The Boston Yeti Speaks

Boston's favorite cryptid growls and howls through a Q&A at the Brattle.

Boston Yeti

Boston Yeti / Photo by Shaula Clark

The Boston Yeti is so old, he attended the first Fenway Park World Series in 1912. He considers Bigfoot and Chupacabra his colleagues. He likes Zambonis, Edgar Allan Poe, and creating snow-sculpture busts of presidents. He’s never left the Boston area, but he just got a passport so he can visit (of course) Iceland.

Boston’s favorite cryptid and Twitter meme of 2015, the friendly omen of the Snowpocalypse, emerged from hibernation before about 80 people at the Brattle Theatre last night. Dressed in a corduroy jacket, the white-furred, blue-skinned celebrity introduced a screening of the 1964 TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Brattle creative director Ned Hinkle read questions emailed in advance, and the Boston Yeti responded with a long series of throaty, guttural growls and howls, pitched halfway between Chewbacca and Scooby-Doo. Local comedy duo the Canary Brothers, redubbed the Canary Bros Cryptid Research Team, translated.

“How much snow does there need to be, and how cold does it need to be, for you to come out?” asked Hinkle.

“Eeeoooo, oooOOUUU, wuuuuhhhh, raruhruhruh,” the Yeti replied. “Yaaaaa, ruuuaaaaaow, ooa, heeeoo. Heh heh heh.”

“Depends on my plans,” Chris Braiotta translated. “I’m a sucker for a good snow fort. So for that you need a solid foot on the ground. The same goes for making snowmen. I don’t want to brag, but a few of my snowman masterpieces could be seen around the city last year. Sometimes I make life-sized presidential busts—Snowbama, for instance.

“Even if there are a few inches on the ground, chances are I’m out and about,” the Yeti elaborated. “I’ll even sneak out of the woods for a quick walk in the park if it’s cold enough.”

The Yeti claimed he was shy, but seemed confident, with a powerful stage presence. He pointed at fans in the crowd—a two-fingered point to his eyes, then to them. He fished for celebrity invites to sporting events—a Bruins game, a first-pitch throw at a Red Sox game.

“How is Elvis? Have you seen him lately?” Hinkle asked—a question stolen from Ghostbusters. The Yeti said he was sworn to secrecy, but shared a photo of himself with a young, thin Elvis.

The Yeti’s relationship with the Brattle began months ago. A photo of him in the theater, raising his furry arms in triumph at the on-screen image of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’s abominable snow monster, runs as a promo still between Brattle films.

So the Brattle became the location of the Yeti’s return. He posed for photos with early arrivers, many of whom snatched up $20 light-blue “Are You Yeti For Winter?” T-shirts. The event kicked off with a pre-recorded greeting from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, payback for the Yeti’s appearance in Walsh’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast video.

After the Yeti’s appearance, the Brattle audience watched the 1964 Rudolph special, revealed as a dark protest against the conformity of post-Eisenhower America, in which a lonely, crying misfit doll says she has no dreams left and even Santa Claus shows callous cruelty toward the differently abled. Afterward, the Yeti was unavailable for comment on the abominable snow monster’s complex and haunting role—a reign of bellowing terror followed by a conversion to Christmas kindness after an aspiring-dentist elf pulls his teeth out.

Last night’s event, it turns out, was the Yeti’s last appearance under the veil of mystery. He revealed his Clark-Kent identity this morning in the Improper Bostonian: he’s John Campopiano, 30, a Somerville resident and archivist for WGBH. Boston interviewed the Yeti last winter in the midst of his reign of benevolent winter hijinks.