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Shipton Yeti Created Cast: Keel’s Misstatement

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 9th, 2012


Careless errors seem to be often associated with the enigmatic Eric Shipton Yeti cast of 1951. (For more, please read the in-depth, detailed, referenced discussion, “A Short History of the Shipton Snowman Track Photographs and the Tchernezky Cast.”)

(Photo circa 1969: Richard T. Grybos.)

The replica often shown by researchers, which was modeled on the single track photograph, was not first produced in the field, but later.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest televised mistakes with one of these cast copies happened in 1980, when a replica was shown to David Letterman and grossly misidentified.

See the footage of this segment by clicking here. (I’ll place it below again, but it keeps disappearing from my posting, strangely.) Thanks Doug Skinner.

Just after the 5:00 minute mark, David Letterman holds up John Keel’s personal copy of this cast. Keel says it is a “Bigfoot” print “from New Jersey.” Letterman then reads that this cast he is showing is dedicated to Keel from “Uncle Lou and Bob.”

“Bob” was Robert Warth. “Uncle Lou” was Louis Weinstein. Both were friends of Ivan T. Sanderson, and involved in New Jersey investigations of local phenomena in their state, the site of the Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained (SITU) being in Blairstown.

Keel was performing on the Letterman Show in 1980, and got his facts terribly mixed up. But it is good to see this plaque, nevertheless.

The Keelian track reproduction is a replica of the Eric Shipton cast, made from the image of the alleged Abominable Snowman or Yeti footprint taken in 1951 in Nepal (shown in the photo above).

The Shipton imprint, as in a track-like impression at the International Cryptozoology Museum or in a comparable drawing, are often good learning tools.

The single track so often published (above) was found separately from the trackway (below) discovered by Michael Ward and Eric Shipton. Some have claimed debunkingly, that (1) the track is a prank created by Shipton (as famously detailed in Fortean Times #152, November 2001); (2) it is a melted human footprint; (3) it is multiple melted fox (species undetermined) feet imprints merged into a single “track”; (4) it is due to an ibex (Capra ibex); and/or (5) it was from a Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus). Of course, a skeptically open-minded option is that it is from an unknown hominoid referred to as a Yeti.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


2 Responses to “Shipton Yeti Created Cast: Keel’s Misstatement”

  1. Shelley responds:

    When I first saw this footprint at the top of this article, I thought “Yetis have the same kind of problems with their feet that I do!” Because this sure looks like the toes on one foot, although that one is the result of some podiatric surgery that didn’t work out. If these creatures are in fact related to humans, they could still have bunions and toes that spread apart with age. Most of the footprints retrieved show enviably good foot health, despite their extreme weight. Lucky fellow creatures!

  2. Jonathan Poulsen responds:

    What? David Letterman said that he thinks there is some missing link or Abominable Snowman in his interview with Keel, yet in a 1978 skit he claimed that Bigfoot was a scam.



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