raised his rifle and had it in his sights
when it was still but 30 yards away but then, he says, he could not press
the trigger because the thing was absolutely human but for its fur and
mane  and it was a female! Its mate was by this time also calling
from the nearby forest.
One further case will I think suffice to lay to rest the absurd statement
that nobody, let alone a white man has ever seen an ABSM.
This occurred to an American long resident in Canada, named William Roe,
in the year 1955, near Tete Jaune Cache in Alberta on a peak named Mica
Mountain. Mr. Roe was taking a lone hunting trip, he having spent a lifetime
in the wilds and being very fond of observing animals and doing a little
hunting. When at a high altitude in a mixed coniferous and broad-leafed
bush forest he came upon what he at first thought was a grizzly bear,
at about 20 paces feeding on berries by pulling the branches of a bush
and stripping the berries with its other hand or paw. This surprised him
but then the thing turned and he saw that it was a huge, humanoid female,
clothed in short, thick fur. They stared at each other and he raised his
rifle but, like all the others, could not press the trigger. The ABSM
shambled off and, throwing its held back, gave out a strange half-yelp-half-laugh.
Roe followed it up and observed it on a nearby ridge; he then searched
about and says that he found a place where it had slept and eaten various
vegetable materials.
Combined with the numerous other reports of sightings of this type of
ABSM, one has no reason to doubt this story. It is quite detailed in the
original and makes a number of points that are exactly in accord with
what all the others have stated. Among these are two medical doctors in
California four years ago returning from an emergency late at night to
a place named Redding at the head of the Sacramento Valley. Seeing what
they took to be a person sitting by the roadside, they slowed down and
dimmed their headlights with a view to offering a lift.
Suddenly the thing leaped up, took the road in two strides
and crashed into the thick bush! Almost exactly the same thing was reported
a year later by two hunters on the road where the first footprints occurred
in 1958, and I have literally dozens of others from all sorts of people,
including a young lady, now 21, who says she met one in the morning mists
a little distance from where she was camping with her parents when she
was 10 years old.
So, you may well say, people all over the world say they have seen or
encountered these creatures, but why have not they, or we, captured one?
This is also a very fair question, so I will give another reasonable answer...
we have.
Such a statement, of course, calls for full documentation. Here it is,
starting with the first record we have of such a capture on our own continent  and in southern British Columbia, Canada, no less; and not 100
miles from the United States border.
The particular incident occurred on the morning of July 3. 1884, on
the railroad track bordering the Fraser River, near a small place called
Yale, which is not 100 miles from the great city of Vancouver and only
20 from the long-inhabited shore of Harrison Lake. It may be called The
Jacko Affair. I herewith quote it in full from a Victoria. B.C.
newspaper named The Daily British Colonist.
Yale, B.C. July 3, 1884 In the immediate vicinity of No. 4 tunnel,
situated some 2O miles above this village, are bluffs of rock which have
hitherto been insurmountable, but on Monday morning last were successfully
scaled by Mr. Onderdonk's employees on the regular train from Lytton. Assisted
by Mr. Costerton, the British Columbia Express Company's messenger, a number
of gentlemen from Lytton and points east of that place, after considerable
trouble and perilous climbing captured a creature who may truly be called
half man and half beast. 'Jacko', as his captors have called the creature,
is something of the gorilla type standing about 4 feet 7 inches in height
and weighing 127 pounds. He has long, black, strong hair and resembles a
human being with one exception, his entire body, excepting his hands (or
paws) and feet are covered glossy hair about one inch long. His forearm
is much longer than a man's forearm, and he possesses extraordinary strength.
As he will take hold of a stick and break it by wrenching or twisting it,
which no man living could break in the same way. Since his capture he is
very reticent, only occasionally uttering a noise, which is half bark and
half growl. He is, however, becoming daily more attached to his keeper,
Mr. George Telbury, of this place, who proposes shortly starting for London,
England, to exhibit him. His favorite food so far is berries, and he drinks
fresh milk with evident relish. By advice of Dr. Hannington, raw meats have
been withheld from Jacko, as the doctor thinks it would have a tendency
to make him savage.  The mode of capture runs as follows: Ned Austin, the engineer, on coming
in sight of the bluff at the eastern end of the No. 4 tunnel saw what
he supposed to be a man lying asleep at close proximity to the track,
and, as quick as thought, blew the signal to apply the brakes. The brakes
were instantly applied, and in a few seconds the train was brought to
a standstill. At this moment the supposed man sprang up, and uttering
a sharp quick bark began to climb the steep bluff. Conductor R. J. Craig
and express messenger Costerton followed by the baggage man and brakemen,
jumped from the train and knowing they were some 20 minutes ahead of time,
immediately gave chase.
After 5 minutes of perilous climbing the then supposed demented Indian
was corralled on a projecting shelf of rock where he could neither ascend
nor descend. The query now was how to capture him alive, which was quickly
decided by Mr. Craig, who crawled on his hands and knees until he was
about 40 feet above the creature. Taking a small piece of loose rock he
let it fall and it had the desired effect of rendering poor Jacko incapable
of resistance for a time at least. The bell rope was then brought up and
Jacko was now lowered to terra firma. After firmly binding him and placing
him in the baggage car, 'off brakes' was sounded and the train started
for Yale. At the station a large crowd who had heard of the capture by
telephone from Spuzzum Flat were assembled, and each one anxious to have
the first look at the monstrosity, but they were disappointed, as Jacko
had been taken off at the machine shop and placed in charge of his present
keeper.
