Chuchunya: Siberian Snowman - A Primitive Human in a Modern World TAP TO GET PODCAST
It was like looking in a mirror, if mirrors looked back in time. When the Soviet Union sent explorers into Siberia, they expected to see monstrous-creatures. They just didn’t expect these creatures to look and act so much like them.
I’m Elaine, and you’re touring Cryptids Across the Atlas.
For as long as humans have existed, we’ve always wanted to understand the world around us. Esteemed explorers, investigators, researchers, scientists, and curious minds alike have all travelled far and wide to study Earth’s uncharted territory. Yet, we still have so much to discover. According to an article from Global Change Biology, about 50% of the planet’s landscape has little human influence.
Given harsh climates, challenging terrain, and the vastness of our planet, it’s no wonder even after all these centuries we still have so much to explore. Seeking to uncover Earth’s greatest mysteries can be the adventure of a lifetime. But sometimes, on our treks through the wilderness we find more than what we bargained for.
After sending their men on an expedition through the Indigirka and Yana rivers, the Soviet government may have bitten off more than they could chew. In 1928, those who braved the harsh winds and penetrating wintry conditions searching for the unknown had no idea what they might stumble upon. They knew the typical beasts they were up against. Between the Eurasian lynx, Siberian tiger, and Asiatic black bear, these Russian explorers expected to see the widely popular predators that roamed their homeland. But as the infamous saying goes, “expect the unexpected”. For all the documented wild beasts surrounding them, nothing could have prepared them for what they witnessed.
There it was. Human-like in body, animal-like in stature. Described as nearing “6 to 7 feet tall, with strong, broad shoulders, long, matted hair, and a large protruding brow.” These Soviet explorers had just witnessed something few people had ever laid their eyes upon. Oh, and did I mention it was covered head to toe in fur, complete with cloth from various animal skins, including the skins of local reindeer? It seems that even the unknown creatures of this world know how to shield themselves from Earth’s harshest winters.
Some scientists argue that this not-fully-human-not-fully-animal could be “one of the last living links that the human race has with its simian ancestors”. Many scientists argue whether it’s one of the last living Neanderthals on Earth or a relic population of paleo-asiatic aborigines. Regardless, these human-like creatures have supposedly adapted to living in harsh winters and have seemingly hidden themselves away in the Siberian wilderness.
But the expeditions of 1928 weren’t the first sightings of this human-like creature, nor would they be the last. According to history, some of the first stories we’ve heard of these creatures come from the native nomadic tribes, the Yakuts and the Tungus. The Yakuts, or otherwise known as the Sakha, are a turkic ethnic group from the Republic of Sakha in the Russian Federation. The Tungus are a ethno-linguistic group formed by the speakers of Tungusic, or native to Siberia and Northeast Asia. Both of these tribes have passed down their own tellings what they call the Chuchunya.
While there are numerous ways to pronounce this legendary Siberian creature, the Yakuts commonly refer to them as ChunChun, or “evil spirits”. In the Tungusic language, the Chuchunya are referred to as Mulen, which translates to bandit. According to the Tungus tribe, Mulen were often caught stealing from their homes during late hours when most of the native tribe were sleeping. Many Tungus also believed that among thievery, Mulen also happened to have a large appetite, with human flesh being an occasional delicacy.
Whether these hominids are dangerous creatures not to be messed with or neanderthals living their own lives amongst us, it’s clear they have been a thriving community for centuries. The only problem is that sometimes humans have a hard time objectively researching from afar. Rather than giving space to the unknown, far too often we allow our fear to take hold and try to control the things we can’t understand. Uncomfortable with idea of potentially being hunted, we often strike first as the hunter.
When word got out that the Soviet Union sent these explorers to hunt the Chuchunya rather than simply observe its kind, Professor P. Dravert became outraged. Just a few years after the initial expedition, Professor Dravert petitioned the Soviet Union to stop in their tracks. He believed that the Chuchunya, no matter how otherworldly they seemed, they deserved equal treatment as people. As long as they were living in Siberia, they were considered citizens. Professor Dravert demanded the Chuchunya have equal protection under the Soviet law and to cease all hunting in a prompt manner. But I’m sure you’re not surprised that his efforts in saving the Chuchunya went cold. No matter how much he pleaded, the Soviet government ignored his request and continued on.
While Siberia is one of the most barren places on Earth, it’s not entirely unlikely that these Siberian Snowmen have evolved and adapted over time to be able to withstand its harsh climate. Many believe that these beings have roamed our land centuries before us and some believe they may continue long after us. Though, most researchers today believe that the Chuchunya have since become extinct or that they are dangerously close to doing so. But, of course, we can’t know that for sure. Being that much of Siberia is surrounded by snowy mountains and near impossible to reach places, the Chuchunya may just be hidden in plain sight.
Strange Creatures (The Creatures of Cryptozoology) By Dino Brancato https://books.google.com/books?id=mUrbBgAAQBAJ&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=into+the+upper+regions+of+the+Indigirka+and+Yana+rivers+in+order+to+collect+accounts+of+these+unique+man-beasts&source=bl&ots=FAnvbovWAr&sig=ACfU3U31fDVKlK023UzXjIuOSHtEUr9NGQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiyq9zH6ID5AhW1rmoFHVkpCUMQ6AF6BAgCEAM#v=onepage&q&f=false
“Tungusic Peoples” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungusic_peoples
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Thanks for touring Cryptids Across the Atlas. Until next time, keep your eyes open. You never know what you might see just on the edge of the road.