By MATTHEW HILL
Set high in a remote Himalayan mountain range stands the Pangboche Buddhist monastery.
During heavy snowstorms, it can be found only by travellers who listen for the monks’ ceremonial horns.
The walls are lined with traditional Nepalese paintings depicting the treacherous tracks to the monastery.
And among them are pictures of the legendary ape-like creature we refer to as the Yeti.
This might seem fanciful until you learn that, for many years, a shriveled hand (about the size of an adult human’s, with long, fat fingers and curling nails) was also on display in the monastery — and revered by the monks, who believed it protected them from bad luck.
I would know nothing about this story were it not for the fact that while walking around a collection of human and primate skeletons at the Royal College of Surgeons in London three years ago, I came across a withered finger which had only recently been found in the vaults of the College’s Hunterian Museum. It was labelled ‘a Yeti finger from Pangboche hand’.
What was the story behind this finger, I wondered, and how did it end up in London? Where was the rest of the ‘Pangboche hand’? And what truth was there behind the label’s claim that this finger belonged to the Yeti of ancient legend?
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