The question naturally arises, how came the creature where it was first
seen by Mr. Austin? From bruises about its head and body, and apparent
soreness since its capture, it is supposed that Jacko ventured too near
the edge of the bluff, slipped, fell and lay where found until the sound
of the rushing train aroused him. Mr. Thomas White, and Mr. Gouin, C.B.E.,
as well as Mr. Major, who kept a small store about half a mile west of
the tunnel during the past 2 years, have mentioned having seen a curious
creature at different points between Camps 13 and 17, but no attention
was paid to their remarks as people came to the conclusion that they had
either seen a bear or stray Indian dog. Who can unravel the mystery that
now surrounds Jacko? Does he belong to a species hitherto unknown in this
part of the continent or is he really what the train men first thought
he was, a crazy Indian?
Now, whatever you may think of the press, you cannot just simply dismiss
everything reported by it that you don't believe in. Further, this report
is excellent, being factual, giving names that were obviously carefully
checked even to titles such as the C.B.E. of Mr. Gouin, and hardly being
at all speculative. In fact, it is really a model report and one that
some modern newsmen might well emulate. Then, the persons concerned were
not a bunch of citizens with names only to identify them; they were mostly
people with responsible positions who must have been widely known at that
time throughout the area, for the railroad played a very important part
in the opening up and development of lower British Columbia. The reporter,
moreover, himself took a very common-sense view of the business when he
inquired what manner of creature this might be and stated flatly that
it was completely human but for being covered with silky black hair and
having exceptional strength in its arms.
Unfortunately, following this excellent report, the news on Jacko
is pretty slim. The creature was held in captivity for some time, but
there is no record of his ever having been examined by scientists. He
was simply accepted as an odd event in a world in which odd events were
happening all the time. Perhaps some part of him has been preserved and
is lying in somebody's attic, or even in a museum. It's happened before.
There have been quite numerous other reports of captures, from all over
the world; I have over 50 on file. None, however, is as plain as the case
of poor little Jacko - outside of Russia, Mongolia and China,
that is.
To give these even in brief would call for a large volume, so I quote
but one that has for a time seemed to me to be outstandingly straightforward.
This case comes from official records of the Soviet Army Medical Corps
to the Special Commission appointed by the Russian Academy of Sciences
to Investigate ABSMery, under Professors Porshnev and Shmakov. The incident
occurred in 1941, and was put on record by one Lt. Col. V. S. Karapetyan.
It states, in his own words:
From October to December of 1941 our infantry battalion was stationed
some 30 kilometers from the town of Buinaksk (in the Dagestan A.S.S.R.).
One day the representatives of the local authorities asked me to examine
a man caught in the mountains and brought to the district center. My medical
advice was needed to establish whether this curious creature was a disguised
spy.
I entered a shed with two members of the local authorities. When I asked
why I had to examine the man in a cold shed and not a warm room, I was
told that the prisoner could not be kept in a warm room. He had sweated
in the house so profusely that they had had to keep him in the shed.
I can still see the creature as it stood before me, a male, naked and
barefooted. And it was doubtlessly a man because its entire shape was
human. The chest, back, and shoulders, however, were covered with shaggy
hair of a dark brown color. It is noteworthy that all the local inhabitants
had black hair. This fur of his was much like that of a bear, and 2 to
5 centimeters long. The fur was thinner and softer below the chest. His
wrists were crude and sparsely covered with hair. The palms of his hands
and soles of his feet were free of hair. But the hair on his head reached
to his shoulders, partly covering his forehead. The hair on his head,
moreover, felt very rough to the hand. He had no beard or moustache, though
his face was completely covered with a light growth of hair. The hair
around his mouth was also short and sparse.
The man stood absolutely straight with his arms hanging, and his height
was above the average  about 180 cm. He stood before me like a giant,
his mighty chest thrust forward. His fingers were thick, strong, and exceptionally
large. Overall, he was considerably bigger than any of the local inhabitants.
His eyes told me nothing. They were dull and empty the eyes
of an animal and he seemed to me like an animal and nothing more.
As I learned, he had accepted no food or drink since he was caught.
He had asked for nothing and said nothing. When kept in a warm room he
sweated profusely. While I was there, some water and then some food (bread)
was brought up to his mouth; and someone offered him a hand, but there
was no reaction. I gave the verbal conclusion that this was no disguised
person, but a wild man of some kind. Then I returned to my unit and never
heard of him again.
Yet I know that you will still be saying But why haven't we got
one? There are several reasons. First, the vastness and impenetrability
of the areas where these comparatively rare creatures live. Secondly,
the fact that for the most part being hominids, if not full men, they
possess both a degree of what we call intelligence and a goodly quota
of what we call animal instincts. Even primitive peoples are often uncanny
in their ability to keep out of sight and their senses are unbelievably
acute. All of this renders even a chance encounter quite unlikely.
