Jomsom, Nepal, Interview with Ram Gurung – I was speaking with Ram and he explained that the Nepalese differentiate between the terms forest and jungle. The jungle to them would be forest in our vocabulary. The uncamped wilderness with very old trees, the basic mountainous lake Tahoe environment. The forest to the Nepalese is an area that has been planted by some agency in a reforestation scheme. Ram said it was illegal to cut down any trees in the forest but in the jungle one can cut down as many trees for fuel as you needed. I asked him about the yeti, the Nepalese version of big foot but he had no idea what I was talking about. He had never heard the term yeti before. I drew a picture of one and the light bulb went off in his head “not yeti, Bonne Manchie . “Bonne Manchie” is directly translated jungle man. The term the Nepalese use to describe the yeti. The Bonne Manchie will now be referred to the yeti as I write.
Ram told me he first heard of the yeti from the “old man” who tells everyone the history. He explained to all people, from young children to old woman go to the old man’s house to listen to him tell their history. Ram first heard the old man’s stories when he was 6 and here is the version of the legend of the yeti he was told. The old man said there was a jungle man in the Nepalese jungles and that it was larger than a normal man, much taller with longer arms and legs and big feet. The jungle man was covered in “slippery” black hair all over and was sort of like a monkey but more like a man.
The old man said you could see the huge footprints in the jungle but (and this is interesting) the footprints would always be facing the opposite direction from the way the yeti was really heading. The old man said he had seen a yeti and his story was that: He was in the jungle, cutting down a tree with an axe. When he looked up, there was a jungle man standing there, watching him. The old man stared at the jungle man for a moment and then started running back to his home. The jungle man just as scared of the old man as the man was of him ran off deeper into the jungle. The old man continued his story by telling the Nepalese that the yeti kills men but not women. It just rapes the women. If a woman is walking through the forest and the jungle man sees her, it will grab her, have sex with her, then go off deeper into the woods. The man also told them that if the women are staying alone at their homes without their husband, there is a chance that the jungle man will come into the house and sleep with the woman, nice way of scaring the woman into submission.
The only other thing Ram can remember the old man saying about the yeti was that you could not kill it with a knife, only a gun. The old man said if there is a yeti 5 to 10 yards away and this is Ram’s version of the story and you throw your knife at it, the knife will just bounce off leaving the jungle man unharmed.
Ram lives in the “jungle” a few hours from Pokhara, so I asked him if he ever seen one himself. He said yes, he had seen one and to give his story credence, he was with a group of seven people all who spotted the jungle man. He said he was 12 or 13 and they were going up into the jungle to get wood when they looked up and saw the jungle man climbing a tree about 30 yards away. Ram described him and said the yeti was larger than any normal man, covered in black hair all over its body except its face. He said the face looked similar to a man’s but much longer. The yeti was up on a tree and one of the people he was with pointed to it and said, “there is the jungle man.” The seven boys looked at the yeti and the yeti stared back at them. Then the boys went running back home remembering the old man’s words that the jungle man killed people.
I asked if he had seen any yeti footprints and he said when he does into the jungle near his home sometimes he sees them. He said he has seen different sized footprints, some a little bigger than his own foot. He thinks these are young Bonne Manchie s and others, which dwarfed his own footprint. His reckons these are old yetis. I was going to go up to his house over the next couple of days and we were going yeti footprint hunting but since it is a blizzard condition outside, Ram said there would not be any footprints for a while. Ram also mentioned that sometimes he sees the Bonne Manchie feces in the forest and is always really-really black. He wondered what he ate to make it that color.
Interviews with various Nepalese people 31st March, 1993 –
All interviews in Som’s village above Phedi.
Som 17 years and his brother, 19 years old. They say the yeti or Bonne Manchie is short, 2-1/2 feet tall, has big feet facing backwards and is covered in black hair. They both said it has three eyes. One in each shoulder and only one on its facial region, in the middle of the forehead. Som explained that if the Bonne Manchie’s shadow passes over a man, the man will die, that is all that is needed. Som also said when the Bonne Manchie sees a woman, it will rape it, not kill it.
