It's one thing to see a strange creature roaming around in the wilds. It's even more amazing to see one up close and personal. But, what about coming across one when it's fast asleep? What? Yep! I doubt that such a thing has happened on many occasions. But, it has occurred at least once. It's a story that the late Professor Boris Porshnev came across and chronicled in his research - much of which was focused on the possibility that Neanderthals might have continued to live into at least the 1970s. I say the 1970s, because Porshnev died in 1972 and, of course, his work came to its end. With that said, onto the story itself, which is undeniably amazing. He said: "In 1934 [B.M.] Zdorick [a geologist] accompanied by his guide was making his way through a narrow path among a growth of wild oats on a little alpine plateau at about 8000 feet altitude between the Darwaz Ridge [a district in Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan] and the eastern reaches of the Peter the First Range. Unexpectedly the path leveled off and one could see how the grass was trampled on, the ground giving evidence that someone was digging around. There were splotches of blood on the path and remains of a gopher's skin. Just a little way from Zdorick and his guide, on a mound of freshly upturned earth, was a creature, asleep on his belly, fully stretched out."
The amazing story continued: "He was about a meter and a half in length (approximately 4 feet 10 inches). The head and the forward limbs could not be seen because they were hidden by a growth of wild oats. The legs, however, could be seen. They had black naked soles, and were too long and graceful to have belonged to a bear; his back was also too flat to be a bear’s. The whole body of this animal was covered with fur, more like the fur of a yak, than the rich fur of a bear. The color of the fur was a grayish-brown, somewhat more prominent brown than a bear’s. One could see the sides of the creature moving rhythmically in his sleep. The fear that took possession of the guide transmitted itself to Zdorick and they both turned around and ran for their life, scrambling and falling in the tall, wild grass."
There was more to come: "On the following day Zdorick learned from the local residents, who were much alarmed by the news, that he came across a sleeping 'dev.'The local residents used another word in naming the creature, and Zdorick had the impression that they were using the word 'dev' just for him, so that he could understand better. The local residents ventured the information that in valleys of Talbar and Saffedar there were a few families of these 'devs'—men, women and children. They were considered like beasts, and no supernatural power was ascribed to them. They cause no harm to the people, or their stock, but meeting them is considered a bad omen. The geologist was very much surprised to hear that the 'dev' was listed as an animal, and not a supernatural creature. He was told that the 'dev' looked like a short stocky man, walking on two hind legs, and that his head and body were covered with short grayish fur. In the Sanglakh region the ‘dev’ is seen very rarely, but they do roam about, either singly, or in pairs—male and female."
Could this really have been a case of two people - totally against all the odds - coming across a surviving creature from a time long gone? Or, of a creature completely unknown? If either scenario was correct, then there had to have been more of them. How many? That's an intriguing question. There would surely have to have been entire groups of them - which is even more incredible. And, finally, it begs the most important question of all: could that group of whatever-they-were still be hiding out somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan?