Dragons on NPR

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 28th, 2007

Mystical Creatures

Click on image for full size version

Rick Kleffel, Fortean and editor of The Agony Column, has broadcast an audio report on National Public Radio (NPR) about dragons.

Riding Dragon

It can now be accessed for listening by clicking here on “Dragons Get a Modern Image Makeover.”

The description of the program notes:

All Things Considered, January 27, 2007 · Old maps bore the scary legend “here there be dragons.” These days dragons aren’t so scary. In countless books and movies, they’re portrayed as loving companions to the humans that ride them.


I’ve added visuals here for Cryptomundo readers so you’ll have something to view as you listen to Kleffel’s audio, if you wish.


Living Dinosaur

Click on Mokele-mbembe to make this image of a modern dragon even larger.

Dragon Rider

This Ancient Thracian (Bulgarian) silver gilt appliqué shows a woman riding a water dragon.

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.

6 Responses to “Dragons on NPR”

  1. mystery_man responds:

    “All Things Considered, January 27, 2007 · Old maps bore the scary legend “here there be dragons.” These days dragons aren’t so scary. In countless books and movies, they’re portrayed as loving companions to the humans that ride them.”

    This person obviously hasn’t seen Reign of Fire or Dragonslayer! I think the stories of dragons are really interesting because you have these representations of them all over the world and it makes me wonder, where did this come from? Are they all just artistic representations? If so, why so many creatures of a similar appearance? I often wonder if there is some grain of truth to these stories of dragons. Was there ever an animal alive that was the catalyst for all of this? It is very interesting to speculate about.

  2. Sunny responds:

    About a year ago, give or take, the Discovery channel produced a pseudo-documentary entitled “Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real”

    It was a very well-balanced look at exactly this sort of issue, and was created around the assumption that the fossilized bones of a dragon and it egg had been found, and followed the scientific “examination” of the remains. It touched on things like why Chinese dragons were different than European dragons, for example, how they could have breathed fire, and so on.

    It was fascinating for both me and my eight-year-old son — and we now own the video — and is recommended viewing for anyone who wonders about these creatures.

  3. daledrinnon responds:

    BTW, I have seen an ancient Grrek silver version of the sea nymph riding on a sea serpent: much prettier, but otherwise about the same composition.

  4. Mnynames responds:

    There is now good evidence for dinosaur and other prehistoric fossil bones being uncovered in the ruins of many a Greek temple, along with a few suggestive snippets of text from contemporary writers to confirm that this was the case. A review of past excavations in previous centuries shows that “anomalous skull” or “Animal fossil” often turned up in the digs, but that they were, astoundingly enough, usually simply discarded!

    Much has been said about the myth of the Griffin being linked to fossils of Protoceratops in Afghanistan, including eggs, and that these fossil beds often contained gold, which the Griffin was supposed to line its nests with. I think the History Channel’s “History’s Mysteries” did a piece on that not too long ago.

    And of course we all know that the Chinese referred to dinosaur fossils as “Dragon Bones.”

    While there may be other explanations, such as large, long-necked cryptids lurking in Africa, I think the fact that many fossils were interpreted in mythological terms in ages past is pretty undisputable.

  5. skeptik responds:

    Dragon or dinosaur, potato or potato.

    But dragons have a much stronger metaphysical side to them in China (or the East) which they didn’t have in Europe, though. They still call the Great Wall for the sleeping dragon, and I believe the dragon of the east is a lot more spiritual being than the evil beast that attacked European knights in the fairytales.

  6. Dan Gannon responds:

    Here is one possible reason why dragon myths are found practically everywhere throughout the world:

    H floresiensis lived along side Komodo dragons. If I’m right and hybridization events (involving H floresiensis or a close relative) were instrumental in the emergence of Homo sapiens, (or at least make some appearance in the ancestry of some of us) it makes sense that Homo sapiens might carry such myths along with them, as they colonized the rest of the world.

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