SGP Book Reviews



   


Legends of the Pamirs and Hindukush
.  By Johann Gornensky. Aleteja, Moscow, 2000. 207 pp. (in Russian)
Reviewed by Barisbi Ulaq-Ulu.

 Atlas of the Snowman.  By Vadim Makarov. Sputnik Company+, Moscow,  2002. 311 pp. (in Russian)

Reviewed by Karl C.Beyer.   

Secrets of the Pamirs.
 By Johann Gornensky. Veche, Moscow, 2002. 384 pp. (in Russian)
 Reviewed by Barisbi Ulaq-Ulu.

 Catalogue of Monsters.  By Gregory Panchenko. Olma Press, Moscow, 2002. 383 pp. (in Russian)
 Reviewed by Karl C. Beyer
.  
   
 Secrets of Cryptozoology.
  By Nikolaj Nepomnjaskshij. Veche, Moscow, 2003. 382 pp. (in Russian)
  
Reviewed by Andreas Braun.   


    
   
Collection of Methodic Field Instructions for Field Work on the Problem of the Relic Hominoid.
  By  E. B. Zeligman, V.V. Rogov (eds.) and M.-J Koffmann (red.), Selenchukskaja, Teberda, 1990, 78 pp. (in Russian)
  Reviewed by Karl C. Beyer.   



  Leshij: Ecology, Physiology, Genetics.
  By  Valentin Sapunov (ed.), Rivera, St. Petersburg, 1996, 96 pp.
(in Russian)  
   Reviewed by Karl C. Beyer

 

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Atlas of the Snowman. By Vadim Makarov. Sputnik Company+, Moscow, 2002, 311 pp. (in Russian)

Reviewed by Karl C. Beyer

                   
The book which appeared in 2002 is already a rarity since, according to the publishing house, only 200 copies were printed [2]. Its author was president of the Russian Society of Cryptozoologists (RSC) until 2003 and belongs to the group of Moscow ‘hominologists‘ who see themselves as Boris Porshnev’s direct successors. In so far as I know the Russian literature and the extent to which it is available in the West today no book has been published since Porshnev’s famous monograph The present state of the question of relic hominoids (1963), which so extensively covers the subject in the area of the old Soviet Union.[3] Despite its extraordinary importance it is to be expected that the book and its content, because of its small print-run and the Russian language, will remain, as with Porshnev’s monograph (180 printed copies), almost unknown in the West. Not even the authors and book titles of other basic Russian literature have become known in the West. Makarov’s monograph contains previously unpublished facts, knowledge of which is indispensable for the evaluation of Russian material hitherto published in the West. For this reason the following more extensive than usual form is used here to review the book and briefly describe its contents.

The A4 size book is illustrated with monochrome photographs, maps and sketches. It is written in a simple, easily-understandable Russian. Portrait photographs of the author and his close colleagues, Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffmann, Dmitri Bayanov and Dr. Michail Trachtenherz, appear on the back cover with brief notes on each. In the preface, the author thanks these for supplying material and writes, „The published book seeks in simple and credible terms to familiarize the inquisitive reader interested in the question of the relict hominids with a wide range of questions in this connection and introduce him to the current state of our knowledge about this still mysterious creature.“ (p. 6).

The first chapter (12 pages), „An account of the ‘wildman’ in folklore ( according to materials from D. Yu. Bayanov )“, contains a summary of some aspects of Bayanov’s book 4), published in 1991. The subsequent chapter, „From the Palaeolithic to the present days (short historical overview)“ gives fifteen pages of examples from historical sources of possible ‘wildmen’ accounts like those from the Gilgamesh epos. It further contains known reports like those from Hans Schildtberger, Konstantin Satunin and Vitaly Khakhlov.

Chapters 3 and 4 contain the extensive and important parts of the book. The third chapter „The present area of the relict hominids (Reports from eyewitnesses)“ contains a collection of eyewitness accounts from all over the world. Except from Europe, thirty-three pages of this chapter are devoted to introducing countries on different continents by means of such reports. Some of these countrys is given a short geographical characterization. Most of the non-soviet reports given here are known from western literature. Among others the author mentiones Magraner’s researches in Pakistan, Australian Yowie reports and events from North America. New, for example, is the disclosure of journalistic official journeys by Igor Burtsev to Afghanistan in the 1980s. In questioning natives he received indications of recent sightings but because of military operations could not visit the specified places. The reports from outside the Soviet Union are particularly valuable for the Russian reader who for the most part was only able to get foreign literature with difficulty. On the other hand the rich Russian ‘Snowman’ literature concentrated mainly on the subject inside the old Soviet Union.

With the caption „Territory of the former USSR“ the author uses 69 pages of the third chapter for eyewitness reports from this region. This part of the chapter is sub-divided into „European part “, „North Urals and West Siberia“, „East Siberia“, „North-east Asia“ and „Middle Asia“ (meaning only Soviet Middle Asia).
Countries and regions are selected from these territories. After a short note on geography, flora and fauna of some of them eyewitness accounts are following, most of which are in a brief form like this one: „Vologda province. N. Sedov was walking down the main street of Dalezkaja village, Ustjushansk district, one evening with a friend. It was already getting dark. The friend was in front. Suddenly, Sedov noticed a dark heap under a fence. As they neared the ‘heap’ it began to move, stood up and became a fairly large ‘person’ which ran away and hid quickly in the bushes. He ran very fast, bent forwards so that it seemed as if he sometimes touched the ground with his hands. Due to the falling dusk and the brief observation time it was not possible to see very well but Sedov and his friend noticed that this ‘person’ was without clothes, covered only with dark hair. This happened in 1995 or 1996.“ (p. 61).

