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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Flying Snakes from Africa to Texas

Flying snakes, you ask? Yes!

I first planned to write this post about a month ago, but, with 700-some posts on this blog published (and a good number of drafts as well) I forgot about it as others were written and it was pushed down the list. But, now, after seeing Nick Redfern's Mysterious Universe article on an old story of a "flying serpent of large dimensions", I have remembered about this post, which is about the same subject.

The idea of a flying snake sounds impossible. But, there are a few odd reports of this very thing. And no, I'm not talking about snakes that "fly" by jumping from tree to tree. I'm talking snakes that are legitimately seen flying, as in floating through the air. Stories of these snakes come from around the world, as you shall soon see.

FLYING SNAKES IN AFRICA

To start things off, lets take a look at flying snake reports from Africa.

Roy P. Mackal, cryptozoologist and famous Nessie seeker, notes in his 1980 book Searching for Hidden Animals: An Inquiry into Zoological Mysteries, tales of flying snakes from this continent.  From the city of Keetmanshoop came a very strange story.

A man had sent his sixteen-year-old son to watch over his flock of sheep. The boy was supposed to return that evening, but didn't. A search party went to the area and found him unconscious. After he came to, he could not speak for three days because of the shock of whatever had happened, and very rightly so.

The boy said that he had been sitting in the shade under a tree when he heard a roaring noise, which he thought might be from a "wind devil." When he looked up, he saw a giant snake flying down the mountain. When the creature landed it caused a giant cloud of dust to fly up, and a smell of "burnt brass." The boy then lost consciousness.

The incident was investigated by the local farmers and police who actually saw the ginormous serpent. When they watched it disappear into a crevice in the side of the mountain, they threw sticks of dynamite in after it. The dynamite went off and they heard a "low moaning sound" for a while, and that was it.

Did the boy really see a giant flying snake coming down the mountain? It may sound unbelievable, but as we shall soon see, there are more reports of this kind, from other parts of the world.

FLYING SNAKES IN TEXAS

From Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern's book Monsters of Texas comes a report of a flying snake from that state.

In June, 1983, the Bonham Express published an account of a flying snake seen in that town. The article stated:

"There appeared to be an enormous flying snake, as large and as long as a telegraph pole. It was of a yellow striped color, and seemed to float along without any effort. They (the eyewitnesses) could see it coil itself up, turn over, and thrust forward its huge head as if striking at something, displaying the maneuvers of a genuine snake. The cloud and serpent moved in an easterly direction, and were seen by persons a few miles this side of Honey Grove."
A fake story for a slow news day, or was there really a flying snake, as unbelievable as it may sound?

THE BOREHAM STREET "SERPENT"

Before we get to an examination of flying snake reports, let's check out one more.
Boreham Street

In 1857, the village of Boreham Street, in East Sussex, England, was terrified by a "flying serpent," or so it was said. What the "serpent" actually was, however, is something far different.

Nick Redfern retells the whole story in his Mysterious Universe article, so I won't go through the whole thing here.

Basically, the Sussex Advertiser reported an account of a "flying serpent of large dimensions" that had attacked a cow in Boreham Street. The "serpent" was wrapped around the panicked cow's head, and villagers really didn't know what to do, until one of them thought to shoot the snake. What a good idea!

Eventually the cow shook the "snake" from its head, and villagers ran terrified as it approached them. The man who was supposed to shoot it became so terrified that he couldn't, so the town blacksmith had to take the gun and do it! As he approached, the serpent "raised its head and spread its wings." The blacksmith managed to shoot it and the villagers found that it measured about four feet long. But was it really a flying snake?

The answer: no, not at all. What the villagers mistook for a "flying serpent" was really, to quote the Sussex Advertiser:


"...nothing more nor less than as a black silk handkerchief as any person might wish to place around his neck, and which the cow had by some means no doubt taken from the hedge while it had with other wearing apparel been washed and hung out to dry."
Are we to believe that the villagers really mistook a handkerchief for a serpent? To me this account is just something thought up on a slow news day.

TRUE REPORTS?

The account of the "Boreham Street Serpent" is not one of a genuine flying snake, so it will not be examined in this part of the post. The other two, from Texas and Africa, will be.

The Texas report describes a flying snake that was "as large and as long as a telegraph pole" and "of a yellow striped color." It was said to fly while moving like a snake would if it was moving along the ground. But, is it a report of a genuine flying snake? I honestly don't think so. From reading many old newspaper reports of cryptids, I know that a good number of them are hoaxes. And this one probably falls into that category.

The report of the flying snake in Africa I find more believable than the other two. But was the snake actually flying down the mountain? That I doubt, but it wouldn't surprise me if there was some sort of giant snake living in Africa.

Flying snake reports in cryptozoology are most likely hoaxes, but they're not the weirdest things I've heard about while researching the unknown.

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