Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 19th, 2006

When I first saw the notice of Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life coming back into print, I had emotions that ranged from joy and sadness, to caution and upset. I was happy to know that a whole new generation of cryptozoologists would be able to read Ivan T. Sanderson’s book. Sorrow nevertheless hit me. I was hoping to see the book reprinted in a high-quality hardback edition, as a celebration of the early days of Sanderson’s discovery of the diversity of unknown hairy hominoids. Afterall this is Ivan T. Sanderson we are talking about, the person who actually coined the word “cryptozoology” (not Heuvelmans). I carefully looked into how this new reprint was being handled, and grew concerned the more I learned.

Ivan T. Sanderson

Finally the Adventures Unlimited Press (AUP) reprint arrived, not with the cover, as above, that first appeared on Amazon, but with the one below. Ivan T. Sanderson’s classic Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life had been re-published. That’s good, at one level, mainly due to the book’s contents being easily accessible again.

Ivan T. Sanderson

But what has AUP done in the packaging around it?

One of the first things visible directly inside the paperback (not a hardback, as I had hoped) is that the publisher has inserted a photograph. The caption reads: "One of the few photos of a Yeti ever claimed, this one taken in the Himalayas in 1986 as seen in World Explorers Magazine."


But what a mistake. As seen here, this pix is the well-known Anthony Wooldridge photograph taken in March of 1986, of what turned out to be, when Wooldridge went back to get a closer look, only a rock. It’s not a hoax, per se, but it certainly is not "one of the few photos of a Yeti" and most of us call it the "Yeti Rock" picture. By the way, of course, World Explorers Magazine is AUP’s in-house publication to advertise its own books.


Sanderson’s Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life is worth the text, but the AUP version is surrounded by more mistakes and apparently questionable material. This reprint’s back cover has art from Sanderson’s 1968 Pyramid paperback (still in copyright?) and a photograph of the Minnesota Iceman taken in 1969, used without permission. Right inside the first page of the reprint, AUP has placed two drawings of the Minnesota Iceman, one credited to Sanderson and the other uncredited. I know it is from Bernard Heuvelmans, and, of course, it appears to be used without the permission of his estate, just as this entire book was printed without contact or consideration of Sanderson’s widow.

How sloppy was this reprint? I’m not certain yet because I have not examined it totally, but there are severe problems. What I did discover, as noted above, is disturbing. But there is more. If you look closely after page 78, you will see that Sanderson’s original plates 1 through 5, including a photo of the trail of Yeti tracks taken by Eric Shipton in 1951, three views of the Pangboche hand taken by two separate expeditions, and one of the Makalu forearm, have all been completely left out of the reprint.

Chris Murphy remarked recently that this book "has now been reprinted and is available from Hancock House." He should clarify that Hancock House did not undertake the publication of this book. Some distance needs to be created between Hancock and this reprint, for the standards shown in republishing this book are unlike any used with the good reprints coming out from Hancock House.

Ivan T. Sanderson’s Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life has returned, and that’s good, at least for the text. Maybe someone will do a better reprint, in hardback, give some of the proceedings to the Sanderson estate, and introduce the book with a new foreword, including all the original photo plates and credited new ones too. In the meantime, I guess this reprint will have to do, or a search be made for the original hardbound edition from 1961 (below).

Ivan T. Sanderson

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.

6 Responses to “Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life”

  1. Redskelter responds:


    I agree completely…this is one of the earliest references I remember viewing with regard to these creatures (my father gave me one of the older paperback copies, not the original hardback which can still be found in some used book stores and discard piles from public libraries). All inconsistancies and poor annotation aside, the cover simply looks cheesy! This edition, when compared to earlier printings, offers maybe a mere fraction of the quality for folks today who may take up interest in such studies. I wish everyone could be fortunate enough to leaf through the “originals” some of us have had the pleasure of viewing over the years…what a loss.



  2. One Eyed Cat responds:

    Shows why there are such things as copyright laws, Althought they can apparently be ignored — for a while.

    Let us know if anything else happens with this.

  3. Judy Green responds:

    I have the book and am happy to have it. While an expensive hardbound reprint of Mr. Sanderson’s book would have been a nice commemoration of it, I think a less expensive softbound publication will reach and inform more people. My original copy of this book was the oversized softbound one and it is only later that I was able to obtain a used hardbound copy. Even with all of its faults, it is a treasure and most everyone will be able to afford to add it to their collection.

  4. twblack responds:

    I got a used hardbound copy from a local libary that was having a sale on old books they did not want anymore. I love the book.

  5. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Well bringing the discussion to Cryptomundo will probably draw the attention of any web-trawling crypto-convertees to the fact that the older versions contain additional information.

    In that regard restitution is somewhat made, even from a third party.

    If there are breaches of copyright, it will probably come down to the copyright holder having to take action. The least anyone else of conscience can do, if it’s in their power, is to alert the copyright holder(s).

    It would be interesting to hear feedback from the person in charge of the reprint project…

    It reminds me of Eric Guiler and Philippe Godard’s acclaimed thylacine book, Tasmanian Tiger: a lesson to be learnt where one map of Tasmania was printed in reverse (mirror image) and an essentially un-referenced list of post-extinction sightings implies some half-dozen or so thylacine bodies being produced after 1936…

    It’s amazing what you learn when you cross reference things! 😀

  6. aaha responds:

    First time I’ve ever seen the acclaimed Wooldridge photos. Thanks for posting.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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