What about the Fiery Flying Serpent? For Moses, when the Israelites needed to be healed from venom, what would have been the worst possible choice of an animal image to use as a symbol, to strengthen the faith of the people of God? How obvious! Use anything except the image of a snake, for that animal relates to Satan in the Garden of Eden.
What about a modern interpretation: a venomous snake that strikes so fast that it seems to “fly” through the air, causing a burning sensation in the wound of the victim? What a problem that would have been for Moses! He could not put the image of a snake on a pole; he could not ask the Israelites to look up to an image associated with Satan. But the scriptures say he did put up an image of the animal that caused death among those ancient people. So what is the answer to this dilema? No snake was involved.
I’ve written much about my investigations over the past eight years, much of it concerning the testimonies of eyewitnesses whom I have interviewed (more recently concerning conjectures about Marfa Lights). From various countries, various languages, various cultures, and various religions, these common persons simply tell me about their encounters with flying creatures that have various names. Most of the flying creatures are described with long tails, and most eyewitnesses have various degrees of certainty about the absence of feathers. Those two factors alone suggest living pterosaurs. A prominent head crest and a tail vane (eyewitnesses use various words for those biological structures) increases the certainty of living pterosaurs. But how does that relate to the Fiery Flying Serpent? It’s in the pterosaurs that glow.
When I met Jonah Jim, during my 2004 expedition in Papua New Guinea, I had just finished a dramatic set of interviews with three other native eyewitnesses of Umboi Island, so my fatigue at hiking through a hot humid tropical rain forest forced me to think of rest and drinking water, rather than another interview. Notwithstanding my weakness, Jonah Jim climbed a coconut tree while I sat to rest; he soon chopped open the beverage container with his machete, and I was refreshed with a drink of coconut milk. He told me about his own encounter with the ropen, some years earlier. I quote from my book, the second edition of Searching for Ropens:
During an outdoor family gathering one night, this young man saw the ropen not as a vague, distant light but as a creature—close. In addition to the glow, he saw the long tail. I recorded no notes, for his description resembled Gideon’s, but later I would realize the significance of Jonah Jim’s testimony: The glow that flies around at night is the same kind of long-tailed creature seen by Gideon and his friends.
Jonah Jim saw clearly both the giant wings of the ropen and its glow. That is the point: Some eyewitnesses see glowing pterosaurs, notwithstanding many Westerners insist on the nonexistance of living creatures that “should” be extinct.
Another point comes up in those ropens that are unfriendly to humans: Sometimes a human will die, not like death from a crocodile attack but with either burns or convulsions. I have not yet interviewed someone who was closely related or a friend to a victim, but secondhand accounts make this clear: These large flying creatures, at least some of them, when they attack a human, sometimes do damage by something like a chemical or venom.
How does all this relate to Marfa Lights of southwest Texas? (I know of no accounts of anyone being attacked by Marfa Lights.) They behave more like a group of intelligent flying predators, and their glowing would be likened to the glow of fire, to anyone who lived in a time and place where terrestrial light at night is usually associated with fire.