But the main reason is that up until fairly recently we have never gone
about the problem of finding one with much knowledge or common sense.
We have looked for them in the wrong places, and we have gone about it
in the wrong way. We are now, I hope, going about it in the right way,
and I have every reason to believe that we will be successful. I, for
one, am looking forward with a good deal of pleasure to seeing what the experts have to say when they come face-to-face with one of
the thousands of Abominable Snowmen which are living today
on our mysterious planet.

BIGFOOT AND BETTY ALLEN

"BIGFOOT AND BETTY ALLEN"
By Don Davis (© 2002)
The headlines of the small November 1963 issue of the "S. F. Territorial News" screamed: "Story Behind the BIGFOOT MYSTERY complete in this issue".How could anyone resist buying that? Especially as it seemed you could unlock the "mystery" with only a ten-cent purchase. Of course the fact that the November 1963 edition was on the newspaper rack in the spring of 1964 might discourage some from buying it.
The paper didn't unlock the Bigfoot mystery for me, but it was perhaps the best dime I ever spent. It pointed me to the Presidio Branch Library in San Francisco where an exhibit of Bluff Creek plaster tracks was on display. I had seen photographs prior to that time but never casts. It also beckoned me irresistibly to the Fisherman's Wharf Office of this newspaper were they had a few copies of Betty Allen's "Big Foot Diary" hot off the press and available for fifty cents each. At that time I was collecting anything I could find on Bigfoot and related creatures, so this "Big Foot Diary" was a priority.
Before I go on, please indulge me a personal flashback. A bit prior to this, in the late 1950s, I was living in New York City. An associate of mine told me one morning that he had seen a special on television the night before about a strange yeti-like creature living in California. Since I was the only person he knew that had spent much time in California he asked me if I had ever heard of it. At that time I was firmly convinced of the existence of the Yeti in Asia but had not yet heard mention of the names Sasquatch or Bigfoot. I assured him that any such thing was certainly impossible, but to his credit I didn't convince him. The special had impressed him enough to leave him with an objective open mind. I really can't defend the stand I took. In mitigation perhaps it's to my credit that I did think about what he was saying for a few minutes, and then told him that I believed that the one place in California where such creatures could best exist, if they did exist, would be in the far northwest comer of the State. He said that he thought that was the very area they were talking about.
Around 1960 1 moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from New York. A year or two later I came across Sanderson's "Abominable Snowmen" book which really began my education in Cryptozoology. Thus I was more than ready for and receptive to the November 63 edition of the "S.F. Territorial News".
The article in the Territorial News was an account of a visit to Willow Creek for their Bigfoot Daze celebration by George Wamsley, publisher of the paper. The article included an account of a trip out along the Bluff Creek road to see Bigfoot tracks. It wasn't very long before I was at the newspaper's office on Fisherman's Wharf purchasing a "Big Foot Diary" and meeting George Wamsley. It turned out that Betty Allen was George Wamsley's aunt and the person that had arranged his Bluff Creek outing. During our conversation that day I told him I was taking my family on vacation up the California coast and inquired about the possibility of viewing tracks. He encouraged me to contact his aunt and gave me her address in Willow Creek.
Up to that time I had hardly heard of Betty Allen. She is mentioned a couple of times in Sanderson's book but so casually her name did not stick in my memory. I certainly wasn't aware of the extent of her investigations and her other efforts that were bringing such widespread attention to Bluff Creek. She was about as unknown to me then as she seems to be to many of the Bigfoot investigators and authors of today.
I wrote to Betty. There was no reply for awhile, then just a day or so before heading out a letter arrived. It was dated July 17, 1964 and said in part:
"I would be glad to meet with you and though the news out of the area of Bluff Creek is very sketchy this year, I know earlier the tracks were seen. It would be a very interesting trip for you to take at any rate and there is a fine camping spot at the Notice Creek Bridge. Workmen are going and coming but with ordinary caution it is safe enough to drive. Loggers are very polite and careful in this area. I wish I had more recent news and more definite appearances this year but often I do not hear when they come in and the men are so busy they pay no attention."
A couple of days later I met Betty Allen at her home in Willow Creek. She looked very much like someone's favorite aunt, but I soon discovered there was a very capable level headed investigative reporter in this "favorite aunt image". I also found, as others have, that she was very hospitable and more than generous with advice and help. Early in our conversation I attempted to test her by casually bringing up another type crypto-creature living in the Klamath area. She paused for a few moments, seeming to consider possible implications, and then quietly asked who I really was. Her quiet but matter-of-fact attitude clearly set out the parameters. I had to satisfy her with some answers as to how I knew some of the semi-secrets of her area before we could continue with Bigfoot.
Betty told me that at first she tried to discourage people from going to Bluff Creek, or anywhere else, to search for signs of Bigfoot. She was afraid they would find nothing and spread the word it was all a hoax. Some insisted on poking around anyway and in time she came to realize that those that went into the field to search often found. She began encouraging those that wanted to investigate.
