Photo by Natalia Guzeva/The Siberian Times
Siberian artist and sculptor Andrey Lyubchenko has always believed in the existence of the Yeti. This belief is not uncommon among residents of the sparse mountain settlements that dot the landscape in the hinterlands of eastern Siberia, where Andrey currently lives.
For Lyubchenko his belief in the Yeti had always been a matter of faith. Not faith in the religious sense, but faith in the honesty and integrity of friends, neighbors and countrymen who claim they’ve seen the Yeti roaming through the woods, fields and mountain valleys of Siberia’s Kemerovo region.
Lyubchenko had always hoped that he, too, would one day have the pleasure of meeting Bigfoot’s most famous cold-weather cousin face-to-face. That wish was finally granted on July 27, 2015, when he stepped out of the forest and into a clearing located in the Twilight Zone.
“Hi, My Name is Ta-ban … Pleased to Meet You!”
At 5 AM on that fateful morning, Andrey Lyubchenko was out gathering materials for his sculpting work when he sensed an inhuman presence directly behind him. He turned and spotted a full-grown adult Yeti staring at him from inside an adjacent stand of trees. He pegged the creature’s height at about two-and-a-half meters (eight feet) and said it had “thick dark brown hair like a bear’s – but a lot softer” and eyes that were “just like light-colored human eyes.”
To Andrey’s amazement, the gigantic manimal eventually approached with his mental hand extended. We say ‘mental hand extended’ because the Yeti shocked Lyubchenko by greeting him telepathically.
While initially taken aback Lyubchenko quickly realized the creature meant him no harm, and the two “gentlemen” carried out a mind-to-mind conversation about the meaning of life that lasted for more than 40 minutes. The Yeti told Andrey his name was “Ta-ban”, which Andrey later learned means “the one who wasn’t discovered” in a local indigenous language.
Andrey wasn’t carrying a camera phone so he had no opportunity to take pictures. But he was astonished when his hairy new friend agreed to pose for a few minutes while Andrey sketched his likeness on a smooth sheet of yellow birch bark.
After the picture was finished Ta-ban was so pleased he autographed it with his own personal symbol, which Lyubchenko had never seen before and has been unable to identify even after searching through various online databases. He assumes it is a symbol of friendship but that is only an educated guess.
What, Exactly, is the Yeti? Fact, Fiction or Something in Between?
Andrey Lyubchenko says he never uses drugs or alcohol, and those who know him in his hometown of Tashatagol, Russia swear he is a straight shooter and a level-headed person with no history of exaggeration, self-promotion or prevarication.
Andrey knows he has no real proof of his encounter. And he knows what skeptics will say. But what happened was so astounding he believed it was his duty to report it, consequences be damned.
Of course it would help if Ta-ban came down from the mountains and verified Andrey’s story in person. But whoever – or whatever – Yeti and Bigfoot actually are it is clear they simply don’t roll that way. They are enigmas and clearly plan to remain so for the foreseeable future.