High up in the Himalayas lies the Pangboche Buddhist monastery, famous for what many believe to be the mummified hand and scalp of the elusive Yeti. As the story goes, a monk once met a Yeti in a cave while he was meditating. Years later, when he returned to the cave, he discovered the yeti had died and he took its scalp and one of its hands back to the monastery.
The western world first heard about these relics in the 1950’s, thanks to the efforts of oil businessman and adventurer Tom Slick.
In 1959, he organized an expedition to the Pangboche monastery. Peter Byrne, a member of this expedition, claimed to have stolen several finger bones after the Buddhist monks refused to allow them to study it. Byrne masked his theft by replacing the stolen finger with a similar human one. Over the years, several tests were performed on the samples, revealing that they belonged to an ‘almost human’ creature, perhaps a Neanderthal.
In 2011, scientists from the Edinburgh Zoo performed DNA analysis of the fragments and found out it actually belonged to a human. Instead of silencing the myth of the Yeti hand, their analysis only convinced believers that Byrne lied about switching the fingers.
Unfortunately, the issue cannot be clarified as the hand was stolen in the 1990’s and has since probably ended up in a private collection.