Uncle Sam and the Abominable Snowman
Diplomatic cables are in news again. But we are not discussing the latest WikiLeaks cables here. Instead let's focus on a dispatch sent by the US embassy in Kathmandu 52 years ago. This one dealt with Yeti, the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.
The unclassified dispatch sent on November 30, 1959 by Ernest H Fisk, a counselor at the embassy, to the US State Department mentions of three special regulations applicable to expeditions searching for the Yeti in Nepal.
Anyone interested in searching for the ape-like cryptid, a creature whose existence is not scientifically acknowledged, had to pay Rs 5000 (Indian currency) to the Nepal government to get a permit to conduct an expedition to trace the Asian equivalent of America's Big Foot.
In the event of encountering the legend, it can be photographed or caught alive, but it must not be killed or shot at except in an emergency arising out of self-defence. All photos and the creature itself (captured or killed) have to be handed over to the Nepal government at the earliest.
The last regulation stipulates that news and reports throwing light on the Yeti's existence must be submitted to the Nepal government as soon as they are available and must in no way be given to "Press or Reporters" for publicity without the government's nod.
The recently unearthed document confirms that Uncle Sam not just believed in the existence of Yeti, something many have dubbed as an elaborate hoax, but also endorsed the Nepal government's regulations regarding expeditions meant to trace the creature.
Many US expeditions to the Nepal Himalayas towards the end of the 1950s concentrated mainly on locating the hairy monster.
Another dispatch sent from the US embassy in New Delhi in 1959 speaks of how American resources have focused on "efforts to capture the abominable snowman".
In her book Tom Slick and the search for the Yeti, Loren L Coleman writes about the eccentric Texas oil millionaire who came to Nepal in search of the creature and also funded several expeditions.
In 1959, a member of an expedition funded by Slick reportedly stole parts of the 'Yeti Hand', from the Pangboche monastery in Nepal. It was the only Yeti memorabilia on display besides a purported scalp of the creature kept at Khumjung monastery.