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A Very Bizzare and Harrowing Yeti Encounter

A very pervasive fixture of the world of mysterious beasts is certainly that of the Yeti, of the Himalayas, often called the Abominable Snowman, that hulking brute of the mountains. It is also one of the most notably elusive and shy creatures of cryptozoology, but this does not always seem to be the case. One obscure and seemingly mostly forgotten Yeti account is also at the same time one of the more peculiar, spectacular, and frightening indeed. It appears within the pages of the May 1957 issue of the publication Sports Afield, and was written by an American medical doctor George Moore. In the article, titled I Met the Abominable Snowman (A True Story), Moore relates a rather harrowing and terrifying encounter he supposedly personally had with the Yeti while on an expedition to Nepal in June of 1953, along with an entomologist, Dr. George K. Brooks. Moore was at the time in the country as a public health advisor to the Nepalese government with the Public Health Division of the U.S. Operations Mission. Up to that point he had been living in Nepal for 2 years in this capacity, and his duties often required him to make treks to isolated and remote villages far removed from civilization, making him a sort of cross between a doctor and Indiana Jones. Here we begin a story of adventure, exotic locales, and what seems to be a very angry group of Abominable Snowmen.

On this occasion Moore was on such an assignment, investigating an outbreak of typhus in the rugged, mountainous region of the Tibetan border. Moore and Brooks had successfully completed their mission and were on their way back to Kathmandu with a contingent of Sherpa guides and porters along the perilous Gosainkund Pass, made even more harrowing in that there was an ominous storm brewing that was threatening to hit them at any moment. This is a frigid, forbidding land of steep drops into mist shrouded windswept gorges, slippery, jagged rocks, treacherous cliffs, and soaring peaks that sweep up into the clouds, yet with the thick gray storm approaching they went as fast as was possible. It was apparently getting rather dire, the storm very menacing in its approach, of which Moore would say, “Black skies, torrents of rain and foggy slippery trails on the sides of the mountains obviously held no love the Himalayan intruders such as we.” Through a blanket of heavy fog and slashing rain, the two doctors quickly made their way to a forested area, in their haste to beat the storm outpacing the Sherpas and leaving them some distance behind. Moore would say of this:

Brooks, as we called him and I pushed as hard and as fast as we dared. Abrasive soled boots and six-foot balancing poles cut from the timber enabled us to make excellent time on the ribbon of web mud. It was not long before we had left the coolies (Sherpas) far behind. Not even their cries and shouts could be heard. The forest was deathly still. Fog banks, raw and cold drifted through the tall pines and left their boughs dripping and wet.

Nepal Himalayas

This forest held its own perils, as there were hungry leeches everywhere, crawling over their boots and relentlessly latching onto their legs faster than they could pull them off, which only fueled their drive to get out of that forsaken place as fast as possible. It was as they made their way through this morass of fog, leeches, and wet, slippery terrain that things would get bizarre. Moore writes:

Rounding a sharp turn in the trail, Brooks stopped abruptly. He leaned against a large rock to extract a leech which was on the point of disappearing over the edge of his boot. I stood there watching Brooks and fumbling for my pipe when an almost imperceptible movement in a clump of tall rhododendron caught my eye. Something had moved, I was sure. There it was again! This time, a few leaves rustled, more than mere chance could move. Brooks, sensing something was wrong, quickly forgot about his leech. Almost simultaneously we both slipped our revolvers out of their holsters. On our right the slope was dangerously steep. Behind us the slope climbed upward. There was a large boulder by the side of the trail and we eased over to it, glad for the protection from the rear it afforded. We waited, tense and expectant. The stillness was awesome. The fog and mist seemed to form weird shapes writhing and twisting through the dense foliage.

As the two men peered into the murky foliage, they were startled by a burst of short, high pitched screams, which they innately knew were not from a human, nor from any wildlife they were familiar with. This was followed by a staccato, outlandish chattering that seemed to erupt from all around them, which caused them to scramble up a pile of boulders for safety. From atop this perch they once again scanned the foggy, ethereal landscape around them trying to figure out what was making that raucous commotion and how many of them there were. The forest seemed alive with screams, shrieks, barks, and that incessant chattering, and that was when they finally got a look at what they were dealing with, and Moore would explain of what they saw:

We got some idea of what was there when a hideous face thrust apart the wildly thrashing leaves and gaped at us. I shall not long forget the faces. Grayish skin, beetle black eyebrows, a mouth that seemed to extend from ear to ear and long yellowish teeth were nerve shattering enough. But those eyes, beady, yellow eyes that stared at us with obvious demoniacal cunning and anger. That face! Weird ideas were beginning to force their way into mind. Perhaps, but no, damn it, it has to be! This was the abominable snowman!

