|Subject: Many shades of grey|
Posted Dec 10, 2001 by March Hare
|There are a lot of creatures that I believe to have existed, some I don't think ever really did, some that I don't know about, and others that I am pretty certain that did but certainly not in their poularised form.|
Unicorns and salamanders I do believe existed at least at some point. There is documented evidence of both. The stories are really really old, but I do believe, especially for these creatures, that they were hunted to extinction. The unicorn alone was believed to be able to cure anything (the horn was, anyway, in various forms), and this made it a highly prized item. It is not hard to imagine that like so many animals today (rhinos, elephants, many many species of tiger), they were slain and their horns taken, the rest left to rot.
The Loch Ness Monster could very well be real, it would just be an unusual sort of thing. It could even be an animal of prehistoric type. There have been several animals believed to be extinct, and then a memeber of the species is found wandering about somewhere. At one time, gingko trees were believed by the western world to be extinct.
Vampires I don't think; there are stories of something that are probably true, but then it was told many times and it changed a little each time. It seems easy for humans to imagine creatures of the night and darkness (note how they always go together) in ready supply to keep ourselves on our toes. Who knows, maybe it is locked into the age-old belief many have had that sleep is akin to death. And we are diurnal creatures.
To lmp all disbelieved things together can be tricky; when you associate mermaids and unicorns, you couldn't prove one and expect anyone to believe it because they've been forever put in the same category: fairytales and things that don't exist.
I would suggest, for anyone interedted in looking further, a book (if you can find it - I believe it's out of print, but I think it originally came from England) - "The Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were". I don't remember who the editors are, but it is a very good compilation of many things. They don't cover everything, but they give a good spread, and it encompasses many different cultures.
Also, "Eyewitness to History" (again, sorry, don't know who) has an account of a salamander, from around 1505 or thereabouts. There are a lot of little writings tucked away in history about things we don't believe exist. But there are things that will probably never be proven. And a lot of those "fanciful creatures" may very well exist, but not want to be found. At least not by us.