Believers in mystery primates such as Bigfoot and the Yeti were dealt a blow earlier this week with the announcement that DNA tests of hair attributed to the creatures came back without conclusive proof of their existence. However, many are unaware that some of the first purported DNA evidence was brought to the west by none other than Hollywood legend Jimmy Stewart.
As The Inquisitr reported, the results of Dr. Bryan Sykes’ study, which examined 30 samples of hair attributed to the Yeti, failed to conclusively prove the creature’s existence. The hair samples, however, were far from the first piece of Yeti evidence to make its way to the west from the Himalayas, and though many Yeti enthusiasts may be unaware, they also aren’t the first pieces of DNA to be tested.
Some of the first Yeti DNA evidence was actually brought to the west by none other than Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart, according to the Mail Online. Several expeditions were launched to search for the Himalayan beast in the late 1950s by Texas oilman Tom Slick. During one of these searches, in 1958, Yeti researcher Peter Byrne learned of a Yeti hand and scalp on display at the remote Buddhist monastery at Pangboche. Slick instructed Byrne to bring back the Yeti hand, but the monks refused, calling it a sacred object. A clandestine meeting in a London restaurant saw Slick and world-renowned Professor William Osman Hill supplying Byrne with a human hand and instructions to bring back at least one finger from Pangboche.
Byrne returned to the monastery, and after convincing the monks to part with a Yeti finger, replaced the missing digit with one from the human hand. Byrne trekked over the mountains to India to avoid a Nepalese law that, somewhat strangely, made it illegal for a foreigner to kill a Yeti. Upon arriving, he was still faced with the challenge of how to bring the Yeti finger back to Britain.
Tom Slick had a solution to the problem, telling Byrne that a friend of his was vacationing in India and could transport the finger. Slick’s friend was none other than Jimmy Stewart, who was intrigued enough by the legend to help. Stewart’s wife, Gloria, hid the Yeti finger in her lingerie case, and the pair successfully smuggled it back to London. Tests by Osman Hill concluded that the yeti finger was not human.
Forgotten for decades, the Pangboche Yeti finger was re-discovered in 2011 at the Royal College of Surgeons. As the BBC reported, DNA tests were performed on the finger, and came back as human, disputing Osman Hill’s original assessment.
While the DNA of the Pangboche finger, much like Sykes’ study, failed to conclusively prove the Yeti’s existence, those who seek the Himalayan giant owe an unusual debt to the open mind of Jimmy Stewart.