Cooper's Claim about Italian Sea Monsters
But the British Isles are not the only place where one can find such reports. They occur, quite literally, all over the world. (14) William Caxton, for example, England's first printer, recorded for us in 1484 the following account of a reptilian monster in medieval Italy. I have modernised the spelling and punctuation: 'There was found within a great river [i.e. the Po in Italy] a monster marine, or of the sea, of the form or likeness which followeth. He had the form or making of a fish, the which part was in two halves, that is to wit double. He had a great beard and he had two wonderfully great horns above his ears. Also he had great paps and a wonderfully great and horrible mouth. And at the both [of] his elbows he had wings right broad and great of fish's armour wherewith he swimmed and only he had but the head out of the water. It happed then that many women laundered and washed at the port or haven of the said river [where] that this horrible and fearful beast was, [who] for lack or default of meat came swimming toward the said women. Of the which he took one by the hand and supposed to have drawn her into the water. But she was strong and well advised and resisted against the said monster. And as she defended herself, she began to cry with an high voice, "Help, help!" To the which came running five women which by hurling and drawing of stones, killed and slew the said monster, for he was come too far within the sound, wherefore he might not return to the deep water. And after, when he rendered his spirit, he made a right little cry. He was of great corpulence more than any man's body. And yet, saith Poge [Pogius Bracciolini of Florence] in this manner, that he, being at Ferrara, he saw the said monster and saith yet that the young children were accustomed for to go bathe and wash them within the said river, but they came not all again. Wherefore the women [neither] washed nor laundered their clothes at the said port, for the folk presumed and supposed that the monster killed the young children which were drowned.' Caxton also provided the following account of a 'serpent' which left a cow badly bruised and frightened, although we should bear in mind that a serpent in Caxton's day was not the snake that we would imagine today, for the word serpent has changed its meaning slightly since the Middle Ages. There are one or two intriguing woodcut illustrations of these serpents in Caxton's book, and they are all bipedal, scaled reptiles with large mouths: '…about the marches of Italy, within a meadow, was sometime a serpent of wonderful and right marvellous greatness, right hideous and fearful. For first he had the head greater than the head of a calf. Secondly, he had a neck of the length of an ass, and his body made after the likeness of a dog. And his tail was wonderfully great, thick and long, without comparison to any other. A cow … [seeing] …so right horrible a beast, she was all fearful and lift herself up and supposed to have fled away. But the serpent, with his wonderfully long tail, enlaced her two hind legs. And the serpent then began to suck the cow. And indeed so much and so long he sucked that he found some milk. And when the cow might escape from him, she fled unto the other cows. And her paps and her hind legs, and all that the serpent touched, was all black a great space of time.
Rebuttal: These stories are taken out of context from William Caxton's 1484's edition of Aesop's Fables, a book that contain a recollection of fables, tales that teach morality told by a storyteller who was once a slave in Greece (See here for more about Aesop). One must wonder how can anyone say they're dinosaurs when not one dragon description ever match that of dinosaurs and dragons are completely an animal group separated from dinosaurs? Dinosaurs most certainly did not have beards, paps (nipples or teats), horns above the ears, right broad wings on the elbows, fish like armor, only 2 limbs, dog like bodies, and a taste for milk. No true dinosaur, pterosaur, and Mesozoic marine reptile ever had such features the dragon has in the story. Therefore, it is completely ridiculous and stupid to say that these are historical evidence of people meeting with dinosaurs when these so-called historical evidence are all nothing more than fables, fairy tales, mythologies, and folkloric stories all made up and spread about by storytellers, minstrels, and poets as entertainment and moral teachings for the people living at the time when TV, radio, newspaper, internet, and computers are entirely unheard of.
