The existence of Yeti, also called the Abominable Snowman, remains shrouded in mystery, much like Bigfoot, but there is at least one serious believer out there among the skeptics.
That believer just paid $11,158 for four photos from a 1951 Mount Everest expedition that purport to be Yeti footprints made in the snow in the Menlung Basin.
The photographs taken by Eric Earle Shipton were part of a 15-day online auction by the famed London auction house Christie's. The photos were entitled "The Abominable Snowman" and were among the items in the "Out of the Ordinary: the Online Edit" auction, which ended a few days ago.
A representative from Christie's told GrindTV Outdoor in an email Monday that the winning bid was £6,875. The photos were expected to fetch between $4,800 and $8,100 USD.
Shipton took a photo of the alleged Yeti footprint next to a booted foot and then another next to an ice axe to give an idea of the footprint's size. He took two other photos showing a series of alleged Yeti footprints next to human prints and with a rucksack beside them.
The footprints measure between 12 and 13 inches.
On the back of the photo of the boot with the Yeti footprint is this inscription from Tom Bourdillon, who was on the expedition: "Dear Mick. Here are the footprint photos: sorry for the delay. We came across them on a high pass on the Nepal-Tibet watershed during the 1951 Everest expedition. They seemed to have come over a secondary pass at about 19,500 ft, down to 19,000 ft where we first saw them, and then went on down the glacier. We followed them for the better part of a mile. What it is, I don’t know, but I am quite clear that it is no animal known to live in the Himalaya, & that it is big. Compare the depths to which it & Mike Ward (no featherweight) have broken into the snow. Yours, Tom Bourdillon."
Ward, in a paper called "Everest 1951: the footprints attributed to the Yeti—myth and reality," described the day the footprints were discovered.
Ward, Shipton, and Sen Tensing were descending from Menlung at about 16,000 to 17,000 feet when they "came across a whole series of footprints in the snow."
Ward continued: "The print was nearly twice as broad as my boot (3 to 4 inches) and had clear-cut edges in the crystalline snow on a base of firm snow ice. There was the definite imprint of a big toe that was broader and shorter than the other rather indistinct toes, of which there seemed to be four or five. We followed these tracks for some way down the easy glacier and noticed that whenever a narrow 6-inch-wide crevasse was crossed there seemed to be claw marks in the snow at the end of the toe imprints. … Two days later we were joined by Murray and Bourdillon, who, after visiting the Nangpa La … had followed our route into the Menlung Basin. All tracks had been deformed by the sun and wind."
Not surprisingly, the photos have been scrutinized by paranormal investigators, scholars, and skeptics, all debating their authenticity.
These photos were taken 25 years after Royal Geographic Society photographer N.A. Tombazi claimed to have made the first European sighting of Yeti during an expedition to the Sikkim Himalaya, according to the Lot notes from Christie's.
In 1952, a year before becoming the first to successfully climb Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary was with two other climbers when one of them stopped and picked something off the rock. They became excited.
"I asked them what it was all about," Hillary said, according to "Hillary, High Adventure," 1955, page 103. "They placed in my hand a tuft of long black hairs—thick and coarse, they looked more like bristles than anything else. 'Yeti, Sahib! Yeti!'
"I couldn’t help being impressed by their conviction, and it did seem a strange place to find some hair. We were well over 19,000 feet and the Abominable Snowman was obviously no mean rock climber."
The photos and accompanying evidence of the existence of Yeti might be compelling but, obviously, aren’t nearly enough to say conclusively, though the anonymous winning bidder of the auction might disagree.
Actually, this wasn't the first time these photos have been sold, according to U.K. MailOnline. They sold at auction in London in 2007 for £3,500 or $5,680 USD.
So there are at least two people that seriously believe in the existence of Yeti.
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