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The Biggest, Baddest Thunderbird of Them All

Brad Steiger's picture

 

by Brad Steiger
(Copyright 2008, Brad Steiger - All Rights Reserved)


American Indian Thunderbird

March 2008 reports of strange, flying creatures in Chile and other areas of South America, coupled with the November 2007 sighting made by Frank Ramirez of a large, bird-like creature buzzing South Texas, has set me to thinking about one of my favorite monsters, the Great Thunderbird. The Texas sightings included many accounts other than those made by Ramirez. Numerous individuals claimed to have seen a very large, raptor-like bird with an 18 to 20 foot wingspan.

 

Interestingly, in the last 100 years or so, many people have claimed to have seen a great bird, far larger than the eagle, flying overhead. In fact, numerous witnesses have claimed to have seen creatures that resembled pterodactyls, the winged reptiles that should have been extinct 60 million years ago.

A few weeks ago, my friend, author-researcher, Jerome Clark, knowing of my fascination with Thunderbird/pterodactyl reports, sent me an October 4, 1890 account of a “strange monster with wings, a monstrous head, with horns, a mouth like an alligator’s, its body green and covered with scales…and it … sounds like a combination of the roar of a lion and the scream of a wildcat.” This winged monstrosity was sighted near Independence, Iowa, over a hundred years ago, but we need not travel as far back in time to detail other very impressive Thunderbird accounts.

On April 9, 1948, a farm family outside of Caledonia, Illinois saw a monster bird that they all said was bigger than an airplane. In different parts of the state on the same day, a Freeport truck driver said that he, too, had seen the creature. A former army colonel admitted that he had seen a bird of tremendous size while he stood talking with the head of Western Military Academy and a farmer near Alton.

On April 10, several witnesses saw the gigantic bird. One man said that he had at first believed it to have been a type of plane that he had never before seen.

On April 24, back at Alton, a man described it as an enormous, incredible thing, flying at about 500 feet and casting a shadow the same size as that of a Piper Cub at the same height. Two policemen said that the monster bird was as big as a small airplane.

******

Numerous reports of birds the size of small airplanes were reported in southwest Pennsylvania in the summer and early fall of 2001.

On June 13, A resident in Greensville, who said that he was familiar with the wildlife in the area, at first mistook the huge bird for an ultralight aircraft. He estimated the wingspan to be about 15 feet and the body to be nearly five feet in length.

In July, a witness in Erie County claimed to have seen a large, black-colored bird with a wingspan of about 17 feet.

On September 25, a witness who said that he had a strong interest in ornithology, encountered a massive bird with a head about three feet long and a wingspan of 10 to 15 feet. On that same date, a witness sighted a giant bird flying over South Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Researchers soon found other witnesses who claimed to have had similar sightings in Westmoreland County, PA.

******

Pterodactyl

On November 5th, a resident of Bristol, Connecticut, who was out walking his dog at dawn, said that he had sighted a giant birdlike creature the size of an ultra-light plane flying over a community center.

 

******

In October 2002, Alaskan villagers in Togiak and Manokotak reported seeing a huge bird larger than anything they had seen before. Pilot John Bouker, owner of Bristol Bay Air Service, said that while flying to Manokotak he and his passengers sighted a large “raptorlike” bird with a wingspan that matched the length of his Cessna 207, about 14 feet. When Moses Coupchiak, a heavy equipment operator from Togiak, spotted the monster bird flying toward him, he said that he thought it was a small airplane until it banked to the left and flew away.

Biologists in the region said that they believed the witnesses sighted a bird known as the Steller’s sea eagle, a species native to northeast Asia, that occasionally shows up on the Aleutian islands and on Kodiak, Alaska. The Steller’s sea eagle can have a wingspan of eight feet and is about three times as large as a bald eagle.

March 2008 reports of strange, flying creatures in Chile and other areas of South America, coupled with the November 2007 sighting made by Frank Ramirez of a large, bird-like creature buzzing South Texas, has set me to thinking about one of my favorite monsters, the Great Thunderbird. The Texas sightings included many accounts other than those made by Ramirez. Numerous individuals claimed to have seen a very large, raptor-like bird with an 18 to 20 foot wingspan.

Interestingly, in the last 100 years or so, many people have claimed to have seen a great bird, far larger than the eagle, flying overhead. In fact, numerous witnesses have claimed to have seen creatures that resembled pterodactyls, the winged reptiles that should have been extinct 60 million years ago.

A few weeks ago, my friend, author-researcher, Jerome Clark, knowing of my fascination with Thunderbird/pterodactyl reports, sent me an October 4, 1890 account of a “strange monster with wings, a monstrous head, with horns, a mouth like an alligator’s, its body green and covered with scales…and it … sounds like a combination of the roar of a lion and the scream of a wildcat.” This winged monstrosity was sighted near Independence, Iowa, over a hundred years ago, but we need not travel as far back in time to detail other very impressive Thunderbird accounts.

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