Zana The Nineteenth Century
Wild Neanderthal Woman
By James Donahue
She was given the name
Zana by Russian researchers after she was captured naked and living in the wilderness by hunters in the Ochamchir region of
Georgia in the year 1850. From all accounts, she was the closest thing to a live,
captured version of a Bigfoot creature on record. Some thought she might have been a throwback to the Neanderthal.
Zana was described as
something between a human and an ape. She showed some degree of intelligence after some time in captivity, although she never
developed the ability to speak or adopt social skills. Some said she was capable of doing hard labor such as grinding grain
and farm work, but little more.
Even though she lived
at a time when cameras were around, we could find no surviving photographs of either Zana, or any of the four children she
reportedly bore following her capture. The children were sired by various unidentified males, and were said to have been relatively
normal humans even though they all possessed some of the physical characteristics of their mother.
Her general description
was that she was a large hairy humanoid with thick arms, legs and fingers, a “massive bosom” and large hips. Her
skin was black or a dark gray in color, and the hair on her body was a reddish-black. She could splay the toes on her feet.
Her face was broad, with high cheekbones, a flat broad nose with turned-out nostrils, a muzzle-like jaw, wide mouth and large
teeth. She had a low forehead and her eyes were a reddish tinge.
It was said that at the
time of her capture, Zana was a wild creature. After being brought into captivity, she had to be kept caged for the first
few years until her behavior became mellowed and she could be taught to perform domestic tasks and behave herself to some
degree while in society.
Among her biggest problems,
however, was an unwillingness to wear clothing. Zana lived as a nude and hairy beast in the wild, and throughout her life
in human society, they said she resisted having to be dressed.
That Zana existed appears
to be well established. She was not a native myth. Her two sons and two daughters, and their offspring, many of whom still
live in Russia, attest to this. The problem
for historians and anthropologists has been just what was she, and from where did she spring?
That she could have human
children after copulating with humans proved that she was not an animal. Some suggested that she may have been a genetic throwback
to the Neanderthal, a humanoid that some believe cross bred with the homo sapiens, which was the reason they went extinct.
Another theory was that
Zana was a deformed baby who was left in the wilderness by her mother and somehow survived to be a feral creature at the time
of her capture.
Russian zoologist Alexander
Mashkovtsev suggested that Zana was a relict hominoid called Abnauayu, a legendary “Wildman of the forest” said
to live in certain areas of the Caucasus Mountains. These creatures have reportedly been
observed, and even captured more than once. A Russian doctor, V. S. Karapetian, reportedly examined a Abnauayu in 1941 which
was described as a hairy human like creature that was incapable of speech and harbored lice. Are they proof of the mythological
If Mashkovtsev is correct,
Zana thus became the most known Abnauayu to have ever been captured and brought into human captivity.
As the story was told, Zana put up a violent fight when the hunters
surrounded and captured her. They reportedly hit her with cudgels, gagged her mough with felt and shackled her legs to a log
to hold her down. Then she was literally carried back into a so-called “civilized” society where she was sold
like livestock, passing first to D. M. Achba, the titular head of the Zaadan region. After this, she became the property of
a nobleman, Edgi Genaba, who carried her off still shackled and chain to his estate in the town of Tkhina on the Mokva River.
Zana was first lodged in a strong cage where she acted like a wild
beast. Her food was thrown to her since no one dared to enter the enclosure. She dug a hold in the ground where she slept.
After some three years in this environment, they said Zana tamed down and was moved to a wattle-fence enclosure under an awning
near the house. At first she was tethered, but later allowed to go free and wander about. Like any tamed animal, she never
went far from the place where she received food.
Villagers sometimes teased her by throwing sticks at her through
the fence. Zana would snatch them, bare her teeth and howl. She never spoke a word, but merely made animal-like sounds. She
responded to her name, however, and was taught to carry out commands given to her by Genaba.
She displayed great strength and could perform many tasks that were
above the ability of even the most powerful of men. Zana died and was buried at Tkhina sometime in the 1880s or 1890s. The
exact location of her grave has since been lost.