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Saturday, September 25, 2010

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: MANCHURIAN FLYING SNAKES AND HONG KONG UNICORNS

A day or two ago I was looking up `Old Chinese Natural History Records` on Google, or words to that effect when I came across a web site: http://www.orthodox.cn/localchurch/200406ancientcnhist_en.htm The web site is a long discourse on Chinese knowledge of Genesis and to my pleasure I found an account of a flying snake-like animal which strongly reminded me of Namibia`s flying serpent.The interesting part (for cryptozoologists I mean) is as follows:

“Here`s an interesting story, which indicates that a few winged dinosaurs may have survived in China into relatively recent times. At the end of the 19th Century, a Russian Orthodox saint named Saint Barsanuphius was stationed in Manchuria to pastor the Russian soldiers during the Russian-Japanese War [10 Feb1904 - 5 Sept 1905-R] From there he wrote in his journal: “ I happened to hear from soldiers that stand at the posts at the Hantanza station, forty miles from Mullin, that two years ago they often saw an enormous winged dragon creep out from one of the mountain caves. It terrified them, and would again conceal itself in the depths of the cave. They have not seen it since that time, but this proves that the tales of the Chinese and Japanese about the existence of dragons are not all fantasies or fables, although the learned European naturalists, and ours along with them, deny the existence of these monsters.But after all anything can be denied, simply because it does not measure up to our understanding”.(1)

There was a Barsanuphius who died at a monastery at Optina in central Russia in 1913-this is probably the man. Does anyone want to investigate this with me and write it up? Perhaps his journal is mentioned on the Net? I`m about to find out!

Another story (and this is Part One) is from The China Mail February 21st 1925 is of a living Hong Kong unicorn! Supposedly. No I am not drunk on rice wine, read on-

HONG KONG HORRORS
SOME FEARSOME LOCAL MONSTERS
UNICORN`S GHASTLY MEALS

Frog deity who angered a Goddess

Although famed abroad chiefly for its shipping and its commerce, Hong Kong is also a place of supernatural wonders. How many local residents know for instance, that the Colony posseses –chained to the City Hall itself! – a terrible monster which would spread its freedom o` nights devouring policemen and their dogs were it but given the chance – which has, indeed, already made one such ghastly meal? Likewise, how many people here know that crawling painfully up the Peak is a deified Frog Rock which once had its face smacked by a Goddess and is now doing terrible penance for its sins? Yet it is so. Verily!

[The Frog Rock is Part Two of this blog. Frog Rock reminds me of Amah Rock, a rock above Kowloon in the shape of an amah, or female servant, holding a baby-R]

TERRIBLE AFFAIR

“Europeans will laugh when told that the unicorn on the Royal coat-of-arms outside the top of the City Hall (facing the Supreme Court0 can take actual animal shape and rove about at night. But it does.Oh yes. Years ago before the era of electric and gas lights in this island of Fragrant Streams, a European sergeant was patrolling with his dog when the ferocious monster came down and ate the dog and then the master, after the latter had tried to beat it back with his stick. At least this much is vouched for by a story among the Chinese. That the story is given more credence than a mere legend is evident from the fact it is not only related to naughty children by their amahs, but that even today there are many Chinese, common-sense and business sagacity despite, who placed implicit faith in it. Should arguments- backed up by explanation of what the coat-of-arms denotees – be attempted, supporters of the fable will only pour out a torrent of sarcasm concerning new-fangled ideas. “Why” they will say” just go and look at the `horse` and you will see a real iron chain round its neck secured to the wall. The lion opposite to it was borrowed from the set at the base of the fountain outside the other side of the City Hall (since replaced by another one) and with the aid of protective gods, was given the spiritual power with which to exercise a restraining influence over the recalcitrant horse.”

People who have been in the interior of China for long will know the purport of the two awe-inspiring images outside the doors of big houses. These are the doorkeeper deities and it is commonly believed that, especially in the case of those which face East, the early morning`s sunrays have, in course of time, converted the images into actual gods which take human form at night. Armed with a deadly weapon, they are claimed to have harmed those who would dare approach with evil motives in the dead of night.

Apparently, the same idea exists with regard to the City Hall unicorn. It is given its malevolent powers because it is shone on by both the sun and the moon. At any rate it is supposed to have become a semi-deity in that it can only climb down at night to fly back when the cock crows. Once secured with the chain, however, it cannot move and the guardian lion is now looked upon as the benevolent deity with the solitary duty of preventing further ravages.”(2)

1, H. Damascene Ancient Chinese History in the Light of The Book of Genesis: http://www.orthodox.cn/localchurch/200406ancientcnhist_en.htm
2. The China Mail February 21st 1925

Richard-The Man from Del Forte

1 comment:

Dale Drinnon said...

Hello Richard, were you aware that I had been trying to email you for some time and I was being repeatedly told your address was unavailable and the messages undeliverable?

It is interesting in the Manchurian account that the informant is Russian: I had heard at the Frontiers-of-Zoology group from member Vladimir (A personal friend of mine) that winged serpents two meters long had recently been sighted near Novgorod and they were not something that was usually reported there. I responded that I had heard of such things in the Caucasus but not ordinarily further North: and in this case, I had heard of Winged Serpents in Southern China and Japan, but Manchuria is again unexpectedly further North.

None of these reports sound anything like the Namibian Flying Snake. However, Eberhart's entry on that particular matter clearly confuses some very different things, some a couple meters long and others very large, with a wingspan over 30 feet.

In today's blog entry, the stories are also both legends or popular rumors at best and not anything like firsthand accounts. And so they are likely to be very much exaggerated. I would suspect a rogue big cat would be more likely to eat a man and a dog than a spectral unicorn would. And evidently there were no witnesses to that event, either.

Best Wishes, Dale D.