Showing posts with label Mike Allsop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike Allsop. Show all posts

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pangboche Monastery Awaiting Yeti Hand

The Times of India has an article regarding the Pangboche Yeti Skull and Hand from the perspective of the Monastery. This is also somewhat of an update to our previous post, Yeti Hand Replica Delivered to Nepal.

'Yeti' lends helping hand to Nepal monastery again
KATHMANDU: It sounds like an implausible April Fool stunt but after almost a decade, a centuries-old Buddhist monastery struggling in the foot region of Mt Everest is now going to get a fresh lease of life, thanks to the yeti.

The Pangboche monastery, built around a rock in Khumbu in northern Nepal, called the gateway to the world's highest peak, survived for centuries on donations given by foreign trekkers and mountaineers who visited the over 600-year-old edifice lured by tales of it possessing the skull and a hand of the yeti, the legendary beast who inspired an expedition by Sir Edmund Hillary himself and was the subject of a book by another Everest hero, Reinhold Messner.

"I saw the skull and the hand in the late 1980s after I returned from New Zealand," says Ang Rita Sherpa, senior programme manager at The Mountain Institute that last year helped restore the crumbling down monastery with financial assistance from the US Ambassador's Fund. "Both were stolen in the early 1990s. After the monastery lost its main source of tourist attraction, it fell into hardship, barely able to sustain itself."

Now however, things are gong to change. Later this month, Hillary's fellow country man Mike Allsop, an "adventurer", guide and Everest summiter, will return to the forlorn monastery with a unique gift: a replica of the stolen hand and skull made by Weta Workshop, the five-time Oscar winning company that makes special effect props for the entertainment industry.

Allsop visited the monastery in 2007, the same year he conquered Mt Everest, and developed a special rapport with one of its venerable lamas. Moved by the plight of the monks on having lost their bread-earning artifacts, he decided to gift them a replica till his campaign – Return the hand – manages to trace the originals.

Were they really the hand and skull of the yeti? Many of the lamas and locals believe so. In 1950, explorer Peter Byrne and Hollywood actor James Stewart – he of such notable films as The Philadelphia Story, Rear Window, Rope and The man who knew too much -- visited the monastery and managed to take out one of the fingers. However, when they submitted it for tests, they proved inconclusive.

"We have heard of Allsop's plans though we are not in touch with him," Sherpa said. "While I would not comment on the authenticity of the originals, I am glad the monastery will have a source of income once more."

'Yeti' lends helping hand to Nepal monastery again

Yeti Hand Replica Delivered to Nepal
New Search for Lost Yeti Artifacts of Nepal

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yeti Hand Replica Delivered to Nepal

In our previous post New Search for Lost Yeti Artifacts of Nepal we mentioned how Kiwi adventurer and Air New Zealand pilot, Mike Allsop, plans on finding the Yeti skull and skeletal hand. These artifacts were stolen a monastery in the tiny Nepalese village of Pangboche, in the 1990s.

He has commissioned special effects shop Weta Workshops, a multi-award winning conceptual design and physical manufacturing facility known for their work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Narnia films, to create replicas of the skull cap and skeletal hand in order to replace what was stolen.

Ultimately Allsop is hoping someone will return the originals, "I am hoping that the person who has them wants to give them back."

We also mentioned Allsop will hand-deliver the replicas to the monastery when he and 17 Air NZ co-workers travel to Pangboche in April. Its April and the Dominion Post has an update on the story.

Pilot to return to Nepal with 'yeti hand'

Yetis, monks, thieves and Jimmy Stewart. Mike Allsop's tale has all the makings of a Hollywood movie.

But there is nothing phony about his mission to help restore the pride of the 1000-year-old Pangboche monastery in Nepal, nestled high in the Himalayan foothills near Mt Everest base camp.

Mr Allsop, an Air New Zealand pilot, Everest climber and adventurer, will return to the monastery this month with a special gift from Sir Richard Taylor's Weta Workshop.

The replica hand is a copy of the monastery's "original" yeti hand, which was stolen by persons unknown in the 1990s.

The hand, and part of a skull that proved to be from a rare goat, provided the monastery's small source of income, from tourists who came to see the artefacts.

In the 1950s, explorer Peter Byrne and Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart conspired to take one finger from the hand and have it tested in Britain, but the results were inconclusive, Mr Allsop said.

"There's two stories – one says Peter Byrne got the monks drunk and switched the finger. But I've spoken to him, and he says he offered to pay the monks and they agreed to let him take it."

