Monday, 7 May 2012

The Yeti of Pakistan. 2. Eyewitnesses

    Dr Magraner next provided details of three eye-witness reports. The sightings are so explicit, and at such close range, it is hard to see how any mistake could have been made.
Addendum: I have since discovered a fuller report, and have translated several more testimonies here.

Testimony No. 2
    Data from Purdum Khan, 52, Chitrali shepherd, collected 25/1/88.
    ...In September 1977, Purdum Khan was a shepherd watching over his goats towards the summit of the mountain, at an altitude of 3400 – 3500 metres [11,100 to 11,500 ft], sitting on a rock in the middle of a meadow. It was between 15 and 16 hours [3 and 4 o'clock], and the weather was sunny. Suddenly, a stench attracted his attention towards the lower part of the terrain, an odour resembling that of “a dog or a cat which had been run over three days ago”, according to his expression. The shepherd then noticed a hairy man, three or four metres below him. He remained there, to observe it for two hours, silently, the hairy man being unable to either see or sense him. The shepherd was unafraid because he had already held tell of such beings, and he had his axe with him for defence, if need be. Even if it were the first time, it was normal for him to see a hairy man, and it was out of curiosity that he decided to observe it. The being in question was a young adult male, of medium height (ie for the region, between 1.70 m and 1.75 m) [5ft 7in to 5ft 9in]. It was sitting “like a Muslim” and was eating ant larvae and nymphs, which it was taking between two fingers, the thumb and index. It was in full sunlight, its musculature and thoracic cage being well developed. The overall appearance was of a man, the body being covered with long hair (8 to 10 cm) [3 to 4 in], of a dark maroon brown in colour. It wasn't wearing any clothing. The hairs on its head were long; its face was broad “like that of a Tajik” (an ethnic group frequently with a Mongoloid head), the cheekbones protruding; it had a sort of beard, and only the cheeks, the nasal area, and around the eyes were hairless. The nose was broad and squashed in “like that of a Chinaman”, the nostrils clearly visible. The superaciliary arches were well developed, broad and prominent, the eyes similar to those of a man, of a dark colour. The ears were of human appearance, but hairy. The forehead was absent and the neck very short. The mouth was big, without apparent lips, with teeth resembling a man's, but more massive. The chin was poorly developed and hairy. The arms and legs were rather long, but more muscular than in a man. In contrast, the hands and feet were very broad, with the palms and soles hairless, and the upper surfaces hairy. The nails, similar to those of a man, on both hands and feet were about two and a half centimetres [one inch] long. To be precise, the fingers were long and the feet very broad in relation to a man's. The penis had an enormous erection, “like a donkey's” (referring, however, to the local donkey, which measures a metre [3 ft 3 in] at the withers). When the hairy man moved on, it walked upright like a man, the thoracic cage in front, the feet turned inwards. The colour of the skin, visible through the hairs, was dark “like that of a Gujar” (an ethnic group with very brown skin). At the approach of a large dog, the hairy man departed straight down the slope, in the direction of the forest.

Testimony No. 12
    Data from Lal Khan, Gujar shepherd, aged 55, collected 22/04/88 and completed 30/01/90.
    ....Our witness has seen a hairy man three times, in August 1985, 1986 and 1987. In 1987, Lal Khan led out his goats to pasture. Towards 1300 hours, is was driving them across a slope opening out onto a meadow at 3450 metres [11,300 ft] altitude. Some goats, by coughing, awoke a hairy man who was lying at the foot of a large spruce. The tree, backed up against some rocks, formed a shelter with the lower branches descending to the ground. The shepherd saw the hairy man leave his shelter. Somewhat frightened at seeing the man, the being in question threw a stone at him, then turned on his heels and calmly crossed the meadow with the aid of a stick held in his left hand. It headed towards the summit and disappeared under a crest. The hairy man halted from time to time in its walk to gather vegetables and eat them. It made a long detour to follow the contours of the ground. The observation lasted more than ten minutes; the frightened shepherd gathered together his goats and made them go back down.
    In 1985 and 1986 the witness noticed the same individual in this same area but at a greater distance. At each encounter the same scenario occurred: the shepherd noticed the hairy man, who moved away slowly with the aid of a stick, while he himself being scared, took his goats back down.
    In 1987, it was the first time that he saw it so close (10 yards) and that the hairy man threw a stone at him.
The witness described it as like a strong, very hairy man; a heavy pelage over the whole of the body, except for the cheek bones, the palms of the hand, the knees and the ears. It had a beard, short hair on the head, very broad shoulders, and massive teeth, without fangs. The body hair was dark except on the chest, where it was white...
Iconographic indicators chosen: Homo pongoides, but with dark skin and short head hair.

