Yeti and Bigfoot and their physical encounters with mankind


Cryptozoology is the study of animals that are unknown to man and are thus known as ‘cryptids’ when a species is not identified for many years. When a particular species is not identified for many years, the animal is put on the list of cryptids (the gathering term for all animals that fall under cryptozoology). Once there were examples of animals that people could not understand or relate to many years ago such as humanoid apes in Central Africa, seeming dragons in Indonesia or the octopus-like Kraken of Norwegian myth.

Today however, these animals are now known to be the mountain gorilla, the Komodo dragon and the giant squid respectively. Newer species are being discovered, yet some well-known unidentified animals still defy explanation, including the Chupacabra, the phantom dogs of Britain, the Jersey Devil, the black leopard/panther of Bodmin Moor, the Goatman, and numerous unknown reptilian creatures like those in Lake Champlain (New York/Vermont), Lake Ikeda (Japan), and the most famous of all, Loch Ness in Scotland (often associated the most with cryptozoology).

Perhaps the simplest of all animals in cryptozoology (by opinion) are strange ape-like creatures which are found not only where primates are not expected to, with the most famous being the Yeti in the Nepalese/Tibetan Himalayas and the Bigfoot of North America. Numerous places worldwide have their share of unknown apes such as the Alma in Central Asia, a Bigfoot species known as the Skunk Ape in Florida, the Orang Pandek of Indonesia and the Yerin in China just to name a few. Out of all of these however, Yeti and Bigfoot sightings are the most tracked, captivating people more than traditional tourist activities like hiking or mountain climbing. Locals hold both fear and admiration for these elusive beings.

The Bigfoot and Yeti are similar in appearance although the latter is dwarfed by the former but be that as it may, while they have never harmed humans, at least two sightings 50 years apart did tell of individual people who had physical encounters with these animals.

Since the age of 10, I have studied unknown animals, and these captivating stories have stayed with me. While the world is familiar with Yeti and Bigfoot, the stories I am about to present offer unique details. They not only come from eyewitness testimonies of human-animal encounters between man and these strange apes but also explore the possible thoughts of these creatures during these interactions. Additionally, these animals display/ed behaviour not commonly observed in apes (except for chimpanzees), leading to my own theories about their origins.


  • Vikram Wagh




Kidnapped by Bigfoot

In 1924, a gold prospector named Albert Ostman made a journey to Toba Inlet, located in British Columbia, Canada. His purpose was to prepare for an upcoming excavation. During his time there, he came across stories from different groups of people. The Caucasians referred to these mysterious beings as ‘Bigfoot,’ while the Native Americans called them Omaha or Sasquatch due to their huge footprints.

Ostman, wanting to uncover the truth, enlisted the help of a Native guide to assist him. However, the guide could only take him so far, stopping at a place where Ostman could establish his camp. They agreed that after three days, the guide would return. During this time, Ostman explored the area, trying to understand the surroundings and hoping to make his discovery. Yet, his efforts yielded no results, and sticking close to his camp limited his chances of finding anything significant. One night, he noticed his belongings had been disturbed but the possibility of a bear or porcupine being the culprit was ruled out.

While he slept, Ostman found himself being carried in his sleeping bag away from his tent by an unknown presence. Upon waking, he realized that he had been taken captive by three large, hairy ape-like creatures. These creatures seemed to match the descriptions given by the Native Americans and others back home. The creatures who appeared to be a family (unit) of four, surrounded him, preventing him from leaving. Despite this, they did not cause him harm.

For nearly a week, Ostman remained a captive of these creatures. He was surprised to find that they offered him sweet-tasting grass, even though Bigfoot are known to have a diet that includes fish and gophers. During his captivity, a male Bigfoot discovered snuff in Ostman’s bag and consumed it, falling ill as a result. Seeing a chance to escape, Ostman seized the opportunity and fled. The other Bigfoot pursued him, but he managed to narrowly escape by firing his rifle into the air. This allowed him to reach a settlement and, eventually, make his way back home.

For 33 years, Ostman held onto his experience in secret, explaining the long delay by saying he was lost in the woods whenever he was asked about it. He even told this to the Native person who was supposed to pick him up and apologized for not having informed him sooner. After he read John Green’s book titled On the Track of the Sasquatch and saw new reports about Bigfoot in the newspapers, he finally felt ready to tell his story in 1957. At first, he worried people would not believe him, but John Green reassured him that he was not crazy. This gave Ostman the confidence to share what had happened to him. His friends later confirmed that they believed him too, considering him one of the first people to have been so close to a Bigfoot, possibly more than one.

In 2007, 50 years after Ostman told his story to John Green about being captured by a Bigfoot, paranormal skeptic Joe Nickell suggested that Ostman’s story might have been something he imagined instead of a real memory. Critics who doubted Ostman pointed out that he did not talk about his encounter until 33 years after it supposedly happened, even though he claimed he kept it hidden because he was afraid of being laughed at. It was thanks to other people reporting Bigfoot sightings and John Green’s book that Ostman finally felt comfortable talking about what he experienced. However, some Bigfoot researchers like Peter Byrne and a primatologist named John Napier still are not convinced because there was not enough evidence, and they thought there might not be enough food for such creatures. Nevertheless, Ostman stood by his story until he passed away.



