Cryptozoology in the Medieval World

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 1st, 2007

I have been in New York City for two days, but I have left various items to be posted in my absence, as you have been seeing. I could not be away without, at least, leaving an intellectual contribution to be posted at the start time of my talk at the American Museum of Natural History.

For those looking for an extremely thoughtful discussion of the history of cryptozoology, you may download the following paper here: Cryptozoology in the Medieval and Modern Worlds.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

5 Responses to “Cryptozoology in the Medieval World”

  1. cryptidsrus responds:

    One of my favorite ancient “cryptozoological” writers was Herodotus. His stories of giant, gold-digging ants are worth checking out. Sir John Mandeville also gave many wondrous tales of Dog-Headed people and men with feet so big they were used as umbrellas.

    Pliny The Elder and his tales of the Kraken, Hyperboreans, Griffins, et. al are fascinating.

    Even ol’ Julius Caesar managed to get a description of an unicorn he had seen in the Gallic forest in his GALLIC WARS. What makes it “believable” is the matter-of-fact way he describes it—a soldier describing a wonder.

    I’m reading the essay now. Thanks for putting it in here.

  2. cryptidsrus responds:

    Have a great time at the Museum, Loren!!!

  3. easternbigfoot2 responds:

    I saw you there! I was the blonde kid with the oregon bigfoot shirt who asked you about bigfoot intelligence, and ancestry.

    You were REALLY great Loren!

  4. Grant responds:

    As cryptidsrus says, Herodotus was very interesting in that area (and every other area). As far as cryptozoology stories of a “titillating” kind, he also wrote about Hercules’ romance with the Snake-Woman.

  5. Know it all responds:

    Cryptozoology in the Medieval World: It brings to mind something I saw on television many years ago concerning a famous Medievel statue in a European town square commemorating the slaying of a horned dragon by one of the citizenry’s ancestors. The head of the dragon was modeled after the skull of the wooly rhinoceros of Late Pleistocene Europe. Based on the reports of heros slaying dragons in former times coupled with the sightings of “unicorns” would suggest a late survival of the wooly rhinoceros into historical times.

    Perhaps the most famous cryptozoological event in the records of the ancient world:

    “It was in all probability, an enormous specimen of this serpent, which once threw a whole Roman army into dismay. The fact is recorded by Valerius Maximus, who quotes it from one of the lost books of Livy, where it was detailed at greater length. He relates, that near the river Bagrada, in Africa, a snake was seen of so enormous a magnitude as to prevent the army of Attilius Regulus from the use of the river; and which after having snatched up several soldiers with its enormous mouth, and killed several others by striking and squeezing them with the spires of its tail, was at length destroyed by assailing it with all the force of military engines and showers of stones, after it had withstood the attacks of their spears and darts. It was regarded by the whole army as a more formidable enemy than even Carthage itself.

    The whole adjacent region was tainted with the pestilential effulvia proceeding from its remains, as were the waters with its blood, so as to oblige the Roman army to shift its station. The skin of this monster, measuring in length one hundred and twenty feet, was sent to Rome as a trophy, and was there suspended in a temple, where it remained till the time of the Numidian war. ”

    Source; p. 421, The Wonders of the World, by James G. Percival, 1836.

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