Source: El Tribuno
Date: March 28, 2022
An article by Daniel Díaz
The “Abominable Puna Man” Engima –
Salta’s Version of the Yeti
It became known in 1956 that enormous humanoid
footprints had been found in Cerro Macón. A group of researchers disclosed:
“We found evidence of enormous footprints heading toward the
In the 1950s, a news item published by El Tribuno
regarding the discovery of giant footprints in Cerro Macón, Tolar Grande, drew
the attention of scientists and adventurers from all around the globe. It
further cemented the legend of the “Abominable Puna Man”, a creole
version of the Yeti.
According to descriptions offered by eyewitnesses,
these were tracks in the ice and sand similar to those of the Himalayan
Snowman, or its cousins, the Canadian Sasquatch, the Tibetan Mi-Go, the Rocky
Mountains’ own Bigfoot, the Almasty of the Caucasus and the Sumatran Orang
On Tuesday, July 17, 1956, Claudio Level Spitch,
an engineer responsible for a team or researchers working on Cerro Macón at an
elevation greater than 5.500 meters (18,200 ft) stated: “We found prints
of tremendous size that zig-zagged toward the majestic summit of the mountain,
and which by logical reasoning, did not correspond to any human or animal of
He went on to add: “The tracks were some 40 centimeters
in diameter, very similar to the ones found in the Himalayas and which gave
rise to the legend of the Yeti.” Around that time, there were multiple
witness accounts from locals claiming to hear hideous howls in the night,
filling them with terror.
Among the stories having the greatest public
impact was the one told by a muleteer and carrier surnamed Taritolay, who
claimed having had a face-to-face meeting with a strange being. “It was
tall, muscular, hairy and with large feet,” the man recalled. Taritolay
had a firearm with him and tried to shoot it, but the giant nimbly disappeared
among the mountain’s giant boulders.
Cerro Macón, towering at 5611 meters (18,214 ft) above sea
level, is some 30 kilometers away from Tolar Grande. The summit offers a
stunning visual field from which the enormity of Salar de Arizaro, Argentina’s
largest salt desert, can be seen, as well as the summits of Llullaillaco,
Socompa and Aracar, all the way to the Cachí Palermo chain. This mountain’s
summit represents a typical high-altitude sanctuary, representing a valuable
source of archaeological study on Pre-Hispanic cultures.
Ricardo Alonso, a Geology PhD, told El Tribuno at
the time that reports from various parts of the world had been received,
discussing the existence of a strange being, mainly known for its large feet,
leaving tracks in remote locations such as large mountains and snow-capped
summits. At that time, local mountaineers such as Milenko Jurcich, Yosko
Sutainich (of the Northern Andean Club – School of Natural Sciences) and Dr.
Apolo Ortiz, spoke of these events. They had found giant human tracks on the
Alonso went on to explain: “The fact is that
this region is unpopulated by animals and the only things that leave prints in
the Macón’s area are donkeys, llamas or a puma, but the latter would be very
unusual in this case. None of these specimens would be responsible for prints
matching the ones described by witnesses.”
At the same time that the news arose in Salta,
there were similar cases in the United States involving Bigfoot.
There were also local stories in the southern
reaches of the country which spoke of the existence of a saurian creature
christened Cuero or Nahuelito in Lake Nahuel Huapi. The story came from Liborio
Justo (son of former president Agustín Pedro Justo), who was also known by his
aliases Quebracho and Lobodón Garra.
Liborio published the story of [Nahuelito] in his
book “La Tierra Maldita” (The Accursed Land), a collection of stories
set in Patagonia, describing the discovery of giant footprints in the area.
[Translation (c) 2022, Scott Corrales, IHU]