Bigfoot Encounters

Written and translated By Joaquín Albaicín, Spain

Joaquín Albaicín is a Kalo (Romani) writer born and settled in Spain.
This article was published by the Spanish leading Daily ABC: 29 Aug 2002

Jordi Magraner. His name sounded familiar to me. I believed to know why, and a quick search in my archives was enough to obtain confirmation to my suspicions. The man killed in a boarding house in the mountains of Chitral was, I was right, the author of an energetic and enthusiast essay I had some time ago found on the Internet and printed: "Living Unknown Hominids: Analysis, Criticisms and Implications for Language Origins," that, regardless every reader could share or not share. Each opinion contained in it, is one of the scarce works on cryptozoology written in the West comparable in seriousness and rigor to those due to the Russian researchers.

Contrary to the assertions repeatedly printed in the last days by the Spanish media, barmanu -name given in the region to the elusive creature pursued by Magraner- does not properly mean "hairy man", but "big man" in the sense of "strong" (bârâ manûsha in Sanskrit, baro manush in Rajasthani and Romani...).

Let us to say that, although some intend to present them as descendants from Alexander's hoplites, the basic vocabulary of the Kalash among whom Magraner lived consists of typically North-Indian words (though eroded through the contact of centuries with languages as Pashtu and Farsi).

So it seems highly plausible that these Kalash known as "Black pagans" by the Muslims of the area are not in reality but an outstripped population belonging to one of the three Rajput migratory waves that gave birth to the Roma people.

Their own tribal name points to it: in Sanskrit and nearly all-contemporary North-Indian languages, kâlâ (as kalo in Romani or kowli in Domari, variant of the Romani language spoken in the Middle East) means, "black."

As legend has it, to see a yeti carries bad luck, unless the sighter is a highly spiritually developed person. Such was the view of Hillary's brother in trouble during the rise to Chomolungma. Tenzing Norgay's nephew suffered by this reason seven years of bad luck. This belief makes unavoidably to look at the Western superstition that ascribes an equal period of misfortune to those who break a mirror.

Perhaps to meet a barmanu is in some way equivalent to reflect oneself on the surface of a mirror, implying a face to face meeting with an aspect of one's inner reality for which not everybody is ready. Here it has to be reminded the story heard by Chatwin from a man who had hunted a yoshil in Patagonia: the man who had killed it realized, horrified, that the creature owned the very same facial features of his brother, deceased some days before.

It is told that Jordi Magraner never reach his goal to see one of those anthropoids, forest spirits, lost links or troglodytes whose traces he searched for. He just heard twice their howls in the denseness. Maybe, in order to express a conclusive ruling on the nature of these Himalayan shadows, the expeditions should include a musicologist, a Marius Schneider able to decipher the quality of their moan, to put together cryptozoology and musicology.

The lamas from Rongbuk, the last monastery where the mountaineers took their rest before undertaking the assault to Everest, after Mao's Red Guards demolished it, painted on one of its walls a fresco representing Irving and Mallory falling from the peak, lanced by the spirit guardians of the summit.

Surely somebody will soon compose a romance thanks to which Jordi Magraner´s name will permeate from now on in the musical memory of the mountains he loved so much.
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© Gratefully shared, written and translated By Joaquín Albaicín, Spain
September 27, 2002

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