Zana of Tina
Centuries-old Abkhazian people … the entire twentieth century, shining with blood-red scales, ran before their eyes like a pleasure ship. They were already old when the hand of the madman pointed to the Winter Palace, they were still alive when the PPP tanks helplessly fought in the closed doors of a bygone era. From the dark corners of their sockets, hidden in the lush flowering arcs, flashed lightning past days. If you ask these mumbled, toothless mouths speak, utter, pronounce, taunt, reward, branded, curse, whip, compose, stretching the truth. They saw too much-these centuries-old Abkhazian people. They were free, for the reins, tightly tied in the Kremlin, weakened to the East of Abkhazia, and clawed Soviet power power power powerless scratched ancient customs, not daring to want more. They were free, for the Lenin monument did not rise above the average cypress. The Soviet authorities, sweating, dragging a new baggage of life in the mountains, but the mountains looked upon these attempts indifferently, arrogantly, when the Soviet authorities broke down. There, in the mountains, she broke down a lot faster than tanks of the emergency Committee ran into the closed doors of a bygone era.
Ask them to share, and greed, plain old greed up conversations will make themselves know. They will tell what can never be. They will remember centuries before last as if it were yesterday. They will weave you nonsense, and you will eat these high-calorie tales as a cake after a meager meal of enlightened skepticism. Among other things, they told the story of Zana of Tina.
It was a long time ago. So long ago, that the oldest of the living, caught her, died under Leonid Ilyich. Prince Achba went hunting. That you put on rubber boots, go out sometimes in a dull, damp forest, and the gloomy shadows lurking in the thicket, consoling themselves with the simple means of warming. When Achba went hunting, in the whole district the barking of hounds rang, and the army of servants dragged behind the advanced cavalry, raising the road dust for miles.
Here you are, miserable little people of our time, hungry for the budgetary mercy of the elected adversary, working, I suppose, in the offices there are different and anxiously looking at the figures of economic growth? Fat Prince Achba never looked. He worked as the ruler of Abkhazia, and in these virgin forests, who knew neither the grimace of progress, nor the changeable fortune of exchanges, well-being sparkled with age-old constancy.
Guns scoured the sky falcons and hawks. They drove on more often in search of tours and bears. The fat-ass Prince Achba scoured along with everyone in the dense environment of the faithful Circassians: would he not know what was found in the lands of his relatives? But he was not looking out for the bear and not the tour, it was cold and the birds. It was rumored that seen here, wild man, and not man, even as bipedal creatures.
Less than an hour passed, as the dark nimble figure of the unknown fiend of nature flashed in front of astonished faces and disappeared into the thicket. Then she showed up again. Guns and traps were powerless against her, and then the most experienced hunters came up with a trick. The pants… the Usual smell of sweat, feces and blood production pants were left on the edge, and the savage attracting stench pristine air poisoned.
Caught at last, tied, to the Prince brought. Looking at her overgrown body, stupid red eyes, incoherent murmur, the Prince winced and said: “What is this dirty animal, the fiend, dared to obscure the Christian world with its ugliness?»
On the very slope, where later broke and rolled head over heels down to the foot of his pride, the Soviet government, was caught savage, whether man, or beast. There, higher, in the relic forests, where the hunter’s leg did not get, the impregnable thicket keeps the secrets of nature. As long as the elements cut open firmament, in the forests of these prehistoric individuals were buried and in the imperceptibility of the age its endless whittling.
Caught a wild woman and in the villages spent. Shuddered here tamed nature from the terrible sight of her half-mad red eyes, shaggy camp, the sea surface came to the excitement … Hundreds of surprised eyes looked at the wild whim of nature, as long as the wind ruffled Cosmas on her black body, and the fear stood in the eyes of these. She was named.
But fickle was the Prince of Achba. He soon decided to part with his “bride”. She passed from hand to hand, like a terrible trophy, and each of the new owners in a hurry to get rid of it.
She was in the end the Prince Genabe. He brought her to his remote village of Thina, where she died. But before she died, she learned that under the dirty, shaggy shell of a half-man, a half-man beats a woman’s heart.
Prince Genabe was a man, but in these remote places where the long-haired claw of progress does not reach, animal instincts easily Wake up. The Prince took possession of it, and was born after an ugly, ugly child into the world. The very nature winced at the creations of their hands. Recessed savage illegal child in the icy water…
ZANA “SNOW” IN the 19th century on the territory of Abkhazia, local residents are often faced with the representatives hominoidea subspecies, that is, “snow man”. In different parts of the planet it is called differently: snowman, Bigfoot, bigbug that’s a Sasquatch, Nepali, Ocho-Kochi, etc Abkhazians called abnoy. In search of food these humanoid beings penetrated into the territory of people and stealing cattle. In self-defense Abkhazians had to take up arms. Sometimes it happens that I managed to catch a “Bigfoot”. Here is one instance. Much waving long arms, a wild woman, like a giant monkey, cautiously wandered through the dark forest Zadonskom. Her sensitive hearing and sense of smell helped to avoid dangerous places, but today all was quiet. Having thawed, she looked up at the full moon. Apparently, this penetrating gaze connecting with the guru thread, through which the cosmic energy. When red eyes huge women lit up brighter, she raised her hairy arms and howled. The howl was so strong that it rumbled the earth, startled the forest foliage and echoed of the mountain: And y-y-y! As dawn approached. Down to the river gorge Adsubia, wild woman found on the shore of the red subject of men’s underwear. It is, of course, did not know to whom they belong and what they do, but the smell is strongly attracted. That was the whole point of the bait. While savage tried to put on a strange discovery through the head, jumped out of hiding, the hunters threw at her network. Humanoid animal fiercely resisted and tried to escape, but, with the help of truncheons, managed to communicate. On his feet wore a wooden deck, his mouth gagged with felt.