The number of eyewitness accounts from the section „Territory of the former USSR “ is about 140 covering the end of the 19th Century and the whole of the 20th Century. Little known in the West are a number of sightings in densely populated industrial areas of the Ukraine: A member of the RSC branch in Donezk (East Ukraine) ”...collected many stories about observations of ‘wild people’ in the 1970s and 1980s in some districts of the Donezk area and in the adjoining provinces of Kharkov and Rostov." (p. 43). In 1965, Marie-Jeanne Koffmann recorded a sighting in the Kiev area, Ukraine.

According to the author, in February 1989 two adult specimens, one of whom was pregnant, were seen on the Isthmus of Karelia. The one who was not pregnant looked similar in size and colouring to the hominid ‘Afonya’ who had been observed on Kola 5). A specimen with a child was seen in Karelia in August 1990. Two specimens with a child were observed in December 1991 in Kargopol district. On both these occasions one specimen resembled ‘Afonya’. Makarov poses the question whether these were different specimens or one and the same. A map of North Russia marked with the sightings and possible migration routes is attached. Happenings from the Soviet Union already known in the West, like the story of ‘Zana’ are given in detail.
Sightings are also reported from Kuril Island in the 1980s. On numerous occasions soldiers saw a ‘wildman’ and once shot at one. They found footprints several times. From Tajikistan, as the author’s main study area, about 20 eyewitness accounts are given, mainly from the 1970s and 1980s. This section is illustrated with 5 maps showing observation points and where traces were found.

Howsoever, the logic behind the author’s choice of areas from the territory of the former Soviet Union is incomprehensible if he intends to show the, in his own words, „present area of the relict hominids“. For example, under the section headlines Makarov devotes a section each to the former Soviet republics Belarus and Turkmenistan. According to his account these countries are unimportant for the current range. The former Soviet Republic Moldavia is mentioned by name but only to note that no eyewitness accounts are known from this country. In contrast to this, "classical" ‘Snowman’ areas like, for example, the Altai Mountains and the Primorye region (Russian Pacific coast region) are not mentioned here. Because of annual ‘wildmen’ sightings they have been the destination for ‘Snowman’ expeditions for decades and still are today. In the rest of the book, the Primorye region is also not mentioned. The only reference to Altai is to be found in the book´s supplement with the following words: „1943. Altai. Kemerovo province. A hunter caught a hairy woman who was then brought to the city of Kemerovo.“ (p. 300). The Baltic States, which still mark the western extent of the range of the ‘wildman’ in the area of the old Soviet Union, are missing. They were the destination of expeditions by well-known Russian researchers like Maya Bykova. [6]
About forty-five sightings in the Caucasus are mentioned. Only two of these are less than thirty years old. Therewith, the hundreds of eyewitness accounts collected over the past thirty years remain unconsidered. In particular the many sightings which have been collected in the last ten years, despite the new circumstances by Koffmann and her colleagues, are not mentioned.

Chapter 3 concludes with a map of the World next to a map labelled „Places of observations and meetings with relict hominids in the territory of the USSR“. The author uses four symbols on the map to designate time periods, „before 1920 “, „1920 to 1939“, „1940 to 1959“ and „after 1959 “, for the localities where happenings took place. More precise time dates are not given. On the map, the Altai and Primorye region are indicated by the symbol for „after 1959“. The Baltic States are not characterised by any of the four symbols. The 43 years after 1959 are however the real research period of the Moscow "hominologists". In Makarov’s account the changes in number and locality of sightings during this time are not discernable.

One finally comes to the conclusion that expectations raised by the chapter heading are not fulfilled. This is all the more disappointing because the author, due to his position and knowledge, should have been able to describe the current range in the area of the former USSR on the end of the 20th century with a few sentences: It still encompasses today the whole territory, from the Baltic States to the Pacific coast, with regions of concentrated sightings and populations apparently capable of propagation.

Chapter 4 (72 pages), „Expeditions“, is divided into two parts: „Expeditions by foreign scientists” (21 pages) and „Expeditions by Russian researchers“ (51 pages). A selection of expeditions by non-soviet researchers is covered in the first of this two parts which vary from 1 to 4 pages in length: „1954 Expedition by R. Izzard and Ch. Stonnor“, „Expedition Slick-Johnson“ , „Expedition E. Hillary, 1960-1961“ and „Expeditions by Dj. Magrenor in North Pakistan, 1987-90“. One page of this part is devoted to „Expeditions by Mongolian researchers“. The Mongolian researchers Damdin and Ravshir are mentioned as well as the survey of local inhabitants in the 1970s by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. In the section „Expeditions by Chinese scientists“ two and a half pages cover the eyewitness reports in China during the period 1940s to 1970s. A few of the areas where 'wildmen' are supposed to exist are named. The expeditions by „North American researchers“ receives three and a half pages. Green and his extensive collection of traces are mentioned as well as the Patterson-Gimlin story.

