History Of Unicorns
Unicorns Of The Modern World
the first white persons to have studied the Basenji in
Africa, where on three occasions she also saw a unicorn roaming the dunes
of the Sudan. When she confided her discovery to me this search was
instigated, an adventure that fortunately was to take me from England back
to Spain, where I found two documents that were invaluable in helping me
encounter the world's only large land mammal that - until fifteen years
ago - had never been photographed.
|To regard the unicorn as wholly fabulous and a product
of fancy is an absurd and arbritrary position and we do well to remember
that if the elephant and giraffe and camel should once die out that too,
on account of their strange forms, would be thought fabulous.
Joseph Russegger - 1843
It can be seen that the drawings of animals of the
Holy Land faithfully portrayed by artist Erhard Reuwich in 1485 include
among the monsters a baboon type, a giraffe type, a camel, 2 goats, a couple
of lizards and a horse (not goat related) type of unicorn. All the
animals (except the unicorn) are animals that can be seen in any zoo around
Robert Vavra's QUEST for the unicorn began on
December 17, 1959, in Surrey at the home of Veronica Tudor - Williams,
author of Basenjis: The Barkless Dogs. Miss Tudor - Williams,
along with the late Dr. James Chapin of the American Museum of Natural
History, was one of
In 1960 an American scholar who was doing research
at the Archives of the Indies in Seville told Robert Vavra of a letter
in which Bernal Diaz del Castillo mentioned having observed a unicorn during
one of the Cortez expeditions to the New World. Fortunately, He saw and
translated that piece of correspondence (which also contained a sketch
of a unicorn in the margin) two weeks before - in a folder of priceless
papers, including a Christopher Columbus signature - it was stolen from
The photographic equipment hr used to take the photos
used included two Nikon F2 cameras with motor drives, together with a 50-300
mm Nikkor zoom lens and two Nikkor telephoto lenses (a 105 mm and a 500
mm). Film shot was Ektachrome 200. His first face-to-face encounter
with a unicorn took place in a Mexican jungle near Tamazunchale in the
spring of 1968. The one photograph
is so blurry and nondescript that it was unpublishable.
||The second document, and the most important to his
quest, was a journal that he purchased for 200 pesetas (about 3 U.S. dollars
then) in January of 1961, in the Madrid flea market. As far as he
knew, this ninety-six-page volume is the first serious complete unicorn
behavioral study in existence. Dated "1836, Harar" and signed "Rudolf 0.
Springer," it is in English, using American spelling, and contains detailed
drawings and explicit written descriptions of its subject's history, appearance,
and habits. Though Veronica Tudor-Williams's account of having seen unicorns
in the Sudan and the words of Bernal Dfaz del Castillo were convincing,
it was the Springer study that confirmed for Robert Vavra the authenticity
of an animal that, until then, seemed destined to remain caged up in mythology.T
The unicorn's magical qualities have protected him for
thousands of years, there is little reason to believe that evidence of
his existence might lead to extinction now.
|However, during the fifteen years since that magical
but frustratingly brief experience in the jungles of Mexico, He has studied
unicorns in six distinct habitat zones. And after hours, days, and
months of continued contact he was eventually able to gain their confidence,
using methods similar to those employed by George B. Schaller with gorillas
and Jane Van Lawick
Goodall with chimpanzees in central Africa. The photographs
that appear in the book (Unicorns I Have Known by Robert Vavra -
William Morrow & Company.Inc.1983) are testimony to that good fortune.
The world's unicorn population is minute. Along with
other endangered creatures they have been pushed deeper and deeper into
the seas, forests, dunes, and mountains by encroaching civilization.
All The material above is from Robert Vavra's Unicorn
I Have Known. I have no proof or disproof of the existence of unicorns
in either modern or ancient times. You will have to buy and study
his book and other books such as A Natural History Dragons and Unicorns
by Paul and Karin Johnsgard and draw your own conclusions.
||He can disappear as if by magic in the forest or other
places he inhabits, In the past, unicorns have been seen and/or described
by job, Isaiah, Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Aelian, Pliny the Elder, the
mother of Confucius, Genghis Khan, and Marco Polo, along with numerous
less famous persons.
Today the "Secret of their existence is shared by
many men and women and even by some children. In January of 1982,
some two dozen boys and girls in a school bus saw a unicorn playing in
the- snow in central Colorado. Unicorn sightings are more common than one
would, imagine. It is the idea of being thought a crank or, nobler,
of not wanting to reveal such information to the impure of heart that has
kept reports out of the newspapers and other media.