Creepy Creatures and Myths #1: Looking For Almas, Finding None
Another Elusive Cryptid
I have discussed the Almas before, back when I wrote for the website 1428 Elm and did my Call of the Cryptid series. In many ways, I'm trying to get back into that habit, because I occasionally like discussing cryptids and strange phenomena. As I stated about the Almas back then: "The Almas are described as 'ape-men' inhabiting the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of Central Asia, and the Altai Mountains of Mongolia. Might they exist?... There are many accounts of the Almas, to the point where the creature sounds plausible (or semi-plausible)."
I also mentioned that, when you're researching something iffy like this. you at least have to test if the historical accounts are genuine Did they come from real people, and preferably from those with real knowledge and experience in studying nature.In that regard, I said there’s a hint of credibility regarding the Almas legend.
Keep in mind, that's not the same thing as saying I'm a believer. In fact, I am not. I do not believe in the Almas, at least not in any strict sense. However, at the same time, I don't believe in a society that stands still and dies. I think such myths help inspire people's imaginations, and perhaps we all need myths and legends to actually contain our imaginations. So much the better if it's a relatively safe thing to debate the existence of, such as an ape-man creature. After all, some might think Big Foot believers are foolish, but at least they don't tend to kill or die for their beliefs. That being said, some cryptids could exist, as do outlandish creatures we're already aware of.
In the case of the Almas, much seems to hinge on the narratives of alleged eye-witnesses, with few genuine documents of evidence readily available. One of the people who have written about the Almas is Myra Shackley. She was Professor of Culture Resource Management and Head of the Centre for Tourism and Visitor Management at Nottingham Trent University Business School."
Interestingly, though, she doesn't make the most compelling case, either, despite all those credentials (honestly, you'll notice that pattern in the world of cryptids). The Facebook page, Mongolian History & Archaeology, quotes her as saying: "There seems no reason at all to suggest that the Almas did not exist also and illustrations seem to suggest that it was found among rocky habitats, in the mountains." They quote the source as Still Living: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma, page 98.
Although her reasoning isn't crystal clear, she had a Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Southampton, and numerous scientific articles published. As I noted in my original article: "That doesn’t automatically make her correct, obviously, but it doesn’t hurt."
The problem is, authority itself does not successfully make the case. Were that so, a prosecutor could just imprison anyone regardless of the available evidence. Frankly, it seems no one has properly done something in terms of investigating the Almas. In addition, Wikipedia presents a reason for skepticism: Wouldn't these creatures require a breeding population of substantial numbers to exist for so long?
I wanted to bring new information/reports to the Almas issue, but couldn't really find anything compelling. Another source I found on the so-called "Almas of Russia" is a Youtuber called "Mattsquatch Presents." He calls it Russia's Bigfoot, noting that Russia is, in fact, a huge country, implying that creatures have lots of room to hide. However, much of what he presents is the standard blurry photo evidence, as well as verbal accounts. Things get weirder when he mentions people possibly trading with Almas, as well as other Big Foot-like creatures.
Then, of course, you have the standard accounts of howls from the woods and "wild men." Basically, I have not seen compelling evidence of the Almas. I do not wish to seem close-minded on it, though. On that note, if you have any evidence whatsoever to verify such a creature's existence, feel free to let me know. Then again, I doubt I'd be the first person you would tell...or the last.