Abominable Snowmen, by Ivan T. Sanderson, , at sacred-texts.com
11. The Great Mix-Up
We now turn northward and start climbing, and we are going to need maps as we never needed them before. The area of the world which we are now approaching is perhaps the most puzzling and, to us, seemingly the most mixed-up in the world. The political situation is bad enough (see Map IX) but the topography is frankly awful, so that even a physical map is utterly confusing. This confusion, moreover, is worse confounded by our use of "feet" for measuring altitude. In this area they just aren't big enough, and maps showing the usual contour changes of color at 600, 1500, 3000, 12,000, and 18,000 foot levels end up as one glorious mishmash in which the main and basic features of the land are obscured. If, however, we do our measuring (and coloring) in meters, matters become much clearer. I have therefore constructed the map showing this province (Map X) on the 500 and 5000 meter contours, with a special shading for one particular area (Tibet) for reasons that will be explained later (see also Map XI) . This device brings out at a glance more or less all that we want to know, and makes it possible to attempt a more detailed explanation of the more difficult parts. We are now approaching the summit of our interests and we will have to take our cue from the mountaineers and initiate what they succinctly refer to as an "attack" upon the problem. In order to do this we have first to try and sweep away a whole handful of misconceptions.
The first and most basic of these is to attempt to get rid of
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MAP IX. NORTHERN ORIENTALIA (POLITICAL)
MAP IX. NORTHERN ORIENTALIA (POLITICAL)
the notion that the Orient [or Orientalia as it is better called; see Chapter 18], is just a part of Asia. To the contrary, just as what we call Europe—the boundaries of which have been in dispute throughout history, and still are—is not a separate continent but merely one large peninsula of a much larger land-mass called Eurasia, so, conversely is Orientalia not a part of that land-mass but a quite separate continent. Its climate, past history, geology, and, above all, its vegetation are quite different from that of Eurasia. Also, it is almost absolutely separated from Eurasia by a continuous physical feature that is every bit as divisive as an ocean. This is a tremendous mountain barrier that runs from Baluchistan in the west to the plains of Kian-Su in north China in the east. However, here comes the second and most important point of all.
The mightiest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas, lies well south of this line and is in Orientalia and not in Eurasia. Further, the massif which mounts to the highest peak on land in the world, Mt. Everest, straddles the division and is north of and not in the Himalayas, as is almost universally supposed. It stands on the equally vast and high southern rim of Tibet which forms the southern boundary of Eurasia.
Using the 5000-meter contour, we see that between this barrier and the Himalayas there is really a great gutter at comparatively much lower level. It is in this gutter that the small state of Nepal lies. Thus, when we come to the Himalaya province, we must bear in mind that we will still be in Orientalia, and that we shall continue to be as we approach Mt. Everest from the south side until we top this Tibetan barrier. This is frightfully important because the flora and fauna of the Himalayas—and there is a great deal of vegetative growth forming massed forests that run up almost to the snow line all over them—is quite unlike that of Tibet but has relationships with that of the Indo-Chinese Massif. And this brings us to our third problem.
It will be seen from Maps X and XI, that this Indo-Chinese block terminates abruptly to the north against a monumental barrier of towering mountain ranges that are confluent with Tibet. These actually form a small "peninsula" of Eurasia that sticks down into this part of Orientalia as shown. On an ordinary physical map it will be seen that the Indo-Chinese block is formed of endless sub-parallel mountain ranges and strings of ranges, with very narrow deep valleys between them, running roughly from north to south. These form fingers going south into the Annams, down central Thailand, and down the Tenasserim peninsula. There also depends from them the parallel sub-massif composed of the Naga Hills and the Arakan. In the northwest, this block is very clearly and widely marked off from the east end of the Himalayas by a horn of true lowland equatorial forests. This, contrary to expectation, instead of separating the two upland masses actually cements them firmly together, from the plant and animal point of view, for the same forests cover both facing slopes to form a perfect bridge for both the migrants, emigrants, and immigrants from one side to the other. To the northeast, affairs are quite different.