Wild woman was taken to the village, Ochamchira district with a bag on his head. Put her in a deep hole, fenced with a high palisade of sharpened logs. To see the wonder ran up the village. Harmful boys prodding at snarling a savage with sticks and threw clods of earth. The prisoner studied the attentive glance of Prince D. M. Achba, the ruler of Abkhazia. The growth of females is higher than two meters, the coat is gray-brown, bloodshot eyes, inside-out lips. Terrifying appearance made the Prince a strong impression. Though the beast was similar to a huge Primate, but something human in him to guess. And these high hips and saggy Breasts are generally caused men immodest desire. Standing beside his assistant, H. Celaque expressed his admiration: Finally, dear Prince, we managed to catch this elusive savage. Yes, hunting is such a good giant APE and will move mountains. – If properly tamed, it ten will work. – All right, but first let people get used to it. Catches on them just like a beast. In a sign that she is my slave, put on the cheek of the brand and make holes in the earlobes. – It shall be done, master, ‘ replied the courteous, Chaloka Long lived a wild woman in the estate of Prince D. M. Achba, but to get used to people and are unable adult it’s hard to change their habits. Her life will be fed, and there is no sense, – the Prince expressed his dissatisfaction with his assistant, Celaque. How to throw people, and continues in the same spirit. Not happy that took this very heavy burden. Now where to put it? To kill, or what? – Not – worried compassionate assistant. Dear Prince, if you don’t need it, give it to me. I’ll use it. – Take, – indifferently waved to the owner. Will be less hassle. – And it is possible that she is still a bit in the same hole lived? – How much do you need to let so many lives Soon to visit Prince Achba came a nobleman, Edgy Geneva. When the host boasted an unprecedented novelty, stunned guest into a rage. – Wai – me! he was surprised. What a great monkey! What is this Hanuman? – Like a kind of Primate called “Bigfoot”. Started explanatory speech “savvy” on this subject Achba. In our case it is a female, so it can be called a “snow woman”. – Listen, dear, sell me this miracle of nature! Asked Geneva. How much you want for it give! – A wild thing caught for free, and I’ll to sell? Protested the owner. What then we will be friends? I gave her Chelokea. Go ask him.-of Course, take this thug, î said standing beside his assistant. I don’t need it. – What do you I asked her? Asked that Achba. – Felt sorry. We’ve caught her – Admitted Chelokea. Besides, I knew that our guests have the dear Edgy, which, excuse my immodesty, loves exotic women. – Thank you for the gift – glad Geneva. But I’m still not in debt will remain and you won’t regret it. You know me. What’s her name? – At once has called, and then gave up on the case, said Achba. – So – Edgy shook his head. All Pets have a name, and that savage is almost human. So, she’s black and black in our “busy”. Resolved: we will call her Zana. Hard bound wild woman edge Genba was taken to his village of Tahini, situated on the river Moqui eighty kilometers from Sukhumi. For several years, she because of his violent temper lived in a pen made of vertical logs. Food lowered her on the rope because she was acting like a ravenous beast. Zana dug in the earthen floor of the pit and there was winter in Abkhazia warm. She eventually tamed, and she was transferred to a wicker hut – pachu. Initially kept on a leash and then released she was not gone from the place where he got the food. Ate Zana hands all in a row, which gave. Serving to devices treated with disgust. In a warm room to live could not have dug himself a hole under a shed and slept there. Curious villagers often came and teased her with sticks: – Abanow! Abenaou! Gnashing his teeth with rage, Zan snatched them and threw their abusers. She always went naked. If something wore it all torn to shreds. Only with time got used to the loincloth. On the body Have been black-brown hair length with the width of the palm, but on the head, the black mane down to his shoulders. The hair on the broad, bony face grew from his eyebrows. Forward of the lower part like a snout. Flat nose with upturned nostrils. Zan easily swam across the turbulent river Moqui. In winter and in summer bathed in the cold spring, which still bears her name. Furious Zana would anyone want to bite, but faithfully, like a dog, obeyed only the Edgy Genabe. One he was able to calm her down. She learned to shoot the owner of the boots, twirl hand-millstone, to wear like a feather, platypodinae sacks of grain to the mill. Relaxed from the wine libations, Edgy, often spent with his humanoid slave literacy: Is the head – his explanation he dubbed a sensitive touch. Repeat: Ahy (Abkhazia).