Posts from 16th October 2005

16
Oct 05

The Top 23 Unexplained Phenomena No.17 – Yetis

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The Yeti is another quite explicable inexplicable phenomena: either it doesn’t exist, or it’s probably a bear. But unlike some of the other notables of cryptozoology, like the quite blatantly non-existing Nessie, the Yeti is tantalisingly plausible. No special powers are claimed for it – it’s just a big man-like biped. It is not described as particularly fierce or savage, just large. It lives in a region of the world which Westerners don’t know terribly well, and its legend is rooted in local folklore, not just foreign misunderstanding. If anything ‘unknown’ is going to turn up now, the Yeti has to be a prime candidate.

Not that I think it’s going to. But as Harry Thompson says in his excellent book about Tintin, if it did, it would surely look a bit like the ‘Migou’ in Tintin In Tibet, a shaggy, fear-inspiring but ultimately kind and harmless ape-creature of the Himalayas. I can’t pretend that this book – Herge’s most personal and in some ways quite a slow-moving read – sparked a lifelong interest in Yetis in me but it does still intrigue as a credible and sympathetic portrayal of the probably fantastic.