Here, there is first, to the north, a small enclave of comparatively modest uplands running down from the Tibet plateau to the Red Basin of Szechwan (see Map X). These have a Chinese flora and fauna. Then, south of these, the Indo-Chinese
[paragraph continues] Massif abuts on to the more modest upland mass of Southern China, from the south of which a long thin chain of mountains—in Si-Kiang—runs east. This funny little promontory is rather important because a lot of myth, legend, and folklore pertaining to ABSMs extends that way. The south China uplands are of course densely populated and have been for a very long time so that their vegetative cover is now quite different from that of the Indo-Chinese Massif. If the two were ever alike is questionable, for the south China uplands really form quite a separate biotope, or florofaunal area. The Indo-Chinese province is therefore really rather isolated and distinct. It is also quite unique in many other ways. Armed with these facts we may now enter this Indo-Chinese country from the south, and immediately run into difficulties. This is the country in which the second largest form of the bovine or ox-cow tribe turned up in 1938—the Kouprey (Bos sauveli)—to the great consternation of established zoological thinking. It looks like a large edition of the now extinct Aurochs (Bos primigenius) of Europe, with widespreading horns, but the bulls have large tassels, the strands of which go upward, just short of the tips of their horns. This was an astonishing discovery in a land inhabited, and thickly, since most ancient times. Of more interest to us, however, are the Primates of the area.
These include a lot of strange types. First, it is the headquarters of the little apes called gibbons, one species of which, the Hoolock (Hylobates hooloch) reaches north and into the Himalayas. Then, there are also there the Doucs (Pyagathrix nemaeus and nigripes) which is one of the most brightly and variegatedly colored of all mammals; and, the Snub-nosed Monkeys. There are two distinct genera of these, one found in Tonkin (Presbytiscus avunculus); the other being the large and very extraordinary Rhinopithecus. Of the latter there are three species: Biet's Monkey (R. bieti) from Yunnan which forms a part of the Indo-Chinese Massif; Brelich's Monkey (R. brelichi) a really enormous form with a large white cape over its shoulders which lives in the Van Gin Shan mountains in west central China; and the Golden Monkey (R. roxellanae)
of the upper end of the Indo-Chinese block and extending up that small enclave facing the Red Basin mentioned before. This animal is a glowing metallic gold all over but has a sky-blue face. These monkeys really are gigantic and look even bigger since they are clothed in long thick fur that forms a cape.
This is not to say that there are not other monkeys in this province; to the contrary, there are dozens of Leaf-Monkeys and Langurs, while there are also lesser Primates. It is, in fact a sort of hotbed of Primates, in and around which most of the living apes reside, a large proportion of known fossil Hominids have been found; and quite a "coterie" of different ABSMs are rumored. Here, what is more, we have a state of affairs comparable to that which we encountered in Africa, but compounded, for, in addition to having apes (or Pongids) to contend with as well as fossil Hominids and alleged ABSMs, we have also lots of large terrestrial or semi-terrestrial monkeys as well—i.e. the Macaques (which include the Rhesus) and these Snub-nosed jobs. Nor is that all, for the local folklore is full of allusions to "men with tails," on the one hand; and to giant, bipedal monkeys, on the other. This is all very muddling to the layman but seems also to have thrown the specialists—and even those few in the field of ABSMery—into confusion. Then lately, the Chinese have still further muddied the picture by coming up with an exceedingly ABSM-like race of people in Yunnan; while anthropologists and ethnologists generally have unearthed all kinds of primitive and most unexpected nations, tribes, and groups in this province.
One of the most extraordinary of these is a group of tribes in the central mountainous region of this territory, who have very pale brownish skins, Caucasoid features, and wavy hair. They keep strictly to themselves and have one curious custom that may be of great significance to those investigating Malayan folklore where there is said once to have lived a race of tailed men who had a cutting edge of bone along the outer (hind) edges of their forearms. These tribesmen possess practically nothing that is traded from outside but they always
carry a large sharp knife of a certain shape; and they always carry this pointing backward up the arm and with the blade turned outward. With this they make their way through thick undergrowth at great speed by a curious down-slashing movement of the arm, so avoiding endless entanglements with vines by swiping at them.