Testimony No. 22
Data from Ata ul Llah, 6 and Abdul Hafiz, 14, Chitralis, collected 01/06/90.
... On 24 May 1990 towards 10.30 in the morning, three children, two boys and a girl, were playing close to a canal bordering the village situated at about 2,000 metres of altitude. It was fine. The girl was the first to see a hairy woman; scared, she hid behind a rock. The two boys noticed the presence of the hairy woman when she was already at their level. She was coming from the mountain. She headed towards the younger of the boys, threw him to the ground with a blow of her hand, and then seized him. The other boy, terrified, went down towards the village and rejoined the girl. They saw the hairy woman flee towards the mountain with the little boy, aged four years and named Gul Naz. The other two children, terrified and no knowing who this character was, did not dare to say anything at first. The boy did not return home, and sought refuge in a neighbouring garden. His father, towards midday, not seeing them return, began a search and finished by finding him cowering in the garden, still under the influence of fear. The father questioned him and the child began to recount the story. The parents alerted the village.
    Footprints of a great size where found close to the canal. At first, after the descriptions of the boy, who said that the stranger had dark skin, the villagers thought that it was a Gujar nomad. A beat of a thousand odd people was organized in the mountain. In vain; they found neither Gujar nor missing child. They concluded that it had been a “Pâri" (spirit) who had carried off the child. Three days later, a group of men located with binoculars some blue clothing at the foot of the rocks. One of them went up and found the missing boy, dead on a rock. Death had been recent, dating about half an hour beforehand; blood was flowing from a hole in the left temple and from another on the left cheek. The child was wearing only his shirt; the shoes and pants had disappeared. The body bore no trace of any other wounds or of ill treatment. They buried him, and the matter was sorted out: it had been the work of a spirit, there was nothing more to be done. The villagers did not even alert the police who, in any case, would not have come out over the death of a young child. To our surprise, they gave us the following explanation: in a society where infant mortality is significant, the death of a child, furthermore one killed by a spirit, is accepted with resignation. The closest police station is many kilometres away, and no-one, in a period of agricultural work, would have accepted wasting time in a useless enquiry, because of spirit. Indeed, when we had separately interrogated the child witnesses, the boy then the girl, it became quite clear that it was treated as nothing more than a spirit, in the proper sense of the term. The girl, who was older than the boy, and had a better view of the scene, gave us a very interesting description with the aid of her childish vocabulary.
    The being in question was 1.65 to 1.70 metres [5ft 5 in to 5 ft 7 in] in height. Its skin and the long hair of its head were dark. It wore a “big coat” and “big boots” of hair like that of a goat (the district possesses a long haired breed), also dark coloured. The face was large and frightening. Then she added that it turned out to be a woman because she had two enormous breasts which came out of the “coat”. It seemed curious to us that someone would walk around under the June sun in a fur coat and boots. Furthermore, nobody here possesses a similar outfit, even for winter. It was quite clear that the little girl, with these words, was describing the pelage of a hairy man. The answers of children to the questionnaire serve to confirm the identity of the being in question ...
    ... as for the footprints, two or three days before our arrival, it had rained, and the imprints had been wiped out. The descriptions made by the villagers mentioned a foot 23 to 25 centimetres [9 to 10 in] long by 12 to 14 centimetres [4.7 to 5.5 in] wide. These proportions are compatible with the height of the hairy woman.
Iconographic indicators chosen: separately, the two children instantly chose the Homo pongoides, in signalling the presence of breasts and the dark colour of the skin.
    In regard to the story itself, it is not easy to find reasons which possessed the hairy woman to act like that. Personally, I lean towards the following explanation: the hairy woman had no doubt just lost her own child and, desperate, had been attracted by the cries of the children playing; her maternal instinct set itself on one of them; she kidnapped the smallest one and carried it off as a replacement of her own. The child, at the end of a certain period, succeeded in getting away or was abandoned for one reason or another by the hairy woman. In seeking to regain the village by crossing the rocks, the young boy had a fatal fall. I think that it is less probable that the hairy woman killed him, bearing in mind the circumstances of the discovery of the body. This point of view is shared by the villagers themselves, who recognized that the mortal wounds on the child were caused by a fall. This case of maternal instinct is neither novel nor exceptional; we have numerous examples of it among animals, wild or domestic. It is therefore possible that it would turn up in a being quite close to us (as is a hairy woman).