Why might the Bigfoot family have taken Ostman prisoner?

The reason behind the Bigfoot family’s kidnapping of Albert Ostman remains a mystery, but it could be due to them perceiving him as an intruder in their land. They checked if he was a danger, and upon seeing he was not, they might not have understood the risk his possessions, like his rifle and tobacco, could pose.

It is likely that they noticed a resemblance between him and themselves because of his upright walk, even though he was shorter and less hairy than them. They might have decided to watch him closely, much like how humans study animals. Sometimes, when certain species are closely studied by humans, they can react with hostility due to fear rather than aggression. This is exactly what occurred when Ostman was trying to escape from the Bigfoot family.



Assaulted by Yeti

In 1974 A teenage Sherpa woman, Lhakpa Dolma was daylily tasked with tending to her family’s yak herd whom she took on grazing rounds in the Nepalese part of the Himalayas. Very few people live up here although a few Buddhist monks chose to build their monasteries in this part.

Stories of the Yeti, a large apelike creature believed to inhabit the Himalayas, were not uncommon among her people and others. Despite the rumours of multiple Yetis, she never expected to encounter one due to the vastness of the Himalayas.  The Yeti is considered by the Sherpas both an evil omen and an animal spirit, represented by a person dressed as the creature during religious ceremonies to repel evil spirits, and a sign of misfortune. Coming face to face with a Yeti is seen as perilous, as it could bring about significant and tragic ill luck. Thus, maintaining a safe distance from the creature is crucial to preserve its positive symbolism.

One day while tending to her yaks in the Everest Region, named after the famed Mt. Everest, which was scaled (21 years earlier) by (Sir) Edmund Hillary – one of the first two men to conquer the mountain – Lhakpa noticed her yaks becoming unusually restless. Suspecting the presence of predators nearby, she carefully guided them to a nearby stream, where she too took a moment to drink and let the yaks graze around the stream’s pasture while they drank. Suddenly, a strange whistle-like roar reached her ears, and to her shock, she turned to see a towering Yeti approaching her. Instinctively, she tried to flee, but the creature’s proximity made escape impossible. The Yeti seized her, causing her skirt to tear and her braids to unravel.

Terrified for her life, Lhakpa thought her end was near. However, the Yeti astonishingly threw her into the stream and turned his attention to her yaks, killing three of them. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Lhakpa managed to escape and eventually made her way back to her village, where she collapsed from exhaustion. Her brothers found her and, after she had recovered, she shared her harrowing tale with the local police. The investigators were unnerved to find only massive footprints left behind by the Yeti, confirming her story. With the assistance of zoologists, they pieced together the evidence and concluded that the yaks’ deaths were indeed attributed to a Yeti, recognizable by the distinct manner of the kills – a departure from the hunting methods of other Himalayan predators such as bears and snow leopards (as well as wolves).




Why did the Yeti spare Lhakpa but kill her yaks?

The leading contender believed to be the Yeti is the Gigantopithecus. It was a big, ancient relative of the Orangutan and was as huge as an elephant. Some say it might have even been the inspiration for King Kong in movies. This creature used to roam across a large area in Asia, which is why people think it could be the Yeti. This idea connects to the explanation of the Indonesian Orang Pandek, another Yeti-like animal but believed to be a local orangutan species.

Putting that to the side however, apart from chimpanzees, apes generally do not engage in hunting for prey. Instead, their typical diet involves consuming ants as a meat source, and they have a preference for fruits, roots, and leaves. Considering Gigantopithecus, a species mainly dependent on leaves and fruits, there is a possibility it could have also included meat in its diet and developed a liking for it had it survived. This speculation relates to the scenario in which the Yeti assaulted Lhakpa, spared her, and targeted her yaks before casting them into the stream.

Lkahpa’s account resembles the famous fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf wherein a local boy bored with his daily task of tending his father’s sheep flock pretends that a wolf is attacking his sheep and screams for help several times to the villagers, fooling them to come to help him, only to face tragedy later on when a wolf actually attacks his sheep and the villagers do not believe him and thus do not come to help him. In some versions of the fable, the wolf attacks the boy when the boy tries to save his flock by confronting the wolf but in most versions, the boy survives and manages to take the spared sheep home where he is reprimanded by his father for his actions in unnecessarily fooling the village for nothing and putting the sheep in danger as a result after which the moral is summoned that liars will not be believed, even when they speak the truth. However, unlike the boy in the fable, Lkahpa never lied or pretended anything drastic for her own amusement or laziness.

The merit in the above theory is that the Yeti may not have killed Lhakpa despite throwing her in the stream maybe because he likely realized she could not fight back and realized that even if she was responsible for the yaks, he would have an easy chance of having a good meal if he could get past her which he did and he may have spared her anyway even if he did not assault her and just simply attacked her yaks straight away without even paying attention to her.

While there are similar chilling stories regarding the Yeti not too different to what Lhakpa experienced, there are rumours that Yetis have sometimes abducted people but there is no evidence for this possibly because no other person has spoken of being physically touched by a Yeti.



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