Avdeev Snowman Photograph

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 9th, 2007

Russian Snowman

[The above photograph, first published in 1990 but making the rounds of European hominology sites this week of August 2007, may actually be one of the worst “Snowman” photographs I have ever seen. Either that or none of us know exactly what Snowpeople look like. – LC]

The Russian newspaper Volkhov reported in March 2006 about Nikolaj Avdeev’s field work in the southern Urals.1  According to the author Avdeev began his research in the Caucasus and in mid-Asia. Later he worked in the polar Urals. At the beginning of the 1980’s it was also claimed that the “Snowman” had been observed in the southern Urals: close to the village Novgorny, near to the city Sneshinsk.2

Avdeev left this village together with his colleague Sergej Shishkov in April 1990 to go on a search. Not far from Novgorny, they found scratch marks on trees that are typical for the “Snowman”. In the mountain range Zigalg, it is claimed that Sishkov became an eye witness. Avdeev described his own observation in this area with the following words: “On July 28, 1990, I went down the path and noticed a pile of branches. This hadn’t been there one day before. After I had gone 20 meters further, the pile flew apart and the Snowman appeared from it. He turned his head this way and that. I took my camera and this bent being with long, hanging arms came in my direction. I had wanted to meet him, but when I did see him, all I wanted to do was run away without turning around!”  Avdeev claims that he took a picture of this being while he had this chance. He collected hair that was hanging on the branches, and sent them, along with the photo, for examination to the “State Optical Institute” and the biological department of the St. Petersburg University.

The St. Petersburg biologist Valentin Sapunov judged the photo as follows: “On the photo, one can see a being similar to a human pictured with an estimated height of 2.5 meters. The being has a massive figure and well-defined muscles. The being is male, covered with hair, which was matted down, probably because of rain. Based on the height and proportions of the object, one can estimate that the being weighs 250-300 kilos.”3 By comparing the hair to those of apes, it was determined that the hair came from a being similar to humans.

Each year from 1993-2000, Avdeev pitched his tent from spring to fall on the mountain Nurgush (1200 meters), the highest peak of the Cheljabinsk province. There, in 1993, it is claimed that the “Snowman” came to his tent at night. Avdeev heard steps and that someone was beating against the tent. He took his hatchet and flashlight and went out, but didn’t see anyone. In the morning, he saw that the maps had been ripped over the tent.

Sometimes, Avdeev went with his wife. Once, it is claimed that the “Snowman” imitated Avdeevs voice, and called for Avdeev’s wife. She herself saw the “Snowman” when he was imitating Avdeev’s voice.

It is reported that he had a further encounter in September 1996. He heard someone beating against the tea pot, which was hanging in front of the tent over the camp fire. He shone his light outside the tent and saw footprints in the snow. Then he saw the being itself, five steps away: “The face was black, wrinkled, with a small nose and massive jaw. But the worst was the eyes: red and without expression.”  Avdeev and the being looked at each other for a moment, then the “Snowman” tried to “push away” the beam of light from the flashlight. Then he turned around and disappeared in the forest. According to the author the last time Avdeev saw the “Snowman” was in September 2003, between the mountain ranges Nurgush and Jagodny. It was raining. Avdeev sat at the edge of the forest. He saw a “Snowman” 40 meters away, “bouncing” as he walked on his toes.

1   Bershnaja, Irina. 2006. If one wants to believe. Volkhov, 12, March 22 (in Russian).
2   Novgorny village is about 40 miles northwest from Cheljabinsk city in the southern Urals
3   This photograph was published in Komsomol’skaja Pravda on October 27, 1990.

Source: Volkhov on Nikolaj Avdeev’s encounters in the Urals 1990-2003, August 6, 2007.