Under the sub-headline „Expeditions by Russian researchers“, the author gives some of these their own section. The „Expedition of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR“ in the Pamirs in 1958 is dealt with over two pages. Makarov makes several comments in „Expedition by the ethnographer I. S. Gurvich“ about his collection of reports about the Chuchunaa from Eastern Siberia put together over twenty years. An „Expedition by students of the Yakutsk State University“ at the beginning of the 1980s gets a mention. In the Yakut Republic they were able to find traces and to make a tape recording of Chuchunaa’s whistle. Further the author informs that sixteen „Expeditions of the Geographic Society branch and the Tourist Club in Chita“ (town in the Baikal region) were organized in 1987 and 1988. The mountain chains Jablonevo (Baikal region) and Chersko (Yakutia) were the targets of these expeditions. According to Makarov, many footprints were found.

The chapter section „Expeditions by V. Pushkarev“ names his expeditions to Perm province and in the Khanty-Manski autonomous area with a list of the frequency of sightings recorded by him from the 1920s to the 1970s in the 20th Century. Some eyewitness accounts are cited. An expedition carried out by Pushkarev to the Tien-Shan mountains is also mentioned. Of the many „Expeditions by V. B. Sapunov“ and his co-workers only this expedition are cited and described which have been published in the West by Valentin Sapunov: According to whose report it had been possible in 1989 to lure a ‘wildman’ by using pheromones in the Tien-Shan mountains. Makarov writes that Andrej Kozlov, a long-time colleague of Koffmann, had also experimented with pheromones in 1976 in the Caucasus. This had resulted in a chain of traces presumably left behind by a specimen attracted by the pheromone. However, Igor Burtsev already published in 1990 that these experiments by Kozlov  „...did not lead to an unequivocal confirmation.” 7) of a successful luring. Five pages report about the extensive researches and „Expeditions by G. A. Sidorov“ in North Russia, in Siberia and especially in Yakutia. Conspicuous is Makarov’s judgement over Georgy Sidorov‘s contribution to investigating the subject: „…in its breadth and versatility it is comparable to Koffmann’s work on the Caucasian hominids.“ (p. 174).

Under the headline „Caucasian expeditions by Z. J. Koffmann and other researchers“ this research area is covered in six pages. [8] Here, over forty years, the most systematic and continuous work in the former Soviet Union took place. In my opinion this part contains the most significant facts in the book. In so far as I know the Russian literature and the extend to which it is available in the West today, this is the first time in the literature that contrary to the previous portrayals by the Moscow 'Hominologists' it is asserted that the fieldworkers in the Caucasus saw again and again the object of their research with their own eyes.

Makarov informs over Koffmann’s own observations in the following way: „Really, a small group she confessed to having seen a creature several times that from the outward appearance could be nothing other than ALMASTY (…)“ (p.179, Emphasis by V. Makarov). One of Koffmanns’s own sightings is described more detailed: „One of the herdsmen reported that in the area of a small valley he had seen three ALMASTY the previous morning. Koffmann and two of her colleagues immediately made their way to the locality specified by the herdsmen. Coming down the road into the valley Zanna Josivovna [Russian version of Koffmann’s first name and her patronym; K.C.B.] and her companions saw a massive figure on the opposite side next to a bush. The distance was too great to see any details, not even with binoculars.(...)“ (p. 181). The author dates this observation as being in „Summer 1994“. The Almasty sightings by members of Koffmann’s search teams is described in the following words: „(…) Not only once did search team members looking for traces of the ALMASTY see shining red eyes in the darkness gleaming at a height of about 1.5 metres.“ (…) „A few times members of the search teams saw dark, humanlike figures which moved about on the slopes and hills but always at a great distance.” (...) “Some expedition participants succeeded in seeing the ALMASTY.“ (p.179).

Three observations by members of Koffmann’s search teams are described more detailed: The one by the Ukrainian biologist Gregory Panchenko, who had a meeting at night in a barn with an Almasty. He saw a humanlike figure without being able to make out any details. From the proportions, behaviour and circumstances he concluded this was an Almasty. This was published by Bayanov in 1992, republished in 1996 9), and Koffmann in 1992 10) in the West. They mentioned ‘1991’ as the year of the encounter. Makarov gives "Summer 1989" for it. Another, as far as I know published for the first time, is an encounter, which Makarov does not precisely date, by one of Koffmann’s long-standing and most important female colleagues who, „…watching one night in an unused herdsman’s hut believed to be frequented by the ALMASTY she heard approaching steps of someone who came to the hut. After a little while the sound of the steps stopped and in the window opening appeared a straggly head outlined against the heavens. Evidently the visitor detected or sensed the human in the darkness and the silhouette of its head disappeared and the sound of the creatures departing footsteps could be heard.“ (p. 179). It should be noted that the researchers confidently ascribed this head to an Almasty although the background reasons are not given by Makarov. The described meeting occurred in the same valley where Panchenko’s encounter, mentioned above, took place and, according to the author, not far away although apparently years before. He writes: „It is interesting that both cases occurred in one and the same area - the distance between the herdsman’s hut and the barn [‘barn’ refers to the place of Panchenko’s encounter; K.B.] is only a few kilometres. That suggests that the ALMASTY has survived in this area for almost the past twenty years (...).” (p. 179).

