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Siberian Snowman: Hot Story or Hoax?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 18th, 2009

Russian Bigfoot

Not everything is as it seems in Russia today. Yes, credible Russian hominologists are doing excellent research at the Darwin Museum in Moscow, and others throughout the old Soviet Union are studying their “Snowmen” with good scientific methods.

But now and then in the West, we hear of sensationalistic “Snowmen sightings” and “Yeti expeditions,” through the news services that are springing up in the ancient land of the mammoths.

In a post-Cold War era, where the Russian media outlets calling themselves Pravda (Russian: Правда, “The Truth”) today rival The World Weekly News, any articles about Siberian Yeti have to be viewed with caution.

Many staffers from the Communist era’s Pravda moved on to join the new tabloid-style Russian media source, the newspaper Pravda. Then also there is an unrelated Internet-based newspaper, Pravda Online, run by former Pravda newspaper employees. These and other news sources in Russia have credibility problems.

Tabloid news is hard to separate from real news in today’s Russia. Take the breaking story spreading across the web today.

Supposedly “All News Web” reporter Masha Dimitriov wrote this:

Siberia is a very big place. To get an idea of just how big think of Australia times about two. It is also a very sparsely populated place with a density of about three people per kilometre. As one can imagine, such a place would include natural areas that have hardly been seen by any humans and ground never walked upon by people. It is hardly surprising that such an environment would hold many secrets.

In the last four months alone in the Kemerovo district, in south-west Siberia, no less than twelve credible witnesses have insisted that they have seen a Yeti or Bigfoot type Snowman. The creatures were spotted in a mountainous area known as Azzaskoy Caves 60 km from Tashtagol town centre. This area is a wilderness, remote from any human settlement.

Furthermore local have known about the creatures they refer to as ‘Black People’ for generations and claim to have seen them regularly. The ‘Black People’ are described as being 1.5-2 meters tall, covered in black fur, and walking upright: like humans. Samples of footprints have been examined.

The sightings are being taken seriously enough for the University of Kemerovo to organise a full scientific expedition to finally confirm or deny their existence. The scientists will enter the caves they are rumoured to dwell with extreme caution. Local academics suggest that the creatures might be a relic hominid population distantly related to human beings.

Let’s look at some of the elements of this story.

There is no “University of Kemerovo.” A mistranslation? A mistake? A journalistic hoax? There is a Kemerovo State University, which formerly was named, Kemerovo Pedagogical Institute (before 1973).

“Azzaskoy Caves” do not turn up in a search of the Internet, except in connection to this story.

There is a Tashtagol (Russian: Таштаго́л), which is a town in Kemerovo Oblast, Russia, located on the Kondoma River, 511 km south of Kemerovo.

“Masha Dimitriov” is known for a few alarmist stories about the coming “war” between Russia and the West, and UFO articles.

Yeti called “Black People”? It is intriguing that what I’ve found in the past are various Siberian and Russian accounts talking of piebald Snowmen, and the “Big White Man,” (seen 50 km from Leningrad), not the “Black Men” of Siberia.

I’ve emailed the Kemerovo State University to ask if they are officially involved in a forthcoming Yeti expedition.

Something tells me this story is much less than it seems.

Sure, unknown hominoids exist. But does this expedition?

I’ve discussed “Siberian Neandertals” before, such as in October 2007, here. Then, in late 2008, I talked of Siberian hairy hominoid sightings and footprint finds. The notion there are “Snowmen” (as they were called during the Cold War) in Siberia is well-established.

Russian Wildman

The above Siberian unknown hominoid, individually named Mecheny, was drawn by artist Harry Trumbore, and appears in The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

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.


15 Responses to “Siberian Snowman: Hot Story or Hoax?”

  1. cliffhanger042002 responds:

    Good investigating Loren. Russia seems to have a very high instance of fraud/scams ranging in nature from what I’ve noticed.

    I’d be interested to find out about whatever info you uncover about the alleged involvement of the University in any expeditions related to the sightings mentioned in the article.

    Will you post an update to this story if you get info from KSU??

  2. Loren Coleman responds:

    “Will you post an update to this story if you get info from KSU??”

    Yes, of course.

    Hopefully, all our friends in Russia reading Cryptomundo will assist everyone here with getting to the bottom of this story too. (That’s an idiom for obtaining more information on this account.)

    I look forward to comments and critiques from anyone located in Euroasia.

  3. gloomer responds:

    What’s the story on the top photo? Is that a painter?

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    Dear “gloomer” ~

    See the words that are underlined or otherwise look different than the other ones in the posting? Those are links. Click the links and they take you to other stories about Siberian and Russian “Snowmen” that will expand on the story behind the man with the painting. It is a good illustration, but I don’t want to bore people that have read about it too often, versus those who may discover it anew by merely traveling to the linked information to learn more.