- y-y-y – Zaan answered clumsily, imitating the creak of the gate. Grabbing her firmly by the thigh, Edgy continued: – allepy (Abkhazia). – And-at-th – continued fake “snow”. Carefully massaging her Breasts, the owner patiently taught: – Repeat: auspi (Abkhazia). But the “d student” Zan did not respond to training and say your “ugh-y”. You’re a stupid monkey swore Geneva. Say not learned, and trying to swear. When the wild woman has naveivali wine, she showed a powerful sexuality. During drunken orgies edge Genba suit your horsemen of the competition and instituted a prize to the person who first saddled runaway “hairy Mare”. Though savage could easily have outrun any horse, but hungry for the coveted pleasure, it is of special measures of resistance did not render, even on the contrary, gave their power of lustful desire, so the loser in these games was not. But no reason imply corollary is the moment when Zan alone, or rather without assistance gave birth to a child. After she bought newborn baby in cold water of a spring, he died from hypothermia. The second child suffered the same fate. Local women though, and was afraid to communicate with “snow woman”, decided to take her subsequent children immediately after birth. Pregnant Neandertals from different men. Survived her four children born at different times, two sons and two daughters. The most important thing for genetics – they were human babies. When the census of the population, they attributed Kamizu, Sabekia, who inadvertently told the villagers about their heroics in the competition. Over a lifetime, Zana never learned to speak. Only inarticulate mumbling something, and when annoyed, shouted loudly. His name was responded, and obediently went to the master’s call. She never cried and did not laugh. The joy expressed wild whistling and howling: “y-y-y!”. An ancient woman, like a bear, clumsy climbing trees for fruit, teeth snapping nuts. To eat a bunch of grapes, tore the whole vine. On cold nights she was buried in the ashes of an extinct fire, and on hot days, lay with Buffalo in the river. In the saddle to hold Zan could not, because the horses were afraid of her and dropped off an unwanted rider. The villagers tried to teach her how to plant vegetables, but imitating them, then she ruined everything that she did. The only thing good learned Zan to strike fire from flint to tinder-lichen and fan the flames. Savage, mainly led nocturnal loved to roam the outskirts of the village. Catching the dogs on her, she drove away with sticks and stones. There was a time when the wolves attacked the village of Tahini and carried away young lambs. Though edge Genba had enough servants, however, he shot some of the “orderlies of the forest”. But the animals are also sentient beings and decided to take revenge. During another RAID one part of the wolves distracted the guards at the far side of the village, and the main, fighting a pack of wolves surrounded out of the house with a gun, Edgy. The ring grinning predators closed in. Tightly clenching the handle of the butt, Geneva knew that was going to make only one shot, and then Suddenly appeared Zana.. Despite the clumsiness and going to the rear, she deftly grabbed the shoulders of two wolves with all his strength threw them on the ground so that she shuddered from the blows. Of course, that punished the raptors on feet have not risen. Survivors shocked the rest of the pack, backing away, retreated. Savage after they were victorious Provo its magic “and y-y-y”. A few minutes shocked edge Genba marveled at his Savior. Then, patting her on steep hips, brandishing a fist with a raised thumb: Zana, you’re in! Well done! Now you’re not a slave, and is a member of my family. After the owner said in a joyful as depicted fragment lezginka: – ACE! AssA! Using the convenient moment, Zan grabbed him by the ears and mokola on the lips. Squeamish othersise, Geneva continued the dance. Savage tried to make a company. Unbeknownst to the dancers gradually had gathered around them the villagers. Kamizu, Sabekia, pointing to the motionless wolf carcasses, said: – Dear Edgy, as you failed? We even have a shots heard. Stopping, Geneva exhaled Is Zana ones bare hands put them. Not only is she a snow, she is also a brave woman! After this incident, the wolves in the village never appeared, and the villagers to the savage began to be treated with respect: no one teased or offended. Standing on the protection of the owner, she demonstrated not only the existence of intelligence, but a sense of love for Edgy, Genabe. Until the last days of life Zana was in perfect health, because I never was sick and never lost strength. She died in 1880. The eldest son Are called Janda, eldest daughter of Caganer, the second daughter – Hamas. Residents Tehina remember very well the youngest son named Beyond. On confirmation of the rumor, his father and Gamasy was edge Genba (‘ve raised them to be his wife). Ri sang well, and something inherited from her mother: ash-gray skin, thick hair, inside out, plump lips, two meters tall. He was married twice, as a result gave birth to two daughters and a son. Ri was violent and pugnacious. During an argument with a relative descendant Have received a blow with a hoe in his right hand. Because of the threat of the injured hand had to be amputated. Barely recovered, but possessing Herculean strength, he plowed plow garden remaining left hand. Dead Beyond in the city of Tkvarcheli in 1954, a little before the age of 70 years, but was buried in the village Thine beside the grave of his mother. His daughter Raisa and son Shaliko was very similar to it: full lips, protruding cheekbones, dark skin, powerful lower jaw. Unfortunately, Raisa died of electric shock. The grandson Explained, Robert Kakubava, said she had skin vision: become bare feet on a newspaper and read it. At Shaliko next to baby teeth grew indigenous. Eyewitnesses claim having two parallel rows of teeth, he clenched them tightly countertop, raised during the festival, the dinner dishes from the table. Could also dance in the teeth with a chair, on which sat a guest. Hamas too was of powerful build, dark skin, covered with hair, but face is clean. Died Gamesa in 60 years. This story was told and the descendants Are elders who have lived more than a century in the village of Tahini: Lamaze, Sabekia, Nestor, Sabekia, Kwon, Kuchinawa, Alyxa Tsvizhba, Shamba, Zenab, Cocoa, Apollo of Gumawa.
