Time for Richard Freeman again. It almost seems silly introducing Richard to you all once again when he makes an appearance as guest blogger several times a week. However, our viewing audience/ readers (whatever you like to call yourselves) is growing so fast that it is certain that some of you missed the last time I introduced him.
Marie-Jeanne Koffmann, a Franco-Russian scientist, now in her late 80s spent her whole adult life studying the almasty, the relic hominid said to lurk in the Caucasus, western Mongolia the Pamirs and the Tien Shen and areas of the Asian/ European border. In a career that spanned decades this redoubtable woman took expedition after expedition into these unforgiving and dangerous places to gather information, interview witnesses and search for the creature. She has built up a lifetime’s work in the form of notes that fill volumes.
No one has ever published Koffman’s works and no one has translated them. Ms Koffmann is very old now. What will happen when she passes on? Will all her life’s work be merely tossed aside? Therein lies a great problem in cryptozoology. There are masses of information locked away from us because it has never been translated. The problem goes both ways of course; cryptozoological books printed in English seldom get translated into other languages.
Whilst on our 2008 almasty hunting expedition Grigory Panchenko told us of a book written by pioneering almasty researcher Boris Porshnev. The book only had a print run of around 200. The public library in Moscow apparently has a copy. It would be relatively easy to get the book photocopied and sent over to England for translation. Corinna’s youngest daughter Olivia has a Ukrainian boyfriend Ivan who may well be able to do this. Imagine the value of years of Porhnev’s work being made available to an English reading audience, particularly as the book had such a tiny run on its first publication.
Grigory himself has written books on cryptozoology. We offered to translate them but he was reluctant, wanting to improve them first. He took a couple of our books to see if he could interest Russian or Ukrainian publishers in doing their own translations of them. No one was interested.
We have made tentative steps to contacting Ms Koffman and spoke with her elderly sister in Paris but this ground to a halt when we failed to contact the great lady herself.
We have in our possession Dr Bernard Heuvelman’s book on African dragons in French. It looks fascinating but remains untranslated. Heuvelmans wrote many other books, including one on relic hominids but most are available only in French and are long out of print.
Recently Kegan Paul has published some of Heuvalman’s works such as The Kraken and the Colossal Octopus but the prices they charge for them are absurd. Another of his books they published was The Natural History of Hidden Animals. It was an interesting book but was only £145 and cost a truly outlandish amount.
From e-bay I bought a book on newspaper reports on monsters from 19th century Japan. I have inquired into the cost of a translation and it was around £800-£1000!
What we need is a dedicated network of international translators freeing up these works and allowing free passage of information to flow from country to country. CFZ press would be interested in publishing works like these, if only we could get translations.
One person who is trying to get Boris Porshnev’s work translated into English and French is Oleg Vite; his website can be found here http://www.porshnev.ru/en/index.html
And he may be e-mailed here firstname.lastname@example.org
Come on cryptozoologists and forteans worldwide, there is a mountain of data out there just waiting for us!