[But is the photograph being circulated in 2007 the correct 1990 photograph? – LC]

Various Russian media reported that in 1990 Avdeev was able to photograph the “Snowman”. This expedition lasted, according to Komsomol’skaja Pravda, the entire summer and a part of the fall. They worked in the mountainous area of the province Cheljabinsk (southwest Ural). Avdeev and Shishkov claim to have seen “…a manlike hairy being almost three meters tall.” there. Avdeev observed a hairy being, which came from a pile of asps. According to him, he was able to photograph it. The Soviet Central-TV reported in 1990 in the program Vremja (‘Time’) about this case and also showed the photo. In October of  the  same  year,  it  was published in Komsomol’skaja Pravda.  This black-and-white print (9 x 13 cm) shows a light figure similar to humans behind bare asps. One can differentiate a possible upper body and head. Details of the head or extremities are not able to be recognized. The area of the lower body is covered by asps.

Source: “On Nikolaj Avdeev’s expeditions in Western Siberia,” May 4, 2005.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman

Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015.

Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.


36 Responses to “Avdeev Snowman Photograph”

  1. Ouroborus Jay responds:

    *facepalm*

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    Urban dictionary: facepalm

    The act of dropping one’s face / forehead into one’s hand. Usually accompanied by a “thunk” or a cry of “D’oh!”

    Usually written between asteriks in online conversation, to demonstrate an action.

    Similar to *headdesk*

    Example: Today I locked my keys in my car. Again. *facepalm*

    Or in a cryptozoological sense:

    Tonight, I glanced at that Russian Snowman photograph for another sixty seconds. *facepalm*

  3. sasquatch responds:

    It’s a better costume than the one in the Six Million Dollar Man episode(s).

  4. kittenhuffer responds:

    I’ve seen better costumes mounted in front of gas stations along New Jersey’s back roads.

  5. twblack responds:

    This is not even a good try at a hoaxed pic.

  6. captiannemo responds:

    *headdesk*

  7. searoom responds:

    In that photo you can just see between the creatures legs. Since it is obviously not a female, where is the beasties “kit”? A penis would not always be obvious but with that photo angle a scrotum would certainly be dangling.

  8. Scott C. responds:

    I dunno… if you run an analysis alongside PG, the similarities are striking…

  9. Alton Higgins responds:

    This picture may have provided the inspiration for the bigfoot action toy. They look similar.

  10. mystery_man responds:

    That last story about the creature appearing from a pile of asps has to be one of the more bizarre accounts I have ever heard of. I assume they are talking about asps as in the snake and not a colloquialism for something else? That just makes absolutely no sense at all. Why would it be covered in asps like that? What sort of circumstances would…. ah I’ll just come out and be frank. It’s preposterous.

  11. dogu4 responds:

    If the reason we’d doubt its authenticity is merely because it doesn’t look like what some have come to expect, I’d suggest that, considering the wide diversity in the appearance of what so many presume to be BF’s closest relative, us; it’d be hasty to disregard this photo.

    Now, as to it’s just plain lookin’ fake, that might be true to some, but it’s really more a question of aesthetics and expectations, based on mostly second hand descriptions, but I seem to recall that the video taken along the pacific crest by who? Scott Herriott a while ago had a similar suggested appearance and not the prognathous crested, po’ed kong-like mountain ape I see in lots of imaginative renderings. There really is no survival advantage for a non-social animal to display emotion on its face all the time unless compelled to do so, as we humans usually do, and so some of the illustrations we see show the creature snarling or displaying a kind of look of astonishment which the witness recalls and describes and the artist captures it that way to be both accurate and true to the story of the event, though a candid photo wouldn’t capture that at all.

    Were this to be a prime sub-adult, why wouldn’t it looked kinda groomed? Not all descriptions have the creature as wild and hairy as some have seen it, and a quick survey of some of the best reports seem to indicate a wide diversity in appearances, again, just like us. And considering the different kind of environments it is presumed to inhabit, it would almost mandate that it have different kinds of body hair as a result of local adaptations.

    As for its facial features; so many reports describe something vaguely gorilla-like but distinctly different in a way that’s hard to describe and this image does that for me.
    That being said, I’m not actually convinced of this pic either but would like to find out more.

    And yeah, the fur…

  12. dogu4 responds:

    I’ll bet dollars to donuts that they meant not “asps” but “aspen” which in its etymology probably is the plural of a tree with the n name of asp or some such…therefore aspen as ox becomes oxen when pluralized.
    …oh, and I read that the hair looked matted because of the rain. That would go some distance towards making it look less like some might imagine. I wonder what the BF in the famous Patterson film would look like when younger and after having just been rained on.