In Abkhazia, those humanoids are called Otchokotchi (in Mingrelian) and Abnauaiu (in Abkhaz). According to countless ancient legends, when the Abkhazis began to settle this region, they had to expel or exterminate these creatures. But there are also more recent stories about individuals shot by hunters, captured and sometimes tamed, as well as random encounters. It’s while he was gathering that kind of information that Professor A.A. Machkotsev first heard the fantastic story of Zana, which he studied in depth. Later, I picked up his work where he had left it, which rewarded me with an intimate link with the living past.
Zana was a female Abnauaiu captured and domesticated, who lived, died and was buried in the hamlet of Tkhina, in the Otchamtchir district. Some people currently alive still remember her. She was buried in the years 80-90 of the last century (19th), but among the inhabitants of the hamlet and its environs alive today, more than ten attended her funeral. Those over eighty, and even more so centenarians69, knew Zana for some time and we have been able to draw interesting souvenirs from their memory. The most detailed descriptions of the creature wereprovided by Lamchatsv Sabekia (around one hundred and five) and her sister Digva Sabekia (over eighty), Nestor Sabekia (around one hundred and twenty), Kuona Kukunaa (also one hundred and twenty) and Chamba (around one hundred). One may easily say that in the whole area there is not a single household where there aren’t some family memories of Zana. Here’s the synthesis of all these notes.
The date and time of Zana’s capture remain vague. According to one version, she was caught in the forests of Mt Zaadan; another suggests the seaside coast of the Otchamtchir district, or further south, in today’s Adjaria. Her name speaks in favor of Adjaria: it is similar to the Georgian zangi, which means “dark-skinned”, negroid. It was not by luck that she was captured, but by the skill of the hunters, who had used a time-honored technique. When first tied up, she struggled furiously; she was beat-up with sticks, gagged with a felt cloth, and fitted around her ankles with a wooden fetter to keep her from running away. It is quite possible that she was sold a number of times before becoming the property of D.M. Atchba, a local sovereign kinglet of the Zaadan forest. She then lived with Kh. Tchelokua, a vassal of that prince. Later, she was given to the noble Edghi Ghenaba when he visited. She was carried, tied up like a salami, to his property in the hamlet of Tkhina, on the Mokva River, 78 km from Sukhumi. The exact date of that transfer is also unknown. However, from that time on, the details provided by local informers become more concrete.
At the beginning, Ghenaba had installed Zana in a sturdy padlock made of large vertical posts. Her food was lowered to her, without ever entering her space, for she behaved like a wild animal. She had dug a hole in the ground to sleep in. She remained for three years in this state of utter savagery. However, she was tamed gradually, to the point that she was transferred to a shelter of woven branches underneath a screen near the house. Originally, she was held on a leach, but soon she was allowed to move freely. She did not wander far away from the area where she was fed. She could not stand living in a heated space, and stayed outside all year, under the screen, in the yard, where she had dug a new sleeping hole. Curious villagers came to see hear and teased her with sticks which she ripped away from their hand in rage. She chased away children and domestic animals with sticks or branches.
Zana’s skin was black, or dark grey. She was covered from head to toe with reddish black hair, especially thick over her lower body. In some areas, the hair was as long as the width of the palm of a hand, but not very dense. Down at the feet, the hair disappeared completely; the soles of her feet were completely hairless. The hair on her face was sparse and short. In contrast however, her head was a mass of matted black, rough and shiny hair that created a kind of papakha (heavy fur hat) and fell back like a mane of her shoulders and back.
As all Abnauaius Zana had no articulate speech. Over the decades that she lived in Tkhina, she never managed to pronounce a single word of Abkhazian. She could only mutter, utter inarticulate sounds, and when irritated howl like a beast. She was sharp of hearing: she approached when hearing her name, obeyed her master’s orders, and was fearful when he raised his voice.
Zana was tall, but massive and heavy-set. Her breasts were disproportionally large. He behind was large and highly placed. Her limbs were solidly muscled, but her leg had a strange shape, without a well-defined calf. The fingers of her hand were longer and thicker than those of humans. Her toes could spread out in a fan (particularly when she was angry). The big toe spread out more than the others.
Zana’s face was extraordinary: it was scary. It was wide, with prominent cheekbones and coarse features. The nose was flat, with wide upturned nostrils. The lower part of the face jutted out much as a muzzle. The mouth was very wide, big teeth. The nape was abnormally prominent. On its sloping forehead, hair started right at the thick and bushy eyebrows. The eyes were reddish. But what was most terrible was its expression, which was purely that of an animal. Sometimes, although rarely, Zana would break into an uncontrollable laugh, when she showed her white teeth. Nobody ever saw her laugh or cry.
Although she lived for many years, first at Atchba’s and then at Ghenaba, Zana – rather extraordinarily – practically did not change physically as she got older, and that all the way to her death: she never had white hair, she did not lose her teeth and she kept all her vigor. Her strength and stamina were amazing. She could run as fast as a horse. Even at flood times, she swam across the turbulent Mokva, and she bathed, winter as well as summer in an icy stream still called after her. At the mill, she would easily lift with a single arm a bag of flour weighing 5 lbs (80 kilos), put it on her head and carry it uphill. With the clumsiness of a bear, but with great ease, she climbed trees to gather fruits. With her powerful jaws, she managed to crack the hardest of nuts.
