Ten Years Ago: Jodi Magraner Is Assassinated

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 8th, 2012

Ten years ago, cryptozoologist Jordi Magraner was scheduled to return to France in September 2002. But in the wake of 9/11, the world had changed in Pakistan.

Jodi Magraner

Jordi Magraner (1967-2002)

Instead of finding his way home, Jordi Magraner, 35, the famous Spanish (specifically Catalonian) zoologist and cryptozoologist who had been conducting field research for 12 years on the barmanu (meaning “the big hairy one,” literally the Wildmen of northern Pakistan) was assassinated in Pakistan, perhaps as a spy, a probable victim of the international war against terrorists. He was killed (his throat was cut) on Friday, August 2, 2002, in his house in the north of Pakistan, along with his 12-year-old servant. A friend discovered the body and alerted the police and Magraner’s family.

Magraner had been on the track of Barmanu (pictured behind him above and elsewhere on this page) in northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, using strict scientific methods in his witness interviews. He was encouraged to undertake this adventure by the late Bernard Heuvelmans.

Magraner’s findings were intriguing and hopeful. For example, from 1992 through May 1994, during his trek to the Shishi Kuh valley in the Chitral region of Pakistan, his expedition investigated the Barmanu and found footprints. Jordi Magraner, Dr. Anne Mallasseand, and another associate, all Europeans, said they also had heard two series of unusual guttural sounds that could have been made by a primitive primate voicebox. They tracked down witnesses who claimed to have seen the badly smelling animal that made the sounds. According to the expedition leaders, eyewitnesses asked to choose among various images of mystery primates, most often selected pictures of the Minnesota Iceman to describe what they had seen.

Magraner, according to police, was found dead in a house he was renting in a village near the town of Bumburate in Chitral’s Kailash valley. The police said Magraner’s throat had been slit with a sharp weapon. His 12-year old servant, Wazir Ali Shah, was also found dead with his throat slit. Another domestic employee, Asif Ali, 20, an Afghan refugee had disappeared.

The zoologist Jordi Magraner, one police source said, was involved in some mysterious activities. Police disclosed his house was furnished with sophisticated communication equipment and nobody was allowed to go near his residential areas.

Fond of horses and different breeds of dogs, including some of the “violent species,” according to media reports at the time, police said that his dogs performed duty as night watchmen, but they had been drugged by the assailants before the killings. Magraner had “dubious links,” said Pakistani media, and due to this he may have had many foes and one of them might have killed him for his alleged activities, they speculated.

It is believed that Magraner frequently slipped across the border to Afghanistan using his horses. He had widely travelled and shortly before being killed had returned from a month-long journey to some undisclosed country, locals said. He was fluent in speaking Kalashi, Chitrali and Pashto languages and had rented a house for the last several years.

Kailash valley located at an elevation of 1,128 meters is a favorite of mountaineers, anglers, hunters, naturalists and anthropologists. The Kailash Kafir tribe known for wearing black robes is one of the attractions of the valley.

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.

4 Responses to “Ten Years Ago: Jodi Magraner Is Assassinated”

  1. Sky King responds:

    “12-year old SERVANT”? Umm… something tells me that isn’t exactly true. If he had been renting a house for several years, what was his source of income? CIA springs to mind.

    “Kailash”, by the way, is also the name of the sacred mountain in SW Tibet, near the border of Nepal. It is held sacred by Tibetan Buddhists, Bönpos, Hindus and Jains, and said to be the “abode of the gods”.

  2. Interstellar responds:

    Hi to everybody: this is my first comment although I’m a regular reader for several months (from France so sorry for my english!)

    This is really a sad story for cryptozoology. I remember watching a 1 hour documentary on him and his research on French TV a few years ago and this was the thing that convinced me there were more than pure legends and late evening stories about bigfoots, yetis and almas.

    The guy had a really serious and scientific way of enquiry. As explained above he spoke the local languages and spent a lot of time travelling in the area which is very difficult: high mountains, no roads… He used dogs to help him carry equipment in the moutains and did have made friend with a young local boy around 10 years old who sometimes helped him as a servant and also to communicate with local people. For example in this very traditionalist muslim area it is very difficult for a european man to talk to local women so the boy was a good messenger.

    The guy reminded me of the famous cartoon caracter Tintin (both physically and for his mind) and his friend Chang as the local boy: like when they encounter the yeti in “Tintin in tibet” if you know!

    The most astonishing was the people he interviewed there: local sheperds mostly for whom the “Barmanu” was only a “normal” encounter although quite rare. But they had always known them and were even puzzled that someone interrogated them on this (for them) not so interesting subject. Only a foul smelling wildman that might scare their precious goats. So it was difficult to get details from them but their account of the meeting with the Barmanu seemed so natural that you could noy imagine they were telling lies.

    And the way they reacted when shown some pictures of apes, monkeys and prehistoric men (australopithecus was the one they always pointed out if I remenber) was very interesting: it could not be a common wild animal that they would have mistaken. No it was the Barmanu that some of them even spied for more than 1 hour. Definitively something (someone?) different was living up there!

    I don’t know if you had the chance to watch this documentary on Magraner in the US but for me it is really one of the most amazing one on the subject taht I saw (equal even if different to the Patterson movie).

    Unfortunately the guy was killed in such strange conditions and this is a real loss to cryptozoology.

  3. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Sky King:
    A little western cash goes a long way in this part of the world. I had a college professor who was active in charity work in Pakistan and Afghanistan and he said that for a fraction of what coats, food, etc. cost if bought and shipped from the US he could take cold, hard cash and buy the same items (often on the black market and often with the “gifts of the US people” tags still sewn inside).

    Was he maybe taking advantage of the stronger western currencies and maybe using local contacts to “get things done”.


    Does this mean he was “funded by the CIA”? Not necessarily.

  4. jinat responds:

    Sky King:
    I live in Pakistan; visited Kalash; visited and paid my respects to Mr. Magraner’s grave. Talked to the locals, his friends and acquaintances.

    I want to clear out is that you don’t need a fortune to rent property or hire a help staff in Kalash.

    Mr. Magraner was for all intents and purposes was loved by the locals, and the buried as a Kalashi.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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