She told me of three general areas that were good places to look for tracks. One was on Notice Creek..I forget if she mentioned the location of a second one, but the one she recommended to me was an area on Bluff Creek near Louse Camp. She didn't tell me where to look but she did mentioned things to look for besides tracks. She also told me exactly, to the tenth of a mile, the best place to get down from the road into the steep-sided creek.
Among the most interesting parts of my visit was hearing her relate much of the historical Bigfoot investigations and experiences. She talked a bit about searches for Bigfoot evidence not only in the area of Bluff Creek, but as she put it "coming in from the other side". Incidentally, it appears the term Bigfoot had been used in the Klamath area by non-Indians for some time before the creature ever made the Eureka newspapers.
At the time of my first visit to Willow Creek, and for sometime previously, Betty was a string reporter for the Eureka newspaper gathering news and material from the areas near where she lived. The Yurok and Hoopa Indians had known for a very long time about the strange hairy man-like giants they called OhOhmah (my own spelling from verbal coaching of a Yurok friend). Incidentally, it is a Yurok Indian that probably should get credit for the quoted reaction when first informed about the white man's interest in Bigfoot by replying that it was interesting that the white man had finally gotten around to discovering this.
There are many accounts from loggers, female cooks at the logging camps, hunters, fishermen, ranchers, and other non- Indians in the area reporting sightings and tracks from long ago. I have seen and heard some of these accounts that go back at least as far as the early 1940s, and I have heard rumors of much earlier incidents. Betty told me about one very old Indian woman she took up to Bluff Creek to see the tracks. This woman carried the very old tattoos on her face that I understand were applied to young children of her tribe in the 1800s. The woman couldn't walk very far and then only with help. When she saw the tracks she excitedly exclaimed, "All my life I've heard about these things and now at last I finally get to see their tracks?
In the 1950s logging operations in Northern California were going full blast. The one best known to Bigfoot buffs is one that was located in the great "V" of the Klamath River where a new road was built paralleling little known Bluff Creek and stretching back more than 20 miles from the Klamath River. For much of the time that logging operations and road building were taking place near Bluff Creek and along Lonesome Ridge the workers camped out or lived in portable accommodations in the woods. They generally only went home on weekends leaving their woodsy campsites deserted. It didn't take long before strange large footprints started appearing, especially where new road grading had taken place. Soon other incidents began to occur which have been previously mentioned in various Bigfoot records. Betty told me that the Contractor was loathed to have any word of these strange happenings reported to the outside world. Partly for this reason, and partly not to be accused of being crazy, the workers were reluctant to speak of the strange events that were taking place. Some of the occurrences the workers found very alarming. At home on the weekends some of the workers would confide their uneasiness to their wives and, in time, some of these wives began to talk to Betty.
It is likely that Betty had heard about this Bigfoot creature prior to the time when these wives began to fear for their husband's safety. I do know that at some point Betty began her own investigation of whatever evidence she could uncover that might prove or disprove the existence of Bigfoot. Her efforts eventually convinced her that Bigfoot roamed her area and his visits were not isolated or just occasional.
The reports from the worker's wives, coupled with information she obtained by other means, enabled Betty to gather a considerable amount of data. One time she was having dinner in one of the Willow Creek restaurants when she overheard a man at the table behind her talking about huge footprints. He had found these tracks around his snow bound construction equipment out in the woods. He was telling how he had followed the tracks for several miles in the snow in the dead of winter before mining back because of a new storm threat. She told me that when she overheard this conversation she turned around and politely asked a question or two. This led to an evening's dinner where she spent about as much time conversing with the table behind her as with those at her own table. She said that on the restaurant wall near her table was a map of the Klamath area. This map was used during this conversation to indicate various locations. Some years later, while having dinner in one of the Willow Creek restaurants, I noticed a map on the wall above my table. In looking closely at it I notice a circle and several other pencil marks drawn in the upper Bluff Creek area. I wondered if these marks were added to that map one evening by a contractor and/or Betty Allen. I'm not sure that same restaurant is still there, but I do know the map has disappeared.
With some of the information she gathered Betty began a scrapbook. As the reports from logger's wives and others accumulated she began to try to interest her Editor, Andrew Genzoli, in her material. She wanted to do an article for the Eureka paper. For some time Mr. Genzoli expressed no interest in such an article. Finally, after repeated efforts on Betty's part, he stopped putting her off. Betty sent a small sample portion of her material. Then she waited for his response.
Some days later, Betty opened the Eureka paper to see an article Mr. Genzoli had written using some of the material Betty had supplied. His article featured an illustrated cartoon caricature, probably so that no one would accuse the newspaper of seriously believing the Bigfoot material. Betty was disappointed. When she talked with her editor by phone she learned that he fully expected hoots and ridicule to result from the article's appearance but decided to publish anyway. When letters from readers slowly began to arrive, Mr. Genzoli was surprised that instead of ridicule the writers told personal stories of Bigfoot experiences. Betty was surprised at the extent of the readership reaction.
