Himalayan Bigfoot Encounter In 1941
From Michael Goodspeed

I read with interest the story of historical accounts of bigfoot sightings in Russia. In the fascinating non-fiction book The Long Walk (The Lyons Press, 1997), author Slavomir Rawicz tells of his harrowing escape from a Soviet labor camp in 1941 Siberia, where he was a prisoner of war as a member of the polish Army, and subsequent journey through China, the Gobi Desert, Tibet, and over the Himalayas to British India. He shares this account of a close-encounter with a creature while trekking across the Himalayas that bares close description to the Yeti:
"In all our wanderings through the Himalayan region we had encountered no other creatures than man, dogs, and sheep. It was with quickening interest, therefore, that in the early stages of our descent of this last mountain Kolemenos drew our attention to two moving black specks against the snow about a quarter of a mile below us. We thought of animals and immediately of food, but as we set off down to investigate we had no great hopes that they would await our arrival. The contours of the mountain temporarily hid them from view as we approached nearer, but when we halted on the edge of a bluff we found they were still there, twelve feet or so below us and about a hundred yards away.
"Two points struck me immediately. They were enormous and they walked on their hind legs. The picture is clear in my mind, fixed there indelibly by a solid two hours of observation. We just could not believe what we saw at first, so we stayed to watch. Somebody talked about dropping down to their level to get a close-up view.
"Zaro said, 'They look strong enough to eat us.' We stayed where we were. We weren't too sure of unknown creatures which refused to run away at the approach of us.
"I set myself to estimating their height on the basis of my military training for artillery observation. They could not have been much less than eight feet tall. One was a few inches taller than the other, in the relation of the average man to the average woman. They were shuffling quietly round on a flattish shelf which formed part of the obvious route for us to continue our descent. We thought that if we waited long enough they would go away and clear the way for us. It was obvious they had seen us, and it was equally apparent they had no fear of us.
"The American said that eventually he was sure we should see them drop on all fours like bears. But they never did.
"Their faces I could not see in detail, but the heads were squarish and the ears must lie close to the skull because there was no projection from the silhouette against the snow. The shoulders sloped sharply down to a powerful chest. The arms were long and the wrists reached the level of the knees. Seen in profile, the back of the head was a straight line from the crown into the shoulders - 'like a damned Prussian", as Paluchowicz put it.
"We decided unanimously that we were examining a type of creature of which we had no previous experience in the wild, in zoos or literature. It would have been easy to have seen them waddle off at a distance and dismissed them as either bear or big ape of the orange-outang species. At close range they defied description. There was something both of the bear and the ape about their general shape but they could not be mistaken for either. The colour was a rusty kind of brown. They appeared to be covered by two distanct kinds of hair - the reddish hair which gave them their characteristic colour forming a tight, close fur against the body, mingling with which were long, loose, straight hairs, hanging downwards, which had a slight greyish tinge as the light caught them.
"Dangling our feet over the edge of the rock, we kept them closely under observation for about an hour. They were doing nothing but move around slowly together, occasionally stopping to look around them like people admiring a view. Their heads turned toards us now and again, but their interest in us seemed to be the slightest.
"Then Zaro stood up. 'We can't wait all day for them to make up their minds to move. I am going to shift them.'
"He went off into a pantomime of arm waving, Red Indian war dancing, bawling and shrieking. The things did not even turn. Zaro scratched around and came up with half-a-dozen pieces of ice about a quarter-inch thick. One after another he pitched them down towards the pair, but they skimmed erratically and lost direction. One missile kicked up a little powder of snow about twenty yards from them, but if they saw it they gave no sign. Zaro sat down again, panting.
"We gave them another hour, but they seemed content to stay where they were. I got the uncomfortable feeling they were challenging us to continue our descent across their ground.
"'I think they are laughing at us,' said Zaro."
"Mister Smith stood up. 'It occurs to me they might take it into their heads to come up and investigate us. It is obvious they are not afraid of us. I think we had better go while we are safe.'
"We pushed off around the rock and directly away from them. I looked back and the pair were standing still, arms swinging slightly, as though listening intently. What were they? For years they remained a mystery to me, but since recently I have read of scientific expeditions to discover the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas and studied descriptions of the creature given by native hillmen, I believe that the five of us that day may have met two of the animals. If so, I think recent estimates of their height as about five feet is wrong. The creatures we saw must have been at least seven feet."
This account is terribly fascinating because of the tremendous sincerity and credibility of Rawicz' entire tale, but also because of the off-hand, almost incidental manner in which the author shared his experience.
Some words of critical praise for The Long Walk:
"One of the most amazing, heroic stories of this or any other time." --The Chicago Tribune
"It is a book filled with the spirit of human dignity and the courage of men seeking freedom." --Los Angeles Times
"A poet with steel in his soul." --New York Times
"You cannot willingly lay it down." Ý--San Francisco Examiner


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