Reports of a large, human-like creature in the Himalayas date back to 1832 when B.H. Hodgson wrote in The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal of a hairy man-like biped that walked erect.
The Sherpa guides, however, seemed familiar with the creature. Some claim there are two yetis: 'dzu-teh', which is 7-8ft tall, and 'meh-teh', which is only 5-6ft tall. Both have long arms that almost reach to the knees.
In 1889, Major L.A. Waddell found footprints in the snow one morning. His Sherpa guides matter-of-factly told him they were the prints of a hairy wild man that was often seen in the area. Reports of sightings continued and in September 1921, on a mountaintop near Tibet at 20,000ft, Lt Col C.K. Howard-Bury found strange footprints in the snow. He described the prints as being three times the size of a man's. The Sherpas told him that they were from 'a man-like thing that is not a man'. This description was mistakenly translated by a Calcutta Statesman columnist as 'abominable snowman' and the name stuck.
The alternative name of 'yeti' came as a result of a sighting in 1925 by N.A. Tombazi, a British member of the Royal Geographical Society. He saw a creature stooping to pick at some bushes, then found 16 footprints, shaped like a man's, six or seven inches long and four inches wide. After this report, the creature became known as 'Yeti', from the Sherpa 'yeh-teh', meaning 'the thing'.
In 1959, mountaineer Peter Byrne visited a lamasery in Pangboche, Nepal, where the monks allowed him to examine something that was supposed to be the hand of a yeti. Byrne had come prepared and stole a finger and thumb from the hand, replacing them with a human finger and thumb that he had brought with him. The supposed yeti parts were smuggled into India where the actor James Stewart, and his wife Gloria, wrapped them in underwear to smuggle them to England. Tests were inconclusive and the samples subsequently vanished.
On 30 June 1969, the headline appeared in the US National Bulletin: 'I was raped by the Abominable Snowman'.