Later Mr. Genzoli got in touch with Jerry Crew regarding the casts he had made and wrote a second article. It just might have been Betty Allen that brought Mr. Genzoli and Jerry Crew together as she was there helping Jerry Crew when he made his first cast. She said she came back the next day to the casting site with her own material and made a cast from the same series of tracks Jerry used. The article featuring Jerry Crew and his cast was the one picked up by the Associated Press Wire Service that resulted in changing the scope of Bigfoot investigations forever. Betty had not gotten to write her article, but · her efforts to collect, examine, and her attempts to publish had launched the modern Bigfoot era.
In Canada John Green and René Dahinden read about the Bigfoot in Northern California and first John and later René came to investigate. Tom Slick saw the reports and shifted his attention from the Yeti of Tibet to the Bigfoot of California.
Betty didn't seem to have great admiration for Tom Slick's Pacific Northwest Expedition. She didn't approve of hunting Bigfoot with guns, especially since so little was known about it. She was relieved when the Expedition members left without a Bigfoot specimen. It also may be that she declined to share her information with the Slick Expedition. If this is so, it may explain why members of that group have pretty much ignored her contributions to the study of Bigfoot in their writings.
In 1958 Ivan Sanderson became aware of reported Bigfoot activity in Northern California. In his book, "Abominable Snowmen, Legend Come to Life" Sanderson, on page 129, makes the following statement referring to when he heard about the California Bigfoot for the first time:
"The point I want to make is that this whole bit did sound quite absurd even to us, who became immune to such shocks years ago. It is all very well for abominable creatures to be pounding over snow-covered passes in Nepal and Tibet; . . . but a wild man with a 17-inch foot and a 50-inch stride tromping around California was then a little too much to ask even us to stomach, . ."
In the forward to his "Abominable Snowman" book Mr. Sanderson also states "Three years ago" (his book was published in 1961) "I dismissed all such evidence" (ABSM) "as either hoax or legend,..." Of course that was before his trip to Willow Creek in 1959 and his meetings with Betty Allen. She said Sanderson stayed in a motel in Willow Creek for a week or two while she ran around lining up witness after witness for him to interview. She opened her files to him. She offered to accompany him to Bluff Creek but he wasn't interested in viewing anything for himself, neither locations nor tracks. By the time Sanderson left, Betty had furnished him with enough material for a book on the Bigfoot of Northern California, which she expected him to write. Instead he used only a small part of her material for a chapter or so in his "Abominable Snowman" book. She was disappointed once again.
It should be realized that the Bigfoot incidents at Bluff Creek in the 1950s and 60s were by no means unique. Similar happenings had been known in many places in and outside the United States. Sometimes the occurrences were, and still are, as frequent if not more so than at Bluff Creek. But thanks to Betty Allen's efforts, it was Bluff Creek that got the big play in the newspapers, thus attracting the attention of many investigators and researchers and eventually Patterson and Gimlin.
Betty lived very modestly when I knew her. She did not even have a car. She enjoyed going out into the field to investigate but to do this she had to get someone to take her as the trip from her home to the prime evidence areas was more than 50 miles over not the best of roads. Al Hodgson, who was later to be involved with the Patterson/Gimlin filming and who now is doing such a nice job of developing the Bigfoot Wing of the museum in Willow Creek, was one of those that accompanied her on trips up Bluff Creek.
Today Willow Creek seems to me to be about the same size as it was in the early 1960s. It is the southern gateway to the Bluff Creek area and is the place where "The Bigfoot Scenic Highway", State Highway 96, starts and proceeds north towards the creek Betty so loved to visit. _The Willow Creek Museum is well worth a visit as it houses Bob Titmus' Bigfoot cast collection and other interesting material. It is a shame that Betty's material is not there as well.
Willow Creek was Betty's home town until the mid 1960s when she moved to Alaska. She wrote me sometime after the big Alaska earthquake telling me of information she had received from Ivan Sanderson regarding Bigfoot happenings on the Pacific Coast near where Alaska and Canada meet. I think the idea of searching out Bigfoot in Alaska appealed to her.
I was at the dedication of the Bigfoot Wing of the Willow Creek Museum in 1999. I had been to the museum once before and have visited it several times since. The staff of volunteers is very helpful and polite, but with the exception of Al Hodgson, none that I talked with seemed to have any idea who Betty Allen was. I think it would be nice if her name was on the outside of the museum in big letters. Maybe something like: "The Betty Allen Bigfoot Museum and Research Center". What do you think?
There is a copy of Betty Allen's small booklet "Bigfoot Diary" locked up in one of the museum's display cases. Outside of that she seems pretty much forgotten in her home town and most everywhere else.
Don Davis was involved casually as a witness, investigator, and researcher in the field of Cryptozoology since before Bernard Heuvelmans coined the term. The article appearing here is the first draft for a chapter of a book he was preparing about some of his more interesting Bigfoot experiences. Sadly, Don died in February 2002 and this article was his last work to see print.
© Published in Craig Heinselman's CRYPTO
Hominology Special Number II 2002

YETI, ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN...ARGOSY 1971

Yeti, Abominable Snowman (Bigfoot) Argosy 1971
10_khaklov2
10_tcherninesABSM
10_UPIphoto
Soviet Investigations have turned up reports of human-like creatures who
have lived for years in Russian Villages and even born human children.
yetis and abominable snowmen living in Russian villages; working and even bearing children
by humans? Incredible as it seems, comprehensive research in Russia, unreported
until now, shows that hundreds of Soviet citizens have had extensive experience
with these primitive, hairy, human-like creatures.