Cooper's Claim about a Carcass
These accounts are clearly factual and witnessed reports rather than fairy-tales, and are as close to journalistic reporting as we shall ever see in works from the Middle Ages. But for a more modern example of such journalistic reporting, let us consider the following article that appeared recently in that most sober of British journals, The Times: 'Japanese fishermen caught a dead monster, weighing two tons and 30 feet in length, off the coast of New Zealand in April, it was reported today. Believed to be a survivor of a prehistoric species, the monster was caught at a depth of 1000 feet off the South Island coast, near Christchurch. Paleontologists from the Natural Science Museum near Tokyo have concluded that the beast belonged to the pleisiosaurus family - huge, small-headed reptiles with a long neck and four fins … After a member of the crew had photographed and measured it, the trawler's captain ordered the corpse to be thrown back into the sea for fear of contamination to his fish.' It is thought provoking to consider that the Japanese have no problem with officially owning up to the present-day existence of dragons, sea-monsters or dinosaurs. Indeed, they even issued a postage-stamp with a picture of a pleisiosaurus to commemorate the above find. Only we in the West seem to have a problem with the present-day existence of these creatures, for only nine days after the appearance of the Times article, it was somberly announced on the 30th July 1977 by the BBC that the monster only looked like a pleisiosaurus. It in fact was a shark that had decomposed in such a way as to convey the impression that it had a long neck, a small head and four large paddles. How they, or their informants at the Natural History Museum in Kensington, could tell this since the creature was no longer available for examination, we can only guess at, especially considering that the marine biologist on board the vessel, the Zuiyo-maru, had sketched the creatures skeletal structure and it is nothing like that of a shark (see Figure 10.1). Marine biologists are highly trained scientists whose ability to detect disease and mutations in fish and marine mammals is crucial to the health of the consumer let alone the profits of the fishing vessel concerned, so their knowledge of marine life is necessarily very great. Yet the BBC would have us believe that Michihiko Yano, the government-trained and highly qualified marine biologist who examined, photographed and measured the monster, wouldn't know a dead shark when he saw one!
Rebuttal: See Sea Monster or Shark for complete rebuttal to this idiot claim. Note Cooper's misspellings of the word 'Plesiosaurus' in the text.
Cooper's Claim about Weather Predicting Dragons
But western officialdom has not always been as averse as this at acknowledging and even mentioning in official reports the existence of creatures which are supposed by today's establishment to have died out millions of years ago. The following, for example, was penned only two hundred years ago in 1793 and describes creatures that sound suspiciously like pterodactyls or similar. Remember, it is an official and very sober government report that we are reading: 'In the end of November and beginning of December last, many of the country people observed dragons appearing in the north and flying rapidly towards the east; from which they concluded, and their conjectures were right, that…boisterous weather would follow.' This report is intriguing for the fact that exactly one thousand years before an almost identical report made its appearance in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 793. The two accounts are nothing more than country people being able to predict the weather by observing the behaviour of the animals, which is a skill that they have always possessed and used, and these accounts, combined with later records of the years 1170, 1177, 1221 and 1222, of 1233 and of 1532, suggest that these creatures could tell the approach of bad weather coming in off the Atlantic and simply migrated to calmer regions while the bad weather lasted. Considering the flimsiness and fragility of the wings of pterodactyls and similar creatures, the reports make eminent sense.
Rebuttal: This is nothing more than a direct fabrication of ancient sightings of shooting stars, comets, meteor showers, and other forms of lights sighted by the ancient people who regard them as "dragons" streaking across the sky (they had no idea what they really were), giving them a very bad omen of what's to come that could spell doom, destruction, and despair for the people who saw the lights in the sky and live in that area.
The wings of pterodactyls (Pterosaurs) are far from being the "flimsiness and fragility" types. Pterosaurs are now known to have much tougher wing membranes than previously thought. No pterosaur remains dating to Medieval times and the 1700's has ever been found.
Cooper's Claim about Fafnir
But now we come to the most notable records of all. They are written works that are remarkable for the graphic detail with which they portray the giant reptiles that the early Saxons, Danes and others encountered in Northern Europe and Scandinavia. In various Nordic sagas the slaying of dragons is depicted in some detail, and this helps us to reconstruct the physical appearance of some of these creatures. In the Volsungassaga, for example, the slaying of the monster Fafnir was accomplished by Sigurd digging a pit and waiting, inside the pit, for the monster to crawl overhead on its way to the water. This allowed Sigurd to attack the animal's soft under-belly. Clearly, Fafnir walked on all fours with his belly close to the ground.
