Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 26th, 2007
Courtesy of The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)
Satyr? A man’s body, naturally mummified within an ancient salt mine, was found in a salt mine outside the Iranian city of Zanjan.
What’s going on here? This news out of Iran is now been linked to ancient tales of satyrs and salt.
Stanford University’s Adrienne Mayor, a folklorist and friend to Cryptomundo, has previously suggested that satyrs were fakes, as she notes in The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times.
Due to this specific find, Mayor may be changing her position:
Obviously, satyrs are mythic creatures [but the head of the man preserved in salt since about 540-300 B.C.] bears a striking resemblance to ancient Greek and Roman depictions of satyrs. I think it’s very likely that an ancient discovery of a similarly preserved ‘salt man’ in northwestern Iran is the basis for St. Jerome’s account of the ‘satyr’ preserved in salt and examined by the Emperor Constantine and numerous other curious visitors in Antioch….When I saw the picture of the salt man, I was just struck by how much like a satyr he looks. Satyr plays were very popular in antiquity, so everyone knew what satyrs looked like. There’s no reason to think people back then wouldn’t have made the same connection. Adrienne Mayor
Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania Museum, image # MS4861
The satyr (illustrated above) was a goat-man in Greek legend who danced and frolicked, for starters, playing pipes and chasing nymphs. Did satyrs take time out for licking a little salt too?
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.