Zana was a trove of strange instincts and behaviors. To feast on grapes, she would pull the whole vine that climbed up a giant tree. To cool off, she would lay in a mud hole with water buffaloes. She would wander off in the neighborhood at night. To fend off dogs, she would use a large stick. Strangely, she loved to play with stones, banging then against each other until they broke. Would she have been responsible for the Mousterian type artifact discovered by professor Machkovtsev in 1962 on the hill where Zana often wandered? For now, let’s assume that it was only a coincidence.
Zana never managed to learn much from people. She was only half tame. Even in the winter she preferred to go about naked, as she had been found in the forest. She would rip apart any clothes that would be put on her. She was trained however to wear a loin cloth that covered her thighs. One of her owners had branded her on the cheek with a hot iron, and had also pierced the lobe of one of her ears. She would sometimes come into the house and approach the table when she was called, but in general, she obeyed only her master, Edghi Ghenaba. Women were afraid of her and would only approach her when she was clearly in a good mood. When irritated or angry, Zana was indeed terrifying.. she would sometimes bite. Her master knew how to calm her down. She did not attack children, who were generally afraid of her. In the region, ill-behaving children were menaced with Zana’s presence. Even horses were afraid of her.
Zana ate anything she was given, including mamalyga (corn meal) and meat. She would grab everything with her hands and her gluttony was truly frightful. Wine put her in a good mood, but she then fell into a sleep that was nearly a coma. Zana always slept in her hole without covering herself with anything, but she also liked to snuggle under the warm ashes of a spent wood fire. The most complicated thing she managed to learn was how to light a fire with flint and punk, an act which closely fit with her tendency to strike stones against each other. But her training didn’t go much further. She had been trained to obey simple orders, given by voice or sign: hand-turning the grindstone, carry firewood, fetch water at the spring in a jug, carry bags to or from the mill on the river, pull her masters’ boots. That’s all. There had been efforts to teach her how to plant vegetables, but she absurdly imitated what had been shown her, but confused and messed everything up. She also could learn to sit in the saddle. Obviously, Zana never became a human.
In spite of that, she became the mother of human babies, and that’s one of the most surprising aspects of her story. From the point of view of genetics, this is a capital fact.
More than once, the neanderthalian found herself pregnant from various men, and actually gave birth. She delivered her babies without any assistance. She would then dip the baby, to wash it, in the icy waters of the stream. The little hybrids could not stand such freezing immersions and quickly died. Later, people took away her newborns in time and could raise them.
The miracle was repeated four times: two sons and two daughters of Zana grew up into human adults, real humans with speech and reason. Of course, they were a little peculiar in body and mind, but they were able to work and enjoy a social life. The older boy was called Djanda, the older daughter Kodjanar, the younger daughter Gamassa (she died about forty years ago); the younger boy Khvit (died in 1954). In turn, they have all had descendants now living in various parts of Abkhazia. In 1964, I paid a visit to two of Zana’s grand-children in the town of Tkvartcheli, where they were working in a mine.
Public rumor has it that the father of Gamassa and Khvit was Edghi Ghenaba himself. They were registered under a different name during a census, but it’s a fact that Zana was buried in the Ghenaba family plot, and that her two younger children were raised by Edghi’s wife.
Many people in the area remember Gamassa and Khvit and can describe them in detail. They were strongly built individuals, dark skinned, and with rather negroid features.71 They seemed to have inherited none of Zana’s neanderthalian traits. The human features dominated and hid the other lineage. These beings did not look like hybrids. The village people describe Khvit, who died between sixty-five and seventy, as a man who did not depart much from the norm. Although his skin was dark and his lips thick, he differed from the negroid race by his straight and smooth hair. His head was small in relation to his body. He was gifted with extraordinary physical strength and with an abominable character: violent and quarrelsome. Following battles with some of the village folk, Khvit had ended up without his left arm. However, his left arm was all he needed to mow, participate in farm work and even climb trees. He had a strong voice and sang well. He married twice and left three children. In his old age, he left his home village and moved to Tkvartcheli, where he died. His body was brought back to Tkhina, where he was buried next to his mother’s tomb. According to the stories, Gamassa was like her brother, twice as strong as ordinary women. Her skin was very dark and her body hairy. Her face was hairless except for a few stray hair around her lips. She lived to be in her sixties.
At my first glance at the grand-son and grand-daughter of Zana, Chalikua and Taia, I had the impression that their skin was a little dark and they showed some rather weak negroid traits. Chalikua has extraordinary powerful jaw muscles: while dancing, he can hold between his teeth a chair on which a man is sitting. Another gift is his ability to mimic perfectly the cries of all wild and domestic animals.
In Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, I was introduced to the only person who might help me compare Zana’s remains with the folk tales. All others shied away at the idea, for fear of offending the family, given the Islamic traditions of the area. Vianor Pandjevitch Patchulia had no such scruples. That man is seething with vital energy, like an oak barrel filled with bubbly wine. He is the director of the Institute for Scientific Studies of Tourism in Abkhazia. It is under his enlightened guidance that in September 1964, in the company of the archaeologist-painter V.S. Orelkin, we made our first attempt to find Zana’s tomb.