It needs to be explained that the ‘area’ refers to the Kurukoa 11)  valley which is a woodless, meadow-like valley mainly used for farming in the foothills of the Caucasus, about three miles from the Kabardinian village of Sermak 12) in Kabardino-Balkaria, with Koffmann´s base. O
f importance in connection with this encounter is Bayanov’s statement in 1992, republished in 1996: „Gregory Panchenko is the second of my colleagues, after Maya Bykova, to have had a close and, what’s more, premeditated encounter with a hominoid.That is something really new in our research. (…)“ 13) . An indication is missing from Makarov whether, apart from the two described meetings, further such ‘premeditated encounters’ by members of Koffmann’s teams had taken place in the Caucasus during the Soviet era.

An example of another type of encounters during the Caucasian fieldwork is described by Makarov with the following words,  „The Moscow group of A. Danilov 14) finished the fieldwork and returned to the base. [‘base’ means Koffmann’s home and workplace in Sermak village, K.C.B.] The tired youngsters rested on the pathway which wound across the mountainside. At the next bend in the pathway they reached a small field of maize. As they came round the curve they saw a touching picture - a hirsute mother looking anxiously at the people appearing round the curve in the road. She shooed two small children into the maize. The little ALMASTY, like any other children, wanted however to stay behind and looked at the humans with curiosity. The situation was completely human, - a mother, alarmed by strangers, tried to hide her children. All her movements were human; she was gentle but firmly pushed the little ones into the maize thicket. Of course, no-one wanted to chase after her.“ (pp. 179-180).

The sightings reported by Makarov are the first confirmation of testimony by natives who participated as helpers in Koffmann’s fieldwork or who knew about it. Their repeated, but unverifiable, statements to members of my study-group during our Caucasian fieldwork mean that „Koffmann i ee tovarishci“ [Russian for ‘Koffmann and her comrades’ - meaning the members of her field-working teams] were able, again and again, to watch the object of their research, at close quarters too, since the 1960s. It must be remembered that Koffmann several times declared that she personally has never seen an Almasty. She said this already in in the 1970s (Gris and Dick, 197915))and again during the preparations for the french-russian epedition 'Almasty 92'  in 1992. In 2003, Bayanov stated in his speech on the Bigfoot conference in Willow Creek, California: „It’s also notworthy that in the decades of her searches in the Caucasus Koffmann never succeeded in clearly sighting an almasty, although she once clearly sighted an unidentified flying object. (...) Biologist Gregory Panchenko’s encounter and observation of a young almasty in a barn (1991) should also be mentioned here. (...)“ .[16]

In addition to her own material findings, Koffmann’s reasoning in support of the tangible existence of the Almasty can be summarized with her following words from 1992: “At the end (...) we can be certain (...) that the (...) informations regarding the modest and rough inhabitants of the far valleys of the Caucasus correspond to a well-put together picture of the biology of a higher primate. Now, is Almasty an imaginary personality resulting from sheer ignorance and superstition or a biological true? Everyone may have answer this question on the basis of his own logic.“ 17). Now it must be realized that these eyewitness accounts by locals received their main confirmation through Koffmann’s own observations and those of her team members. Also team members who were only involved in the fieldwork for a short time had encounters with the Almasty. This was possible through Koffmann’s instructions on the basis of her rich experience. Makarov does not mention this facts.

In the context of this knowledge, Makarov’s data on the Caucasian fieldwork seems to be an attempt at compromise between the previously published accounts and the real course of events, which the Moscow 'Hominologists' in view of their previous statements will not even today risk revealing. It is noticeable in this connection that Makarov gives no dates to the reported Caucasian sightings, except for Panchenko’s encounter (in 1989 or 1991) and that of Koffmann (according to Makarov in 1994). It therefore remains unclear when these happened during the forty years of fieldwork. It remains additional unclear where "in the Northern Caucasus” the majority of these sightings happened: In the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. The reader does not learn that the majority of the mentioned observations took place within a radius of about 5 miles of Koffmann’s base in the villlage Sermak.

Next to the Caucasus, the Pamir Mountains are the oldest research area of the old Soviet Union. Here too the researchers achieved results which in quality and importance are until now unknown in the West. Under the title „Middle Asian Expedition“ [meant is only Soviet Middle Asia], Makarov writes on 25 pages of chapter 4 about his own findings and those of other researchers in his primary work area. They cover the years 1958 to 1989. In addition to eyewitness accounts, the author also tells of his personal experiences during his expeditions. After a short reference to the geography, fauna and flora there follows reports from the Tien-Shan, the Pamirs and Pamir-Alaj, the valley Siama and four mountain chains, whose names are used as section-headings. The reader learns that from the 1970s to the 1990s „expeditions and groups“  from various cities in the Soviet Union worked in this region. It needs to be explained that most of these were tourists stimulated by newspaper reports. Therefore, hundreds of such enthusiasts spent their holidays in the 1980s as a ‘Snowman Expedition’ in the mountains, though often without knowing or following the basic rules of zoological field work. That meant, for example, that many such researchers in ‘Snowman’ habitat spent the evenings singing songs to a guitar by the campfire and slept at night in their tents.

