Monday, August 22, 2011

Do You Believe?

"Do you believe", said Frederique, and paused, searching for words. English is not her first language. Nor her second or third, for that matter. "In Yeti?" I replied. "Oui. In Miracles? Oui. In Santa Clause? Not so much."

I forget now what the question was, but it led to a discussion of Yeti which involved a mention of them in "The Long Walk", a book published in the mid 1950's and which to my utter amazement Frederique was quite familiar with. I've used that reference many times over the years to bolster my argument that the creatures are far from mythical, having seen what I believe must have been their tracks high in the Himalayas during a trek in the early 80's.

I was mortified to learn that a BBC researcher has cast serious doubt on the veracity of the author, having found documentation which contradict his claims to have made the extraordinary journey.

The Wikipedia article on the author and his book leaves the question open.

As for miracles, Peter FitzSimons introduces a story of an extraordinary failure. Sydney's infamous suicide spot The Gap at South Head has been much in the news in recent years as the location where the beautiful young model Caroline Byrne was hurled to her death. Gordon Wood was convicted of her murder. In 1923 The Gap made headlines when young Nellie, broken-hearted, climbed the railing, covered her eyes, and leapt to certain death on the rocks below. A split second later she had a change of heart and decided she really wanted to live. How do we know that, you might ask? A freak wave crashed onto the rock ledge and she landed in momentarily deep water, and her plunge was witnessed by two fishermen in a boat who braved the huge seas to rescue her.

The full story is quite marvelous, and told with considerable flair.

No comments:

Post a Comment