Joachim G. Piepke: The Yeti Does Exist after All. Franz Xaver Eichinger’s Field Notes about His Encounter with the “Abominable Snowman” in 1949


The search for the Yeti has a long history. Several expeditions tried to encounter the elusive creature and to reveal the mystery; they all failed. The one who did succeed was Fr. Franz Xaver Eichinger, missionary of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) and trained physician, who worked in Qinghai (Northwestern China) from 1940 to 1953. On one of his medical expeditions to Tibetan nomads, Eichinger met “Yeti” by accident, and specifically an individual who possessed a deep spiritual knowledge and a natural gift of healing. Eichinger called him the “Naked Lama,” a hairy creature of the wilderness who was apparently not harmed by the cold. Eichinger explained this phenomenon by pointing to the fact that children born with a congenital hypertrichosis, due to endogamy, were frequently expelled from villages because they were believed to be possessed by evil spirits.

[Tibet, Tibetan myths, Yeti, shamanism, hypertrichosis]