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17:52 | Nov 22 | 2012

Mysterious Chuchunah

Almost everywhere there are legends portraying meetings with a “snowman” or, in other words, relict hominids – a humanlike primate genus miraculously preserved from prehistoric times. In the U.S. and Canada, they are called Bigfoot or Sasquatch, in the Himalayas – Yeti, in Central Asia - Alamasami. In Yakutia, there has long existed a legend about a mysterious chuchunah.

Scientists doubt that
Modern science rejects the existence of such primates, explaining that any large mammals would have to have a fairly large population to survive. Which, in turn, raises another question: where they would find food staying undetected on the fringe of civilization? It is difficult to contradict as millennia of colonization left little sparsely populated places on the planet.
Meanwhile, the north-east of Yakutia could be just the very spot. It is a rough corner of sparsely populated mountain ridges and valleys adjacent to a large area of tundra to the north. Since ancient times the locals have been telling stories about encounters with chuchunah.

A cultured savage
The Yakut “Snowman” is never mentioned as being apelike. Although, speaking of him, witnesses highlight tallness, abundant hair, agility and great physical strength. It is noteworthy that one of the characteristic abilities of chuchunah is a shrill whistle that “makes the heart tremble in fear”. The same whistle is mentioned in stories about the North American Bigfoot and the Himalayan Yeti. However, there are some significant differences: chuchunah is more developed intellectually. It uses a palm (a traditional Yakut kind of silent weapon), it is an excellent archers and it dresses in deer skins. Admittedly, as referenced by local people, it wears them as unprocessed raw fresh skin by just pulling them over itself.
Bodily characteristics are described in the first place as ”black” face and body entirely covered with hair. When catching sight of people, chuchunah usually escapes for this purpose developing superhuman speed. They say it is able to outrun a horse and even a motor boat.

"Its face is large, just like human...”
Northern Yakutia incumbents claimed that chuchunah kidnapped young girls and children, keeping them at caves and feeding raw meat. Herder T.I. Zakharov described the appearance of the forest dweller: “...In the twenties, the residents of our village met chuchunah while picking berries. It was also gathering berries shoving them into its mouth with both hands, and when it saw people it stood up. It was very tall and thin - more than two meters, they say. It was dressed in buckskin, barefoot. It had very long arms, shaggy hair on his head. Its face was big just like human, but darker. Its forehead was little and bulging above the eyes like a visor. Its chin was big, wide, much larger than a human. As such very similar to human, only much taller. Within seconds it ran. It ran very fast, high-bouncing after every third step.”
Today gossip of meeting chuchunah is becoming rarer, though in the thirties of the twentieth century it was quite common. For example, in 1929, the newspaper “Independent Yakutia” even reported mysterious cases of attacks of savages on livestock in one of the northern regions of the Republic.

Nicholay Tatarinov

Drawing by Petr Petrov