I t was probably a pretty typical summer day for Jackson Miller and Harold Boynton. As they camped along western Pennsylvania's Oil Creek on August 1, 1906 they likely expected many things - hot days, sticky nights, and the Keystone State's infamous mosquitoes. What they did not expect to see was a huge snake - with wings - making its way down the creek. But they did see it and they told people. No one took them seriously. Until...
Almost two months later, on September 29th, Miss Rachel Talbot - daughter of book publisher W. A. Talbot - was standing on the bank of the Allegheny River near the family's summer home in Grunderville, Warren County when she saw a large winged snake swimming down the middle of the waterway. Sometimes its head rose out of the water several feet; sometimes the creature swam completely submerged. Though rattlesnakes often swam the Allegheny River, this was no rattler - all eye witnesses agreed on that.
Miss Talbot called out to a ferryman who, without hesitation, drew a rifle and began firing. He shot the creature in one wing whereupon it began hissing and spitting a forked tongue in his direction.
Soon two Warren Lumber Company employees joined in the lopsided gunfight and eventually the creature's other wing was pierced. Still, this did not prevent this great flying snake from leaping out of the water in an attempt to escape over a 20-foot high cable. Although the jump was unsuccessful, the creature did eventually evade the gunfire and make its way back down the river.
Hauntingly PENNSYLVANIA™ found no further reports of this great flying snake of the Allegheny River, but the story was dramatic enough that even an Alaskan newspaper ran the article.
If these sightings were a case of mis-identification no one stepped forward to suggest a correction or alternate explanation.
Coincidentally, the appearance of the swimming, flying snake comes within a few years of the great Pennsylvania "snake epidemic" [separate story coming soon] although no snakes capable of flight were found during Hauntingly PENNSYLVANIA's research on this unusual period in the state's history.
If readers know of other reported sightings of the Flying Snake of the Allegheny River, contact us. Include the source of the report, date and location of sighting and any other pertinent details. 💀