Ancient Mysteries Unexplained Abominable Snowmen

Abominable Snowmen

Abominable Snowmen
Catalog # SKU3884
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Ivan T. Sanderson
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


Abominable Snowmen:
Legend Come To Life

The Story of Sub-Humans
on Five Continents
from the Early Ice Age
Until Today

Ivan T. Sanderson

The possible existence of the Yeti, Sasquatch, and other Abominable Snowman forms has long been a point of conjecture among travelers, naturalists, and scientists. While most of this evidence is circumstantial and inconclusive as yet, it provides a tantalizing mystery filled with enough interest and promise to warrant the attention of both serious students and casual readers.



In this book, Ivan T. Sanderson summarizes current world evidence regarding ABSMs (abominable snowmen), drawing from records and reports that are world-wide in scope and cover a broad period of time. For completeness he discusses all prevailing views, both pro and con, ranging from highly plausible accounts to reports that border on the absurd. The result is as thorough an evaluation of all known ABSM sightings as could possibly be compiled at this time.

My own approach to the ABSM problem was one of extreme skepticism. Three years ago I dismissed all such evidence as either hoax or legend, and in hopes of a confirmation of this viewpoint served as coordinator of laboratory research for several "abominable snowman" expeditions into the Himalayas. Today my skepticism is somewhat shaken, and I accept as plausible, perhaps even probable, the existence of the Yeti in the Tibetan plateau and view with growing interest the "global" sightings of similar creatures.

Since my own research has been in connection with the Himalayan Yeti, I will restrict my comments to this area alone. If I accept the results of serological tests, analysis of faeces for content and parasites, examination of hair, hide, and tracks and evaluation of mummified Yeti shrine items, then I must support the existence of a large unknown animal, the Yeti, in the Himalayas. However, the following question once disturbed my acceptance of this conclusion. Is it possible for any large animal to be sought systematically for over a decade without a single specimen being captured or killed?

For an example bearing on this question, I return to the Tibetan plateau. Here in Western Szechwan, China, on the very edge of the Tibetan border, a large animal, the Giant Panda, was once hunted unsuccessfully for over seventy years before one was captured alive. This search proves that a large animal can exist yet elude the best efforts of professional collectors to secure one. The story behind this hunt is fascinating.

In 1869, Abbe Armand David, a noted French missionary, observed a strange bear-like skin in Szechwan province located on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. This skin, much like that of a modest-size black and white bear, was the first tangible proof that the Bei-Shung (white bear) of Szechwan did actually exist. Excitedly, Father David, a long-time naturalist and conservationist, traveled to this animal's reported habitat, a high mountain bamboo forest, and engaged local hunters to secure a living specimen. In twelve days they returned. The hunters had captured a living Giant Panda, but since the animal proved troublesome in traveling, it was dispatched to make transportation more convenient. Although Father David was disappointed that he had failed to secure a living animal, he shipped the remains to the Paris Museum, providing the first tangible evidence that the "legendary" Bei-Shung actually existed and could be caught in the Szechwan bamboo forests.

Captivated by such evidence, several scientific institutions supported field teams staffed by professional collectors. The world waited to see which of several well-equipped expeditions to Szechwan would capture the first living specimen. This was in 1869. By 1900 the world was still waiting. Scientific interest was great, for the once mythical Bei-Shung had been given the scientific name, Ailuropoda melanoleucus, and a separate family of its own. In spite of professional excitement, no new Giant Pandas were even seen until 1915, and no new remains were obtained until 1929 when two sons of President Roosevelt, Theodore, Jr., and Kermit, shot one out of a hollow pine tree. By this time most zoologists had decided that the Panda was extinct, so that the Roosevelt shot, while killing a Giant Panda, at the same time punctured several scientific egos.

Assured that the Giant Panda was not extinct, several new expeditions were outfitted. Each contributed to the threat of extinction by shooting Giant Pandas, but living animals still defied capture. In 1931 a specimen was shot for the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, and in 1934 another was killed for the American Museum of Natural History. Two other specimens were killed, one by Captain Brocklehurst in 1935 and the second by Quentin Young in 1936. In 1936 Floyd T. Smith managed to get a Giant Panda as far as Singapore before it died of natural causes. Finally, an inexperienced woman collector, Ruth Harkness, succeeded where the others had failed by capturing two live specimens, the first in 1937 and the second in 1938. Both animals survived the trans-Pacific trip and were sent to the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Within months the animals had captured the imagination of American youngsters, and stuffed Panda Bears are still considered a necessary part of college dormitory life.


In 1887, a major in the Medical Corps of the British Indian Army, Lawrence Austine Waddell, LL.D., C.B., C.I.E., F.L.S., F.A.I.-i.e. Doctor of Laws, Commander of the Bath, Commander of the Indian Empire, Fellow of the Linnean Society, Fellow of the Anthropological Institute-was meandering about in the eastern Himalayas doing what that rather remarkable breed of men were wont to do: that is, a bit of shooting, some subdued exploring, and a certain amount of "politicking." Like many others of his ilk, he wrote a somewhat uninspired and uninspiring book about it, uninspiringly named Among the Himalayas. The Major was a normal sort of chappie and a sportsman, but his hunting was not of the feverish ninety-one-gun-in-closet variety of today; quite the contrary, he would take a few birds of types he considered to be legitimate game for his pot or to keep his eye in for grouse-shoots on his next home-leave in Scotland, and he banged away at "tygarr" whenever the local natives could rustle one up. But he was not scrambling about the Himalayas primarily for what we nowadays call "sport." He was just puttering-that lost 19th-century British art-because he had some time off, and official sanction to make use of it as he would.

