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In the folklore of Nepal, the Yeti (/ˈjɛti/) or Abominable Snowman (Nepali: हिममानव himamānav, lit. "snow man") is an ape-like entity, taller than an average human, that is said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology. Stories of the Yeti first emerged as a facet of Western popular culture in the 19th century.

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Different legends are existent throughout today in this modern world, most of which came from ancient cultures or third world country legends. Some can even come from hallucinations or mistaking something for another. Across the Himalayas one would most likely hear the stories of the Yeti, or its most recognized name, the Abominable Snowman. The Yeti may perhaps be indeed be real because of the amount of sightings locals and tourists have, as well as the prehistoric evidence that is known about the region of the Himalayas. There is also the possibility that it does exist because of the similarities the Yeti shares with other known mythological creatures such as the popular Bigfoot that roams North America. The possibility of a Yeti existing to this day does seem unreal, but there are an abundance of scientific evidence as well as eyewitness reports that can help prove that it is more than just an urban legend. The Himalayas is a mountain range that stretches from Pakistan to Southwestern China, and crosses Northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Northern Myanmar. Due to the Himalayas’ high altitude and distance of around 1,500 miles, it does hold the possibility of a Yeti living on the mountains as much of the areas is still left unexplored. However even though the Himalayas cover across several countries, it is Nepal in particular that contains most of the legends of the Yeti. Rakshasa, the name for the Yeti in Sanskrit in Nepal, was mostly viewed as a demon for the locals. Rakshasa in Sanskrit literally means demon and based on the legends in Nepal, many locals of the region are terrified to come across one (Lindesman). Stories of the Rakshasa have existed since 4 BCE, and references of the Yeti are found in a poem called “Rama and Sita,” a well-known Hindu poem in Nepal. Nepal in particular has had more sightings than any other country the Himalayas touch, and sightings of the mythical creature has been occurring since 1832 (Lindesman). The Yeti goes by several names and each has its own meaning depending on the location. Yeti itself means magical creature in Tibetan, and to them it was a creature of both natural existence and spiritual existence as it was said to be a protector of the region (Lindesman). The Yeti has also been called the “Meh-teh” by the Sherpa people of Nepal, and means man bear or the wild man (Yeti: What is the Yeti?). Sightings of the Yeti has proved that there are three different types of species of the Yeti. The three species; Rimi, Nyalmot, and the Raksi-Bombo all exist within Nepal, and share the same features except for their size (Lindesman). Each species differs from one another by an estimate of a foot and the color of the hair. The Yeti is thought to have reddish hair or on the rare side, sometimes gray (Radford, Life’s Little Mysteries). The Yeti also has a strong odor that smells terrible and has a very profound strength, so strong that it is said that they were able to throw boulders as if they were pebbles (Lindesman). A whistling sound and sometimes a roar sounding like a lion is also believed to be the sound a Yeti makes. However the strangest characteristic of all is that according to the locals, it is rumored that the Yeti is attracted to very strong alcoholic drinks (Lindesman). The Yeti ranges from seven to ten feet tall, and walks bipedal. It is also believed that the Yeti can weigh between 200 to 400 pounds and appears very muscular (Yeti: What is the Yeti?). According to the 1951 expedition of the Himalayas, the team found footprints of a foot with five toes and the inner toes being the larger toes as opposed to the so called big toe of humans. The tracks they found were very fresh and it showed that these footprints had very flat heels and were very broad. According to the expedition, the footprints they had measured between 33 cm by 45 cm in size on a track on the Menlung Glacier between Tibet and Nepal (Lindesman). There were an abundance of evidence that helps support proving the Yeti’s existence. The most famous one is Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition with the Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay. On their trip they had seen fresh footprints that did resemble an ape, and upon returning from the trip Hillary brings back an upper half of a skull of a supposed Yeti from the Khumjung Gompa Monastery in Nepal where it was held as a relic (Lindesman). Another famous piece of evidence is the photograph of Yeti footprints in the snow of 1951. The photos were taken by Eric Shipton and after examining the photos, his photos of the evidence had been proved that it couldn’t have been faked and were authentic. Other sightings included the 1832 sighting where a large upright walking creature was walking in Northern Nepal, and in 1921, Sherpa guides described unknown animal tracks that were seen on the mountain (Yeti: What is the Yeti?). There was also an interview conducted with a local family who lives in the region of the Himalays where frequent Yeti sightings occur. Gerry the host interviews a Sherpa family in Nepal and speaks to Dawit. According to the Sherpa family, hearing the Yeti can cause you harm and fear. It is a very powerful supernatural creature. Dawit’s grandfather who was seen the Yeti many times before coming to the United States claims that they gorilla he’d seen in the Harlem Zoo resembled the Yeti. He even thought that they had captured the Yeti itself (National Geographic). Research has shown that there are no known giant apes living today in the Himalayas, but all these stories and descriptions of the yeti somehow resemble the Gigantophitecus. The gigantophitecus is a descendant of a race of giant apes that had lived in the Himalayas around 300 to 500 thousand years ago (Lindesman). It is possible that perhaps there may be a species related to this ancient ape living today and has not been discovered. There had been other studies and theories conducted to proving its existence. One being that the legends of Bigfoot coexist with the Yeti. As with the sightings of Bigfoot, their descriptions of both having large upright bodies with bad odor and similar color of hair may perhaps be the effect of migration of species such as how different species of elephants can exist in both Africa and parts of India and Southeast Asia. This migration of species may have happened across continents when all the landmasses were once connected (Yeti: What is the Yeti?). The Yeti is a creature of both natural being and spiritual being in the world. It is also viewed as both a protector as well as a monster and demon. It shares similarities with other legendary apes such as Bigfoot and they both may as well be a new species of gigantophitecus in modern day. The Himalays may well be hiding the legendary Yeti since it is a vast stretch of mountains where most of its regions had not been explored yet. Sightings and logical theories also help prove that there is a Yeti or at least a large ape-like creature whose existence is very rare. This so called Asian version of the Bigfoot has set its foot in legends and now perhaps is very real.   Works Cited Lindemans, Micha F. "Yeti." Yeti. MMIX Encyclopedia Mythica, 3 Mar. 1997. Web. 13 June 2013. . "National Geographic Society." Interview by Gerry. National Geographic Channel. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2013. . Radford, Benjamin. "Russians Claim 'Indisputable Proof' of Yeti." Life's Little Mysteries (2011): n. pag., 11 Oct. 2011. Web. 14 June 2013. . "Yeti: What Is the Yeti?" Yeti: What Is the Yeti? N.p., n.d. Web. 13 June 2013. .

Contributed by Jayr Villarama

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