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Chasing Wildmen in China

From 1976-77, the Chinese Government sponsored an expeditionof 100 researchers to the Shennongjia Mountain Forest insearch of the Yeren (wildman) who has been seen there. Thattrip produced samples of hair, footprints and feces from anundiscovered species, possibly the missing link between manand ape. According to a 1988 report, an analysis of hairsamples allegedly taken from the wildman proves he exists.

Government-sponsored expeditions have documented many Yerensightings among local residents. Reports describe him asabout 9 feet tall, with large feet, red hair and terriblebody odor. He's apparently a vegetarian.

Yuan Zhenxin, a paleoanthropologist from the Chinese Academyof Sciences, believes that 1,000 to 2,000 Chinese Yeren arecurrently roaming the dense forests of the mountainous area.There have been interactions with locals that resembledcrude attempts at communication. Yuan says he has personallyinvestigated stories of abduction, including two cases wherefarmers were kidnapped by the creature but managed toescape. Some of these Yeren interactions have been sexual innature.

Liu Minzhuang, a biology professor who has been researchingthe Yeren for more than 20 years, spoke to an elderlywitness who accompanied soldiers as they tracked eightwildmen through thick forests for 10 days in 1947. One Yerenwas eventually killed and dismembered by the soldiers, theman says, but records of the incident have been lost. Skeptics say that China has been influenced by Bigfootstories from abroad, but wildman sightings in China dateback thousands of years, before there was any contact withthe West. A statesman-poet named Qu Yuan, who lived in thethird century BC, referred to "mountain ogres" in hisverses. A seventh century historian described a tribe of"hairy men" living in the same region, and an 18th centurypoet spoke of a creature "monkey-like yet not monkey" in anadjoining province.

Loren Coleman knows all about Bigfoot and his friends. Tolearn more, read ?Mysterious America? and ?The Mothman andOther Curious Encounters?,click here.

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