Man-like Creatures: Stories and Legends
From June to July in 2006, I joined the documentary group organized by CCTV and Beijing Mt. Ling Ecological Research Institute to visit several native forest areas in Yadong, Kyirong, Menling, Nyingchi, and Pome in order to conduct a field survey regarding the activities of man-like creatures.
The investigation lasted about one month. Luckily we made acquaintance with the people who had knowledge of the man-like creatures because they had encountered this kind of creature; they were Tsering Dondrup, Tashi from Yadong; Phurbu Dorje, Zhang Xikai, Tsering Drolma, Jamyang Thubten, and Chonyi from Nyingchi County, as well as Dansong and Tsering Dondrup from Menling County. From their descriptions, the man-like creatures could be concluded to have the following common characteristics: they are actually some kind of omnivorous animal with enormous physical strength; they like to mimic the behavior of human beings; they can even use simple tools. They prefer to have a peaceful live and they can also be said to enjoy a very favorable living environment.
Stories between Man and Man-like creatures
Kangsa Jamyang Thubten Rinpoche from CPPCC of Nyingchi prefecture told us that he was born in Orang Town in Menling County. He had often heard the elders describe man-like creatures. Legend says that over 100 years ago there was a Tibetan village situated in the area of Dom Angpu of Orang Town. People frequently witnessed several man-like creatures moving around. The creatures usually stood in the forest behind the village to watch the villagers while they were working in the field by day, but when darkness came, the creatures came down into the valley and mimiced the working activities of human beings. As a result, the creatures often messed up a whole field and annoyed the villagers very much. By careful thinking, the villagers came up with a good strategy. One day, the villagers brought a big wine jar and placed it on the edge of the field. They filled it up with water and then sang songs while pretending to drink the "wine" and to be enjoying themselves. Having almost finished the water in the jar, they pretended to be drunk and took out knives, which they had specially prepared before, to apparently slaughter each other. Finally everybody was lying on the ground, feigning either death or being wounded. When night came, they crept out of the field and returned with real knifes and real barley wine to fill the jar. Then they sneaked back home. The funny thing was that, after the villagers had left, those man-like creatures came down from the hill and imitated the villagers. First, they drank all the wine in the jar and then they grabbed the knives to slaughter each other. Accompanied by terrifying sounds, the creatures killed each other and bled on the field. On the next day, the villagers found the bodies of several man-like creatures spread all over the field, while one was left leaning on a tree and moaning with pain. The others had cut off one of its legs but this did not kill him. He was still alive. Once it saw the villagers coming, the handicapped creature cried sadly and escaped into the forest. We could only imagine its extreme pain. Thereafter, this one-legged creature lived in the forest for a long time in the Dom Angpu area, but it never dared to get close to villages again.
Tsering Dondrup from Menling said that he heard a story from his grandfather. Once his grandpa was sent to take yak butter to a village several kilometers away, he could not reach the village before night, so he had to stay in a forest and made a fire for tea. He was so exhausted due to the tedious journey with a heavy burden that he fell asleep beside the fire. When he opened his eyes, he was astonished to find a man-like creature with full body hair standing beside the fire and looking at him. He was scared but tried hard to stay calm. With a quick glance, he decided that the creature did not want to harm him. While they stared at each other, the grandpa suddenly came up with an idea. He picked up a stick and pushed the fire toward him; strangely, the creature imitated him. When the grandpa raised the stick to beat his own head, the creature also did exactly the same. Thereupon, grandpa carefully threw a bag of butter to the creature and then picked up another and held it to his chest with a satisfied expression; again, the creature did the same. Then, grandpa picked up a bamboo slip and made a hole in the butter bag. While the fire warmed the bag, the butter inside started to drip. Grandpa spread the liquid butter on his clothes. Having watched the grandpa, the creature happily put on the liquated butter on the fur of its own belly. While the creature had apparently succumbed to his wiles, grandpa felt very nervous. When he believed he had enough liquid butter on his body, grandpa set his clothes alight. The creature was fascinated, and it also set his own belly alight. The situation suddenly changed; while trying to put out the fire on its body, the creature gazed at grandpa and then run away into the forest. Grandpa was scared and left all his bags to run down to the foot of the mountain. Not surprisingly, such stories about how man-like creatures mimiced human beings are popular in this community.
According to Tsering Dondrup in Yadong, the older people believed that the man-like creatures preferred to eat wild nuts and grain as food, but some also liked fresh meat. People once saw a large bull of hundreds of kilograms slaughtered and hung on a tree branch. They believed that man-like creatures must have done it because there were no other big creatures with such strength, like lions or tigers, living in this place.
