While Richard Freeman is still out there, Adam returned to England a couple of days before I interviewed him - and he had much to say about the beast, the expedition and more. And with that all said, here's the interview!
NR: Adam, what was it that got you involved in the Almasty expedition?
AD: In the first instance, I went down to the CFZ's Weird Weekend conference last year. Jon Downes invited me to do a talk on the Congo: I had been there looking for the Mokele-mbembe, as you know from my book. While I was there, I saw the talk by Grigoriy Panchenko on the Almasty; and I was really impressed by his depth of knowledge and research. So, I considered the idea of going.
AD: I then found out that Richard [Freeman] from the CFZ was also planning on going. So, Richard said: "Why don't we join forces and go?" It made sense, so that's what we did.
NR: And, for you, what were the big revelations and developments?
AD: As far as what we achieved, my view has always been that anything you find in field-research has to be independently, scientifically analyzed. That's the ultimate test for all of these things. Now, in terms of evidence, what we got first was eye-witness reports - some more credible than others. Some of it was anecdotes from old guys - such as an old guy telling us over his cognac how his dad saw an Almasty. But that's not much in the way of evidential value.
AD: But, we also spoke with a direct eye-witness, a guy called Tahir, who had seen an Almasty in 2005. His sheep were being disturbed, and he had seen this large Almasty watching him. So, we got a lot of good eye-witnesses of that sort. Interestingly, many of them described the Almasty as having this conical-shaped head, rather like the Yeti.
AD: We also found some evidence that can be analyzed properly: skull fragments and some strange bones found in caves. But what really excited me was in a place where there had been Almasty activity Dave Archer found a nest - what looked like a nest, and it didn't appear to have been made by any animal that I could recognize that was indigenous to the area. And we found around 20 hairs there which can be analyzed. And we can get the DNA extracted from them, too.
AD: But even if the evidence isn't conclusive, I've still learned a lot more about the Almasty, and about its numbers: there's probably between 100 and 300 of them in the area we were investigating. And if we went back again, we'd have a better opportunity. There's nothing wrong with armchair research, but my job is as a field researcher. That's what I'm into; and finding any evidence that can be analyzed scientifically. And I think the scientific community is starting to listen to us more now. There's a huge upswing in interest in cryptozoology.
AD: There was also a case we investigated of an Almasty seen at a barn in the area - which happened to be the scene of a triple-murder. You could hear the jackals howling, and it was well spooky! In 2005, a couple of shepherds had been sleeping in the barn. One had come outside, and there was an Almasty going for their food. It didn't attack the shepherd, but physically moved him from one place to another.
AD: On the first night when I was doing the stake-out with Dave, one of the Russians, Anatoly, claimed to have heard an Almasty calling; but I didn't hear that. But on the second night, me and Richard were doing a stake-out. On this occasion, both of us heard movement across the front of the barn, and we saw a large shape. You can imagine the adrenalin rush: we both rushed out, but the thing had gone. So, I can't say I saw an Almasty; and it's important to stress that. But there was a lot of interest and evidence around that barn - which was in the mountains.
NR: And based on the investigation, have you reached a personal conclusion as to what you think the Almasty is or isn't?
AD: I'd say I have a tentative conclusion; but that's partly going to be decided by what we get back from the analysis. I'd say there's certainly more of them than in, say, Mongolia. But it's a different sort of hominid. If there are pockets of something that were related to Homo Erectus, and that got pushed into remote areas and isolated geographically, then I don't see anything inconsistent with having pockets in different places that might mutate differently. For example, the Orang-Pendek is clearly a different creature from the Almasty.
AD: I really don't think it's Neanderthal in anyway though. I've never been a big fan of the Neanderthal theory for the Almasty. I think they are relic hominids; and I've always felt that. For example, I've never seen any evidence of them using tools or fire. And even if there was cultural recession, it wouldn't be to the extent where there would be no use of fire or tools at all, if these were Neanderthals. And if they were using fire, particularly at night, you'd see it in the mountains. But there's no evidence of that.
NR: Any final words on the expedition?
AD: It was definitely worth going. But, of course, it's always going to be difficult to prove anything in just 2 or 3 weeks. But the team as a whole, I think, would say we have learned a lot about the Almasty and its movements. And I would like to go back at some point.