Bigfoot Encounters

Snow elusive, but not mysterious Kashmir Snowman


Was it the visitation of the Abominable Snowman, also called Yeti by some? Villagers in this Jammu and Kashmir village are sure it was. At least 20-year-old Raja Wasim has no doubt it was the Snowman that attacked him.

Fondly called Raju by his parents, the young man came out of his uncle's home to feed cattle at a cowshed. He heard a strange noise among the greens in the lawn of the house. When he turned around, there it stood: a four-foot-tall monster, covered with dense, dark, black hair all over, "looking menacingly" at the youth.

Claims Raju: "The is no mistake about what I saw. The monster had the face of a man with monkey-like features. It was four feet tall, but extremely sturdy. It was the Snowman. "It pounced at me and I jumped back on the veranda, shouting for help. My uncle and his family rushed to my rescue and the monster lazily walked away. It was hardly frightened by the commotion."

Muhammad Shafi, 47, Raju's uncle, confirmed the "encounter". "After the initial appearance, we burnt fires to scare the visitor and he rushed out of the hedges and crossed to the other side of an apple orchard. I saw it myself. The description matches Raju's. "In addition, the animal made a shrill whistle when frightened. Perhaps scared by the fires, it whistled while running away," says Shafi.

Many elders in the village express surprise if visitors voice disbelief about the Abominable Snowman. Expeditions to Mount Everest talk about "mysterious footprints" that match the belief about the existence of a snow creature called Yeti, but there are no confirmed sightings or photographs. But some old men in this village say they have "lived with the Yeti all their lives during the winter months".

Rehman Magray, 89, says: "In our youth there used to be very heavy snowfall. We had five metres deep snow on the ground. There was no electricity. The only lighting we had was from oil lamps or resin-wood fire torches that we carried while moving about in the dark.

"Almost regularly, the Snowman would visit this village and others close to the mountains where heavy snow made feeding difficult for them during harsh winters." There has been no appreciable snowfall in Kashmir till now though half of winter is already over. But villagers in Haripora are keeping cattle and children tightly locked in their homes.

On the one hand, Raju and his friends are scared of the Snowman and on the other hand the department of wildlife is making efforts to push back a leopard that has devoured dozens of cattle and dogs in the village. "We will try to restore the leopard to its natural habitat in the mountains behind the village. If that fails, we might tranquillize the animal and put him in the Dachigam national park," said Javaid Ahmad, Kashmir's regional wildlife warden.

Kerala, India ©

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