Zhang Xikai, a retiree in Nyingchi County, claimed that he had seen man-like creatures. In 1960, he was a PLA soldier serving in 134 Cannon Corps. During intense fighting against rebels, Palbar and Lhari in Chamdo were famous battlefields known as "the second front". For the sake of preventing the rebels from over-running Nyingchi, the corps, in which Zhang Xikai was serving, was directed to quarter at Yuren and Thonggeng. The headquarters of the corps was allocated at Cho Dzong, but Zhang Xikai took his team to Thonggeng. There was an open shrine just close to the bridge of Thonggeng with a very wide field of vision. Once a group of people reported that "Mi Rgod" was eating their cows and horses and they asked help from the soldiers to protect their property. Zhang Xikai had no idea about what "Mi Rgod" was, until the interpreter informed him that it was the man-like creature. Thereupon, Zhang Xikai immediately took a group of soldiers with two machine guns to the scene. He asked the locals to guide the way while the soldiers were searching. When they arrived at a hill, he found a scene of carnage in the forest; the internal organs of animals were scattered everywhere, and blood stained the ground and trees, but no corpse was found. Zhang puzzled if brigands made such mess but the locals disagreed. While he was wondering, all at once, people pointed to the mountain and shouted: "Look at the mountain?? There is something!" The snow-covered mountain was so far away it was hard to have a clear view. A soldier took out a telescope with eight-fold magnification and passed it to Zhang. With the telescope, Zhang saw that seven to eight man-like creatures were slowly walking up the mountain in a line, step by step. They seemed well organized. In the front, several larger creatures were carrying the corpses of horses; the horses' heads were hanging to one side, the rear hoofs were swinging side to side behind the creatures and the horses' tails naturally fell down about the ankles of the creatures to sweep the ground behind them. Looking at the creatures, Zhang found they had black fur covering their bodies. Zhang believed they were neither brigands nor brown bear because the brown bear's hair was not black but brown, and bears were bigger. By the way, the brown bear is used to walking erect but not straight like human beings. Were they human beings? Unlikely. In general the length of a horse would be two metres; including the tail of a horse, the total length of the horse would be at least three metres. How could be possible for a man to carry a horse of such length? It had to be man-like creature. But why did the creatures carry the horses and cows? Maybe they like to eat meat.
Legend says man-like creatures could also apply simple tools
Jamyang Thubten Rinpoche described me a story concerning "Mchin Rdo". "Mchin" in Tibetan refers to "liver", and "Rdo" is "stone". He said a "Mchin Rdo" was preserved in his Eer Monastery, which was referred as to "Mi Rgod Mchin Rdo" by locals. In Chinese, it could be translated as "the liver stone of the man-like creatures".
The "liver stone" kept in the Eer Monastery was purple in colour with the pattern of tree leaves preserved on it. The "liver stone" is shaped like an ellipse; thick at one end and thin on the other, which it is easy shape to carry under the arm. On hearing this description, Prof. Wang, the research fellow from Mt. Ling Ecological Research Institute, said excitedly: "Is that the Acheulian Stone Axe of ancient time? This is the typical culture of an upright man!" However, because nobody saw the real object, Prof. Wang had to cool himself down.
Jamyang Thubten Rinpoche kept informing us that the fingers of the man-like creatures' could completely separate. They could use wooden sticks as a javelin, and take "Mchin Rdo" to attack the others. Anybody being hit by "Mchin Rdo", no matter human beings, ghosts or divinities, would definitely die. However, on losing their "Mchin Rdo", the man-like creatures were usually could not survive due to losing the capacity to defend themselves.
"The question is; how people could get a 'Mchin Rdo'?" asked Prof. Wang.
Tsering Dondrup said that only a brave hunter could steal it during the night but not in the daytime. When it was dark, hunters could creep close to the place where the man-like creatures were sleeping. Hunters might quietly repeat words like "please leave your treasures to me". Having heard such sweet words, the creatures apparently would easily lose their vigilance and make it possible for hunters to get the "Mchin Rdo".
"What do the man-like creatures look like?" Prof. Wang asked.
Jamyang Thubten Rinpoche told us that, in line with their ancestors' description, the man-like creatures' body was about two metres in height, they were covered with brown hair??only their face, palm, and the arch of their foot were without hair. The top of the head popped out and was pointed, like a ridge. This might be one of their most outstanding features.
On hearing that, Prof. Wang immediately came up with the phrase: "Sagittal crest". He explained that this was a typical feature of the head structure of an ancient ape of southern China. Prof. Wang's views added to the interesting information.
Having finished our interviews, we returned to the hotel. Prof. Wang was very impressed. He believed that the people we interviewed did not understand evolution, but their information was very much in accord with the views of some experts and scholars. "What a pity! As a research fellow, I could not make any conclusion because I did not see any hard evidence."
In legend, people say the man-like creatures prefer to have a peaceful life and live within a neat and clean environment
Both Tsering Drama from Nyingchi and Tsering Dondrup in Yadong informed us that the man-like creatures disliked burning any substances in a forest, such as bone or hair. Whenever they detect that smell, they always cast stones or tree twigs at people whoever had made the fire while making a strange sound, seemingly protesting at improper behavior.
On asking when people last saw man-like creatures, most responded that it was the period of "the people's commune". Why do we not see any man-like creatures nowadays? People responded that the creatures prefer to live in a quiet and clean environment. At present, the increasing impact on the environment and the decline of the forests has forced man-like creatures, which dislike noise, to hide in the deep native forest.
Legend also says man-like creatures were fond of wild shallot. They usually collected the bamboo stalks for their beds, sleeping on the stalks.
In this survey, apart from having seen the so-called short piece of bone from a man-like creature in Drigung Til Monastery, we did not find any footprints, hair, or other evidence of man-like creatures. When asking the interviewees if they believed there were man-like creatures, those honest people responded almost with one voice that they believed it very much. Tsering Drama, Zhang Xikai, and Tsering Dondrup claimed that they had seen the man-like creatures and also their corpses. Virtually, we were impressed by the locals' discreet and serious attitude towards this issue. When we investigated in Kongpo Gyamda County, a local old man said to us there was no man-like creature there but we could find them in Tongjug of Nyingchi County?? actually Palmo Village of Tongjug County which we visited later on.
I guess if there were man-like creatures in the world, it would be significant to study them for the origins of human beings. In accordance with Darwin's theory of evolution, the development from ape to human beings should be a complete chain of progressive steps; the pity is that, in this chain, the direct ancestors of human beings have yet to be found.
Speaking in simple terms, animals, like monkey and gorilla, still keep their original form today as they have for hundreds of thousands of years. However, what about human beings over a hundred thousand years ago? If there WERE man-like creatures, the history of human beings could possibly be rewritten.