Recently I have had
occasion to pull all of this material together into a report that indicates
that, since the fifties, Soviet scientists have shown increased interest
in the subject to the point that they have now accomplished what may really
be called a breakthrough in the field of Yeti research.
On August 12, 1958, I was following the valley of the Balyandkiik River and I suddenly
noticed a strange sight. On the south slope of the valley about 500 meters
away. Lip on the permanent snow, a being of unusual aspect was moving
-- reminiscent of a man's figure, but with a strongly hunched back. Against
the white background, it could be seen clearly that he was standing with
his legs wide apart and that his arms were longer than an ordinary man.
I stood, not moving. Five minutes elapsed. The figure then vanished, hidden
behind a rock
The words are those of A. G. Pronin. a hydrologist with the Geographical Scientific and Exploratory
Institute of the Leningrad University and the creature he sighted on the
edge of that glacier in the Pamirs was a Yeti. Pronin goes on to say: Three days later, returning from a reconnaissance after sunset.
I again saw the figure in that same valley. This time. it vanished into
a dark depression, possibly a cave.
A week later, the people arrived bringing their equipment. The place began to be noisy.
The work of the expedition went ahead. The strange encounter was forgotten.
But just before we left, our rubber boat suddenly vanished from the riverbank
and our searches for it were fruitless. We just had to forget about it.
It was only a month after we had left there that we received word in Leningrad
that our colleagues of the scientific post of the Uzbeck S.S.R.'s Academy
of Science (who were operating not far from us) had found the boat five
kilometers upstream from where we had lost it. How could it have got up
there? To go up the boiling mountain torrent abounding in rapids and shoals
would have been impossible in a boat. Is there a type of prehistoric Neanderthal primitive Stone Age creature that
survives to this day? In the last century, a yeti researcher in Mongolia, Colonel Prjevalsky, found
exciting evidence of the actual existence of these creatures. But government
Influence discouraged him from publicizing the results of his research for
fear of ridicule. The Russians renewed scientific research in this field
in the 1950's. Then there seemed to be another shut down on the news and
some at the time thought this might again be fear of ridicule.
So the 1950's report of a sighting by Pronin in the mountain regions of
Soviet Central Asia was mocked into silence. Now current circumstances suggest
that the conspiracy of silence then was actually a veil to carry on research
work under cover. When I first began this record, the Russian operations
seemed engulfed in a repeated policy of non-communication. The little known
revelations were given to me in July of 1968. In August of that year I tried
to obtain more by making direct written approaches. Patience is always needed.
I was rewarded and at last a few more spheres of information opened up.
Contemporary Russian exploration took up in recent years where Prjevalsky was obliged to leave off and
has continued undisturbed up until now. The Russian fieldwork might be
on the point of revealing some very rare hominid (human like creatures)
distribution. What has been discovered may be primitive remnants of a
prehistory that have been able to pursue life undisturbed in the most
impenetrable parts of the earth where the area has been suitable for their
survival.
Current Russian fieldwork is taking place mainly in the Caucasus in Kabardinia and Balkaria. The
leader of the recent expeditions is a woman scientist. Professor Jeanne
Josefovna Kofman. Research is also going on in the Chatkal Range a few
miles east of Tashkent and several expeditions to investigate the yeti
have taken place there in recent years. Russian science papers on the
expeditions aroused much interest. Since the first exploration began,
300 reports have reached Professor Kofman from eyewitnesses who have seen
an unknown living being and who describe footprints and other evidence.
The descriptions of such sightings by the country people who farm who
remote and widely separated areas more or less tally in detail.
Professor Kofman announced her findings at a lecture she gave in March of 1966 at the Geographical
Society in Moscow. From the skull reconstruction assembled from several
reports emerges the likeness of a primate hominid but a very primitive
one suggesting a vanished type of Homo sapiens. They conducted daily observations
in the Kuruko valley for several weeks. The came to the conclusion that
an unknown creature was living there, not a domestic animal, not a man.
Sightings occurred at Nal'chik, the capital of Kabardinia. The yeti observed
there was thickset and medium height.
According the Dr. Boris Porshnev, a famous historian of the Soviet Union and scholar of
wide learning, people from time to time have even managed to catch the
yeti and have brought them into inhabited communities but most of them
soon died.
There are about ten such cases on record: in 1912, 1914, 1937, 1941 and 1954, all in mountainous
regions of Russia or China. Perhaps the strangest of these stories is
the tale of Zana, which took place in the last century. Zana was a female
yeti who had been caught and tamed and who lived and died within the memory
of a number of people still alive today. She was buried in the village
of Tkhina in the Ochamchir region. Among present inhabitants of that district,
more than ten were at the funeral, and more than 100 are alive who knew
Zana over a long period.
