|Dos Palmas Winged Snake|
An artist's depiction
|Theories|| · Cryptid|
The Dos Palmas Winged Snake was a bizarre serpentine creature mentioned in an 1882 Los Angeles Times report from a train engineer and a firefighter. The encounter took place on the Southern Pacific express. After passing Dos Palms, the engineer noted what appeared to be a column of sand about a half a mile ahead, moving toward the track and looking like it was going to collide with the train. When the column came within a short distance, it was clear that it was some kind of animal.
The report said, “It was moving in almost a perpendicular position, the tail dragging on the ground and propelled by two large wings near the head. The bird, snake, or whatever it was,” appeared to be about 30 feet long and a foot in diameter.
There are several explanations as to what the creature could be. Theories include:
- An undiscovered species (a Cryptid)
- A hoax on the part of the eyewitnesses
- A newspaper tall tale invented to fill print space
- A hoax by pranksters using kites.
- According to the report, when the train passed the creature, “The snake’s tail was not where it should have been, and a portion of its lower extremity was clipped off. This seemed to put this flying snake on his mettle, and he prepared for war. He wheeled around and gave chase to the train.” The snake moved as fast as lightning and began attacking the sides of the train, giving the vehicle a “lively thrashing” that broke several windows and frightened many of the passengers. Although some of the passengers shot the creature with pistols, it seemed to have no effect. After a few minutes, the snake left of its own accord. The story was apparently confirmed by everyone on the train and was later republished in the Brooklyn Eagle.