  13. Loren Coleman responds:

    Yes, dogu4 beat me to it but I was going to mention too that these look like aspens and the mistransliteration is probably of “aspen” and not the snakes “asps.”

    “The five typical aspens are all native to cold regions with cool summers, in the far north of the Northern Hemisphere, extending south only at high altitudes in mountains.” – Wikipedia.

    These trees are typical for where this “Snowman” was reported.

  14. dogu4 responds:

    I would suggest caution in simply disregarding this picture if it is just because it doesn’t look like what we’ve come to expect. Consider that its presumably closest relative, us humans, have such an incredibly diverse array of appearances and body types, these relict hominids, on top of the local adaptations, should look a lot different from one another. In fact if they looked all alike I’d be suspect considering that the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains are about 9,000 miles from Chelybinsk despite their being directly connected by a continuous habitat for the vast majority of the last 2 million years (our recent interglacial period in which we now so prosper, has caused the landmass of Beringia to be submerged, but it’s probably little more than a climatic blip in our geological history).
    As for it just plain lookin’ fake. I can sorta see that but considering that we don’t have much to go on; maybe that’s just the way they look there. The article does specifically say that the hair looked matted due to recent rain. Again, not the way we usually imagine critters lookin’. I remember finding a dead sea otter on a beach and at first thought it was someone’s fake fur jacket washed up in the latest high-tide’s beach wrack.
    And as for the overall appearance and proportions…it kinda reminds me of the brief video from I think Scott Herriot (sp?). It didn’t show much but what it did suggested a rather stoic enigmatic expression and not the prognathous face and king kong like expression beneath beetling brows and a crest reminiscent of a mountain silverback.
    Like lots of enthusiasts, I’ve yet to have a face to face encounter but a lot of the rendering I see seem to project a facial expression that is indicative of the percieved circumstances of the witness’ encounters and it would be natural for the artist to capture that look, whether astonishment or terror or suprise as that would be both the truth when they saw it and its features imprinted on the observers memory, but I don’t think that a candid shot would show the face being all emotional or expressive especially for this creature who it seems is not very social and wouldn’t have the need to be expressing himself all the time like humans often do.
    I’d look forward to finding out more and see some analysis on the photo itself. cheers

  15. poodpood responds:

    I cant get the mental image of a lairge hairy hominid “beating” against the tent out of my head.

  16. Ceroill responds:

    Interesting I guess. I’ll refrain from commentary just now.

  17. raisinsofwrath responds:

    Seems this particular “snowman” has no penis!

    *facedeskwithforce*

  18. giantchaser responds:

    It looks like a frikin statue people tkae pictures with……

  19. DARHOP responds:

    Again, things that make you go hmmmm.

    *headthroughdesk*

  20. mystery_man responds:

    Right, trees. *facepalm* That makes a lot more sense, and I agree that that is what must be meant by “asps”. It must be getting way too late over here in Japan. You never can tell with some reports though. 🙂

  21. size 13 responds:

    *Face though computer keyboard*

    Hey what if, and I do mean “if”, these things really look like a bad costume in real life. Ha Ha

  22. dogu4 responds:

    There are a number of animals that, for a variety of reasons, look so outlandish that even though they are natural, at first glance you’d think they have to be the product of a taxidermist’s imagination.

    For example: platypus, koala, giant anteater, panda, yorkshire terriers, that person on the bus sitting next to you…

  23. Mnynames responds:

    As usual it’s pretty much all been said already, but I do want to throw this out there-

    With regards to the apparent lack of genitalia, perhaps the lighter-coloured wedge that many are interpreting as foliage seen through his legs is in fact his “package”, as it were. To me, it seems as thought his legs should connect a little lower than that, and as the picture goes no lower, it could be anything there- foliage behind him, a leaf on him, or a part of him, or something else entirely.

    Just my take.

  24. jayman responds:

    I have to agree that without a type specimen, it’s premature to judge these photos by what a snowman/bigfoot is “supposed” to look like.