At first she was lodged in a strong enclosure and she acted like a wild beast. No one ventured
to give her food - it was thrown at her. She dug herself a hole in the
ground and slept in it and for the three years she lived in this wild
state. Then gradually she became tamer and was moved to a fenced enclosure
under an awning near the house, tethered at first but later left loose
to wander about. She never went far from the place where she received
her food and she could not endure warm rooms. Her skin was black or dark
brown and her body was covered with reddish-black hair. The shiny black
hair on her head was tousled and thick. She lived for many years without
showing changed - no gray hair and no falling teeth. Her teeth were enormous
and she could crack anything with them. She could outrun a horse and swam
the wild Movki River even when it rose in violent high tide. To gorge
herself with grapes in the vineyards, she would pull down a whole vine
growing around a tree. She loved wine and was allowed her fill after which
she would sleep for hours in a swoon-like state.
Zana became the mother of human children. This is the fantastic side of her history and important
according to those studying the science of genetics. Zana was pregnant
several times by various men and gave birth without assistance but always
carried the newborn child to wash it in the cold river. The half-breed
infants unable to survive this chilly baptism, died. Later
when Zana gave birth, the villagers took the newborn away from her to
rear themselves. Four times this happened and the children - two sons
and two daughters - could talk and possessed reason. It is true they had
some strange physical and mental features but they were capable of engaging
in work and social life.
Let us go back a little in history and trace some of the early sightings of yeti. In the years
1905 to 1907, a young scientist B.B. Baradiyn was engaged by the Russian
Geographical Society to undertake a mission across Mongolia to Tibet.
One evening just before sundown Baradiyn's caravan leader gave a yell and pointed to a strange
figure clambering up a sand dune. The whole party could clearly see the
head of what seemed to be a longhaired man resembling an ape. It stood
there for some time then hid behind the crest of the dune.
Around 1910, V. A. Khaklov, a young geologist found two witnesses among Kazakhstan tribesmen
who had seen a captive wildman in Central Asia where their Kazakhstan
relatives lived. The species was male of less than medium height and covered
with hair just like a young camel. But what was really striking about
the creature were his long arms reaching to below his knees. He was stooped
with shoulders bent forward and had a narrow, hollow looking chest. His
brow was sloping and jutted out sharply above the eyes. His lower jaw
was massive and he was rather chinless with a small nose and big nostrils.
He had large ears with no lobes and somewhat pointed toward the rear like
a fox's. The skin on his forehead, forearms and knees was horny and calloused.
His legs far apart and bent at the knees. The soles of his feet resembled
those of humans but were one and a half times to twice as broad with widely
set toes.
Another witness found by V. A. Khaklov had observed a wildman specimen over a period of several
months near the Manas River. That specimen, a female had been captured
by local farmers. This wild woman answered to the descriptions of yeti.
Her body was covered with hair, she was narrow chested and stooping with
inordinately long arms, widely set legs and large flat feet with spreading
toes. The feet were very broad and looked like paws. She
emitted sounds only occasionally but bared her teeth when anybody came
near her during her captivity and when she slept; it was in a peculiar
position like a camel with knees and elbows beneath her with her forehead
touching the ground - hands cupped at the back of her neck. She ate mostly
raw meat but developed a taste for flat loaves of bread. Sometimes she
seized and devoured insects that came within her reach. She drank either
by lying level to the ground and drinking like a horse or by dripping
water into her mouth with her hand. When she was set free, she walked
off clumsily; long arms dangling and then ran to the nearby swamps.
Khaklov had pictures that showed a chimpanzee, a gorilla and a reconstructed sketch of a prehistoric
man. He showed the photographs to each witness at different times with
a request that they indicate which of the photographs most resembled the
wildman species. Both men pointed to the picture of prehistoric man
In the summer of 1928, the eminent Mongolian Scientist, Professor Rinchen halted overnight at
the home of an old Mongol woman of the Gobi, who was in her seventies.
She told him how a female yeti had once nursed her at the breast. When
she was a baby, her father had gone to Sinkiang with a caravan and her
mother had gone to the well to water a herd of sheep, leaving her unattended
in the yurt (a felt covered tent still used by these nomads). Returning
with the sheep, the mother suddenly heard her child crying and noticed
that the felt cover of the entrance to the yurt was thrown back. The alarmed
mother rushed in and saw a hideous naked woman, her body covered with
sparse hair, sitting on the women's side (east) of the yurt beside the
small Mongolian crib and putting one of her long breasts into the child's
mouth. The mother cried in horror and flung herself across the yurt to
protect her child. The hairy creature quickly put the child down, leaped
past the mother and ran out.
An old friend of Professor Rinchen, a man called Gopil, told him of a kidnapping that took place
once in the Gobi in which a yeti captured a man. A caravan traveling to
the town of Hoho in Inner Mongolia halted in the Gobi. One of the party
went off to collect the camels that had been let loose to graze. As he
was a long time returning, his companions were alarmed. One of them wanted
to go off alone to search for him.. But then an old and experienced member
of the party said there were yeti living in the wilderness in that part
of the area and that it was dangerous for one man alone to go and look
for their absent companion. So three of them set out . As they were combing
the thickets they came upon a cave in a sandstone escarpment. At the entrance
they saw signs that a man wearing boots has struggled with a barefooted
creature. + Terrified, they did not dare enter the cave. They collected
their camels, which they had left to graze nearby, and went back to the
camp to get guns. However the veteran caravan man dissuaded them saying
that once a yeti caught a man, it would be some days before the creature
came out of the cave again. It would therefore be futile to keep watch
over the cave. They continued their journey planning to free their friend
on the way back.