Nevertheless, some of them got noteworthy results because they also found themselves in Hissar mountain valleys like Siama and Karatag which offered excellent fieldwork conditions. Their names became known because of a number of newspaper reports. These valleys were additional heavily frequented for the reason, contrary to other regions in the Pamirs, that they were easily accessible: About 30 miles north of the Tajik capital Dushanbe by bus. It must be noticed that in comparison with the size of the Pamirs the fieldwork was concentrated in a small area in the Hissar mountains.The field researches of the numerous enthusiasts and explorers resulted in a great number of findings.

According to Makarov, at the end of the 1970s an „uninterrupted observation“ was organised during the Summer and Autumn in the Karatag valley. Dozens of traces and lots of excrement was discovered. Often, the cries and whistles of the hominids could be heard. At the mountain lakes Pairon and Timur-Dara almost uninterrupted observation was organised. In 1982 a humanlike figure was seen on the other shore of Lake Pairon. In the Autumn of 1981 Makarov found a four-toed footprint ( „48 x 19 cm“ ) in the area of Lake Timur-Dara. Myra Shackley 18) published a sketch of this print in 1983. The reader additionally learns that such a footprint ( „48 x 19 x 14 cm“ ) had been found too in April 1981 in a neighbouring ravine by Makarov’s colleagues Lomanov and Dekhkanov. In August 1982, V. Korshik discovered a print of three massive toes with the dimensions “55 x 27 cm”.
In the Siama valley, prints of an adult hominid together with a 12 cm long child’s print were found in 1988. A similar pair of prints was found one year later in the same valley. The child’s print was 17 cm long. „According to the data from the Moscow and Kiev expeditions“ in certain observation periods five to seven specimens were living in the Siama valley (p. 203). Makarov writes further, „From the results of the work of the expeditions in the Karatag basin and in the Fan basin one comes to the conclusion that during the stay of the expedition groups in this area, five or six specimens of relict hominids were living there, among them a four-toed giant and one or two females with children.“ (p. 198). In the Surkkh mountain chain a type of nest, measuring 2 by 3 metres, made of large branches, was discovered. Leonid Yershov also later found such a nest 20 kilometres away. Also found in this area was a clump of long hair in wolf dung. The analysis result was that this was hair from an „unknown primate“ (p. 205).

In the section „Siama gorge“, Makarov reports how he succeeded in photographing a juvenile hominid while he was alone in this valley „for a few days“ in May 1981. He writes, „On one of the nights, not far from the tent, some cautious steps were heard. In the morning some prints were found on the side but too indefinite. During the next night, the author was woken by heavy steps crunching in the sand. The unknown guest came quite close to the tent but from the back where no window was. Ready with the camera prepared in the evening, I left the tent. I didn’t use my lamp but first took some photos using the flash. In the glaring light there was no reaction from the direction of the ‘guest’. When my eyes had returned to normal after the blinding light, I switched on the lamp and …saw nothing. But who had come up to the tent and left prints of the size 24 - 25 x 10 cm? The explanation was forthcoming in Moscow - on one of the pictures a not very big, monkey-like creature could be seen sitting under a large rhubarb leaf. Its standing height must have reached about 100 to 110 centimetres. It was a young GUL, called a MAJMUN 19) in the Pamirs. The little one had heard me moving as I left the tent, took fright and hid himself under the rhubarb leaves. Therefore I had not seen him although he was only 3 to 4 metres from the tent. I had expected a giant, 10 to 15 metres away from the tent, and had not looked down at my feet.“ (pp. 199-200).

This 11 x 15 cm black and white photo is pictured in the book. The author explains the blurred photo by saying that he had set the camera to a distance of 10 metres and that the object was only at 3 to 4 metres away. The „rhubarb leaves“ mentioned can be indistinctly made out in the upper part of the picture. If you follow the description by the author, structures can be made out in the lower part of the photograph which could be parts of a dark figure. Another photo shows the locality of the happening, with the author’s tent. One year after the event Makarov was again in Tajikistan, this time together with Dmitri Bayanov. Bayanov also visited the Siama valley and published a report of this trip: 'A field investigation into the relict hominoid situation in Tajikistan' 20). In it he mentioned nothing about Makarov’s reported meeting and the photo one year before his visit in the valley.

The most important finding to come out of the Pamir section, in addition to the extensive collection of material evidence, is in my opinion the fact that the researchers, as in the Caucasus, were able to observe the creatures by day and at a short distance. Makarov writes, „The (…) groups which were watching the ravines of the Western Pamirs and Pamir-Alaj, (…) did not just meet many eyewitnesses but also themselves found traces of GULS and DZHONDORS 21) and in some cases saw them too.“ (p. 208), and gives the following example: S. Martjanov, a member of a group of Moscow University students, was in the upper part of the Karatag valley on 13th October, 1983. The expedition was under the guidance of Gleb Koval, today one of the Vice presidents of the RSC. Martjanov saw a creature during the day on the opposite riverbank which he described with the following words: „It was very like a human but covered in fur and without any sign of clothes. It walked on two legs but buckled. The arms hung free and swung lightly with the body at each step. His body was very powerful; with his size and solidity he was reminiscent of a typical boatman (…). The colour of the fur looked grey-brown.“ (pp. 196-197). In another chapter Makarov reports on another sighting in the Pamirs: „Really, the geologist A. Serebrennikov saw a young DZHONDOR in daylight at a distance of about 20 metres and noticed that his ears were not only large and had a strange shape (this is clearly visible from his sketch), but they had the ability on a motionless head to turn to different sides like the ears of dogs or horses“ (p. 216). Year and precise location is not given.