Straight ABSMery in this province is not extensive until we get to the extreme northern end of it. In fact it amounts really to some legends and rumors, except in Yunnan and in northern Burma. Of the first, a Russian writing in Tekhnika Molodyzhi (Vols. 4 and 5, 1959) a science magazine for the Youth Movement states:
Chao Kuo-hoi, head teacher of the Yunnan National Minorities Institute also told Chekanov that the mountains where the people of the Khani nationality lived in the Hung Ho District were also inhabited by some strange people who belonged to no nationality whatever, that they wore no clothes and hid from ordinary people. One of them was captured and brought to Kunming. When he was dressed in human clothes he seemed quite satisfied and smiled.
According to what he had heard, Chekanov recalled that this captive wild man was finally sent to Pekin to be studied by the scientists. All this evidence, however, stems from people who had only heard about the wild inhabitants of the mountains from others.
Of the central area there is not much to be said and actual reports are neither numerous nor extensive. What there are concern a very large form of ABSM called locally the Kung-Lu or "Mouth-Man." This was first, as far as I can discover,
mentioned by Hassoldt Davis, the well-known American traveler and author, in his book entitled Land of the Eye, which is the account of the Denis-Roosevelt Asiatic Expedition to Burma, China, India, and the lost kingdom of Nepal. In this the author says:
It is perhaps permissible to speculate on the fact—could it be coincidence—that Chief Thunderface described a rather typical Sasquatch-Oh-Mah creature? This was my first reaction; and it was a pretty strong one; but, then, the same thing crops up much more extensively but with less exaggeration farther north where there are not, as far as we know, any Amerinds.
There, there is either a similar creature or a closely related one named the Tok, which I am told also means "mouth." My account of this originally came in the form of a personal communication from a gentleman who had heard me discussing ABSMs on the air. He gave me the name and address of a young American, then in the service of his country, who had been born in the Shan States and brought up there, his
parents having been missionaries. In turn, I got in touch with this young man, whose name I was asked not to publish, and he told me of two personal encounters—in fact actual physical contacts—with Toks, while he gave me several other reports, and passed me on to others who also in turn wrote me their stories. All were Americans with much experience of the country. In the end, it seemed to me that this ABSM may be the same as the Kung-Lu reported from so much farther south, about which there is, once again, that most curious detail of all in ABSM reports; namely, that it, also, attacks only thin people and ignores fat ones.
My young American correspondent states that he actually had a Tok in his arms twice and when it broke loose it left handfuls of long, coarse, shiny black hairs in his hands. The occasions were when it broke into his family home which was deep in the hill jungles and some distance from the nearest small, permanent settlement. On both occasions it chose a bright moonlight night and both times it crashed about apparently looking for food. Both times the young man tackled it thinking that it was a native thief or marauder and, being a powerfully built man and an athlete, and since his parents refused to possess any firearms, he did so with his bare hands. On each occasion it did not attempt to attack him in return, but only to flee, and being immensely strong and well over 6 feet tall it easily broke away, once running straight through a screen door. As it crossed to the forest in the moonlight, my informant had a very good look at it. He tells me that it had very wide shoulders, small head, was covered with jet-black hair, but had straight legs like a man and very pale soles to its feet. From this correspondent, and some of those others he put me on to, emerged various local names for this creature all of which must be translated as "mouth man" or "the man with the incredibly big mouth."
Hassoldt Davis' Kung-Lu is from the southern end of the Indo-Chinese mountain area, the Tok from the northern, where it would seem to merge with the Dzu-Teh of Eastern Tibet (the area that was once called Sikang) on the one hand, and the Gin-Sung or Bear-Men of central China on the
other. These areas are all adjacent to the places where the teeth and bones of Gigantopithecus have been unearthed, and if they are all the same creature, it would bear out Bernard Heuvelmans' theory that they are indeed Gigantopithecus. But we will come to the Dzu-Teh and Gin-Sung later. We must now turn aside for a moment to try and clear up something that is really very puzzling. In doing this, I am going first to have to jump backward a little and then leap forward right into the middle of the Himalayas and also into the middle of the chronological sequence of events there. This I have to do as we will never make any sense out of the situation in this area unless we get this sort of "appendage" out of the way.
