MOUNT EVEREST BASE CAMP, Nepal – Here in the foothills of the massive Himalayas lurks the legend of the Yeti, the local version of the famed Abominable Snowman: Asia’s answer to Bigfoot.
This writer’s search for “Yeti” – derived from the Tibetan term “ne te,” or “man bear” – began in Kathmandu, at the Swayambhunath stupa or “All Seeing Eye.”
The All Seeing Eye at the Swayambhunath Temple overlooking Kathmandu.
Swayamb-hunath is a world unto itself, a mythological religious shrine built over 2,500 years ago. Beneath four eyes that look in every direction, hundreds of monkeys, many carrying babies, ran, climbed and swung to and fro while keeping a wary eye on the pilgrims milling about. The smell of burning incense filled the air, along with the sound of chanting monks and eerie music playing ancient mantras on high-tech CD players from a well-hidden sound system. Hindus wearing tikas on their heads made prayer offerings to their gods.
Scores of pigeons fluttered about as they took flight, as though carrying the prayers of the faithful off to heaven. Children followed their parents in various rituals before retiring for quiet and orderly picnics.
Escorting WorldNetDaily were two guides: the first, Ram, a rugged Sherpa; the second, Ram’s German Shepherd, “Willy.”
A monk at the All Seeing Eye poses with a toy Yeti.
Dogs are valued in Hindu culture, though held in contempt in the Islamic world. To Hindus, dogs are almost universally accepted as the gatekeepers of Yama, the lord of the underworld and death. On special holy days, many dogs are arrayed with tikas on their foreheads and wear strands of garland around their necks.
A 30-ish monk offered advice about how to search for the Yeti.
“If you want to find the Abominable, you must begin your search at the Khumjung Monestary,” he said. “It is there that you will find the scalp of the Yeti and many stories about him.”
Actually, the Yeti scalp at Khumjung, investigated by the famed Sir Edmund Hillary, was found to be made up of 200-year-old goat hair.
“Fear will paralyze you,” the monk said. “Exercise caution in looking for the Abominable.”
Tales of the Yeti
Nepal is only about 5,500 square miles, 500 miles east to west and 100 miles north to south, yet it is seemingly filled with enough Abominable Snowman stories to fill every nook and cranny of the globe.
The monk mentioned that his own father had seen the Abominable Snowman near the Nuptse Glacier at 17,000 feet. There, while his father slept in what he believed to be the Yeti’s cave, the creature reportedly returned in the middle of the night and startled him.
Pieter Kaudelka a German guide who has led 99 expeditions into the Himalayas and Nepal, told WorldNetDaily that the legend of the Yeti is popular with older Nepalese.
“The younger generation doesn’t believe in the Yeti all that much,” he said. “But the older generation … well, let’s just say this: If you tell the older Nepalese that you don’t believe in the Yeti, you won’t make many friends.”
Nepal visitor and financial auditor Sean O’Brien, who hails from the Bigfoot country of Oregon, told WorldNetDaily that he was less than enthusiastic about the possibilities of the Yeti’s existence.
“We haven’t discovered any really large mammals in a long time,” he said. “So I really doubt the Abominable Snowman exists.”
O’Brien’s view was countered by Bob Charette, an American Indian from Montana, former U.S. Special Forces operator and School of the Americas alumnus.
“The Yeti is a big deal with the American Indians,” Charette told WorldNetDaily.
“We call him The Ruugaru. Yes, he is indeed real and has been seen many times. He will not hurt us. He is a messenger, really. It is said he allows himself to be seen during times of trouble or deep struggle for the people. It is also said he and others like him enter and exit by way of caves or other entrances to the Earth and have a vast network of underground passages throughout the Earth.”
With the Maoist rebellion scaring away tourists, the Abominable has increased in stature as a means to lure back leery travelers to Nepal. Nepal Airlines’ Boeing jets feature a picture of the Abominable. There is even a new airline called Yeti Air.
In fact, the Nepal Tourism Board recently debuted as a spokesman Reinhold Messner, the famous Italian mountaineer who claims to have seen the Abominable Snowman and wrote a book about it. Messner was the star attraction at the recent tourism fair in Stuttgart, Germany, which drew almost a quarter of a million people. Messner carries significant clout as a member of both the European Parliament in Strasbourg and in Brussels.
Everyone in Nepal, it seems, has a story about the Yeti. Ram claims that one of his “dead relatives” had seen the Yeti. He cautioned that there were several types of Yeti that preyed on yaks, and they were sometimes mistaken for large bears.
Local farmers in the village of Newar spun a tale about the Yeti while drinking jaand, a kind of Sherpa rice beer, and sitting around a large fireplace.
Ram interpreted the story into English for WorldNetDaily.
“A few years back,” Ram began. “A Nepalese madam of the Tamang tribe had come all the way from Bombay on a helicopter to select new girls for her lucrative prostitution ring. The madam was flying around to various towns in the foothills of Nepal.
“She wore diamonds and gold, other jewels. She had returned several very attractive Newar girls, who had been long-presumed dead.”
Ram explained that the madam has come back to this Newar village to organize an audition for new talent in the world of prostitution, sort of a female parallel to the Gurkha recruitment conducted by the British army here.
“The madam knew this was a good place to recruit pretty young girls ready to go away with her. In this village, the boys go away to boarding schools. Only the very young and the older generation live here. Most girls go to work in larger cities in Nepal.”
Ram continued interpreting the story told by an old Newar man.
“One day, all the girls dressed up and surrounded the madam’s house. The helicopter pilot was waiting to ferry the prettiest back to Kathmandu. … But just then, the Abominable Snowman came out from behind some thick trees and bushes. He began waving his arms and crying out. The girls screamed and ran away.”
Then Ram and the old man telling the story began to wave their arms around wildly.
“The Yeti menaced the helicopter pilot, who then flew off without the madam!” Ram said in English, while those sitting around the fireplace clapped wildly, hugged their small children and teen-aged daughters and then made a toast to the Abominable.
Later, Ram explained that the Sherpa culture is filled with many myths made to convey a higher meaning about reality.
(This writer had heard the same story last August from a Gurkha soldier while attending jungle training with the British army in Belize, but in that version, the Yeti carried off the madam into the woods.)
“The Yeti is good, he helps people, you see,” Ram told WorldNetDaily. “He is like Jesus. Only you don’t get to eat the Yeti; the Yeti gets to eat you – if you are bad.”
In the end, the Yeti hunter is left with more questions than answers. What is the Abominable? A missing link to the past to be embraced by our society, so obsessed with technology? Or an object of worship for people who feel something is missing in their lives and who long for ghost stories and other mysteries?