Vegetation had invaded everything in the old graveyard; only Khvit’s tomb, only ten years old, is still visible among the ferns on the hill where, since then, nobody else has been buried. Zana must be somewhere nearby. We ask the old folks. The last descendant of the Ghenaba family, Kento, seventy-nine years old, insists with a commanding gesture that we are to dig over there, at the foot of a pomegranate tree. The workers gather their tools. The tension rises. Kholkhozians and children gather around. A torrential downpour crowns it all. It’s only in Moscow, after analysis, that the bones drawn from the mud yield their answer: no, this was not Zana’s tomb. After the famous Guerassimov72 reconstituted from the exhumed skull the profile of a young woman, I was impressed by her resemblance to the appearance of the two of Zana’s grandchildren whom I knew personally. It was nearly certain that we had found the grave of one of Zana’s first grand-daughters, who died long ago.
We tried again in March 1965. We find ourselves again in Tkhina, probing with renewed insistence the memory of the old people who had attended Zana’s funeral. One of them, at home, was absolutely sure he could point out the spot for us. He was brought by car to the graveyard. However, the trees had grown and it all looked new to him. Confused, the old man stomped around the cemetery, leaning on his cane, without finding anything. Our trip was basically wasted.
In October 1965, we returned for a third time to Tkhina, but this time our team also included professors A.A.Machkotsev and M.G. Abduchelichvili. Taking Khvit’s tomb as a reference point, old Kento Ghenaba insisted, with as much assurance as he had the year before that we dig at the foot of an old quince tree. New suspense, new torrential rain, new failure. The face of the skull was unfortunately broken by the diggers. A study of the other bones showed that they could not have belonged to Zana. But we were still within her family: as far as we could tell we had now disturbed Gamassa’s bones. Seen closely, they had a small but significant tendency towards the neanderthalian type. After cutting across the quince tree to date it, we found that it was exactly forty years old, which tallied with the date of Gamassa’s burial.
Let’s just remember that to find Zana’s remains, one should dig up to a depth of 1.5 m an area of 5 by 7 meters. This story is not over! Will I have the chance to bring it to its conclusion, some day? Or will someone else be the lucky one?
Secret Soviet Investigations have turned up reports of human-like creatures who have lived for years in Russian Villages and even born human children.
Yetis and abominable snowmen living in Russian villages; working and even bearing children by humans? Incredible as it seems, comprehensive research in Russia, unreported until now, shows that hundreds of Soviet citizens have had extensive experience with these primitive, hairy, human-like creatures.
Recently I have had occasion to pull all of this material together into a report that indicates that, since the fifties, Soviet scientists have shown increased interest in the subject to the point that they have now accomplished what may really be called a breakthrough in the field of “Yeti” research.
“On August 12, 1958, I was following the valley of the Balyandkiik River and I suddenly noticed a strange sight. On the south slope of the valley about 500 meters away. Lip on the permanent snow, a being of unusual aspect was moving — reminiscent of a man’s figure, but with a strongly hunched back. Against the white background, it could be seen clearly that he was standing with his legs wide apart and that his arms were longer than an ordinary man. I stood, not moving. Five minutes elapsed. The figure then vanished, hidden behind a rock.”
The words are those of A. G. Pronin. a hydrologist with the Geographical Scientific and Exploratory Institute of the Leningrad University and the creature he sighted on the edge of that glacier in the Pamirs was a Yeti. Pronin goes on to say: “Three days later, returning from a reconnaissance after sunset. I again saw the figure in that same valley. This time. it vanished into a dark depression, possibly a cave.
“A week later, the people arrived bringing their equipment. The place began to be noisy. The work of the expedition went ahead. The strange encounter was forgotten. But just before we left, our rubber boat suddenly vanished from the riverbank and our searches for it were fruitless. We just had to forget about it. It was only a month after we had left there that we received word in Leningrad that our colleagues of the scientific post of the Uzbeck S.S.R.’s Academy of Science (who were operating not far from us) had found the boat five kilometers upstream from where we had lost it. How could it have got up there? To go up the boiling mountain torrent abounding in rapids and shoals would have been impossible in a boat.
Is there a type of prehistoric Neanderthal primitive Stone Age creature that survives to this day? In the last century, a yeti researcher in Mongolia, Colonel Prjevalsky, found exciting evidence of the actual existence of these creatures. But government influence discouraged him from publicizing the results of his research for fear of ridicule. The Russians renewed scientific research in this field in the 1950’s. Then there seemed to be another shut down on the news and some at the time thought this might again be fear of ridicule.
So the 1950’s report of a sighting by Pronin in the mountain regions of Soviet Central Asia was mocked into silence. Now current circumstances suggest that the conspiracy of silence then was actually a veil to carry on research work under cover. When I first began this record, the Russian operations seemed engulfed in a repeated policy of non-communication. The little known revelations were given to me in July of 1968. In August of that year I tried to obtain more by making direct written approaches. Patience is always needed. I was rewarded and at last a few more spheres of information opened up. Contemporary Russian exploration took up in recent years where Prjevalsky was obliged to leave off and has continued undisturbed up until now. The Russian fieldwork might be on the point of revealing some very rare hominid (human like creatures) distribution. What has been discovered may be primitive remnants of a prehistory that have been able to pursue life undisturbed in the most impenetrable parts of the earth where the area has been suitable for their survival.
Current Russian fieldwork is taking place mainly in the Caucasus in Kabardinia and Balkaria. The leader of the recent expeditions is a woman scientist. Professor Jeanne Josefovna Kofman. Research is also going on in the Chatkal Range a few miles east of Tashkent and several expeditions to investigate the yeti have taken place there in recent years. Russian science papers on the expeditions aroused much interest. Since the first exploration began, 300 reports have reached Professor Kofman from eyewitnesses who have seen an unknown living being and who describe footprints and other evidence. The descriptions of such sightings by the country people who farm who remote and widely separated areas more or less tally in detail.
