Yeti – The Hunt For The Wildman!

The Yeti or Abominable Snowman (Nepali: हिममानव, lit. “mountain man”) is an ape-like cryptid taller than an average human that is said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal 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.

The scientific community generally regards the Yeti as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence, but it remains one of the most famous creatures of cryptozoology. Analysis of samples associated with claimed yetis found a sequence of mitochondrial DNA that matched a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Norway, that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago.

Etymology and alternate names

The word Yeti is derived from Tibetan: གཡའ་དྲེད་, Wylie: g.ya’ dred, ZYPY: Yachê), a compound of the words Tibetan: གཡའ་, Wylie: g.ya’, ZYPY: ya “rocky”, “rocky place” and (Tibetan: དྲེད་, Wylie: dred, ZYPY: chê) “bear”. Pranavananda states that the words “ti”, “te” and “teh” are derived from the spoken word ‘tre’ (spelled “dred”), Tibetan for bear, with the ‘r’ so softly pronounced as to be almost inaudible, thus making it “te” or “teh”.

Other terms used by Himalayan peoples do not translate exactly the same, but refer to legendary and indigenous wildlife:

Michê (Tibetan: མི་དྲེད་, Wylie: mi dred, ZYPY: Michê) translates as “man-bear”.
Dzu-teh — ‘dzu’ translates as “cattle” and the full meaning translates as “cattle bear”, referring to the Himalayan brown bear.
Migoi or Mi-go (Tibetan: མི་རྒོད་, Wylie: mi rgod, ZYPY: Migö/Mirgö) translates as “wild man”.
Bun Manchi – Nepali for “jungle man” that is used outside Sherpa communities where yeti is the common name.
Mirka — another name for “wild-man”. Local legend holds that “anyone who sees one dies or is killed”. The latter is taken from a written statement by Frank Smythe’s sherpas in 1937.
Kang Admi — “Snow Man”.

The “Abominable Snowman”

The appellation “Abominable Snowman” was coined in 1921, the same year Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury led the joint Alpine Club and Royal Geographical Society “Everest Reconnaissance Expedition” which he chronicled in Mount Everest The Reconnaissance, 1921. In the book, Howard-Bury includes an account of crossing the “Lhakpa-la” at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) where he found footprints that he believed “were probably caused by a large ‘loping’ grey wolf, which in the soft snow formed double tracks rather like a those of a bare-footed man”. He adds that his Sherpa guides “at once volunteered that the tracks must be that of ‘The Wild Man of the Snows’, to which they gave the name ‘metoh-kangmi'”. “Metoh” translates as “man-bear” and “Kang-mi” translates as “snowman”.

Confusion exists between Howard-Bury’s recitation of the term “metoh-kangmi” and the term used in Bill Tilman’s book Mount Everest, 1938 where Tilman had used the words “metch”, which does not exist in the Tibetan language, and “kangmi” when relating the coining of the term “Abominable Snowman”. Further evidence of “metch” being a misnomer is provided by Tibetan language authority Professor David Snellgrove from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London (ca. 1956), who dismissed the word “metch” as impossible, because the consonants “t-c-h” cannot be conjoined in the Tibetan language.” Documentation suggests that the term “metch-kangmi” is derived from one source (from the year 1921). It has been suggested that “metch” is simply a misspelling of “metoh”.

The use of “Abominable Snowman” began when Henry Newman, a longtime contributor to The Statesman in Calcutta, writing under the pen name “Kim”, interviewed the porters of the “Everest Reconnaissance expedition” on their return to Darjeeling. Newman mistranslated the word “metoh” as “filthy”, substituting the term “abominable”, perhaps out of artistic license. As author Bill Tilman recounts, “[Newman] wrote long after in a letter to The Times: The whole story seemed such a joyous creation I sent it to one or two newspapers'”.

About Andrew

Co-founder & lead investigator of Paranormal Encounters. I've experienced the paranormal all my life, having encountered ghosts, angels and demons. I live in a haunted house and when not exploring and researching the unknown, I enjoy single malt Scotch whisky & potato chips (though not necessarily at the same time).