Posted by: John Kirk on May 7th, 2014
You probably don’t know who this dignified individual is, but if it wasn’t for him we would not know anything about the Mongolian Almas.
He’s the legendary Professor Rinchen, a gentleman, scholar and linguist. He lived from 1902-1977 and was responsible for preserving the collection of Zhyben Jamtsarano (also Zhamtsarano) (below) which was a compilation of scientific papers, maps and testimonies on the manlike creatures of the Altai mountains. Rinchen spoke fluent English in a time when it was politically incorrect to do so and was persecuted to an extent by the communists who had his predecessor Jamtsarano imprisoned because of his Mongolian nationalist leanings.
Rinchen survived and enjoyed a rehabilitation that enabled him to continue his work into the Almas question. The Lams continuous to exist to this day, but is in peril. The last sighting of note was in 2003 when a lady driving instructor and a male companion were hiking in the Altais when a male Almas leapt on the woman. The male human managed to get the Almas off her and the hominid fled. This was reported by a Mongolian news agency which treats Almas sightings with the utmost seriousness.
Rinchen’s legacy will live on and it is rumoured that his collection is in the hands of a noted scholar in Paris where it is safe from any possible desecration by political zealots who never realized the importance of the work done by Rinchen and Jamtsarano.
Mongolia is my favourite country in Asia. I was born in the country next door and just love the people and the land. It is said that just about anyone of European descent has a touch of Mongol DNA in them thanks to the hordes of Chingiz (Genghis) Khan.
One day I’ll put an expedition to the Altai range together to pursue this most curious of hominids. Can’t wait to do so.
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.