Additional welcome for the Western reader are Makarov’s photos which illustrate the section „Middle Asian Expedition“ so that he gets an impression of these areas rarely visited by western foreigners. These are complemented by 4 maps of mountain chains and valleys marked with places of meetings and trace findings. This part of the book is particularly valuable for the western researcher because there has been little previously known in the West about field results from the Pamirs.

Unfortunately, it is not obvious in the section „Expeditions of Russian researchers“ which popularity existed among the Soviet people in the search for the ‘Snowman’, particularly from the 1970s to the 1990s. In every great city from the Baltic to the Far East there were groups and/or individuals, scientists and laymen who occupied themselves with the question - some of them until today. Many of them shared in a friendly exchange of information but often they stood in fierce competition with each other. Their fieldwork resulted in numerous publications. A number of these researchers are no less significant than those mentioned by Makarov. To this day they are unknown in the West because they did not publish there and had not foreign contacts. Not lastly because some of them were critical of the Moscow ‘Hominologists’ their names were therefore never mentioned by them in the West.

The chapter section „Expeditions of Russian researchers“ is concluded with a five page table: „Summarised results of the work undertaken by the expeditions organised by the Russian Society of Cryptozoologists and some others“ (pp. 209-213). On the basis of selected regions from Europe, Siberia and former Soviet Middle Asia work results between 1963 and 1993 are listed according to year and locality. So, for example, „Karatag / 1988“ has the note „V. Makarov, Whistle on the pass“ or „Pamiro-Alaj / 1981“ the note „A. Asadov, report of an eyewitness“. The title of the table is incorrect since although the majority of the table content are work results from the Moscow ‘Hominologists’ and their colleagues they come from a time when the 1987 founded RSC did not exist. It is unclear which criteria the author used for his selection. The significance of the results cannot have been selection criteria because, for example, all the results from forty years work in the Caucasus are missing as are those from Georgy Sidorov in Siberia and other important researchers. Instead, mainly eyewitness sightings in the above style are listed which, according to Herman Arutjunov 22), exist by the thousand in the archive of the Moscow Darwin Museum. From the information in the table, Maya Bykova saw the creature on Kola in the years 1989, 1990 and 1991. It is conspicuous that Makarov especially marks Bykova’s Kola expeditions, among others, as being independent of the RSC. Leonid Yershov’s fieldwork on Kola - he worked partially together with Bykova in the same years - is not marked as being independent of the RSC (p. 212).

Chapter 5, „Morphology and ecology“ covers 23 pages. Under „Morphology“ the author describes the external appearance of the ‘wildman’ according to reports collected worldwide. The body size and foot length of the hominids is pooled from various continents. Outline drawings of footprints found worldwide are shown on five pages partly with the length as well as a comparison with some large mammals like the brown bear, gorilla and chimpanzee. Teeth marks left behind on a tin in the Pamirs are judged by a „specialist for primate teeths“ to be marks from primate teeth. In addition various hair analyses are presented: The results of optical analysis and analysis of the spectrum of the microelements show, according to Makarov, that they concern an unknown primate. Chapter 5 closes by showing a single-page table „Collected data from various biotopes around the world on the morphology and ethology of the relict hominids“. Under the section heading „Ecology“ one page describes the diet range and, among other things, the sleep behaviour during winter.

In chapter 6 (45 pages), „Comparative ethology (behaviour) of relict hominids and some other animals“, the hominids are considered with the brown bear, orang-utan, gorilla and chimpanzee. Over eight pages the author writes about 11 behavioural aspects of the hominids, each with its own section. The choice shows that the author had a lot of material to select from. Apparently, the majority of the conjectures and results presented here are from Soviet-Russian fieldwork. As such, for example, the knowledge about „Migrations“, “Camps“, “Relationship to humans“ and the “Turning to humans for help“ is so described. The section „Possibilities of communication“ describes eight different sounds made by the hominids and some of their presumed meanings. Six cases report about the „Humans living in the company of RELICT HOMINIDS“ in the 20th Century, including that by Albert Ostman. Three of the reported happenings took place in the territory of the former USSR, one other in Mongolia. One of these storys reports how an injured man was rescued and cared for by a ‘wildman’. That happening, which emphasises the human character of the hominids, took place during the 2nd World War in the North Caucasus. The section „Food procurement“ contains a description of how the hominids in the Pamirs use a forked stick to catch rodents. This is illustrated with a „Sketch by V. Makarov based on eyewitness descriptions“ (p. 281).

