Book Review, 1961

Saturday Review

October 21, 1961

The Unknown

"Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life"
by Ivan T. Sanderson (Chilton. 450 pp. $7.50), presents the case for the possible survival of creatures half way between animal and man.

"Goliath and the Naturalist"
By H. R. Hays, the author of "From Ape to Angel."

THE LEGEND of the abominable snowman has attracted something of the same kind of public attention (both credulous and skeptical) as the flying saucer affair. Mr. Sanderson assembles reports-which, it seems, have been appearing for decades in various parts of the world, attempts to evaluate them, and examines the ethnological, paleontological, and geographical facts that could have a bearing on the possible continued existence of subhuman creatures in unexplored areas of the earth.

The news stories and accounts by travelers or government officials that speak of unidentified manlike animals are fairly frequent in the nineteenth century and, far from being confined to Eurasia, also occur in Canada, Malaya, Indo-China, and the Matto Grosso of Brazil. These stories deal with not one but four main types: little, reddish, hairy proto-pigmies; some sort of giant; a hairy, manlike creature that might be compared to the Neanderthaler, and finally the large, shaggy, apish Meh-teh of Tibet and the Himalayas.

Mr. Sanderson notes that in many cases there is substantial agreement between such reports and the legends current among preliterate peoples. He also points out how many unexplored and heavily forested areas of the earth still exist, and suggests that sub-hominoids, and intermediate ape-like offshoots of the anthropoid stem, might have continued to exist in spite of gaps in the geological evidence. They would have given way before the advance of Homo sapiens and have taken to the remote fastnesses of the forested mountain areas; and in recent decades (during which the reports have increased) the activities of the bulldozer would have driven them out.

The skeptical are reminded of the capture in 1938 of the Coelacanth, a fish supposed to have died out 60,000,000 years ago, and the subsequent discovery in 1952 that it was common enough to be eaten by African fishermen. "We have ample evidence of all manner of sub-men and sub-hominids in the past . . . and still know very little of the major surface of our planet. For these reasons and because of the discovery of all manner of huge forms of life right up to the time of writing - - I cannot see any possible valid argument against the continual existence of ABSMs," writes Mr. Sanderson.

Unfortunately, in the case of the snowman no museum specimen exists, although reports of capture do occur. The only tangible evidence consists of photographs of unusually shaped footprints, piles of faeces that have been analyzed with vague results, and hair from the alleged skin of the beast. The first-hand accounts are sometimes funny, sometimes straightforward, and sometimes pure nonsense.

The material Mr. Sanderson has collected is interesting and would be more
so if the book were half as long. The author's tendency to rail repeatedly against the closed minds of zoologists becomes an irritating mannerism. His style is so determinedly popular that it falls half way between that of the editor of a science fiction magazine and that of a chatty columnist in a village newspaper. However, the book should appeal to those interested in unsolved mysteries and the reader's curiosity is piqued by the tantalizing though remote possibility that the abominable snowman really does exist.

Pg 36
Magaine article courtesy of Tom Cousino

Back to Reviews?
Back to What's New?
Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles?

Portions of this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of
financial gain. This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website at Bigfoot Encounters