Are there people who believe in dragons nowadays?

I know, I know, there are people who believe that their left little toenail has been possessed by Satan and that their next-door neighbor is actually a Mauser rifle in disguise. So in some sense the answer is obviously YES.

But are there many people who believe in dragons? I mean, there are plenty of people these days who believe that ghosts are real, and a bunch who believe in the existence of witches or haunted houses, and certainly no shortage of those who would say that extraterrestrials have visited us. What about dragons? Or has the world pretty well accepted that dragons were a) mythological or b) actual animals (manatees for mermaids, that kind of thing)?

What’s the straight dope here? Thanks!

I think not. However, I tend to overestimate the intelligence and rationality of adult humans. (Even tho I’ve been here for a long while–go figure.)

Biblical literalist and those who believe in a spiritual reality as described the the Bible might be candidates:

I was at a social site and a woman near me posted that she wanted to talk to real vampires and werewolves and was tired of “the fakes and wannabes.” She had several posts over weeks asking to talk to real ones and reiterating that she was sick of the stupid fakes.

She was 36 and her profile pic was her holding her toddler.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think what you’re asking here is whether or not there are a significant number of people who believe in dragons.

However, that passage only mentions a single dragon, and:

  1. States that that dragon is Satan himself.
  2. Also refers to Satan as a “serpent”.

Observations:

  1. This could be a language thing. The Strong’s number associated with the word “dragon” here appears to be 1404, drakon.
  2. If Satan is described as a dragon and as serpent, then which one is he? Did the author intend to say that Satan was literally a dragon and also literally a snake, or is the author making metaphorical statements about Satan’s appearance, character, behavior, etc.?
  3. The passage doesn’t indicate that there are any “dragons” around except for Satan. Therefore it doesn’t necessarily imply that there is a specific species or group of species of animals that constitute “dragons”.

There really are some seemingly normal-ish people that truly believe in vampires. I had a guy sleep on my dorm room floor in New Orleans for a couple of months in the early 1990’s that certainly did. He came to New Orleans from North Carolina specifically for finding ‘real vampires’ instead of those fake ones that are the bane of vampire enthusiasts everywhere else. I didn’t talk to him that much because he was basically just a roommate that didn’t pay for anything in a space that was way too small for three people but he seemed at least marginally sane most of the time. He went out every night to some unknown places hoping to find them. I don’t know if he ever found a real one but one day, he and all his stuff were just gone.

I can’t say that I know of anyone that believes that dragons currently exist but I am fairly certain that some people believe that they used to. You can probably find some in some rural villages in China where dragon folklore is strong and modern science is not.

However

It is referenced to as a enormous red dragon Rev 12:3

Satan is referred to the ‘great dragon’ Rev 12:9
Both infer that this is a specific dragon, usually identifying one out of multiple.

I know we are getting a little off track here but it is still related. The range of creatures that people believe in but have never seen personally is amazing. It seems to be an innate human trait supported by socialization and folklore.

In North America, we have Bigfoot which plenty of people truly believe in. Make fun of the dumb Americans all you want though because Icelanders have us beaten in that regard. Their elf folklore is so pervasive that they sometimes have to divert public works projects like roads so that they won’t interfere with native elf habitat. They know that really bad things happen if you screw around with the elves. That isn’t just some inside joke that they are playing up for tourists. Over half of Icelanders truly believe in elves or consider it a serious possibility that they exist and can cause harm if you mess with them.

These aren’t Santa’s elves either -“Icelandic elves are not the small, green, pointy-eared variety that help Santa pack the toys at Christmas - they’re the same size as you and I, they’re just invisible to most of us.”

Those beliefs come from a well-educated Nordic country. Given that, I don’t find it hard to believe at all that some people still believe their are dragons still out there that are just really good at hiding.

I believe in komodo dragons. I also believe in gigantic “terrible lizards” that used to roam the earth before people, but now their descendants are fluffy little creatures who live in my back yard and provide me with eggs for breakfast.

apparently, some people think they ARE dragons or, they think they WERE dragons

There are quite a few cryptozoological sea and lake monsters that have a certain amount of credibility; most famous (probably) is Nessie:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Ness_Monster
a list of lake monsters can be found here
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_reported_lake_monsters

These are about as close to a dragon as you are likely to find in today’s folklore, and the earliest stories of lake monsters seem practically indistinguishable from dragons.

But they don’t fly.

Here’s an interesting story about a flying monster that might fit the bill;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crawfordsville_monster
probably a flock of birds, but still…

Well, I have to point out that dragons didn’t initially have wings, and Chinese dragons still don’t have wings. It’s only European dragons that have wings, and even these are a comparatively recent development.

Proof, if proof be needed, that even mythological creatures evolve!

I don’t know what’s the number thing got to do with language thing, but “dragon” comes from the Greek word meaning “snake” (δράκων); it’s the same root as in Dracula. Originally, a Western “dragon” was just a snake; wings and fiery breath were added much later.

So, yes, if you’re going to take it literally, he is literally a dragon and literally a snake, as both are the same.

I think the answer to the OP’s question is a simple “no.”

There are “Draconian” occultists who believe in a “dragon force” / “serpent force,” as something humans can channel through meditation and magic and whatnot - but that’s pretty darn far from believing in honest-to-God living-and-(fire)-breathing dragons.

If by “believe in dragons” you have a “biblical literalist” understanding in which people believe that dragons exist in the say way that, say, chickens exist, then I suspect not. In fact, I don’t know that there was ever signficant group of people (other than children) who believed that.

The notion that “exists” means “exists as a material entity, in the same way that every material entity exists” is a fairly modern one which arises, unsurprisingly, out of a philosophically materialist worldview. Icelanders whe “believe” in elves are likely reflecting a pre-modern view of the world; they don’t believe that there are elves in the Icelandic countryside in the same way that there are wild ducks in the countryside; elves exist as active forces or charactersstics, but not as atoms or molecules (which is why you can’t see them). When people “believed in dragons”, it was largely in this sense - unknown, dangerous, malign, but not material. The Irish folk-belief in fairies is of a similar order, as is the belief (quite common, in the Western world generally) in “luck” or “destiny” or “fate”.

Peter Dickinson proposed that dragons once existed but left behind no fossils due to their acidic body chemistry. The OP of this 2001 thread maintained that he wasn’t sure whether or not dragons existed.

Also of note is the Qilin a word that refers to either the mythical dragon-like creature or a giraffe. The latter exists.

ETA
This Christian board discusses dragons: http://christianchat.com/miscellaneous/89481-dragons-evil.html

Don’t be silly, they are extinct.

I know some faith healers (Reiki and similar) who state that they channel Dragon energy in their healing sessions. So they at least seem to think that it is useful to believe in dragons.

Is the definition of a dragon as referenced in the bible the same as our modern day image of a dragon e.g. Smaug or did it mean something else?

As I have already pointed out, believing in a “dragon force” or “dragon energy” isn’t the same as believing in dragons.