Main Page State by State sightings

1925 - Russia's Caucasus Pamir Range, the Vanch Mountains

The setting is in the little known grandeur of the Russian Caucasus Pamir range. The year is 1925. While pursuing soldiers of the ousted White Russian Army, a relentless Red Army troops searched the rugged terrain hearing tales of a beast-man who lived in the higher reaches of the soaring Vanch Mountains. They came upon a cave that looked to be a likely stronghold for their formidable enemies — the White army.

The commanding officer ordered his men to open fire into the cave's opening. To their shock, a wild hairy creature ran from the cave's mouth crying inarticulately into a hail of bullets. It fell to the ground, mortally wounded. Several minutes passed before the officer and his troops approached the stilled beast, sprawled out in the dirt before them, quiescent, lifeless.

Staring down at the fallen creature, General Mikhail Stepanovich Topilski thought at first it was an ape. "It was covered with fur," he said. "But I knew there were no apes in the Pamirs and moreover, the body looked far more human than ape-like, indeed fully human." The physician attached to the unit would later write: "he didn't look totally like a man, but it was not an ape either. It was a male, about two meters tall, (6 ft 7 inches) covered with dark brown hair and the face was dark, distinctly ape-like." What was it? Could the wild thing they had shot have been the Russian Kaptar we hear about today?

The entire troop stated in their briefings, that when the beast ran from the mouth of the cave it did so on two feet, fully upright, dazed, terrified and fatally injured. Others said the creature appeared to be in an obvious confused state of pain as it fell. Not able to carry the body of the creature with them, they buried it under a stone covered cairn near the mouth of the cave.

As with many tales passed down through time, variations in the recounting will occur. In this example Odette Tchernine wrote a somewhat different description of the creature in her book The Yeti. She recorded the account this way:

"The corpse that of a male, was about five and a half feet long and covered with dense grayish-brown hair except for the face, ears, palms, knees, feet and buttocks. (There were shaggy hairs on the upper lip). The skin on the hands, knees and feet was thickly callused. The face was dark with dark eyes, a heavy and massive lower jaw. Although the teeth were quite large, they seemed to be those of a human. The creature had a broad unusually muscular chest, but otherwise its torso was much like that of a man."
Tchernine went on to write that they buried the creature in a pile of stones, which again, is somewhat different than the account as it came to me. Old stories may vary, but the essential theme handed down through generations remains the same. We may never know the true nature of the hairy man beast encountered by the Russian soldiers, but similar reports are a matter of record all over the globe, news spreading rapidly with the advent of the new Internet generation. This account is noteworthy if for no other reason than the notation of the "massive jaw" frequently mentioned in so many of these classic accounts.

Dr. Myra Shackley wrote the same story this way:

The Pamir mountains, lying in a remote region where the borders of Tadzhikistan, China, Kashmir, and Afghanistan meet, have been the scene of many Almas sightings.

In 1925, Mikhail Stephanovitch Topilski, a major general in the Soviet army, led his unit in an assault on an anti-Soviet guerilla force hiding in a cave in the Pamirs. One of the surviving guerillas said that while in the cave he and his comrades were attacked by several apelike creatures. Topilski ordered the rubble of the cave searched, and the body of one such creature was found. Topilski reported (Shackley 1983, pp. 118-119): "At first glance I thought the body was that of an ape. It was covered with hair all over. But I knew there were no apes in the Pamirs. Also, the body itself looked very much like that of a man. We tried pulling the hair, to see if it was just a hide used for disguise, but found that it was the creature's own natural hair. We turned the body over several times on its back and its front, and measured it."

"The body," continued Topilski, "belonged to a male creature 165-170 cm [about 5 1/2 feet] tall, elderly or even old, judging by the grayish color of the hair in several places. The chest was covered with brownish hair and the belly with grayish hair. The hair was longer but sparser on the chest and close-cropped and thick on the belly. In general the hair was very thick, without any under fur. There was least hair on the buttocks, from which fact our doctor deduced that the creature sat like a human being. There was most hair on the hips. The knees were completely bare of hair and had callous growths on them. The whole foot including the sole was quite hairless and was covered by hard brown skin. The hair got thinner near the hand, and the palms had none at all but only callous skin."

Topilski added: "The color of the face was dark, and the creature had neither beard nor moustache. The temples were bald and the back of the head was covered by thick, matted hair. The dead creature lay with its eyes open and its teeth bared. The eyes were dark and the teeth were large and even and shaped like human teeth. The forehead was slanting and the eyebrows were very powerful. The protruding jawbones made the face resemble the Mongol type of face. The nose was flat, with a deeply sunk bridge. The ears were hairless and looked a little more pointed than a human being's with a longer lobe. The lower jaw was very massive. The creature had a very powerful chest and well developed muscles ... The arms were of normal length, the hands were slightly wider and the feet much wider and shorter than man's." (©: Myra Shackley, Still Living.)