May 17, 2019 I Nick Redfern

The Almasty: Russia’s Mysterious Creature

It should not come as a surprise to learn that the vast wildernesses, thick forests, and massive mountain ranges of Russia are home to Bigfoot-type beasts. They are known to the local folk as Almasty. For some researchers, the creatures are unknown apes. For others, they are nothing less than still-surviving pockets of Neanderthals. Both scenarios are amazing, in terms of their potential implications. But, whatever the true identity of the Almasty, there’s very little doubt that it exists. The sheer number of witness reports makes that very clear. The Almasty is a creature that has a long history attached to it, something which also adds to the likelihood of it being a genuine animal of very ancient proportions. What is very possibly the earliest report on record of the hairy, giant, Almasty came from one Hans Schiltenberger. In the 1400s, Schiltenberger was taken prisoner by Turkish forces and was, as David Hatcher-Childress notes, placed “in the retinue of a Mongol prince named Egidi.”

It transpires that upon his return to Europe in 1427, Schiltenberger began writing a book about his experiences with the Turks. It was a book that surfaced in 1430 and which is made highly notable by its reference to strange and savage creatures that Schiltenberger was told of, and which were said to live high in the Tien Shan Mountains of Mongolia, which border upon Russia. Schiltenberger’s translated words state: “The inhabitants say that beyond the mountains is the beginning of a wasteland which lies at the edge of the earth. No one can survive there because the desert is populated by so many snakes and tigers. In the mountains themselves live wild people, who have nothing in common with other human beings. A pelt covers the entire body of these creatures. Only the hands and face are free of hair. They run around in the hills like animals and eat foliage and grass and whatever else they can find. The lord of the territory made Egidi a present of a couple of forest people, a man and a woman. They had been caught in the wilderness, together with three untamed horses the size of asses and all sorts of other animals which are not found in German lands and which I cannot put a name to.”

Evidently, the creatures still exist: in August 2005, a Ukranian newspaper, Situation, described a then recent encounter with no less than an entire group of Almasty on the Demedzhi Plateau, in the Crimea. The newspaper reported that: “Ivan S., 21, and his group of 12 tourists were spending their second day camped on the plateau. The kids went to sleep early, while the adults stayed up a while. ‘The night was very bright with a full moon,’ reported Crimean ufologist Anton A. Anfalov.” Anfalov continued: “Ivan’s assistant, Sasha and several of the men left the campsite to use the bathroom and when they returned, they looked terrified and trembled with fear. It was then everyone heard a frightful growl near the camp.” Suddenly, the group was confronted by a pack of huge, approximately eight feet tall, “naked, hairy men.”

According to Sasha: “There were three creatures. And they were about six meters away from us. The hair humanoids were 2 to 2.5 meters in height. Their true height was hard to estimate because they were all crouched down and balancing themselves on their fists, like large apes. All three were growling at us. Their faces were very hairy, almost without wrinkles, and their eyes were not shiny at all. Their heads were set or positioned very low, as if they had no necks. On their backs they had something like humps on their spine. The creatures were very aggressive. Everyone was scared and the beasts’ growls awoke the children who became hysterical.”

Situation had more to say: “The standoff lasted for about 45 minutes. Finally the creatures turned and bounded away with strange ape-like bouncing leaps. The campers spent a sleepless night around their fire. In the morning Ivan and the others searched the ground around their camp, but due to a dense layer of fallen leaves the creatures didn’t leave any distinct prints.”

Moving on to 2009, in April of that year the Russian newspaper, Pravda, revealed – in an article titled Russian scientists use Google maps to find yeti – that there had been more than twenty sightings of Almasty by hunters in the forests of Kemerovo. Not only that, there were reports of strange, large footprints having been discovered in the depths of nearby caves: “Scientists found two identical yeti footprints. One of them was left on the rock and it dates back 5,000 years ago, and the other footprint which was left not long ago was found at the bottom of the cave.”

Pravda spoke with one of the unnamed scientists, who said: “They are absolutely identical. Five thousand years ago yetis settled down in this cave and now their descendants are still living here. The conditions in the cave are suitable for yeti. The cave defends them from rains, snow and wind. There is also a lake in the middle of the cave where yetis can find clean water.” The newspaper added: “Unfortunately, the scientists did not manage to see yetis that time. They say their snowmobiles were too noisy and yetis had to hide somewhere in the forests. However, the scientists say they managed to reach their main goal – they got the proof that yetis are living there. A new expedition to the site will be arranged this summer.” But that was not all, as Pravda made very clear: “Members of the Kosmopoisk association have returned from an expedition to Russia’s Kirov Region where they searched for a Bigfoot that allegedly lived in that region. Kosmopoisk leader Vadim Chernobrov says the expedition has discovered a den occupied by a mysterious giant and an underground passage dug obviously not by a human.”

Ivan Konovalov was a forest warden who, for thirty years, worked in the Kirov Region. He told of his 1985 encounter with an Almasty: “It was snowing on the day when I was walking along the fir wood and suddenly heard snap of twigs. I turned around and saw an awesome creature covered with dark hair that was much taller than me. It smelt strongly. The beast leant against a pine tree and started bending it down to the ground. The tree was rather thick, but it cracked under the creature’s burden. Then the creature started breaking the tree against the knee. Its hands were as thick and long as its legs. Quite of a sudden, the creature felt something and turned its ‘face’ to me. I saw two black eyes and the impression at the bottom of the eyes deeply impressed me. I still remember the look of the eyes. Then the creature flung the tree and quickly left. But I stood thunderstruck and could not move a finger.”

Hopefully, one day we will resolve the mystery of the Almasty.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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