February 18, 2009

Siberian Snowman: Hot Story or Hoax?

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.

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.

Filed under Abominable Snowman, CryptoZoo News, Expedition Reports, Yeti