It begins way down in the plateau of Kontum, in what used to be northern Indo-China. There, the locals say they have a kind of enormous monkey that walks on its hind legs and which is actually vicious and is quite willing to attack people. They call it the Kra-Dhan. In the neighboring territory of the Jölong it is called the Bêć-Boć (Bekk-Bok). The mountain people of the south also insist that it is a monkey, and not a man or an ape. This is odd, for there are virtually tailless monkeys thereabouts, the Stump-tailed Macaques (Lyssodes). At the same time, the locals are equally insistent that these creatures are not ghosts, departed spirits, demigods, or anything nonmaterial; all of which, though they often speak of them, they most clearly distinguish from real physical beings.
There is a report that one of these creatures either committed a murder, or was responsible for a murder near Konturn in 1943. Unfortunately the matter was tried by the local native court, of which no records were sent to the central French authority, while the French Resident of that area at the time is no longer alive, and the native Commune has been dispersed since the retirement of the French. This is not by any means the only report of these Kra-Dhan to be made to foreigners, and we have heard of similar entities in areas far to the west of Kontum. There would be nothing unexpected in reports of an unknown ape in this area, and I
personally would not be a bit surprised if someone told me of an alleged ABSM thereabouts; and for all the same old reasons—ample, unexplored montane forests; small and isolated human communities; and appropriate geographical position. But, the insistence on the "monkey" theme is novel.
Now, as we have said, there have been countless stories throughout the ages about tailed men. However, I know of only one case of a possible ABSM ever having been stated to have one. This is one of the most peculiar of all reports, and is unique in many respects. It happened right smack in the middle of what has now become virtually traditional ABSM territory—namely, on the main route to Katmandu, Nepal from the north. It is alleged to have taken place in June, 1953. Those involved were two Americans, Dr. George Moore (M.D.) and Dr. George K. Brooks, an entomologist. The former was Chief of the Public Health Division of the U.S. Operations Mission, under the Foreign Operations Administration, and was public health adviser to the Nepalese Government. Dr. Brooks was on his staff. Dr. Moore had been in the country 2 years. They were descending the Gosainkund Pass (of some 17,000 feet) on their way back to Katmandu, the capital, from a trip to the north, and had entered the upper montane forests, there mostly coniferous, leaving their pack-carrying porters far behind. There was a thick mist. But it is better that Dr. Moore tell the incident that then occurred in his own words. It goes:
Rounding a sharp turn in the trail, Brooks stopped abruptly. He leaned against a large rock to extract a leech which was on the point of disappearing over the edge of his boot. I stood there watching Brooks and fumbling for my pipe when an almost imperceptible movement in a clump of tall rhododendron caught my eye. Something had moved, I was sure. There it was again! This time, a few leaves rustled, more than mere chance could move. Brooks, sensing something was wrong, quickly forgot about his leech. Almost simultaneously we both slipped our revolvers out of their holsters. On our right the slope was dangerously steep. Behind us the slope climbed upward. There was a large boulder by the side of the
Suddenly, from in front of us a raucous scream pierced the air. Another followed from the right. The ghostly quality of the mist and the unreality of the situation had a nightmarish tinge.
"God!" Brooks whispered, "what was that?"
My spine was tingling in high gear now. I gripped my .38 S&W more firmly. About 20 feet away, somewhat in front of our rock, was the clump of rhododendron where the first scream had come from. We fastened our gaze on the leaves, trying to peer through them. Another scream broke the stillness. This time it seemed as though it was behind us.
"Brooks," I managed to whisper, "let's get on this rock in a hurry!"
Brooks did not need a second invitation. In an instant, we had scrambled on top of the massive boulder. From our new perch, we carefully searched in all directions for the next move. Our movements must have been closely watched, for a loud chattering immediately assailed us from the bushes in front. The angry chatter filled the raw air as new cries joined in the chorus from all sides. We were definitely surrounded.
Brooks muttered, "Oh my God, how many of them are there? And what are they?"
We got some idea of what was there when a hideous face thrust apart the wildly thrashing leaves and gaped at us. It was a face that I shall not long forget. Grayish skin, beetling black eyebrows, a mouth that seemed to extend from ear to ear and long, yellowish teeth were shattering enough. But those eyes … beady, yellow eyes that stared at us with obvious demoniacal cunning and anger. That face! Weird ideas were beginning to force their way into mind. Perhaps … but no … damn it … it has to be! This is the Abominable Snowman!
