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Friday, April 01, 2011

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES:IS THERE AN UNKNOWN SPECIES OF FLYING LIZARD IN EAST AFRICA?

In early 1995 I had a pen-friend from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe who knew I was interested in the Kongamato. On February 13th 1995 Sithembile Ncube (my pen-pal`s name) sent me some notes written by her brother which at the time I thought referred to the Kongamato, (see accompanying illustration by myself ) but most probably doesn`t. According to Coleman and Clark in Cryptozoology A-Z:

“When Melland [in his book Witchbound Africa, 1923-R] asked local informants about the Kongamato, he was told it was a huge flying animal with membranes on its wings instead of feathers, teeth in its mouth, generally red, and from four to seven feet across. “ (1)


My informant from Zimbabwe wrote the following, (which according to Richard Freeman sounds more like a Draco volans type animal:)

“ I haven`t seen the creature but I have came (sic) across an article which states that:-

1. The lizard is brownish grey in colur, very `simimlar to the Southern African Gekko. It has got a rough skin with gloss black eyes. Its tail is not all that long, when sensing danger the tail rises to a `C` shape.

2. The reptile has some wings which are attached to the back of its spine. These wings are not made of feathers but they are made of light bones and thin flesh like material similar to that of the bate (sic). These wings are not so big. When are not so big. When flying the tail is rolled upwards and the legs folded inwards.

3. The reptile likes the rocky mountainous areas, it is rearly (sic) seen because it is very scared (shy).Its normal travelling times are early in the morning and late sun-set. It feeds on insects, ants and some small lizards. During the winter I understand it stays indoors, so this means it collects some food and store (sic) in the mountains or rocks where it is housed for consumption during Winter.” (2)

References



1. L.Coleman and J.Clark Cryptozoology A-Z (1999) p.126 2. Anon. Notes on the “Kongamato”/unknown flying lizard 13/2/1995

1 comment:

Dale Drinnon said...

Hello Richard, we have spoken of this before. IMHO, the creature is one that has been *CALLED* a Kongamato in certain sightings, notably when seen from below as it is flying overhead and measuring in the realm of three feet long with a two-foot wingspan. That is certainly much too small to be a shoebill stork, one of the "Usual suspects" in Kongamato sightings. A pity your correspondant did not include the dimensions. I had heard similar descriptions from some of my own correspondants in South Africa.

The two foot wingspan and three foot length (including a long tail) is often stated to be twice that size, four feet across and six feet long. I do not think that is as likely, but it is more nearly the norm of such reports. There are corresponding reports from Southeast Asia as I mentioned to you before,at those dimensions as well, but the descriptions are not usually so detailed as the one you just reported. There is one fairly good drawing made by a witness of one such a creature supposedly seen in Japan.

Ivan T. Sanderson called these "Third Class Dragons" and said that they seemed to have a base in The Near East; he suggested that captive ones might have been taken to Europe in Roman times. This is from Investigating the Unexplained, 1972, Chapter 4 "Icarus and Draco." Sanderson says they are the same as Basilisks. He does not specify a certain size for them, but Basilisks might be expected to be a yard or two long. Compounding the problem is the fact that Jenny Hanivers have been sculpted to look like small dragons and are ordinarily just about the right size. Charles Gould even says one place where such Jenny Hanivers used to be made was in Western and Central Africa, when the business was booming in about the 1500s.

My own opinion is also that the original Kongamato or "Overturner-of-Canoes" is a WATER monster with wings, hence more likely a kind of stingray, which gets big enough to bump into canoes and upset them. The disc at about six to eight feet across would then be about right. ALL of the sightings of flying creatures would therefore be called "Kongamatos" by mistake