Thursday, March 13, 2008

Air Krakens and other Flying Monsters

Following the relatively recent post on the pilots of the 1897 Airship Wave, Cabinet of Wonders once again reflects on Air Kraken Day (declared March 17 by the steampunk nexus Brass Goggles) by noting the fact and fiction accounts of strange non-avian creatures in the sky.

In the most recent essay, Cabinet of Wonders discusses recent sightings of jellyfish-like UFOs, while in the previous essay last March, historical and fictional cases get their due, including Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Horror of the Heights."

Other stories of air monsters don't have the popular exposure of those most famous "air monsters" (extraterrestrials and their flying saucers), but they do persist under the radar (so to speak). Thunderbirds are probably the most famous, but pterodactyls also get some attention. I was more familiar with the various hoaxed/art photos of late 19th century slain pterodactyls, kickstarted by an 1890 account of a dragon killed in Arizona. Over a century later, airplane passengers claim to have photographed dragons over Tibet.

But only recently learned that there are ties between the hunt for pterodactyls and creationism. Though it shouldn't have surprised me since I've seen creationists invoke the Loch Ness Monster and other sea serpents, and the Creation Museum is chock full of dinosaurs.

And lets not forget that in the early days of flying saucers, sky animals were suggested as a possible explanation. As were intelligent bees from Mars.

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