A chill sent gooseflesh along my back. The thought of these creatures had often been in my mind when we had trekked over the snows and high place. No European or American had ever proved the existence of the snowmen, although the natives certainly believed in them. Our boys had entertained us many an evening around the campfire with horror tales of the snow beasts, or "yeti," as they called them. They told how solitary travelers had been found torn to bits in the vast reaches of the mountains; how huge footprints had been found leading away from the murders. A few Sherpas had even met the monsters face to face and lived to tell the tale. We considered these accounts unlikely "hill stories," although I admit now they had left us somewhat uneasy.
A hand pushed through the leaves. Then, a quick movement and a shoulder. There, before us, appeared the semblance of a body. Sweat was visible on Brooks' face now as we crouched lower, hugging the rock for what it was worth. My hands looked white in the semi-darkness.
As the creature emerged through the dark leaves, we strained to make out his form. I felt blind panic start through me. Then I stopped. "Balls of fire," I thought, "I've got to get a grip on myself."
The creature was about 5 feet tall, half-crouching on two thin hairy legs, leering at us in undisguised fury. Claws—or hands—seemed dark, perhaps black, while his bedraggled, hairy body was gray and thin. It shuffled along with a stoop the way a neolithic cave man might have walked. Well-built and sinewy, it could prove to be the most formidable opponent. Teeth bared, it snarled like an animal. Two long fangs protruded from its upper lip … Suddenly, a sharp flicking movement behind it caught our eyes.
"George! A tail! Look there," Brooks cried.
A thousand thoughts raced through my mind at once.
"Well, Brooks," I replied, "this thing could be the Abominable Snowman but it also could be an ape … a langur ape, perhaps."
Truthfully, I was more concerned with survival than identification. The band of animals was certainly aggressive, giving every indication that they meant to destroy us. But I couldn't help thinking about the creatures themselves. They didn't look like the common langur monkeys I'd seen in India. At the same time they had apelike characteristics. Scientific possibilities crowded their way into my mind even as I checked my revolver for the attack. Higher altitudes, less minerals in the water could produce less hair. Lack of heavy timber in the high regions, which would make climbing ability relatively valueless, could produce an erect species. Mutations—the methods by which new species are created—have occurred, and are constantly observable in laboratories. Variations within a single species over a period of time can produce animals greatly different from the parent strain. I had no time to share these thoughts with Brooks. The best I could mumble was an unsteady, "Get ready."
Other figures were approaching now from several directions. We could make out 6 or 7 of them through the mist. One appeared to be carrying a baby around its neck. They seemed to mean business as they growled at each other. The one that had pushed through the foliage first was the leader. There was little question as to his authority as he led the attack.
"Okay, George, you say when," he replied softly.
We sighted carefully through the fog and waited until the repulsive faces were about 10 feet away. We squeezed the triggers almost together. The blast swirled the fog in front of us. Splinters of wood and torn leaves fell through the foliage. The creatures stopped abruptly.
The original account, which appeared in the magazine Sports Afield, May, 1957, concludes with quite a long passage relating the purely human reactions on the part of the author, his companion, and their Sherpa porters. It is indicated that the latter seem to have assumed that they had met some Yetis—the general Nepalese term now used by the Press—and they were greatly relieved that their employers had not been harmed. However, they did not resort to any exaggerated expressions and, it seems to me at least, they were singularly lacking in observations of any kind. In fact, I have an impression that they were somewhat mystified, and perhaps even unbelieving, but too polite to so comment. The account and the locale do not jibe with anything said by any natives of ABSMs on either count.
This is one of the most factual reports we have of anything [be it of ABSMs or not] to come out of Nepal as we shall most abundantly see in the next chapter. Moreover, it was made by a highly trained medical man, a person of all classes of educated men least likely to panic in face of bodily abnormality, and who must also have had some training in comparative anatomy if nothing else. Also, it occurred at less than 11,000 feet so that there cannot be any accusation of mental fatigue producing illusions that can be brought on by very high altitude and rarefied air if one is not acclimatized to them. In addition, the teller had a witness of equally high mental caliber and training. Moreover, if they had wanted to turn the creatures they saw into the traditional "abominable snowman,"
[of the giant or Dzu-Teh, the bestial or Meh-Teh, or even of the little forest Teh-lma, variety] they could quite well have done so, simply by neglecting to mention the tails. Tails just don't fit onto ABSMs.
