Over the Weird Weekend our old friend Dr Lars Thomas brought us news of the samples that his colleagues had been analysing. We brought back a shard of thick human-looking skull and some dung from our almasty expedition in the Russian Caucasus. The dung turned out to be mountain goat mixed with hedgehog! The skull was that of a modern human. It was unusually thick but still within excepted parameters.
Grigory Panchenko recently e-mailed me with news of his ongoing cryptozoological work.
“Our group (I, Anatoly and Alexey) this summer had organized [sic] a small "cryptoarachnological" expedition trying to obtain an information about an existing in the Ukraine scorpion-like creatures. There was only one very unpleasant "success": one day Anatoly was stinged by some arachnida or insect (he had not seen it in the grass, but it was small creature: arthropoda, not a snake). Now he is OK but during 2 days his ankle was swelled as a log. There is almost no such "official" venomous arthropoda in the Ukraine! Only 2 "official" candidates: tarantula and hornet (but any of them - very unlikely or even impossible). Maybe there really was a scorpion?
In the end of this month we two (Anatoly and I) will try to go to this place once more for 2 - 3 days.
In September I shall go to Crimea (as a year before, after our Caucasian expedition) for 10 - 12 days. There is some information about hominoid and large boa-like snake.”
I had asked about a rare book in the Moscow library about the almasty and the probability of doing a translation. He answered…
“To translate this giant and very complex book, especially with modern commentaries (they are necessary: some parts of the book are old-fashioned now) is a HUGE work. But maybe it (or part of it) is made now by D. Bayanow or M. Trahtengertc. I shall ask them is it so.”
I am very interested in returning to Russia with Grigory for a second almasty expedition, possibly next year.
“Yes I'll be ready. There are two main (more perspective) places: Baksan valley in Balkaria and some minor canyons in the head of Malka valley in Kabarda (summer) and the other minor canyons near Malka (winter). In any interesting for us parts of Balkaria during the winter is too unsafe but Kabarda is lower and there is not so many snow avalanches.”