Satyrs & Salt?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 26th, 2007

Salt Mine Mummy

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 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 “Satyrs & Salt?”

  1. mauka responds:

    wouldn’t be interesting if we discovery a satyr before Bigfoot, or the Lochness monster. That would turn everything upside down. By the way the talk in Brunswick, Maine was very good.

  2. cmgrace responds:

    Wow that guy has really blonde hair. I wonder if he is a natural blonde or if the salt had something to do with it? Very cool though.

  3. Ceroill responds:

    Hmm. Interesting indeed. Yet another theory of a myth being based on the ancient preserved remains of people or other critters. Could be I guess.

  4. shumway10973 responds:

    Just the head? Where’s the rest of him? I don’t remember any mention of salt and satyrs. Couldn’t this just be a man, or maybe an immortal (if it’s only his head)?

  5. sbdance responds:

    A handsome lad, indeed.

  6. CrimsonFox79 responds:

    Awww only a head?? I really hope (but sadly doubt) they dig up some mummified hoofs and a flute nearby ^_^

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