    The last section of Magraner's report is a two page spreadsheet listing 20 sightings and 7 sets of footprints against a list of 63 characters. There is not enough space to include the entire table on a blog. However, it is possible to record the overall picture, at the sacrifice of information on the individual.
Footprints: These were apparently examined personally by Magraner and his assistant, for he was able to provide measurements of both length and breadth. One of these sets of footprints apparently came with a handprint, because the description of the hand is also included.
    One footprint was judged to have belonged to a child, as it measured 15 by 10 cm [6 x 4 in, equivalent to a human being 3ft 4 in high].
    The measurements of the others, in centimetres, were: 26.5 x 15, 30 x 19, 30 x 20, and 26/27 x 15 (3 cases). These represent lengths of 10.2 to 12 inches, and widths of 6 to 8 inches, corresponding to heights of 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 8 in. The feet are broader than human feet – at least those which have been confined to shoes since childhood.
Sex: 2 individuals were judged to have been female, apparently on the basis of the presence of long breasts. The other 18 were judged to have been males, but in only 9 of these was the penis noticed. It is more likely, in my opinion, that the female's breasts are enlarged only when they are lactating, as is the case in other non-human primates.
Height: The estimated height ranged from 165 cm [5ft 5 in] to 180 cm [5 ft 11 in]. There does not appear to have been any difference between the sexes.
Descriptive Characters: We now move to the table of 63 characters, not all of which could be ascertained for each individual, presumably due to distance and duration of the sighting. In the following list, the first figure is the number in which the character was present, and the second the number in which its presence or absence could be ascertained.
1.   Abundant hair over the whole surface of the body – 20/20
2.   Skin visible through the pelage (as with the apes) – 10/10
3.   Face naked (without beard or moustache) – 16/16
4.   Eye-brows poorly developed – 4/6
5.   Little hairs dotted over the face – 2/2 (poorly developed in one of them)
6.   Long hair on the back of the head – 20/20
7.   Hair reduced on the knees – 6/6
8.   Skin dark in colour – 17/18
9.   Massive head, the front well developed – 17/17
10. Head elongated front to back – 10/10
11. Extremely receding forehead – 9/9
12. Superciliary arcades very prominent – 10/10
13. Eyes extremely wide apart – 10/10
14. Dark or brown eyes – 7/7
15. Cheek bones jutting laterally a great deal – 10/10
16. Pointed ears – 3/7
17. Earlobe elongated – 3/4
18. Nose extremely broad – 10/11
19. Nose extremely turned up - 12/12
20. Large nostrils opening forward – 12/12
21. Absence of labio-nasal fissure – 3/3
22. Mouth widely split – 10/10
23. Absence of lips – 7/7
24. Extremely wide and powerful teeth – 7/7
25. Protruding jaws forming a flat muzzle – 10/10
26. Lower jaw narrow, rounded and massive – 9/9
27. Chin reduced or absent – 6/6
28. Attitude bent forward – 11/17
     (a) Seated – 2
     (b) Standing up at rest – 4
     (c) Walking or running on the flat – 3
     (d) Walking or running going down – 1+, 3-
     (e) Walking or running going up - 3+, 4-
     (f) Walking or running horizontally on a slope – 1+, 1-
     (g) Standing in a posture of observation or defence - 2-
29. Head retreating into the shoulders – 17/18
30. Nape of the neck powerful and developed – 16/16
31. Back extremely hunched – 13/15
32. Shoulders very broad – 18/18
33. Thorax quasi-cylindrical with a keeled chest – 18/18
34. Trunk very elongated – 15/16
35. Upper limbs long – 17/17
36. Forearm short in relation to the arm – 7/7
37. Hand extremely big – 15/15 [Characters 37 – 40 include a hand print]
38. Hand rather broad – 16/16
39. Fingers very long – 15/15
40. Thumb long, slender, and spread – 9/9
41. Thumb weakly opposable – 2/2
42. Fingernails narrow and arched – 6/6
43. Lower limbs short – 12/14
44. Legs twisted or bowed-legged – 16/17
45. Calf short in relation to the thigh – 7/7
46. Foot short – 18/18 [includes 7 footprints]
47. Foot extremely broad – 24/25 [ditto]
48. Toes splayed out (axis passing between toes II and III) – 14/14 [ditto]
49. Toes hooked – 10/10 [includes 4 footprints]
50. Big toe quite spread out – 14/14 [includes 7 footprints]
51. Toes of more or less equal size – 11/11 [includes 4 footprints]
52. Little toe bent inwards – 3/3 [only on footprints]
53.Toenails narrow and arched – 6/6
54. Feet turned inwards – 16/16
55. Hairy goitre or sort of beard – 12/15
56. Absence of fangs – 7/7
57. Human appearance – 27/27
58. Bipedal – 27/27
59. Long breasts – 2/20
60. Colour of body hair – dark 7, black 1, reddish 1, brown/dark – 1, reddish/black 1, beige/clear 1, brown/grey 1, brown/reddish 1, beige reddish 1, reddish clear 1
61. Odour – weak and disagreeable 3
62. Size of penis – large erection 1, small 8 [It was not easy to interpret the symbols on the table.]
63. Length of eye-lashes – long (one case)

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The Possum Book

I am pleased to provide a link to a website of a friend of mine, Robyn Tracey, who has written a fascinating story about her dealings with brush-tailed possums in the outer suburbs of Sydney. You can download the book for free, or read it on the site. Go to: The Possum Book.