Thursday, September 1, 2011


I always knew I was going to be rich and famous... Just like you all did too... But I tell you what... I really will be rich and famous when I grow up... Because now not only do I have a dream, I also have found the way to realise that dream.

You see, in ancient tribes, boys need to go through a rite of passage to be accepted as grown men. If you are a Masai, you would need to stalk and kill a lion; in Vanuatu you would need to jump off a high platform with nothing but vines tied to your ankles... Land-diving they call it and it’s the mother-god of all bungee jumps. In ancient Scandinavia I’m told they had to find a woman, which isn’t easy in those snowy wastes (and it is rumoured that desperate snow-blinded men have oft en mistaken a polar bear for one), chase her down, sling her over one’s back and run back to the village before the woman’s tribe catches up. Too bad if you picked a bear though.... In those ancient worlds, that was the only way to sow the oats and watch the fields grow and prosper. Anyway, even without any lion hunting or bear slinging, my farms are doing just fine, thank you but a man’s got to be a man at times. And since it’s about time I got some acceptance... as a man to begin with and then as a full grown one to boot, I have chosen my rite of passage.

But before I tell you more, here’s a brief backstory...

The year was 1938 and a British officer with a French name (yes that happened in those inbred imperialistic times) was lost in the upper Himalayas. The snow was white... The sun was bright and soon the poor guy lost all sense and sight. Lost weak and blind, Captain d’ Auvergne stumbled and tumbled down the icy slopes into what he thought was sure death but what he would today, were he alive, describe to you as two big strong hairy arms of God. Well, no he wouldn’t really call themthe arms of God but they were definitely God-sent... Those arms were the arms of what he swore was a female yeti-the abominable snow woman if you will. The Yeti, about 8 feet tall, he claimed, nursed him back to health and once he was fit enough to return, he was free to go. She didn’t want to eat him, or keep him in return. And nor did she want his babies (the last bit is a pertinent point for many Yeti accounts by local travellers speak of male Yetis abducting young women for heaven knows what end).

Captain d’Auvergne’s account of his Yeti encounter has always been my favourite cryptozoological bedtime story. Somehow, the other accounts of Yetis kidnapping girls and bringing down yaks with one massive blow didn’t seem to fit in with the picture I had of the bamboo chewing gentle giant.

Yeti legends are as old as the mountains perhaps. The people of these high reaches have come to accept the Yeti as an unpredictable and reclusive neighbour. Mothers would tell their children to behave themselves or else the Yeti might come and take them away. Sometimes a Yeti in the woods or high up above the tree-line would let out a helpful whoo-hoo just then and the kids would close their eyes and huddle up close to mom and turn into little chubby cheeked angels, at least for a while.

So what is this Yeti? The locals say it is a large ape-like creature, about 8-13 feet tall. It has long reddish brown hair and is an incredibly powerful creature with a conical head and ape like features. European travellers have also seen what they thought was a Yeti but most expeditions in search of the elusive snowman, including one by Sir Edmund Hillary and one by the greatest mountaineer of them all, the redoubtable Reinhold Messner yielded nothing conclusive. Sceptics say it must have been a brown bear, or perhaps the Tibetan blue bear... Others say that what a certain eye-witness saw must have been a mountain hermit or a large monkey. What has added fuel to the dismissive fire has been the discovery that a lot of hitherto well-known Yeti relics turned out to be hoaxes. Where are the bones?’ Why aren’t there any pictures they ask...

And what do these doubting Thomases and Janes have to do with my rite of passage into the lives of the rich and famous? Well, I am going to prove the naysayers wrong, find the Yeti, write a million copy best seller about the expedition and its success and show the world conclusive proof of the fact that the Yeti exists.

What’s that? Why am I so convinced about finding the Yeti, you ask?

...because I know it’s there! And hush... If you come in a little closer I’ll tell you why.... You see, the Yeti isn’t a snowman or a mythical beast at all but a very real beast called Gigantopithecus and it is waiting for me to rediscover it up on an unnamed mountain.

How do I know it’s there? Didn’t Gigantopithecus disappear in the deep sea of extinction a few hundred thousand years ago?

Well those are all answers for another week. Meanwhile, I’ve got to run... Have an expedition to plan... A man to become...


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