Professor Kofman announced her findings at a lecture she gave in March of 1966 at the Geographical Society in Moscow. From the skull reconstruction assembled from several reports emerges the likeness of a primate hominid but a very primitive one suggesting a vanished type of Homo sapiens. They conducted daily observations in the Kuruko valley for several weeks. The came to the conclusion that an unknown creature was living there, not a domestic animal, not a man. Sightings occurred at Nal’chik, the capital of Kabardinia. The yeti observed there was thickset and medium height.
According the Dr. Boris Porshnev, a famous historian of the Soviet Union and scholar of wide learning, people from time to time have even managed to catch the yeti and have brought them into inhabited communities but most of them soon died.
There are about ten such cases on record: in 1912, 1914, 1937, 1941 and 1954, all in mountainous regions of Russia or China. Perhaps the strangest of these stories is the tale of Zana, which took place in the last century. Zana was a female yeti who had been caught and tamed and who lived and died within the memory of a number of people still alive today. She was buried in the village of Tkhina in the Ochamchir region. Among present inhabitants of that district, more than ten were at the funeral, and more than 100 are alive who knew Zana over a long period.
At first she was lodged in a strong enclosure and she acted like a wild beast. No one ventured to give her food – it was thrown at her. She dug herself a hole in the ground and slept in it and for the three years she lived in this wild state. Then gradually she became tamer and was moved to a fenced enclosure under an awning near the house, tethered at first but later left loose to wander about. She never went far from the place where she received her food and she could not endure warm rooms. Her skin was black or dark brown and her body was covered with reddish-black hair. The shiny black hair on her head was tousled and thick. She lived for many years without showing changed – no gray hair and no falling teeth. Her teeth were enormous and she could crack anything with them. She could outrun a horse and swam the wild Movki River even when it rose in violent high tide. To gorge herself with grapes in the vineyards, she would pull down a whole vine growing around a tree. She loved wine and was allowed her fill after which she would sleep for hours in a swoon-like state.
Zana became the mother of human children. This is the fantastic side of her history and important according to those studying the science of genetics. Zana was pregnant several times by various men and gave birth without assistance but always carried the newborn child to wash it in the cold river. The half-breed infants unable to survive this chilly “baptism,” died. Later when Zana gave birth, the villagers took the newborn away from her to rear themselves. Four times this happened and the children – two sons and two daughters – could talk and possessed reason. It is true they had some strange physical and mental features but they were capable of engaging in work and social life.
Let us go back a little in history and trace some of the early sightings of yeti. In the years 1905 to 1907, a young scientist B.B. Baradiyn was engaged by the Russian Geographical Society to undertake a mission across Mongolia to Tibet.
One evening just before sundown Baradiyn’s caravan leader gave a yell and pointed to a strange figure clambering up a sand dune. The whole party could clearly see the head of what seemed to be a longhaired man resembling an ape. It stood there for some time then hid behind the crest of the dune.
Around 1910, V. A. Khaklov, a young geologist found two witnesses among Kazakhstan tribesmen who had seen a captive wildman in Central Asia where their Kazakhstan relatives lived. The species was male of less than medium height and covered with hair just like a young camel. But what was really striking about the creature were his long arms reaching to below his knees. He was stooped with shoulders bent forward and had a narrow, hollow looking chest. His brow was sloping and jutted out sharply above the eyes. His lower jaw was massive and he was rather chinless with a small nose and big nostrils. He had large ears with no lobes and somewhat pointed toward the rear like a fox’s. The skin on his forehead, forearms and knees was horny and calloused. His legs far apart and bent at the knees. The soles of his feet resembled those of humans but were one and a half times to twice as broad with widely set toes.
Another witness found by V. A. Khaklov had observed a wildman specimen over a period of several months near the Manas River. That specimen, a female had been captured by local farmers. This wild woman answered to the descriptions of yeti. Her body was covered with hair, she was narrow chested and stooping with inordinately long arms, widely set legs and large flat feet with spreading toes. The feet were very broad and looked like paws. She emitted sounds only occasionally but bared her teeth when anybody came near her during her captivity and when she slept; it was in a peculiar position like a camel with knees and elbows beneath her with her forehead touching the ground – hands cupped at the back of her neck. She ate mostly raw meat but developed a taste for flat loaves of bread. Sometimes she seized and devoured insects that came within her reach. She drank either by lying level to the ground and drinking like a horse or by dripping water into her mouth with her hand. When she was set free, she walked off clumsily; long arms dangling and then ran to the nearby swamps.
Khaklov had pictures that showed a chimpanzee, a gorilla and a reconstructed sketch of a prehistoric man. He showed the photographs to each witness at different times with a request that they indicate which of the photographs most resembled the wildman species. Both men pointed to the picture of prehistoric man.