Since the rest of the skeletal hand and the skull part were pinched in the 1990s, the monastery and its leader, Lama Gershe, have been without their main source of income. Mr Allsop hopes the replica items will help it survive until he can track down the originals.

He admits being sceptical about the existence of yetis, but said the legend was real enough to the monks.

"I asked Lama Gershe if he believed in it, and he started arguing with his wife in front of me. His daughter was translating for me and I asked her what they were fighting about.

"She told me he'd said his wife's friend was attacked at her back door by a yeti five years ago – and she'd said no, it was 10 years.

"And the sherpas, if they're around other people, they'll tell you they don't believe, but get them alone and they'll say: 'We don't have problems with yetis ... except in monsoon season."'

Mr Allsop has had a special connection with Pangboche since he first visited on his way to climb Everest in 2007. Lama Gershe helped to name his youngest son, Dylan Michael Dalha Allsop.

Last year when his eldest son, Ethan, turned seven he took him to see Everest and Pangboche, and plans to do the same with his younger children when they reach the same age.

He will leave for the monastery, with 15 Air New Zealand staff, on April 17 to install the replica artefacts in a secure glass case.

He hopes his campaign, Return The Hand, will locate the original bones, but time may be running out for Lama Gershe, who suffered a stroke last year.


The yeti, or abominable snowman, is one of the most famous mythological creatures. It is said to inhabit the mountainous areas of Nepal, Tibet and India.

Several explorers, including Peter Byrne, believe they have found tracks and dung belonging to yeti.

Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt Everest, led an expedition in 1960 with a team of 21 scientists, climbers and other specialists, along with 310 Sherpas, to do scientific research on acclimatisation to altitude and to hunt for yetis. They failed to find any but brought back hair samples. Fellow Everest conqueror Tenzing Norgay told Sir Ed his father had twice seen a yeti.

Sir Ed's long-time friend, Tom Scott, said Sir Ed did not believe in the yeti but liked the concept. "The locals believed in them and Ed felt really bad for myth-busting them. He liked the possibility of the yeti. If someone found one, he would have been delighted."

- The Dominion Post

Kiwi adventurer leads Yeti hunt (12/05/2010)
Pilot to return to Nepal with 'yeti hand' (04/01/2011)

New Search for Lost Yeti Artifacts of Nepal (12/05/2011)
Yeti Hairs DNA Test: Update (07/30/2008)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New Search for Lost Yeti Artifacts of Nepal

Kiwi adventurer leads Yeti hunt
NEIL REID - Sunday News

New Zealand (Sunday News) — A KIWI adventurer is leading an international Yeti hunt.

Mike Allsop, who conquered Mt Everest three years ago, is searching for the skull and skeletal hand of what was said to be a mythical "Abominable Snowman".

The controversial artefacts were stolen from a monastery in the tiny Nepalese village of Pangboche, in the 1990s.

"I am hoping that the person who has them wants to give them back," Allsop told Sunday News. "I hope they will have an alert set up on their computer for whenever the artefacts are mentioned on the internet.

"I am offering... to go and reclaim them. I will go anywhere in the world in person, free of charge, no questions asked and I will also buy them a beer."

Weta Workshops has created life-sized replicas of the skull and hand to help searchers find the real things.

Allsop, 41, is an Air New Zealand pilot and was introduced to Weta boss Sir Richard Taylor by Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe.

Allsop will hand-deliver the replicas to the monastery when he and 17 Air NZ co-workers travel to Pangboche in April.

The original Pangboche hand and skull came to international prominence in the 1950s.

Texan adventurer and oil magnate Tom Slick photographed the items during one of his early missions to find the Yeti in 1957.

Two years later, one of Slick's team returned to the Pangboche monastery.

He reportedly drank Scotch with a monk until the local passed out, before stealing bone fragments from the hand. He then supposedly replaced the bones with those from a human hand, before rewrapping the Pangboche hand to disguise his theft.

The stolen fragments were allegedly smuggled back to America by a Hollywood star.

Then in 1999, the skull and what remained of the skeletal hand were stolen from the monastery.

Allsop, who scaled Mt Everest in 2007, was intrigued when he learned of the artefacts and determined to reclaim them for the monastery.

"These were very treasured artefacts," he said. "There was a huge outrage when they were stolen.

"The monks initially wouldn't show them to anyone, then slowly they showed them... unfortunately they showed them to one person too many."

Check out the Nepalese Yeti on the AKA Bigfoot World Map (below). Click on the icon to read about the Nepalese Yeti.

View AKA Bigfoot World Map in a larger map

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