Despite the limited intelligence attributed to 19th-century British-Indian Army colonels, they were really a most remarkable breed-almost a mutation-for, from some hidden depths of their public-school educations, and the remoter recesses of their ancient family traditions, they dredged up a wealth of wisdom, and they often developed an extraordinarily keen interest in the world about them wherever they happened to land. Most of them were sort of mild philosophers; many turned out to be brilliant linguists and great scholars; and they were often both leaders of men and students of animal life. They have been grossly maligned by almost everybody, laughed at as super-Blimps, and neglected as historians. But if you will just read their maunderings carefully, you will garner therefrom a trove of both literary and factual gems.

Take this Major Waddell, for instance. While pounding over one of the unpleasanter bits of Sikkim, in vile weather, he came upon a set of tracks made by some creature walking on two legs and bare feet that, he says, went on and on, over the freezing snow, not only taking the line of least resistance at every turn but marking out a course in conformity with the easiest gradients that brought whoops of admiration even from the Major's mountain-born porters. He remarks almost casually upon this remarkable achievement and wonders vaguely not what manner of man, but what sort of creature could have made them, and why it should have decided to cross this awful pass in the first place. The Major did not realize when he penned this thought just what he was starting; though "starting" is perhaps not the exact word to describe his remarks, for what he recorded was already ancient history when Columbus sailed for the West Indies. It just so happens that, as far as popular recognition is concerned, his was one of the earliest mentions to appear in print in the English language, in what may be called modern times, of what has latterly become known as the "abominable snowman."

At that time nobody in what we now call the Western World paid the slightest attention to this extraordinary report -at least as far as we know. It just went into the record as a statement; for one could hardly, in that day and age, call any pronouncement on the part of anybody with such notable honors a lie, or even a "traveler's tale." It was therefore assumed that some religious chap must have preceded the gallant Major over that particular route and somehow managed not to die of frostbite, sun-blindness, or starvation; and it was remarked that he had done a dashed good job of negotiating the pass. There the matter rested.

Major Waddell's book was one of many written about the end of the last century when the Western World was complacently sure that it knew more or less everything about all countries, with the possible exceptions of Tibet and the holy city of Mecca which, it was then considered, were rather unsporting in that they did not welcome civilized Englishmen. All sorts of sporting gentry went wandering about the fringes of "The Empire" with rod and gun and later wrote about their experiences. Their effusions were read by both the previous and the upcoming generations of colonial pioneers, but by few others. What they said was not taken too seriously by the general, nonempire-building public. However, many of these gentry also submitted official reports on certain less publicized aspects of their activities to their superiors; and these were taken very seriously.

Unfortunately the great body of such reports are not published and many of them are either lost in some archive or truly lost forever. There are others that are still top-secret and unavailable, so that their very existence is often conjectural. Yet every now and then one stumbles upon such a report that is extremely tantalizing. Tracking down the original is a frightful chore and one of the most time-consuming and frustrating experiences. One is balked at every turn but not, I would stress, by any deliberate or organized defense on the part of authority. Official archives are preserved for the benefit of all and are open to inspection by all, and even the topmost secrets are in time released as mere historical dejecta. The trouble is simply that the original reporters, and more so those reported to, did not lay any store by or place any specific value on esoterica, or anything other than the primary matter at hand, which was often of a diplomatic or political nature, so that the items that interest us most were never indexed or catalogued. You just have to plow through mountains of material quite extraneous to your particular quarry and hope to stumble upon casual asides that are pertinent to it. But one does occasionally so stumble.

Now I should state, without further ado and quite frankly, that I am prejudiced in favor of official as opposed to any other form of reports and for the following reasons. In this country we do not, let's face it, have much respect for the law or its potential until we have recourse to it or it requires our submission. Until we have been on a witness stand, almost all of us believe that perjury-which is simply a legal term for lying in the law's presence-should be the easiest thing in the world, but even those of us who say that laws are made only to be broken, soon find that it is not. Few think twice about telling a fish story in the corner bar, but there are very few, even congenital idiots, who won't think before telling it in a court of law. When, therefore, somebody voluntarily makes an official statement, when there is no profit motive involved, I have always felt it reasonable to assume that it is quite likely true. The British happen to have a particular respect for their law, and British officialdom, despite what has been said about its colonial policies, has always been remarkably altruistic. British consuls and other officials just did not report a lot of rubbish to their service headquarters. Even paper was scarce in minor British outposts and the field officers did not clutter up essential reports with bizarre trivia unless they considered them to be of real import. We approach, therefore, the following official report with a certain quota of awe.

584 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover - Print size, 12 point font

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