The creature was about 5 feet in height, covered in scraggly grayish hair, with thin, scrawny legs and muscular and powerful looking arms. Most unusually of all was that Moore would claim that it had what he believed to be a tail flicking behind it, which made him think it might be some sort of large, langur monkey but he couldn’t be sure. Whatever it was seemed to be very angry and aggressive, baring its teeth and snarling wildly, and the two terrified men could soon see that there were at least six others lurking in the soupy mist beyond, one of them allegedly with a baby around its neck. The group of creatures all began growling and whooping as the first one, which they took to be the leader, rushed forward in a threatening manner. With such a display of raw aggression, the two doctors now genuinely feared for their lives, and brought their pistols up in anticipation of an attack. They were not sure if firing upon them would kill them or merely anger them further, so it was decided that they would fire some warning shots over their heads to try and scare them away. Moore writes of this:

We sighted carefully through the fog and waited until the repulsive faces were about ten feet away. We squeezed the triggers almost together. The blast swirled in the fog in front of us. Splinters of wood and torn leaves fell through the foliage. The creatures stopped abruptly. A deathly, fearsome silence pervaded the darkening air. “Let’s give them another one, Brooks,” I shouted, more confident now. The second volley resounded and we were definitely reassured. A third round this time convinced the demons. They turned, howling like wounded coyotes, and fled into the thicket. The excited chattering from the gray gloom told us however, that they had not gone far.

The weird beasts were obviously still out there, warier now but still circling and pacing about restlessly out in the wilderness. Moore and Brooks knew they couldn’t risk getting off those boulders, and so they sat back to wait for the Sherpas, knuckles white from gripping their pistols and the darkness of evening slowly descending like a veil. They could see the creatures scampering about out there in the fog, occasionally venturing forth from the fog wreathed trees like something in a nightmare to scowl at them before scurrying back into the murk. For his part Moore was convinced that they were communicating with each other in those alien chattering exchanges, and that they were planning to attack under the cover of night. He says of this:

The chattering and snarling from the thicket came only intermittently now. I tried to guess the leader’s plan. Was he waiting for reinforcements? No. Not likely. There couldn’t be too many of them in these hills and this no doubt was the entire pack. Planning to attack? This was more reasonable. No doubt they would hit us in one mad rush. Yes, a single massed attack at the time of their choosing. They would certainly wait until dark at any rate. Damn those coolies! Where were they?

 

The chattering around us was growing noticeably louder. Sudden loud and urgent growls portended something new in the offing. “Brooks, this is it. Shoot to kill this time and pray.” I remember giving him one last look. We had met in Kathmandu only the year before. Already he had become a friend that I could know forever. I cocked the .38 and waited. “George” Brooks whispered excitedly – “They’ve stopped talking.” An uncanny and eerie silence pervaded the air. What was happening? I raised myself a bit higher on the rock. If they were crawling in for the attack, we had to make every shot count. In the bad light a .38 would not be a very effective weapon, and they wouldn’t be afraid this time. But not a movement was discernible. Not a sound could be heard.

Illustration from Sports Afield

Just as they were about to open fire in a final blaze of glory they heard new sounds from the trees, and from the fog emerged the party of Sherpas. Those strange ape-like beasts were now gone, having melted away back into the mists, and it would turn out that the Sherpas had not seen them but were certain that they had been the Yeti. Moore would spend some amount of time in Nepal after that, although he would never see anything like those creatures again, leaving him to try and figure out what they could have been. It was a conundrum that he spent a good amount of time turning over in his mind, trying to pick away at these questions as surely as they had picked those leeches off of their skin. Moore would conclude of his amazing ordeal:

What was it that we saw? A mutant species that man has not yet categorized? Some kind of ape; large, erect, adapted to the high altitudes; made antisocial by its self-imposed isolation, jealous of any invasion of its realm? Perhaps. Or was it an entirely new species? An undiscovered animal? A leftover remnant of prehistoric day? A creature clever enough to elude the curiosity of man, inhabiting an area still almost wholly unpenetrated by even the Sherpas who seldom stray from the time worn trails?

 

From 1816 to 1951 the country of Nepal for all intent and purpose was close to the outside world. Even today only a handful of outsiders have explored but a tiny portion of this land. Yet it was this handful – more interested in climbing mountains than foraging for new species that brought back tales and evidence of a mysterious creature they call the yeti. One thing is certain. Whatever science will some day discover it to be, the creature humankind has called the abominable snowman is there in the Himalayan heights. I know. I met it there on the pilgrim trail from Tarke Ghyang.

What was it, indeed. For the most part, the description, especially the presence of the tail, definitely sounds like a primate of some sort. It had also been suggested that this could have been one of the several species of bears native to the region. However, not all of the details seem to fully fit. With no other details other than what are in this quite spectacular account, it is hard to really reach a hard and fast conclusion. What we can say for sure that the author of the article wrote this in all earnestness, and was a very well-educated man who had been all through the wilds of this faraway realm of mountains and ice. It is highly unlikely he just made this all up, and so we are left to wonder just what was going on here. In the end, although it is a mostly forgotten report, it is nevertheless one of the wildest obscure Yeti accounts out there.