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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Decemystery (2021) 8: The Bashkortostan Creature

Russia’s a hotbed for sightings of mysterious creatures. Dire wolves, mammoths, and aliens are but a few of the enigmas that have been seen over there. Though above all else, the nation is known for a ton of sightings of hairy hominids. Many of them come from Siberia, though Russia as a whole is no stranger to seeing the infamous Yeti. Sure, the Yeti itself may be from Himalayan folklore officially, but the name is used to describe more or less any snowy mountain-dwelling Bigfoot.

Anyways, for today’s story, we’re headed over to Russia to investigate something known as the Bashkortostan Creature. This is something you might be familiar with if you’re a bit fan of mystery-centric YouTube channels or happen to watch the Travel Channel show “Paranormal Caught On Camera”. It’s a rather famous video from the mid-2010s that managed to make the news. So come along, dear reader! It’s time to put on our winter clothes and investigate a Yeti!

The Story

Our story takes place in the Republic of Bashkortostan—which is a state in Russia, but not an independent nation. I could be wrong about this, but that’s what asking Bing and Google told me. If I’m wrong about this, please tell me in the comments just how uneducated of an American I am.

Anywhoozle: on what I suspect to have been November 16, 2016, Vadim Gilmanov and an unnamed companion of his were driving near the Ural Mountains (which is where the infamous Dyatlov Pass Incident took place). During the drive—which was in the dead of night—Vadim’s dashboard camera caught something bolt out from the right-side of the road. With little trouble, the figure makes it across before vanishing into the darkness. Take a look; this is from Vadim’s YouTube channel and was uploaded on the 17th of November.

If you want a closer look at the creature, here it is.

It looks to be covered in white fur and that’s about all I can gather (aside from it being a biped). I also can’t guess how much snow covered the land, but it appears to be quite a bit. It’s certainly enough that I imagine it would be rather hard for the average man (or at least someone who isn’t experienced in traveling in snowy areas) to get across. The figure, however, bolts across and gets through the road like a bat out of hell (or a Russian man running from his wife after being out for too long). Towards the end of the video, Vadim drives close enough to the scene. There, you can see that whoever—or whatever—ran across the road in what looks to have been two or three strides.

According to the Cryptidz Wiki, the men at first suspected that what they'd seen was a moose; it’s apparently what they say in the video. I’m not 100% sure, but I’m going by what a website called hauntjaunts stated. However, even that site isn’t certain as to what was said (more on that when we get to the theories). Presumably though, they later determined that wasn’t the case because the figure in the video clearly walks on two legs. As we all know, moose walk on four legs and are sometimes even immune to bullets. As such, they came to the conclusion that this was possibly the infamous Yeti/Abominable Snowman. 

Vadim’s video quickly caught the attention of a fair few news outlets. RT—also known as Russia Todayreported on the video on November 18th. For those unfamiliar, RT is Russia’s state-sponsored news agency; I know it’s been subject to a lot of controversy, but hey: it just goes to show that the incident caught the attention of Russia in some capacity. Anyways, in their article, RT quotes Vadim during an interview with a local news agency (I’m unsure if it was RT themselves or another news agency).

I mean it could have been someone’s cruel prank. But on the other hand, who else could dash out so quickly in the middle of the night? In the middle of nowhere.

A handful of other publications caught wind of the encounter, such as the Sun, Express, Daily Mail, Mirror, and Fox 17 (which is from West Michigan I guess). All of the publications more or less had the same thing to say: nobody knows what exactly the creature is (or was).

Unfortunately, that’s where the story ends. Vadim has yet to record anything else related to the Yeti and no one has come forward to say that they were in a costume, or that it was them in snow camouflage. Since the posting of the video, it’s become rather popular. As stated at the start, it appeared on “Paranormal Caught on Camera”. From what I remember, the hosts weren’t 100% sure what to make of the footage, but I could be misremembering things. I digress though; outside of the show, there are a fair number of people online who are skeptical that it’s really the Yeti. So what’s the truth? Well, let’s get to the theories and discuss ‘em!


1.  It was a hoax

This theory has a lot going against it and a lot going for it. Let’s start off with what’s going against it. For starters, if the Cryptidz Wiki is to be believed, the nearest village where the video was recorded was 22 miles (35.4 kilometers) away. If that’s true, then one has to wonder why on Earth someone would be out there wandering around in a costume waiting for someone to drive down the road. They risk getting hit by a car, attacked by an animal, or succumbing to exposure.

This can be explained away, however, if the person in the costume was a part of the whole thing and it was a staged event. The idea would be that Vadim had a second friend with him who dressed up as the Abominable Snowman, went into the snow, then charged across the road at the right time. That said, I cannot imagine this would be easy given how cold it must have been, and how difficult it would have been to get the right shot. Still, it could feasibly work, it would just be a lot of work, trial and error, and you could pull it off in an easier fashion if you were to do it out in the woods.

