Almas of Mongolia
The Almas, Mongolian for “wild man,” is a purported half-man, half animal creature that lives in the Altai Mountains in southern Mongolia and the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains in central Asia. Typically described as human like animals between five and six and a half feet tall, bodies covered in reddish-brown hair, and human like facial appearances and human like hands. Scientists note that descriptions are remarkable similar to descriptions of Neanderthals.
Speculation that Almases may be something other than legendary creatures is based on purported eyewitness accounts, alleged footprint finds, and interpretations of long-standing native traditions that have been anthropologically collected. Almases appear in the legends of local people, who tell stories of sightings and human-Almas interactions dating back several hundred years. Apparently nomadic creatures who frequently move throughout the countryside, sightings by farmers and villagers are common even today.
Drawings which some have interpreted as Almases also appear in a Tibetan medicinal book. British anthropologist Myra Shackley noted that “The book contains thousands of illustrations of various classes of animals (reptiles, mammals and amphibia), but not one single mythological animal such as are known from similar medieval European books. All the creatures are living and observable today.”
Sightings recorded in writing go back as far back as the 15th century. In 1430, Hans Schiltberger recorded his personal observation of these creatures in the journal of his trip to Mongolia as a prisoner of the Mongol Khan. He noted that Almasty are included as entries in Mongolian and Tibetan medical books, along with thousands of other animals and plants that live today. Schlitberger observed the Almas creatures himself and described them as hairy wildmen.
In 1871, Nikolai Przhevalsky, a Russian geographer, observed the animals. Przhevalsky was on a Russian funded expedition with 10 other men. Their journey to Mongolia was intended partly as a spy mission (China was experiencing a large Muslim uprising at the time) and partly as a mapping project whereby Przhevalsky would map the Russian-Chinese border. He estimated that the animal weighed around 500 pounds and when running, moved approximately 40 miles per hour.
A reported encounter with a male Almasty in 1941, shortly after the German invasion of what was then the USSR. According to the story, a creature somewhat similar to Zana was found in the Caucasus Mountains region by a detachment of the Red Army under the control of a Lt. Col. Vargen Karapetyan. According to Karapetyan, the beast was very human-like, but was covered in fine, dark hair. Interrogation revealed the creature’s apparent inability to speak. The beast was later killed.
Ivan Ivlov’s recorded an observation of a family group of Almas in 1963. Ivlov, a pediatrician, decided to interview some of the Mongolian children who were his patients, and discovered that many of them had also seen Almases. It seems that neither the Mongol children nor the young Almas were afraid of each other. Ivlov’s driver also claimed to have seen them.
Russian researcher Alexei Sitnikov was travelling to Kake Tonee in 1993 when he and his team of researchers encountered an Almas. Sitnikov was on an expedition to search for a possible giant serpent that had been reported in the far eastern part of Russia. The group of researchers had just begun their trip when they encountered an Almas. They were crossing a river on a raft when they noticed a man covered with reddish fur lurking on the opposite side of the river. The man made a few grunting noises and then scampered into the nearby woods. Sitnikov beached their raft and began pursuit. They did not find the creature but did discover footprints in the sands of the beach. The weather was sunny and clear and the creature was plainly visible to Sitnikov and several of this research team.
Its head was somewhat triangular in shape, widening toward its base. (The base was straight, but from the forehead toward the crown the head narrowed.) The creature had small eyes, wide nostrils, and a slit in place of a mouth. The neck was not visible, and it looked as if the head was placed on wide shoulders. It possessed a powerful chest. Sitnikov had collected many descriptions of the “snow man” and has gathered statements from the local populace, including hunters who have encountered Bigfoot in the wilds. Secret settlements have been found deep in the thick woods.
It has been speculated that the Almases are a relict population of Neanderthals while others have speculated that they are surviving specimens of Homo erectus. Others insist they are related to the Yeti of the Himalayas, being closer to apes than to humans.