On the return journey, they pitched camp near the lair and three of them with rifles, hid in
the bushes near the mouth of the cave. Nothing showed itself all day but
at sundown something on two legs appeared in the opening, its whole body
covered with hair. Shots rang out and the creature fell dead. The three
men reloading their guns rushed inside the cave where they reckoned they
would find their friend and rescue him before the sound of the shots could
bring out any other yeti. They found him, but he seemed totally wild and
quite apathetic at their sudden appearance. He became strangely silent
and unwilling to say what had happened to him while he was living in the
cave. On his return home, he avoided looking people in the eye, often
turned away, and sat facing the wall when he saw they were watching him.
Two months later he died, which showed clearly that some sort of anguish
had been consuming him.
In 1968, Doctor Porshnev wrote about what he calls the cave men
dispute meaning the yeti. He sent me all his observations and they
were followed later by more material in 1969. Porshnev gave me an older
story he was told by retired General Mikhail Stepanovich Topil'skiy. In
1925, the general was a commissar with troops that had been sent in pursuit
of a band of White Army forces retreating through the Pamirs. In the high
region of the Vanchsk area, they hear tales of wildmen from the local
people - beast men who were living higher up but known for
their cries and from rare encounters.
In the Vanchsk and Yazgulemsk Ranges, the troops found bare footprints in the snow ending
at the foot of a cliff face too steep to be climbed by man. They found
what resembled human feces containing remains of dried berries and during
a battle between the Reds and the Whites, a wounded Red soldier, an Uzbek
reported that as they were firing into a cave, a wild hairy man ran out
making inarticulate noises. He ran into the machine gun fire and was killed.
At first,the general said, I thought the thing was an ape. It was covered
with fur. But I knew there were no apes in the Pamirs and moreover the
body looked far more human than ape like indeed fully human.
Not far from the same locality of Yazgulem Village in the Vanchsk region, at the Fedchenko Glacier
Observatory the radio meteorologist G. N. Tebenikhin experienced certain
associated events, which he was completely unable to explain. Some
biped broke a rod near the observatory then got away easily from
men on skis who pursued it for several hours across a glacier. It was
brown colored and it reportedly sat down and let the pursuers get closer
but never nearer than one kilometer. Finally it vanished down a steep
snow covered chasm sitting on its buttocks and using its feet as brakes.
The yeti, according to Professor Rinchen seem to be vanishing in Mongolia as civilization
advances into their old nomadic grounds. But their specifications still link up
with the current discoveries of Professor Kofman in the Caucasus Mountains.
Their descriptions have similarities with the stories of the yeti or snowmen
of Tibet and with the sightings and behavior of the wildmen of the Pamirs
recorded by A. G. Pronin and others. Much
of this yeti data is unknown to the rest of the world, some was found
in old ignored archives by Dr. Porshnev and his Snowman Commission of
Enquiry which seems to have been the Cinderella of Russia's official science
departments.
Yeti reports began in the Yablonovy, Stanovoy and Dzhugzhur Ranges. Reports also came from
Lake Baikal northward to the ridge of Yenisei River Region and God
knows where else among the vast expanses of Siberia, especially to the
north you will find time and time again the same stories about these wandering
man-like creatures attracted particularly to herds of reindeer.
Animals have had a better deal than these rare, semi-concealed creatures. Animals are recognized
and have their places in the echelon of the tree of life, but the outcasts,
these unacceptable beings (insisted upon as being legend) have had the
temerity to live on in a few of the rare savage places still left in the
world. We are launching out into the marvels of space exploration while
still not knowing everything about our own planet.
I may be verbally flayed for what I am about to say, but perhaps after all,
we are not meant to discover the whole truth about the snowman or the
yeti. Perhaps these are the primal rough and secret stock saved by nature
to withstand and survive any final disaster preserved and hidden as raw
material for a fresh start in evolution, should we finally blow up our
so called civilization.
How prophetic the words are in her last paragraph 20 years later....
About the Pamir Mountain Range.....
Centuries before, Marco Polo wrote the first description of the Pamirs; he
had crossed them in the zone of present-day Afghanistan during,
his legendary journey to Cathay, and among, other things he mentions the
race of huge sheep that were later named after him.
The ancient Silk Road went over the passes of southwestern Pamir, at the
border between Tadzhikistan and Afghanistan, as can be seen
by the many archaeological and historical finds and monuments along the
valleys: graffiti, tombs, places of worship, ruins of fortresses and castles.
The mountains in this region, which over-awed the first chroniclers who passed
over them, are over 6,000 meters high in many zones. They lie between
the Rushanskiy and Shakhdarinskiy ranges, Here, towering over the plateau
at the point where the Vkhan Daria and Piandzh rivers cross, there are
beautiful mountains, with very difficult routes, whose names refer to
the history of the Soviet Union.......