In chapter 7, „Origin of the relict hominids“, the author briefly presents over 14 pages some theories of human evolution. Porshnev’s theory about ‘wildman’ being Neanderthal survivors is described under the section „Neanderthal hypothesis“.
Chapter 8 (9 pages), the last chapter, carries the title „Supplement“ and comprises 5 subsections: „ 1. Reasons for the ‘mysteriousness’ of the RELICT HOMINIDS“ contains thoughts about the causes for the still existing superstition and human fear of this creature. The section concludes with “ ...a small list with happenings of killing and capturing of these mysterious creatures in the 20 th century” - a list of 24 ‘wildmen’ killed or captured in the former Soviet Union from the beginning of the 20th century until 1989. „2. Relict hominids and UFO (‘Pennsylvania Man’)“ expounds the hypothesis, which has adherents in Russia too, that ‘wildmen’ are Bio-Robots from alien civilisations. The subsection „ 3. Advices on fieldwork“ contains recommendations for organising expedition groups, the positioning and accessibility of base camps etc. . Advice follows on how to determine feeding marks on potential food and on which type of soil one can find footprints. Chapter 8 is supplemented with a collection of tips for the beginner: „The correct behaviour on meeting large wild animals“ and „Suggestions on how to record tracks and other objects.“ The last chapter is followed by two indexes of names of „Persons and some eyewitnesses“ and „Geographical terms“. A bibliography in two parts, „Literature in Russian“ and „Foreign language literature“, concludes.

In summarising, it can be said that Makarov’s atlas with the intention stated in the foreword of familiarising „the inquisitive reader (...) with a wide range of questions“ achieves its object. In particular, with its abundance of material from the last century and many facts which are published probably for the first time, it is essential for the western researcher concerned with the subject in the territory of the former Soviet Union. For these researchers it is also a must because the Russian literature which has appeared in the 39 years between Porshnev’s monograph 3) and Makarov’s atlas remains almost unknown in the West and is only obtainable with difficulty even today.

It must not be forgotten that the book contains many mistakes although these are not important for the layman. Several dates are incorrect: For example, Makarov dates Pushkarev’s disappearance in Western Siberia as being in 1976 (p. 72), but it happened in 1978. On page 58 the author writes, „Apart from the ALMASTY in the North Caucasus there are reports about another humanlike creature called MAZYL’KH.“ Instead, it is a fact that ‘Mazyl’kh’ is the Kabardinian name for the male Almasty. The Spanish zoologist Jordi Magraner is described in the section on Pakistan as the „English ethnologist Dj. Magrenor“ (p. 109). The well-known encounter of the Kiev ethnologist Merezhinski with a ‘wildman‘ in the Caucasus is described in the subsection „ Dagestan “ (pp. 47-48). Nevertheless, it must be noticed that this encounter took place in Azerbaijan 23).

Various contradictions in the book could lead the reader to suspect that the author’s real intention is not to show „the current state of our knowledge“ [ the Moscow "hominologists"] as stated in the foreword (p. 6). This seems to be confirmed in that Makarov denies the existence of published Russian material which contains essential parts of this knowledge. This material belongs to the basic literature of fieldwork even today. He writes, „From the many hundreds of eyewitness stories, collected by  Z. J. Koffmann and her helpers, appeared a not so great part in the collection ‘Information material of the Commission for Research into the ‘Snowman’ (the first four volumes can still be found in a few large libraries; the others simply exist only in handwritten form or as copies and await a sponsor for their publication. - Author’s note.).“ (p. 181). That is untrue. The volumes following volumes 1 to 4 of the ‘Information materials’ exist in printed form and were published in a small edition. They mainly contain field results from the Caucasus. According to my Russian informants, these volumes by the Moscow "hominologists" were only made available to selected confidents. The volumes 1 to 4 mainly contain materials from other regions, but only a small number from the Caucasus.

However, despite its defects, the book is of extraordinary significance in the history of the research into the subject. Its importance also lies in the first time publication of a selection of significant field results which show that the up to now existing image in the West of the Russian field research results must be corrected - a picture which in the last 30 years has been mainly determined by the correspondence, lectures and publications of Bayanov and Koffmann. The published results throw up basic questions such as the following: When and how often have the researchers themselves seen the creatures in the Caucasus? - Which field situation and which work methods enabled these repeated observations? The book gives no answers to such questions. However, in this way it does show which questions must be part of further research. The book underlines anew the necessity of having part of future work devoted to an investigation of Soviet-Russian fieldwork where it happened.

In the end, the long withheld significant results lead to the question about the reason why. In my opinion they lie in the fear by the Moscow "hominologists" that the knowledge might stimulate and support potential competitors. According to their statements, they have been trying to convince the scientific establishment of the seriousness and necessity of their research since the 1960s 24). In this connection, Bayanov declared again in an interview in 2004, “We are tired to prove the official science that the relict hominid or Snowman exists.” 25). However, he and his closest Russian colleagues concealed obviously from the official science, among others, that they themselves were able to regularly observe the object of their research over decades - an object whose material existence is still today challenged by the majority of this establishment. Answering the question, with which methodology such encounters and observations were possible, would have made part of the establishment potential competitors, especially under the Soviet conditions. Obviously the establishment was only to be convinced to the extent that the necessary support and financial means, which the Moscow ‘Hominologists’ did not possess but needed for their own success, was forthcoming.