Rebuttal: The claim is a direct fabrication of the story, told in many different versions, found in Norse Mythology of a dwarf named Fafnir who was granted a huge horde of gold to keep an eye on after he killed his father out of greed. He put the gold in the cave and guard it well. In time, he became a dragon, the Norse symbol of greed, and Sigurd the hero of the tale was sent out to destroy him. Taking Regin with him, Sigurd went off and dug a large hole in the path Fafnir took to reach the brook to drink, hides in it, and waited for the dragon to come out of his cave - and out of the cave he came, heading towards the brook and his death by Gram, Sigurd's best sword. Sigurd stabs the dragon in the heart with Gram, killing him. With Fafnir dead, Sigurd celebrated by feasting on the dragon's heart, only to overhear the birds talking about Regin's plan to kill Sigurd to get all the gold for himself. According to an old dragon lore, anyone eats the heart of the dragon will have the ability to understand animals, especially birds. Heeding the warning from the birds, Sigurd kills Regin, load up the gold on his horse, and rode away.
Cooper's Claim about Nidhogg
Likewise, the Voluspa tells us of a certain monster which the early Vikings called a Nithhoggr, its name (corpse-tearer) revealing the fact that it lived off carrion.
Rebuttal: Another fabrication of a tale found in Norse Mythology. The actual name of the beast is Nidhogg, a serpentine dragon that lives in the pit of Hvergelmer in the region of Hel, where He spends much of his time gnawing at the 3 roots of the Yaggdrasil tree, a mystical tree that serves as the cornerstone foundation of the universe. The dragons does this to destroy the universe but everyday the Norns would repair the roots by covering it with gravel and water coming from a sacred well.
Cooper's Claim about Frotho I
Saxo Grammaticus, in his Gesta Danorum, tells us of the Danish king Frotho's fight with a giant reptile, and it is in the advice given by a local to the king, and recorded by Saxo, that the monster is described in great detail. It was, he says, a serpent: '…wreathed in coils, doubled in many a fold, and with a tail drawn out in winding whorls, shaking his manifold spirals and shedding venom … his slaver [saliva] burns up what it bespattersyet [he tells the king in words that were doubtless meant to encourage rather than dismay] …remember to keep the dauntless temper of thy mind; nor let the point of the jagged tooth trouble thee, nor the starkness of the beast, nor the venom there is a place under his lowest belly whither thou mayst plunge the blade' The description of this reptilian monster closely resembles that of the monster seen at Henham, and the two animals could well have belonged to the same or similar species. Notable, especially, is their defence mechanism of spitting corrosive venom at their victims.
Rebuttal: The claim deliberately leaves out the fact that the serpent also has a flickering three forked tongue— something dinosaurs don't truly have. Dinosaurs are not snakes and lizards, nor are they related to them. Dinosaurs are closely related to bird and crocodiles and have body structures that resemble more of birds than reptiles. Just as mentioned before, Dinosaurs neither had coiling, serpentine bodies, nor were they venomous. This is another direct fabrication of story coming out of Norse Mythology that tells of a legendary Danish king named Frotho I who was able to destroy the dragon and win its horde of treasure he used to replenish the treasury that was drained due to being at war.
Cooper's Claim about Beowulf
But it is the epic Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf (21) that provides us with truly invaluable descriptions of the huge reptilian animals which, only 1400 years ago, infested Denmark and other parts of Europe, and we shall turn our attention now to a close and very detailed examination of this most remarkable account.
Rebuttal: What Cooper is doing is introducing to us to a very famous epic poem a minstrel has written a thousand years ago which Cooper purposely distorted to fit his beliefs.
Next, Cooper gives out a list of the so-called "dinosaur" activities that was made throughout Britain that are all, in fact, nothing more than wyrm dragon sightings according to many a dragon folklore. To see the actual list of Wyrm sightings, see here.