There are also some extremely pertinent remarks in this account that have not, as far as I know, been commented upon nor even perhaps noticed. The first, is the very definite statement that their eyes were bright yellow. Not much is known or recorded about the color of wild animals' eyes, and quite a number of the stuffed specimens in our great museums have completely the wrong colored irises. One of my duties when I was a collector was to record the colors of the eyes of the animals. No ape has a yellow eye: they all have dark brown eyes; though I have seen an abnormal chimp with pale gray eyes. Many monkeys, on the other hand, do have bright yellow eyes—in fact, this color is rather common among them and it seems to go with lighter coat color. Some of the Langurs have yellow eyes, as do also at least two of their African relatives among the Mangabeys (Cercocebus) .
Pertinent to this story also, is that I was once "attacked" by a large band of Red-topped Mangabeys (C. torquatus), in a mist, on the ground, in an upper montane forest, in West Africa. I say "attacked" advisedly because they ran at me threateningly—and particularly the big males, one of which I was forced to kill and which proved to be the all-time record in length for that species [its skin and skull are in the British Museum]. As I could not run away [which I admit is my natural instinct and invariable practice in face of any such danger], due to the density of the lower-level forest growth under which I had to wriggle along on my stomach, it was manifest that this action was not concerted or carried through. The one I shot did come most alarmingly close and was screaming and grimacing at me, and showing its very long yellow fanglike canine teeth. When it stood up on its hind legs, it seemed almost to be looking at me eye for eye, and I thought it was actually going to jump me. When I shot it, the others just renewed their howling, and they kept this up for about 10 minutes while rushing at me in simulated onslaught. Eventually
[paragraph continues] I just went away, backward on my stomach, and left them.
Another point that Dr. Moore makes is the thinness of the animals' legs. This is a monkey feature, as is also the slimness of their bodies when they stand up. But most significant of all is that he says that "One appeared to be carrying a baby around its neck." This is an odd one. Young baboons and macaques at first hang under their mothers' bodies—they being quadrupedal—but they later ride astride their mothers' hind backs, holding on to her back fur. Almost all other monkeys carry their young in their crooked forearms or in one arm, but some of the Lutongs (Trachypithecus) —very near relatives of the Langurs or Semnopithecines—wrap them around their necks like feather boas or mink scarfs, and especially when they descend to the ground.
The whole attitude of the creatures in this story seems, indeed, to savor much more of a kind of monkey than of an ape or sub-hominid. As of now, I class them as such, but with reservations. Yet, monkey or not, I feel that the report is the truth and that we have therefore to be keenly on the lookout for the interjection of "evidence" presented for the existence of some ABSMs in this area being the result of the existence of giant monkeys. It is clearly manifest that these creatures, and such as the Kra-Dhan, actually have nothing to do with ABSMs. They, like the local bears, are just another side issue, and a complication. And this brings up the next of our problems in this mixed-up area. This is the known fauna. The trouble here is that none of the people who have been to the Himalayas seem ever to have known anything of what is known of the mammalian fauna of the region, while most of those who really do know that fauna are few and far between; either in museums or zoos in Europe or America, and almost none have ever been near the Himalayas. There is thus a most appalling muddle as to just what mammals do live there and which don't.
