- A pickled "dragon" that looks
as if it might once have flown around Hogwarts has been found in a garage
- Yesterday the baby dragon, in a sealed 30in jar, was
in the office of Allistair Mitchell, who runs a marketing company in Oxford.
He was asked to investigate by his friend, David Hart, from Sutton Courtenay,
who discovered it.
- A metal tin found with the dragon contained paperwork
in old-fashioned German of the 1890s. Mr Mitchell speculates that German
scientists may have attempted to use the dragon to hoax their English counterparts
in the 1890s, when rivalry between the countries was intense.
- "At the time, scientists were the equivalent of
today's pop stars. It would have been a great propaganda coup for the Germans
if it had come off.
- "I've shown the photos to someone from Oxford University
and he thought it was amazing. Obviously he could not say if it was real
and wanted to do a biopsy."
- The documents suggest that the Natural History Museum
turned the dragon away, possibly because they suspected it was a trick,
and sent it to be destroyed. But it appears a porter intercepted the jar
and took it home. The papers suggest the porter may have been Frederick
Hart - David Hart's grandfather.
- Mr Mitchell said: "The dragon is flawless, from
the tiny teeth to the umbilical cord. It could be made from indiarubber,
because Germany was the world's leading manufacturer of it at the time,
or it could be made of wax. It has to be fake. No one has ever proved scientifically
that dragons exist. But everyone who sees it immediately asks, 'Is it real?'
- Yesterday the Natural History Museum said that it was
interested in following up the find.
- Note - A one minute X-ray will answer the
question instantly. lf there is
- NO X-ray taken, we have a coverup. In all
likelihood, an X-ray analysis
- has already been done... -ed
- The scientific journal Nature once carried a tongue-in-cheek
article on the ecology of dragons written by Lord May, who became the science
adviser to the Prime Minister and is now the president of the Royal Society.
- From the reported sightings, Lord May concluded that
dragons are "both omnivorous and voracious", with great variations
in diet: one made do with two sheep every day while another, kept by Pope
St Sylvester, consumed 6,000 people daily. Their lifespan seems to range
between 1,000 and 10,000 years.
- Some scientists believe that dragons, though the product
of imagination, were inspired by the extraordinary creatures that once
roamed the Earth. As J K Rowling's alter ego Hermione Granger once suggested,
legends have a basis in fact.
- © Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2004
- From xxxxxxx
- Hi Jeff,
- According to the phonebook (http://www.bt.com/directory-enquiries/)
there are two people called D. Hart in Sutton Courtenay. I called both
and they are unaware of this find. As of yet I have not been able to find
Allistair Mitchell either.
- The Natural History Museum gave me the following reply:
- "Dear xxxxx,
- I have not yet seen the little model of a dragon but
I hope to see it soon and perhaps include it in a piece we are doing for
tv on fakes. It may also make an appearance on daytime tv (the Richard
& Judy Show). Mandy Holloway Department of Zoology NHM"
- Perhaps someone living in the area could help?