By cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb
I sometimes encounter the word dragon, in my communications with eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs, but rarely encounter or use the phrase “flying snake,” unless it’s in reference to the fiery flying serpent in the Bible or in the Book of Mormon. We now look at a chapter in the book Strange & Unexplained Happenings, Volume 3, by Jerome Clark and Nancy Pear, with subtitle “When Nature Breaks the Rules of Science” (International Thompson Publishing, 1995).
Third volume of the paranormal book by Clark and Pear
The first section of the chapter “Folklore in the Flesh” has a number of references to old sightings, at least some of which could have been encounters with non-extinct pterosaurs. The title of this section, for pages 447-452, is “Flying Dragons and Other Sky Serpents,” and it begins by quoting from Historia Anglorum by Henry of Huntingdon (c. 1088 to c. 1157):
Red signs appeared in the sky after sunset, and horrid serpents were seen in Sudsexe*, with great amazement. . . . [19 years later] exceptional flashes of lightning, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the air . . .
*”Sudsexe” is the ancient word for Sussex in England.
Yet glowing dragons and reports of flying snakes are not confined to English folk tales and legends from many centuries ago. We also find, in Strange & Unexplained Happenings, an account of a strange flying creature in what is now southern Namibia, and this was investigated by Marjorie Courtney-Latimer (sometimes with the spelling Courtenay), famous for her discovery of the living coelacanth in the early 20th century.
A farmer sent his 16-year-old son to investigate why he heard reports of a large flying snake in nearby mountains, for native shepherds had gone on strike because of it. The boy not only had his own encounter with the creature but was rendered unconscious as he noticed a strong odor after the huge flying “snake” had landed. I suspect he encountered a large ropen, what my associates and I believe is a long-tailed modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.
In 2011, I communicated with a man who reported recently observing an apparent living pterosaur in Windhoek, Namibia. It appeared to be about half the size of a private airplane and seemed to be devoid of the primary feathers which are commonly seen on the ends of the wings of large birds.
A few years ago, I received a number of sighting reports from Southern California, and the following words and phrases were sometimes used:
The descriptions of the flying creatures led me to believe that they had seen living pterosaurs, even when some of the sightings were in populated cities in Southern California. These animals are not at all confined to ancient legends or in remote wildernesses where people rarely venture. They fly whenever and wherever they chose to fly, although they are generally mostly nocturnal.
Both grandmothers and wolves are actual living beings of this world, even though the story “Little Red Riding Hood” is a fictional story. In a similar way, old legends need not be 100% fictional.
People in North Carolina, and in other states of the USA, need to know that these sightings are taking place.
The Bible mentions fiery flying “serpents” as real animals, causing death to many of the people of Israel in the desert many centuries ago.
I recently received an email from a man in Windhoek, Namibia (southwestern Africa). A few weeks ago, just after breakfast, at about 10:00 a.m., while sitting in his garden, he saw what he . . . later thought [was] more like a “prehistoric animal.”
Over many years of research and interviewing eyewitnesses, I’ve often encountered reports of pterosaur sightings in California, flying creatures that many Americans would call “pterodactyls.”