With that said, there is some stuff that I don’t see mentioned elsewhere. On hauntjaunts, the writer—Lesia Schnur—lists a few oddities about the whole event. For starters, she states that there appears to “be at least one additional set” of tracks before the creature crosses the road. I personally don’t see this and I feel rather stupid because I can’t see what she’s referring to. If someone can show me, I would appreciate it.

The next thing that’s mentioned is how the creature moved. In the eyes of Lesia, it looked like it “glided” or “skied” across the road. I once again can’t really see this as it, to me, looked more like it was forcing its way through the snow before taking a few steps, then remusing the process of pushing its way through the snow. Then again, it’s entirely possible I’m just blind and can’t see what Lesia means.

The third thing that’s mentioned is actually something that I’m shocked no other article or blog brought up. The tracks weren’t filmed. Neither Vadim, nor his companion, got out and so much as took a picture with one of their phones. All we’ve got is the dashboard footage. It’s entirely possible that they were afraid they’d be ambushed by the creature, though Lesia states that neither man appeared all that “excited” about what they saw. You can argue they were in shock, but there is a weird silence towards the end.

The final thing is that it isn’t known what the men are even saying prior to the encounter. Being the lazy person I am, I didn’t go out to ask someone to translate it for me, but there are two conflicting reports. According to Lesia, certain articles say they’re talking about Yetis before encountering one. Once the creature crosses the road though, Vadim (presumably) screams that it’s a moose.

Well, that’s what hauntjaunt had to say on the matter. I didn’t come across anything else that posits that it’s a hoax, or gives any reason[s] as to why it would be one. At least, not beyond your typical nay-sayers who shoot down everything related to the Yeti, Bigfoot, or other cryptids. A fair number of the news articles I linked during the story cited a man by the name of Anatoly Yakoview, a zoologist from Bashkir State University. He stated that there’d never been any bone or fecal sample found and that you can typically chalk up sightings of the Yeti to hallucinations or the imagination.

Ehh, this is getting to be rather long. Let’s just move on before it gets any more muddled.

2. It was a poacher

This is a really, really popular theory. The idea is that the creature was a poacher wearing snow camouflage and was either spooked by police or by the sound of Vadim driving down the road. In a panic, he bolted off and just so happened to be caught by the dashboard camera.

In many ways, you can tie this in with the first theory; perhaps the poacher was wearing something that helped him to maneuver through the snow with ease. I know absolutely nothing about traversing snow as I rarely leave my house, but I imagine there’s something that could help you do so. I digress: the only core difference between this theory and the last one is that Vadim had no knowledge of who was out there and simply mistook the figure for a moose and then possibly the Yeti.

The only major flaw with the whole theory is that, besides how easily the figure moves, it also doesn’t appear to be carrying anything. If it was a poacher, I imagine there’d be some discernible equipment on the back, or near the waist. Unless they left it all where they were setting a trap or were tracking an animal, it appears they were just out in the middle of nowhere without any protection. That’s really bizarre.

3. It was the Yeti

The third and final theory is that the creature was a Yeti. I know, big shock. There isn’t a whole lot to go over here; it was big, it moved through snow with ease, it took what appeared to be large steps, and it looked to be covered in white fur. It looked like a Yeti based on what we can see from the footage. Whether or not you believe such a theory depends very heavily on whether or not you believe such a creature exists. Nothing more, nothing less.

My Take

I’m honestly torn on this. I took some time to think over why this would be a hoax and thought about hauntjaunt’s article on this. However, I don’t see where they’re coming from. If I’d seen something like that cross the road, I wouldn’t be particularly excited or eager to get out of the car and record (or photograph) the footprints. I’d want to stay inside of it where I know I could peel away if I saw it again. It’s not like it was a deer or, well, moose. It looked like something that could pick me up and throw me across a football field.

At the same time though, I’m naturally skeptical of anything like this. I’m not normally one to immediately jump to the conclusion that any video of something like this is indisputable proof that Bigfoot, the Yeti, Nessie, or Mothman is real. Naturally, I think it’s fully possible that this was just some poacher in snow camouflage running away because someone saw him (or he got spooked that a car was coming down the road and he thought it was the cops). Granted, if he thought it was the cops, I have to wonder why he would run across the street, but hey: people do stupid things when overcome by fear and/or panic.

Yet, I find it rather hard to think that a person could move through so much snow like that. Maybe I’m underestimating the strength of a human, but it seems like they were going through it with way too much ease. I simply cannot see someone doing this; I imagine it would have to be something bigger and more powerful than a human. Am I crazy for thinking that? Maybe, I’m no bodybuilder (let alone anyone who’s really “fit”, I’m disgustingly average at best).

I guess if I had to take a stance on this, I would say it’s the real deal and it was the Yeti. Though I’m open to the idea it was a poacher; if someone can educate me on moving through the snow and whatnot, I would probably change my mind to that. Until then though, I think it was the Yeti. If I’m wrong… well, I mean, it wouldn't be the first time I’ve been wrong.


Why did the Yeti walk to its destination?

Because gas prices are abominable.

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