An example of this seemed to be the French-Russian expedition Almasty 92 in 1992. Through Dr. Koffmann’s publication in the French journal Archeologia in 1991 26), a well known European authority on Palaeoanthropology got in touch with her and supported the planned expedition: professor Yves Coppens. But significant fieldwork results - the basis of the expedition planning developed by Koffmann - were obviously kept secret from him. In response to the question with regard to the relict hominids, put to him in an interview eight years after the expedition, he said: „ (...) As years passed, my belief is, unfortunately, not all  the  strong  anymore. No concrete elements have been found, apart from many eyewitnesses. (...)These days I am more sceptical than before.“27)

With Makarov’s monograph, the Moscow "hominologists" have for the first time a newly published book in the Russian language "Snowman" literature announced and have reviewed
28) in the West. The disclosures contained in the book appear as admissions under the pressure of new conditions since the demise of the USSR: The opening of the country and the new media. Therefore the publication of further hitherto concealed results can also be expected in the near future. In the context of my own investigations in Russia I do not doubt the truth of the field results disclosed in the book, although they only show the tip of an iceberg. The results contained in the Atlas are of minor importance in comparison with the contemporary knowledge of the Moscow "hominologists", which can not be realized in the book. Nevertheless the  Atlas of the Snowman   must be welcomed as a first careful step on the road to the truth about the real dimensions of the "Snowman" research in the former Soviet Union and its findings.

K. C. Beyer,  June 2004


 1    Italics are my translations, K.C.B.
 2    Makarov, V. (2002)  Atlas of the Snowman, Moscow, p. 311.
 3    Porshnev, B. (1963)  The present state of the question of relic hominoids, Mocsow: Viniti  (in Russian).
 4    Bayanov, D. (1991)  Leshij, called ape, Moscow: Society for the research of the secrets and mysteries
       on Earth.  (in Russian).
 5    Bayanov, D. (1996) In the footsteps of the Russian Snowman, Moscow: Crypto-Logos, pp. 190-206.
 6    Bykova, M. (1991)  ‘About elder, Kiev’s uncle and the ‘Snowman’, M ’s Triangel, 8 (14), p. 4  (in Russian).
 7    Burtsev, Igor, in: Sapunov, V. (1991)  The Snowman. Is the solution of the mystery imminent?,
       Moscow: Povizdat, p. 141 (in Russian).
 8    Makarov´s formulation ‘Caucasian expeditions by  Z. J. Koffmann...’ means Koffmann´s fieldwork who is since
      1962 concentrated in 3 districts of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, North Caucasus. The majority of groups
       and individual researchers who worked in the Caucasus during the Soviet era, but independently from
       Koffmann, RSC and their predecessors, are not mentioned in the book.
 9    Bayanov, D. (1996) op. cit. (note 5), pp. 53 - 62.
10   Koffmann, M.-J. (1992)  ‘L‘ Almasty du Caucase, mode de vie d’un hominide.‘, Archeologia, 276, p. 62.
11   Bayanov (1996) op. cit. (note 5), pp. 57-59, and Koffmann (1992) op. cit. (note 10), p. 62, used the Russian
       version ‘Kuruko‘ for it. Bayanov (1996) op. cit. (note 5), p. 60, mentiones his own vigils in this valley.
12   The Kabardinian village name is known under the Russian version ‘Sarmakovo‘ among Soviet-Russian
       researchers, firstly published in the West by Boris Porshnev in: Heuvelmans, B. and Porshnev, B. (1974)
       L’homme néanderthal est toujours vivant, Paris: Plon, pp. 184-189. The name Sermak/Sarmakovo is not
       mentioned in Makarov´s book.
13   Bayanov, D. (1996) op. cit. (note 5), p. 62.
14   Danilov took part in Koffmann's fieldwork since the early 1970s.
15   Gris, H.; Dick, W. (1979)  The New Soviet Psychic Discoveries, London: Souvenir-Press, p. 192.
16   Bayanov, D. (2003)  ‘Hominology in Russia – overview of field investigations’, Bigfoot Co-op, vol. 24,
       December, p. 7.
17   Koffmann, M.-J. (1992) op. cit. (note 10), p. 65.
18   Shackley, M. (1983)  Wildmen. Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma, London: Thames and Husdon,
       pp. 124-125.
19   Tadjik for ‘ape’.
20   Bayanov, D. (1984)  ‘A field investigation into the relict hominoid situation in Tajikistan’, Cryptozoology,
       vol. 3, pp. 74-79. (republished in: Bayanov, D. (1996) op. cit. (note 5), pp. 113-120).
21   Local names for the ‘wildman’ in the Pamirs.
22   Arutjunov, H. (1998)  ‘Hairy fair. Why did the Snowman, from a distance, leave everyone frightened’,
       Komsomol'skaya Pravda, 9, January 17 (in Russian). Arutjunov published several articles on the ‘Snowman’
       problem in Russia.
23   Porshnev, B. (1969)  ‘The Problem of Relic Paleoanthropines’, Soviet Ethnography, 2, p. 120  (in Russian).
24   Koffmann, M.-J. (1965)  ‘Reply to Professor Avdeev’, Science and Religion, 4, 1965, pp. 57-61  (in Russian).
       Koffmann, M.-J. (1968)  ‘The tracks remain...’, Science and Religion, 4, 1968, pp. 87-91  (in Russian).
25   Bayanov in: Kuzina, Svetlana (2003)  ‘Hundred thousand dollars for anyone who can prove: The Snowman is
       a fake’, Komsomol'skaya Pravda, October 1, p. 2  (in Russian). Interview with D. Bayanov.
26   Koffmann, M.-J. (1991)  ‘ L‘Almasty, yeti du Caucase‘, Archeologia, 269, pp. 24-43.
27   Interview with Yves Coppens in 2000:  http://perso.wanadoo.fr/erato/horspress/coppens.htm  (in French).
28   www.alamas.ru  in 2003.