In the summer of 1928, the eminent Mongolian Scientist, Professor Rinchen halted overnight at the home of an old Mongol woman of the Gobi, who was in her seventies. She told him how a female yeti had once nursed her at the breast. When she was a baby, her father had gone to Sinkiang with a caravan and her mother had gone to the well to water a herd of sheep, leaving her unattended in the yurt (a felt covered tent still used by these nomads). Returning with the sheep, the mother suddenly heard her child crying and noticed that the felt cover of the entrance to the yurt was thrown back. The alarmed mother rushed in and saw a hideous naked woman, her body covered with sparse hair, sitting on the women’s side (east) of the yurt beside the small Mongolian crib and putting one of her long breasts into the child’s mouth. The mother cried in horror and flung herself across the yurt to protect her child. The hairy creature quickly put the child down, leaped past the mother and ran out.
An old friend of Professor Rinchen, a man called Gopil, told him of a kidnapping that took place once in the Gobi in which a yeti captured a man. A caravan traveling to the town of Hoho in Inner Mongolia halted in the Gobi. One of the party went off to collect the camels that had been let loose to graze. As he was a long time returning, his companions were alarmed. One of them wanted to go off alone to search for him.. But then an old and experienced member of the party said there were yeti living in the wilderness in that part of the area and that it was dangerous for one man alone to go and look for their absent companion. So three of them set out . As they were combing the thickets they came upon a cave in a sandstone escarpment. At the entrance they saw signs that a man wearing boots has struggled with a barefooted creature. + Terrified, they did not dare enter the cave. They collected their camels, which they had left to graze nearby, and went back to the camp to get guns. However the veteran caravan man dissuaded them saying that once a yeti caught a man, it would be some days before the creature came out of the cave again. It would therefore be futile to keep watch over the cave. They continued their journey planning to free their friend on the way back.
On the return journey, they pitched camp near the lair and three of them with rifles, hid in the bushes near the mouth of the cave. Nothing showed itself all day but at sundown something on two legs appeared in the opening, its whole body covered with hair. Shots rang out and the creature fell dead. The three men reloading their guns rushed inside the cave where they reckoned they would find their friend and rescue him before the sound of the shots could bring out any other yeti. They found him, but he seemed totally wild and quite apathetic at their sudden appearance. He became strangely silent and unwilling to say what had happened to him while he was living in the cave. On his return home, he avoided looking people in the eye, often turned away, and sat facing the wall when he saw they were watching him. Two months later he died, which showed clearly that some sort of anguish had been consuming him.
In 1968, Doctor Porshnev wrote about what he calls “the cave men dispute” meaning the yeti. He sent me all his observations and they were followed later by more material in 1969. Porshnev gave me an older story he was told by retired General Mikhail Stepanovich Topil’skiy. In 1925, the general was a commissar with troops that had been sent in pursuit of a band of White Army forces retreating through the Pamirs. In the high region of the Vanchsk area, they hear tales of wildmen from the local people – “beast men” who were living higher up but known for their cries and from rare encounters.
In the Vanchsk and Yazgulemsk Ranges, the troops found bare footprints in the snow ending at the foot of a cliff face too steep to be climbed by man. They found what resembled human feces containing remains of dried berries and during a battle between the Reds and the Whites, a wounded Red soldier, an Uzbek reported that as they were firing into a cave, a wild hairy man ran out making inarticulate noises. He ran into the machine gun fire and was killed.
“At first,” the general said, “I thought the thing was an ape. It was covered with fur. But I knew there were no apes in the Pamirs and moreover the body looked far more human than ape like indeed fully human.”
Not far from the same locality of Yazgulem Village in the Vanchsk region, at the Fedchenko Glacier Observatory the radio meteorologist G. N. Tebenikhin experienced certain associated events, which he was completely unable to explain. “Some biped broke a rod” near the observatory then got away easily from men on skis who pursued it for several hours across a glacier. It was brown colored and it reportedly sat down and let the pursuers get closer but never nearer than one kilometer. Finally it vanished down a steep snow covered chasm sitting on its buttocks and using its feet as brakes.
The yeti, according to Professor Rinchen seem to be vanishing in Mongolia as civilization advances into their old nomadic grounds. But their specifications still link up with the current discoveries of Professor Kofman in the Caucasus Mountains. Their descriptions have similarities with the stories of the yeti or snowmen of Tibet and with the sightings and behavior of the wildmen of the Pamirs recorded by A. G. Pronin and others. Much of this yeti data is unknown to the rest of the world, some was found in old ignored archives by Dr. Porshnev and his Snowman Commission of Enquiry which seems to have been the Cinderella of Russia’s official science departments.
Yeti reports began in the Yablonovy, Stanovoy and Dzhugzhur Ranges. Reports also came from Lake Baikal northward to the ridge of Yenisei River Region and “God knows where else among the vast expanses of Siberia, especially to the north you will find time and time again the same stories about these wandering man-like creatures attracted particularly to herds of reindeer.”
Animals have had a better deal than these rare, semi-concealed creatures. Animals are recognized and have their places in the echelon of the tree of life, but the outcasts, these unacceptable beings (insisted upon as being legend) have had the temerity to live on in a few of the rare savage places still left in the world. We are launching out into the marvels of space exploration while still not knowing everything about our own planet.
I may be verbally flayed for what I am about to say, but perhaps after all, we are not meant to discover the whole truth about the snowman or the yeti. Perhaps these are the primal rough and secret stock saved by nature to withstand and survive any final disaster preserved and hidden as raw material for a fresh start in evolution, should we finally blow up our so called civilization.
© Odette Tchernine for ARGOSY February 1971