The Biggest Yeti Of All?
Bernard Heuvelmans, one of the most important figures within the field of cryptozoology, said that during the course of his research into the Yeti of the Himalayas, he learned of no less than three distinct kinds of creature that roamed the vast mountains. “This opinion,” said Heuvelmans, in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals, “was confirmed in 1957 by a Tibetan lama called Punyabayra, high priest of the monastery at Budnath, who spent four months in the high mountains and brought back the surprising but valuable information that the Tibetan mountain people knew three kinds of snowmen.”
There was the rimi, a man-beast of close to three meters in height that lived in the Barun Khola valley, in eastern Nepal, and which was specifically omnivorous. Then there was the rackshi bompo, a beast of roughly human proportions, and which Heuvelmans said “must be the Sherpas’ reddish yeh-teh or mi-teh which leaves the footprints 20 to 23 cm long that the Daily Mail expedition…found in such quantity.” Finally, there was the imposing and terrifying Nyalmo. Heuvelmans came straight to the point: “The nyalmo are real giants, between 4 and 5 m high, with enormous conical heads.” He continued: “They wander in parties among the eternal snows above 4000m. In such empty country it is hardly surprising that they should be carnivorous and even man-eating.”
Heuvelmans asked of the Nyalmo: “Do they really exist, or are they just a myth?” He admitted to having heard of accounts of Yetis with feet around 45 to 60 cm in length, but was careful to qualify this by stating that: “…the evidence is far too slender for us to draw any satisfactory conclusions. Possibly the nyalmo are an invented addition based on the belief that yetis increase in size the higher you go.”
Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman says: “When [Sir Edmund] Hillary went to the Himalayas to look for the Yeti, he and his collaborator, journalist Desmond Doig, noted that there were several unknown primates said to be there still undiscovered in any formal way. Among the varieties was one called the ‘Nyalmo.’ Hillary and Doig learned of the Nyalmo in north-central Nepal. It was said to be ‘giant-sized (up to twenty feet tall), manlike, hairy, and given to shaking giant pine trees in trials of strength while other Nyalmos sit around and clap their hands.’”
The matter of the curious behavior of the Nyalmos – to which Coleman refers – was most graphically told by one Jean Marques-Riviere. It was in 1937 that the details of Marques-Riviere’s account first surfaced, one that was eagerly picked up on by Bernard Heuvelmans. According to Marques-Riviere, he had occasion to speak with an Indian pilgrim who personally encountered a group of Nyalmo in the wilds of Nepal. Crypto Journal describes the extraordinary encounter in a fashion that suggests the beasts have a high degree of intelligence and may even have some form of spiritual belief-system:
“The creatures were standing as they formed a circle and were chanting, as if they were doing a religious ritual or something of that sort. One of the Yeti-like creatures was enthusiastically beating a hollow trunk of a tree, like a man hitting his drums to create some music. The others continued their ‘chants,’ but their faces seemed to be filled with a sad expression. With this sight, the adventurers thought that the creatures acted like typical persons and that they should not be feared. But eventually, fears set in due to the creatures’ massive build, they decided to walk away stealthily to avoid conflict.”
What may very well have been a description of the huge, and reportedly extremely dangerous and violent, Nyalmo came from Charles Stonor, who embarked on a quest for the truth of the Yeti in December 1953, an expedition that was organized and funded by the British Daily Mail newspaper. While in Darjeeling, Stonor was told of a creature known as the Thloh-Mung that, with hindsight, may very well have been the Nyalmo.
The story told to Stonor went like this: “Long ago there was a beast in our mountains, known to our forefathers as the Thloh-Mung, meaning in our language Mountain Savage. Its cunning and ferocity were so great as to be a match for anyone who encountered it. It could always outwit our Lepcha hunters, with their bows and arrows. The Thloh-Mung was said to live alone, or with a very few of its kind; and it went sometimes on the ground, and sometimes in the trees. It was found only in the higher mountains of our country. Although it was made very like a man, it was covered with long, dark hair, and was more intelligent than a monkey, as well as being larger.”
It seems that, to a significant degree, the beasts were fighting for their very survival: “The people became more in number, the forest and wild country less; and the Thloh-Mung disappeared. But many people say they are still to be found in the mountains of Nepal, away to the west, where the Sherpa people call them the Yeti.”