Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Civil War soldiers shoot down a pterodactyl???
It appears to show a group of Union soldiers proudly displaying a pterodactyl they've shot down. It's similar to a couple of other photos that I published in my post about the Thunderbird photo. As with those photos, I didn't ask permission to republish this. If it's really as old as it appears, then it's in the public domain. It could simply be an old fake. If it's a modern fake, then I'm in breach of copyright, but the only way the creators could sue me is if they admitted faking the photo! I'll take that chance. :-)
This image first appeared on Freakylinks, a cryptozoology page. Hit the link for a larger format of this photo plus an article about it. The author claims to have found this image stuck like a bookmark in a book titled Search for the Outer Space Gods by Jonathan Ferody, published by Harpsong Press in 1977. Searches on Amazon, ABE, and Google produced no such title or author. There is a Harpsong Press, but it wasn't established until 2003 and only published one book.
The author also states he contacted various professionals who said it looked real, including "Professor M. Nance Darbrow from the University of Florida Paleontology Department" and "Dr. Christian Barscuz, Anthropology Department, University of Arizona." At this point my bullshit detector went off the scale. I studied at the University of Arizona Anthropology department in the late 1990s and remember no such professor, even though Dr. Barscuz was supposedly there in 1998. An Internet search failed to bring up either of these two researchers at any university.
What's interesting is that this story was picked up by many other websites who simply repeated the information without spending five minutes to check, which all the time I devoted to this. Life is short, after all.
But I'm not one of those grumpy skeptics. I love the fact that some Civil War reenactors got together with a B-movie castoff and made this photo. Maybe I should make some of my own for my next book cover? At least my Civil War horror books are clearly labeled as fiction!