|The Almas of Central Asia.|
From Forbidden Archaeology
Pages 614 – 616
A report of a more recent sighting of live wildmen was related to Myra Shackley by Dmitri Bayanov, of the Darwin Museum in Moscow. In 1963, Ivan Ivlov, a Russian pediatrician, was traveling through the Altai Mountains in the Southern part of Mongolia. Ivlov saw several human-like creature standing on a mountain slope. They appeared to be afamily group, composed of amale, female, and child. Ivlov observed the creatures through his binoculars from a distance of half a mile until they moved out of his field of vision. His Mongolian driver also saw them and said they were common in that area. Shackley (1983, p. 91) stated: "So we are not dealing with folktales or local legends, but with an event that was recorded by a trained scientist and transmitted to the proper authorities. There is no reason to doubt Ivlov's word, partly because of his impeccable scientific reputation and partly because, although he had heard local stories about these creatures he had remained sceptical about their existence."
After his encounter with the Almas family, Ivlov interviewed many Mongolian children, believing they would be more candid than adults. The children provided many additional reports about the Almas. For example, one child told Ivlov that while he and some other children were swimming in a stream, he saw a male Almas carry a child Almas across it (Shackley 1983, pp. 91-92).
In 1980, a worker at an experimental agricultural station, operated by the Mongolian Academy of Sciences at Bulgan, encountered the dead body of a wildman: "I approached and saw a hairy corpse of a robust humanlike creature dried and half-buried by sand. I had never seen such a humanlike being before covered by camel-colour brownish-yellow short hairs and I recoiled, although in my native land in Sinkiang I had seen many dead men killed in battle .... The dead thing was not a bear or ape and at the same time it was not a man like Mongol or Kazakh or Chinese and Russian. The hairs of its head were longer than on its body" (Shackley 1983, p. 107).
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. Our doctor made a long and thorough inspection of the body, and it was clear that it was not a human being."
"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 greyish colour of the hair in several places. The chest was covered with brownish hair and the belly with greyish 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 underfur. 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 colour 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."
In 1957, Alexander Georgievitch Pronin, a hydrologist at the Geographical Research Institute of Leningrad University, participated in an expedition to the Pamirs, for the purpose of mapping glaciers. On August 2, 1957, while his team was investigating the Fedchenko glacier, Pronin hiked into the valley of the Balyandkiik River. Shackley (1983, p. 120) stated: "at noon he noticed a figure standing on a rocky cliff about 500 yards above him and the same distance away. His first reaction was surprise, since this area was known to be uninhabited, and his second was that the creature was not human. It resembled a man but was very stooped. He watched the stocky figure move across the snow, keeping its feet wide apart, and he noted that its forearms were longer than a human's and it was covered with reddish grey hair." Pronin saw the creature again three days later, walking upright. Since this incident, there have been numerous wildman sightings in the Pamirs, and members of various expeditions have photographed and taken casts of footprints (Shackley 1983, pp. 122-126).
We shall now consider reports about the Almas from the Caucasus region. According to testimony from villagers of Tkhina, on the Mokvi River, a female Almas was captured there during the nineteenth century, in the forests of Mt. Zaadan. For three years, she was kept imprisoned, but then became domesticated and was allowed to live in a house. She was called Zana. Shackley (1983, p. 112) stated: "Her skin was a greyish-black colour, covered with reddish hair, longer on her head than elsewhere. She was capable of inarticulate cries but never developed a language. She had a large face with big cheek bones, muzzle-like prognathous jaw and large eyebrows, big white teeth and a `fierce expression."' Eventually Zana, through sexual relations with a villager, had children. Some of Zana's grandchildren were seen by Boris Porshnev in 1964. In her account of Porshnev's investigations, Shackley (1983, p. 113) noted: "The grandchildren, Chalikoua and Taia, had darkish skin of rather negroid appearance, with very prominent chewing muscles and extra strong jaws." Porshnev also interviewed villagers who as children had been present at Zana's funeral in the 1880s.