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Home > Conférences/Voyages > Screams of Almasty?

7 January 2010
Grégoire Mahuzier

Screams of Almasty?

August 12, 2008

The French family Mahuzier traveled through the Caucasus in 1979. They produced a film about this trip: Le Caucase. [1] During this trip they visited also Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffmann in Sarmakovo village, Kabardino-Balkaria. The family were friendly with Koffmann since many years. Sarmakovo with its surroundings is the center of the Russian field research on “relic hominids” since 1962 up to the present time. In one of the scenes of this film they recorded, a series of strange, loud cries can be heard. In their book Les Mahuzier au Caucase Katja and Alain Mahuzier describe how this recording came to be: Katja, Sylvain and Alain were together in tents with Koffmann in the upper Baksan valley, Elbrus district, not far from a hotel. In the evening, there were suddenly loud cries to be heard over the course of several hours. The direction the screams came from could not be determined. They searched for the being making the screams, but without success. The cries were also heard on the morning and evening of the following day.

Sylvain and Alain believed that two beings made the screams. They also thought jackals made the sounds: “Sylvain said, ‘I saw the red eyes and the pointy ears of a yellow, four-legged animal in the undergrowth.’ Almasty, jackal, or deamon? The mystery remains! [2]
In November 1997, there was a similar case, also in the upper Baksan valley. Several Russian newspapers reported on it. According to this publications, as for example in Gazeta Juga, in November 1997, 30 pupils from the city Majskij (northern Kabardino-Balkaria), were at the tourist station “Elbrus”, close to the Balkarian village Tegenekli, together with their Russian chaperone Ludmila Kolesnikova. Two girls discovered large, human-like footprints in the snow in the forest, near a ski slope about 200 meters away from the tourist station.

Shortly thereafter, they saw a very large, human-like being about 100 meters away. They describe it as bent over, covered with light brown fur, without a neck and with very long arms. The being disappeared in the forest. The girls were afraid and ran back to the tourist station, and told their story to a guide. He went back with them to the place, and saw large footprints, similar to a human’s bare feet. Later, also other pupils saw the being near to the tourist station numerous times on the same day: once it was running through the forest, another time it was sitting on a rock. On the next evening and in the night, loud, strange screams were coming from the forest close to the tourist station. It is thought that these screams came from this [3].

In August 1998, Ludmila Kolesnikova was once again with her pupils not far from the tourist station “Elbrus” – in the alpinist camp “Elbrus”. There, she was asked about the incidents from November 1997 by a member of the German study group. Kolesnikova reported that at first she didn’t believe her pupils. Later, she saw the being herself near the tourist station: “Behind a bush, there sat a huge [being], at least two meters tall, with long arms […]. We were so shocked, that we immediately ran away. […] The color [of the fur] was like coffee with milk.” A pupil from Kolesnikova’s group, who had also seen the being, described it as follows: “…small head, a lower jaw the jutted out, without a neck. The head just sat directly on the shoulders. The body was covered with light brown fur.

According to Kolesnikova, on the day of her observation, a group of athletes close to the tourist station heard, around 7:00 p.m., “...a bone-chilling screams, neither human nor from a known animal”. The athletes ran away after hearing this. In the middle of the night, at 2 a.m., there was a series of screams. They appeared to be very close. It woke up all the children in the tourist station. Kolesnikova said that the screams were very loud, “penetrating like a siren” […] “as if someone was being killed” […] “had a fearful effect.” The screams came at regular intervals. Later they sounded further away, but then came closer, and finally could be heard from the ski slope above the tourist station. Kolesnikova noticed that during the screams, the dogs in the nearby village Tegenekli started barking. Later in the night, the screams could be heard again. During the talk with Kolesnikova, she imitated the screams. They were similar to the screams from Mahuzier’s film. Kolesnikova did not know of the film. At the time of the interview, the film was not available to make a comparison. [4]
Marie-Jeanne Koffmann was asked for the screams by Bernard Heuvelmans. In a letter to him from 1983 - after Heuvelmans dead available in his archive in Switzerland - she wrote about the recorded screams from Mahuzier’s film. In her description, the question of who made the screams has been answered. She wrote: “ I’m afraid I must disappoint you, regarding the recorded screams – it was a jackal, which also tricked me. […] In the next night, as the screams started again, Sylvain Mahuzier, the nephew of Alain, laid himself in the forest and surprised the animal himself, by shining a flashlight on the animal as it started to scream. A moment later, when a young jackal came to him, he stopped screaming.” Koffmann describes the screams in the letter as “… something of Canide, in any case. [5].

