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Hillary Tried To Kill The Yeti

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 21st, 2009

Hillary yeti again
Edmund Hillary at his 1960 news conference announced his World Book-sponsored expedition would try to answer the question of the reality of the Abominable Snowman. Of course, privately, Hillary had already made up his mind.

Michael Swords, Ph. D., a student of some note in the ufological field, has been trying his hand, lately, with some commentary on cryptozoology. Unfortunately, I might mildly suggest, he go back to ufology.

He writes in his blog, perhaps humorously and modestly called “The Big Study,” of “ABSMs: Conservative vs. Liberal Speculations.”

Swords begins: “My studies don’t make me much of a cryptozoologist [Henry (Bauer) will probably stand and applaud at that] but a blog is a facilitator of electronic megalomania, so off I go again to make a fool out of myself.’

He notes that, “the ‘name': I’m using ABSMs to refer to any big ‘mystery ape.'”

Actually, “ABSMs” was the creation of Ivan T. Sanderson used in his book, Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life. It never caught on, and, instead, the more general terms, “Bigfoot” and “Yeti” still seem to persist.

Specifically, I am not a fan of laziness in blogs, where putting such “information” on the Internet tends to take on a life of its own, where others repeat such data bits as factoids that are assumed to be true.

I take, for example, this passage from Sword’s essay, in which all the content, including the bracketed comments, are his own:

The first hair-samples of the yeti were probably those things brought out and tested by Sir Edmund Hilary [who was from the beginning a complete skeptic]. Perhaps he had a right to be. The most spectacular claim was a sacred object in a temple claimed to be the skull-cap of a Yeti. It wasn’t. It was the dyed fur of a Himalayan ungulate [an antelope, I think--I'm being lazy and not looking the detail up], and quite the disappointment. Hilary bashed many Yeti-ish things, and was a major conservative statement all around.

This was just too much. Here’s what I sent in as my comment to his blog posting.

Loren Coleman said…

Don’t be lazy. I know you to be a better scholar than this.

It is “Hillary,” not “Hilary,” and he knew it was a serow skin used in the “Yeti skullcap” relic. He had the locals make him one and carried it around in his extra attache case, as he trotted around Europe and America with the borrowed Nepalese one, asking scientists to test what it was. It made for nice news conferences, but the end of the tale he wanted to tell was already scripted. Very deceptive, if you ask me.

Also, the lamas had told the Daily Mail expedition of 1954 and the Tom Slick expeditions of 1958-59 that these skullcaps were made in imitation of Yetis. The Sherpas, Nepalese, and lamas were not hiding a thing about the ritualistic nature of these relics, but Hillary and the World Book Expedition of 1960 was hiding much, including the truth.

Hillary’s trip was a smokescreen of constructed stories, outright disinformation, and media management. Buyer and reader beware.

Unfortunately, as I write in my Tom Slick book [Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology (Fresno: Linden Press, 2002)], it was Hillary that ended up assassinating the search for the Yeti.

October 21, 2009 12:56 AM

1954 Yeti

Above is an expedition photograph from 1954 of Dr. Biswamoy Biswas examining the Pangboche Yeti scalp during the Daily Mail Snowman Expedition of that year.

Tom Slick 1957

Tom Slick (above, after his March 15, 1957, near-death accident in Nepal) was most famous, of course, for his expeditions in search of the Abominable Snowmen, the Yetis of the Himalayan Mountains. He freely, but secretly, shared information he gained during his quests with Hillary, thinking that Hillary was seriously interested in finding evidence of the Yetis. It is now understood that Hillary was not.

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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.


6 Responses to “Hillary Tried To Kill The Yeti”

  1. JMonkey responds:

    I love to see the record set straight. Also how can he write an “essay” and decide to not do even the most menial of research on the subjects involved? I would have sure known what the skull caps were made out of had I written an “essay”. Three cheers for Loren.

  2. Kopite responds:

    Contrary to Hillary’s claim that the expedition did a pretty thorough search of the area, another of the expedition members later admitted that the whole expedition was a great gaudy mess that stumbled and clanked around the location making a lot of noise.

    You’re right Loren. Hillary was never serious about this at all. Arch skeptic.

  3. MountDesertIslander responds:

    Sword’s essay will undoubtedly be used as source material for other debunkers for years. That’s the danger of allowing anyone to post misinformation/disinformation without challenging them on their dubious “facts”.

    Well done, Loren. As long as there’s a record out there, we all need to keep it straight.

  4. norman-uk responds:

    I have a memory of Hillary stating, perhaps in a kind of summary something like ; he had searched the Himalaya (or was it just Nepal?) had not found the yeti, therefore it did not exist.

    Simple logic, except it would have taken him a hundred years to cover 30,000 square miles(?). It ‘displeased’ me then as it does now!

    With respect, Michael Sword needs to fight his way through the report fog re the Yeti et al to find the truth as I expect he does with UFO’s. not add to it! Take a lead from dear Stanton Friedman.

    There is something about that picture of Tom Slick that tugs at the heart strings. One wishes one had met him and shook his hand.

  5. cryptidsrus responds:

    Hillary was a Great Man—but like all Great Men, he had Great Faults as well.

    Those Faults in themselves are not totally “surprising.” Even great people throughout History can never TOTALLY transcend their times. A good portion of the people of that time (and SOMEWHAT of this time as well) were total disbelievers in the Yeti. “Intuitive Debunkers,” if you will.

    Therefore, they tended to come to the “table” with already worked-out “certainties” about the truth of certain “events” and “phenomena.” I suspect the possibility of there actually being a Yeti may have threatened certain Interests and Worldviews—including Hillary’s. Therefore the Yeti had to be denied from the first. MY speculation, of course.

    In that respect, Hillary was quite truly a “man of his time.”
    Things have somewhat changed, but not totally. Big Surprise—Hillary was a Human Being. He was in most respects “like the rest of us.”

    I commend Loren on preventing Swords from unintentionally giving out misinformation regarding the Hillary expedition.
    Great post.

  6. DWA responds:

    When people wonder how hairy hominoids could possibly be so elusive, I point them to crap like Hillary’s yeti smear. Guy should have stuck to climbing.

    Tom Slick – despite the problems his enterprises had – brought us to the verge. And then Hillary had to get involved, and like so many ‘experts,’ before and since, had to play to the crowd.

    Damn shame.

    These things aren’t that elusive. Common sense, however, frequently is.



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