Som’s sister, 25 years old. The yeti is 3 to 4 feet tall, big feet like mine, size 11 or 44, covered in hair, no color indicated. It has three eyes, two in its face and one in the right shoulder. She said that it kills people but did not say if it kills only man.
Ram’s mother-in-law, 68 years old approximately. The Bonne Manchie is short, big feet, facing backwards. She said it has 12 eyes, all over its face, on the back of its head and in its shoulders.
Ram’s brother-in-law, 28 years old approximately. He gave no description but said that you could only kill it with a gun. He also said that it would go into the houses and rape women if the men are not around. He said something about the Bonne Manchie’ shadow as well. If the Bonne Manchie’s shadow passes over you, it will make you very sick, not kill you like Som said.
Som’s father, 33 years old. Som’s father said he has seen the Bonne Manchie for first hand and here is his account. He was hiking up the hill from Phedi about 1 a.m. going rather quickly because one of his daughters was sick and he was worried about her. As he was walking up the trail, he could hear footsteps in the leaves in the jungle near him. He stopped walking and the footsteps seized as well. When he started up the hill, he could hear the animal in the bushes again. He stopped again and once again the footsteps stopped. Som’s father began to get really worried thinking it was a tiger, so he climbed up the hill even faster. When he reached the top of the hill but was still in the jungle, he stopped again and once again the footstep stopped. Thinking he could out with the animal, he began stomping one foot to make the animal think he walking but to his dismay, the Bonne Manchie did not move forward, it was imitating the father’s actions. The father looked to his left and 5 feet away, he spotted the Bonne Manchie stomping one foot just as the father was. He described the Bonne Manchie as short, 3 feet high, covered in black hair except for the face and it had feet as large as the man’s forearm, about 13 inches long. He said the feet faced backwards and its arms were short, not as long as human’s with hands similar to a man’s, but long 3 to 4 inch nails. The Bonne Manchie had no neck whatsoever and its head is sunk down between the shoulders. He said its face was the same as a man’s, but the eyes are not in the same place. The eyes are positioned one on each side of the head where human’s temple would be.
Later on in the discussion after telling the story, he said there was one eye in each shoulder and none on the head, but the original description is as above. Once the father spotted the Bonne Manchie , he said he became so scared that his breathing increased his chest capacity and popped one of the buttons of his shirt. He said he became almost crazy with fright and began screaming at the Bonne Manchie and throwing rocks at it. He said he was at very close range, but none of the rocks hit the Bonne Manchie . Every stone he threw would just go past it. The Bonne Manchie finally went off into the forest and the father ran home to his family. He continued and told me that the Bonne Manchie ‘s face was longer than a man’s and that when it went to the toilet, it was always in great quantities and was very very black. He said that if the Bonne Manchie were to kill a man with his claws, it would not scratch a man like a bear rather it would use its long nails and rip out a chunk of flesh leaving a divet in the arm or leg it had gone for.
The father also described a female Bonne Manchie. It is the same, only he said its breasts were really really long, so long that the female needs to carry them in her hands when walking. He said when the female is going to run after something or walk uphill, it throws its breast over its shoulder, then walks or climbs wherever it was going. The males live in the jungle above Phedi while the females live in the jungle across the valley near Sarangkot. Girl at the Namastay Lodge, Pokhara 1st of April, 1993 15 years old approximately. She was in the jungle with her friend and five other older women cutting wood when they saw the Bonne Manchie . This is about a year ago. She said they saw it walking through the jungle with a dead animal over its shoulder. Her description was half my height, making it 2½ feet tall, all black and hairy with a face like a monkey, but longer, two eyes, ears, nose, mouth like a monkey. They spotted it and it spotted the women and they ran two hours through the jungle back to Pokhara leaving their sandals and axe behind because they were so frightened.