In 2007, Jusef Goldman (Switzerland), interested in the film, questioned Katja, Alain and Sylvain Mahuzier among others about the screams of 1979 in telephone talks. Alain Mahuzier said that at the time, he only had a small, weak flashlight. He did see red eyes, but couldn’t determine who they were from. Alain Mahuzier: “I, and Sylvain too, have personally not seen any jackal. [6]. Sylvain Mahuzier said that the screams came first, which are also to be heard in the film. About an hour later, as they were going in that direction, they did hear other sounds: a type of “barking.” Sylvain Mahuzier does not rule out that the sounds could have come from two different beings: first the cries of an Almasty, then the “barking” of a jackal. He confirms that he saw red eyes close to the ground. Sylvain Mahuizer declaired that he did not see a jackal, as opposed to Koffmann’s description. [7] The voice of the jackal can be heard very often in this region. According to the zoological literature a rich repertoire of jackal sounds is known: Howling, crying, hissing, growling, grunting and barking. The eyes of the jackal are not red glowing in the dark.

According to Katja and Alain Mahuzier, Koffmann in 1979 didn’t know at that time when they heard together the screams if the screams came from an Almasty. They were surprised about this, because Koffmann is a specialist in this field. Katja and Alain Mahuzier had the recorded screams examined in a laboratory for bio acoustics in Paris-Jouy. There, they were compared with known cries from other animals. According to the laboratory, the screams did not come from any known animal. They were judged to be three to four times stronger than human screams. [8]

The probably first description in literature of a possilbe scream of the Caucasus "wildman" came from the Russian hunt inspector Vladimir Leontiev. In 1957 he collected informations among the natives on "Kaptar" or "Chepter" (local names of the "wildman") in the mountains of southern Dagestan, eastern North Caucasus. He investigated the new established Gutan nature reserve in Tlarata district. There, in the evening of August 8, he heard two strange, loud screams, not simliar to humans or any known animal. In the next morning he saw in a distance of about 50-60 meters a humanlike being, very similar to the descriptions of "Kaptar" he got before from the natives. His report was published in 1959 in volume 3 of the "Informations materials of the commisson of the study of the"Snowman" question. Leontiev decribed the scremas as "Very loud, strange, not comparable with any other sound [...]".

Grover S. Krantz also mentiones a voice recording from the Caucasus, which he could hear in Moscow: "There also is a recording of a vocalization from Georgia that I can only describe as ‘interesting’ in that in does not exactly sound like a human voice, but it does not sound much like any of the reputed sasquatch recordings either." [9] Gregory Panchenko, a close coworker of Marie-Jeanne Koffmann, explained in a lecture, held in UK in 2007, that he could hear the screams of Almasty during his Caucasus expeditions four times. A closer description of was not given. [10]

Italics are translations from Russian and French.

We are grateful to Jusef Goldman for his informations.


info portfolio

Alain and Katja Mahuzier with Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffmann (left)


[1For more information on this film see

[2Mahuzier, Katja and Alain. 1982. Les Mahuzier au Caucase. Paris: Presses de la cite. p. 106

[3being.Jonikh, Eduard. 1998. Almasty from Tegenekli. Gazeta Juga, November 11 (in Russian)

[4Talk with Ludmila Kolesnikova and her pupils in the alpinist camp "Elbrus", August 15, 1998 (tape recording, in Russian).

[5Koffmann, Marie-Jeanne. 1983. Letter to Bernard Heuvelmans. January 2. Archiv Bernard Heuvelmans in Musée cantonal de zoologie, Lausanne (unpublished)

[6Telephone talk of Jusef Goldman with Alain Mahuzier, March 14, 2007

[7Telephone talk of Jusef Goldman with Sylavin Mahuzier, April 2, 2007

[8Telephon talk of Jusef Goldman with Katja and Alain Mahuzier, January 4, 2007

[9Krantz, Grover S. 1999. Bigfoot Sasquatch Evidence. Hancock house publishers. p. 213

[10Panchenko, Gregory. 2007. The Russian Snowman. (Lecture in UK).