The worst confusion is over the bears. There are representatives of three genera of bears actually known to live in the Himalayas—the Himalayan or Moon Bear (Selenarctos), black with a white V-collar; the Sloth-Bear (Melursus), a
strange aberrant type with a long nose, which eats mostly insects and honey; and the Brown or Dish-faced Bears (Ursus). Of the last, three species, sub-species, or races distinguished by color, have been recorded. These have been called the Red Bear, the Blue Bear, and the Isabelline Bear. There is an appalling muddle over the scientific names of these, apart from the Red Bear, which everybody agrees is not red and is simply a local variety of Ursus arctos, the Brown Bear of the rest of Eurasia. There is a name, Ursus isabellinus, which was once bestowed upon an almost white specimen of Brown Bear from the Karakoram, but which was jauntily and popularly called the "Snow Bear." Later, bluish-gray pelted specimens appeared from other localities and were either so called, or named Ursus pruinosus or Ursus arctos pruinosus. Some were creamy, others almost white, but most were gray. Nobody today is prepared or can say just how many races of Brown Bears there are in the Himalaya range of mountains, nor what their exact ranges are; whether they are full species, sub-species, or merely races; nor even whether they breed true. In other words, this "Isabelline Bear" is a lovely bogey to be waved at people who are not only not specialists in zoology, but particularly not specialists in mammals—and Oriental mammals at that! In my opinion the thing is a myth, just like our North American so-called "Grizzly Bear" which is and can be any Dish-faced Bear [as opposed to one of our Black Bears] that happens to have a grizzled pelage. One almost white specimen of a bear was killed in Tibet, and immediately called an Isabelline Bear but turned out to be an albino Himalayan Black (Selenarctos) not a Brown Bear (Ursus) at all.
But this is not all. While most bears can stand up on their hind legs for brief periods and can wobble along for a short distance on two legs, they happen to have a certain most peculiar feature. This has already been most ably demonstrated by Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, and is that all bears are pigeon-toed and thus leave tracks that look as if they were bipedal, but walked with their feet put on backward. The toes point a little inward, the heels outward; in men, it is the other way, except for the Amerinds and some others who often walk
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MAP X. EAST AND SOUTH ORIENTALIA
MAP X. EAST AND SOUTH ORIENTALIA
absolutely straight ahead. Apart from this, nobody, and least of all a "native," could ever mistake a bear's track, or print, for that of a man, and even more especially that of an "abominable snowman." In bears, the middle toe is the longest, the outer one the largest; they leave claw marks in any material into which they sink lower than the hairline on their feet. Finally, they cannot go on their hind legs on anything but level, unencumbered ground, and even then, only for short distances. Bear tracks have been mistaken for ABSM tracks but ABSM tracks have never been mistaken for bear tracks. Bears as an explanation of ABSM tracks, have also been brought up in North, Central, and South America, and in Malaya and Sumatra where species of bears do exist. However, they have not, of course, been able to be used in Ethiopian Africa where this group of animals has never been found or reported. (See Appendix B for tracks.) When it comes to animals that could possibly be the origin of Himalayan ABSM reports, the bears are not alone. However, all other kinds of animals so far suggested as being the true origin of ABSMs are absolutely ridiculous. Several have been suggested, such as Langur Monkeys of the species Semnopithecus entellus, which happens to be a purely Indian form, the Giant Panda,
wolves, the snow-leopard, and even large birds! But when it comes to candidates for scalps and hairs, the list is very much greater. [I append a list of the larger mammals found in that area and in Tibet as Appendix D.]
In leaving the Indo-Chinese province we omitted to stress one point; this was, simply, that its northern part is a meeting place of three outstanding ABSM areas. Each of these appear to have different indigenous kinds. These are of the usual four main forms—namely, a giant, a Meh-Teh, a human type, and a pigmy. There is evidence of a very manlike, man-sized one in the south, as we have seen (vide: in Malaya); to the north in the eastern end of Tibet and the eastern Eurasian area generally there is a very large one, the Dzu-Teh, Tok, Kung-Lu, or bearlike Gin-Sung, Mountain Man of the Chinese; in the west [that is to say in the Himalayas themselves] there are two kinds; first there is the little 4-foot tall Teh-lma of the lower montane forests; and secondly, the heavy-set Meh-Teh (the original Abominable Snowman) with a conical head, and very large and widely separated first and second toes, which often treks over snow-covered passes from one valley to another. The giant, with almost human-type feet, is not found in the Himalayas nor along the Tibetan barrier but is confined to the mountains between Tibet, China, and Burma.
242:* This "Thunderface" turned out to be a North American "Indian" by the name of Chief Michael Joseph Thunderface, a graduate of the California Mission College, of 19211 He had gone to the Orient as part owner of a small circus that had disbanded, and he had settled down in this Burmese village and in time been elected chief.
242:† The village of Kensi is now called Kawmyo and is near the Thai border. It is noted for its Naga (the King Cobra snake) worship attended only by priestesses.