    :-)

  5. Igor Bourtsev responds:

    I suppose this time the info is credible. The Altai mountaines there are close to Mongolian Altai Mnts, and all this Mnt system was consiedered by Prof. Boris Poshnev as a place where the relict hominids are “at home”. I visited the Mongolian Altai in 1976 leading an expedition group gathering the reports about almases – Mongolian hominoides, and was resultative. It’s possible that RGs exist there.
    As to some inaccuracies in reports they could be caused of not good translation: Univ. of Kemerovo – a popular name used by the people as Univ. of Moscow instead of Moscow Univ. Azasskaya cave is known as a place where an ancient encampment was found not long ago.
    As to the “white man” – it was also an individual peculiarity of one hominoid seen there (I investigated that case also decades ago), that was even a joke that “a Gray man watches a White man” – Gray (Russian Серый) was a name of a soldier who met a white hominoid many times. Here they could be of black colour (their fur or hair), some people say black-reddish.
    But of course, no serious searching were held and, I suppose, will not be…
    The Moscow Komsomolets newspaper published the info and my comment on Feb. 18, and Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper will publise an article with my info and comments tomorrow, Feb. 19

  6. Loren Coleman responds:

    Further comments have now been received from other Russian colleagues, all in favor of the story:

    Michael Trachtengerts emails:

    The case may be both – a true story or a hoax as well.

    There is university in Kenerovo, with a biology department, which has chairs in human anatomy and morphology.

    It has been established for sure that hominoids live in the area. In 1943 a hairy woman was captured by hunters near Mras-Su River at South of Kemerovo region and was delivered to authorities. But no any signs of her later were found. In 1980, it was said that a similar creature escaped from big traps that were aimed to catch bears. It used sticks to make them not work. Sometimes footprints of bare foots are found there.

    So let us wait for some time until additional information does appear.

    Dmitri Bayanov writes:

    Can be taken seriously. The area is proper.

  7. Igor Bourtsev responds:

    I want to add to my previous comment that an Great Britain anthropologist Mira Shakly also held searches and researches there in Mongoly and had found a lot of signs of existing Neanderthalers there (Prof. Porshnev was the first who consiedered these creatures as Neanderthal people). Mira had found even some kind of primitive Neanderthal tools made supposedly in modern time.

  8. norman-uk responds:

    A quick glance at this area suggests to me it is ripe for manimals with valleys, streams and caves etc. I would assume there are thousands of unreported sightings. As in the UK every gamekeeper has seen an OOP bigcat but few make a report. I’m glad to hear the news item in PRAVDA isnt its usual fiction.
    My respects to you Igor Bourtsev, I hope you don’t give up on Kwit yet. I believe the science will catch up on you and prove your hopes right eventually.

  9. Allnewsweb responds:

    Hi, I ask that you modify this rather scathing article.

    All the inconsistencies you mention are the result of the fact that Masha writes in Russian and me and Lauren translate through google (my partner is Russian so we also rely on her if we get stuck).

    In Russian names are suffixed often and this doesn’t get picked up by google it’s: Asaz Caves.

    Secondly google translated ‘Komerevo State Uni’ as something like ‘Komerevo Uni’ in the sate or the like-hence the mix up.

    Thirdly this story was reported by Itar-Tass or interfax Russias main news agency.

  10. Allnewsweb responds:

    Also we are ‘Allnewsweb.com’ and a link would be nice.

    Mike Cohen

  11. Loren Coleman responds:

    “Scathing”?

    I must say, this posting asks questions based upon what was published.

    Instead of modifying anything, I’ll just be leaving it as it is and Allnewsweb’s comments have been added, unmoderated, for all to read.

    Several comments were already added, from my Russian friends and associates, which clearly showed there seems to be something to this article. Mistranslation was raised by me as a possible problem, early on.

    In America, this is hardly “scathing,” but merely “investigative.”

  12. Allnewsweb responds:

    Fair enough, I take your point.

  13. jayman responds:

    Where I work, it’s often necessary to transliterate Russian trade names for drugs, etc. (I don’t do this, I don’t speak Russian.) It’s not a trivial problem. The languages are very different and there is no exact correspondence.

  14. fuzzy responds:

    From “allnewsweb.com’s” link above:

    “People here are scared the creatures will attack villages because of hunger,” said Nikita Shulbayev, deputy head of the local administration. We made a decision to send an expedition to research this issue. We need to understand whether they are dangerous for people. We need to calm people down.”

    If they are “scared the creatures will attack villages because of hunger,” why not feed them? Air drops of food to sustain livestock thru winter snows are common here – set up a site with cameras and lights and piles of food – perhaps they will come.

  15. terry the censor responds:

    “Scathing.” Michael Cohen is a very sensitive guy. He’s one of those chaps who posts wild unsourced claims then argues petulantly with commentors who ask for links. It’s one of the few UFO sites I’ve been to were the vast majority of comments are negative — even from the self-professed believers.



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