Anna Sawerthal, Davide Torri
Imagining the Wild Man: Yeti Sightings in Folktales and Newspapers of the Darjeeling and Kalimpong Hills
Abstract This article aims to explore the entanglements of folktales, travel accounts, and newspaper reports involving sightings, encounters, and rumors about the existence of a legendary creature inhabiting the snowy peaks and forested slopes of the Himalayan range. Since time immemorial, the yeti complex has been part of the folklore and belief systems of diverse Himalayan communities. With the advent of colonial explorers and administrators, the notion of a mysterious creature started to haunt the imagination of the Western public at large when reports about its existence started to appear and were then widely circulated. From village rituals, myths, fables, and stories to the accounts of scholars and travelers, from the pages of local newspapers to global media, the yeti complex has proved to be a very resilient and constantly fascinating mytheme that is able to pervade different discourses, knowledge systems, religious beliefs, folklore, and pop culture.