    But, regarding this particular example, I’m wondering what that diagonal line on the snowman‘s right shoulder and upper chest (left side as viewed) can be. A seam where the headpiece of a costume ends perhaps?

  25. windigo responds:

    I see he put my old shag carpet to good use.

  26. Lee Pierce responds:

    Back in the 1940’s and 50’s a B Cowboy actor named Ray ‘Crash’ Corrigan owned a gorilla suit. He appeared in a cazillion movies. The suit looked great but the one thing I remember most is how you could always see where the head sat on the suit. This reminds me of that only his suit was better.

  27. cmgrace responds:

    The thing that really gets me is the claim that this “Snowman” imitated the man’s voice to lure his wife away. That is freaky. If that is true, and I was his wife, I would never go searching for “Snowman” again.

    Maybe their story is how the BF adult films got started. I know horrible joke but I had to put it out there.

  28. Scott C. responds:

    Well, “The Eunich”, as he shall henceforth be called, has less musculature in his (its?) thighs than Don Knotts. Oh, and Avdeev still hasn’t returned my shoulder pads and football season is about to start! That guy…

    *wishingIwasmorefamiliarwithinstantmessaginglingo*

  29. AtomicMrEMonster responds:

    Alton Higgins:

    My first reaction to this picture was “Hey, why’d someone try to hoax a picture using that action figure?” Come to think of it, when did that toy come out?

  30. john5 responds:

    Nikolai and his wife apparently have had some interesting adventures in the Ural Mountains that lend no reason for me to think they have invented any of them. From startling one out of its nest-bed of leafy branches to the mimicking of Nikolai’s voice.

    I am with Dogu4 in not dismissing this photo at this stage. The fact that this male’s penis is not clearly visible is no surprise where most members of the great apes are concerned. How many reading this post have seen the penis of either a Gorilla or Orangutan? Their non-erect organs are not always clearly visible.

    I lightened the picture with Ulead Photo to see more detail and am impressed with this being’s stature, real apeman or not. The forearms are rather thick boned for an average human being and if it is a costume there is no indication of a loose fit or poor padding.

    It is difficult to determine if the seam-like lines around the shoulders and upper arms are not just a natural parting of the hair from the continual motion of the arms. Interesting how the hair on each shoulder and on each bicep is lighter than the rest of the body.

    Given the tremendous breadth of the upper body the waist and legs do appear comparatively slender. This however could just be a play on the optics due to the huge upper body.

    Lighting up the face and seeing more detail is why I am reluctant to dismiss this pic so easily. There is a real being under all that hair and the face is telling me that it is not human as the eyes are set higher above the nose than any person I have ever seen. Tough to fake that feature. I do not think this is a Sasquatch as found in North America though. Wildman indeed!

  31. Bob K. responds:

    I remember seeing a sketch of what has been described in one of Lorens’ books as the Eastern Bigfoot-quite tall, but less bulky than the typical PNW Bigfoot; the sketch somewhat resembles the creature in the photo. I agree with dogu4 regarding his point about our perceptions concerning what such a creature “should” look like. I’m not necessarily sold on the photo, but I’ll keep an open mind about it for now.

  32. raisinsofwrath responds:

    From the many, many accounts I’ve read and I’m sure Loren can back me up on this, BF is often said to have a terminal erection or in an always erect state.

    Of course every four hours it must seek medical attention!

    I couldn’t resist throwing that in but I was serious about the first statement.

    You guys that are “keeping an open mind” should realize that there is a time to throw in the towel.

    Or do a *headwall* several times in a row.

  33. Alligator responds:

    Shoulder pads aye. Very stiff, rigid figure. Even when a bear of a gorilla bristles up, they don’t look like that.

  34. jules responds:

    Wow. I’m amused that people are putting so much time into a “cheezy” costume, and a Bigfoot that does impersonations…Hee hee.

  35. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    I can see the base of a penis. It’s a little darker gray (definitely not green like the background) than the face. It looks off center because the right leg is partly obscured by brush.

    Is there something wrong with me?

  36. Alligator responds:

    Hey look at the photo of the Sasquatch standing behind Loren on the “NOT TEXAS” article. That one is 110% more realistic looking than this Russian stick figurine.




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