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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pterodactyl sightings in America

Let's descend into a bit of silliness. This is, after all, a fiction blog as well as a history blog.

We all remember the pterodactyl from when we were kids, that weird birdlike creature with the funky head. It died out with the dinosaurs, right?

Wrong, say some true believers. Pterodactyls have been spotted all over the world, especially in Texas, which has had several waves of pterodactyl sightings. Pterodactyls have landed on mobile homes, buzzed schoolteachers on their way to work, and generally caused mayhem across the state.

Native Americans believed in the Thunderbird, a giant bird seen in the skies of the American Southwest. Cryptozoologists (people who study unexplained animal sightings) claim the Thunderbird legend may be evidence of pterodactyl sightings. Of course the legend recounts a big feathered bird and not a reptile, but whatever.

Creationists have also gotten into the game. Many of the "pterodactyls are alive" websites use the sightings as evidence that the Earth couldn't be millions of years old, otherwise these creatures would have died out.

The sightings have been happening for some time now and even the Tombstone Epitaph got into the game back in 1890, claiming that some cowboys bagged one. Many photos of the supposed creature have arisen. This is just one of them.

While I have a hard time believing in the Thunderbird/living pterodactyl, I do find the idea charming. Perhaps I'll write a story about it one day!

I took this photo from the Texas Cryptid Hunter blog, which has a refreshingly skeptical take on the phenomenon. The image is not original to them. While I'm careful to use only public domain photos in this blog, I'm not sure this one is. If it's really as old as it appears, then it's public domain. It could simply be an old fake. If it's modern, then I'm in breach of copyright, but the only way the creator could sue me is if they admitted faking the photo! I'll take that chance. :-)


  1. I have never heard of this; how fascinating. Everywhere in the world has stories like these, of giant/impossible creatures. It does make you wonder though... Definitely a great idea for the basis of a story.

  2. I've seen this photo elsewhere, so you wouldn't be the only one facing a "take down notice" or worse. :-) I love this particular legend, and it seems fitting that if pterodactyls still existed, they'd be found in Texas!

  3. Ha. Why do I think I have seen this picture before? I like your post. You should write a story about it.

    Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers, participant of A to Z Blogging Challenge
    Denise Reashore on Facebook

  4. Could make for an interesting book.

  5. Just stopping by from the A-Z Challenge list to say "Hi" :)

    Wow, interesting!

    Good luck with the rest of the challenge!


  6. Hi Sean .. I agree with Alex re the disclaimer! However the Pterodactyl stories I love - I wonder if they'll ever be able to recreate them from DNA .. then they truly would fly over Texas again and elsewhere no doubt!

    Cheers Hilary

  7. I love the idea of pterodactyls still flying around, attacking people! Sounds like an awesome idea for a horror novel or movie to me (but I'll watch anything no matter how bad!)
    Fun post! :-)

  8. I was a kid when I first saw a story in one of the rags about a kid carried away by a large flying 'something'. The picture on the cover of the rag showed footprints in the snow going out and then stopping. Nothing else, no other footprints. It scared the crap out of me and I had a hard time going outside at night after that. I swore I heard their wings flapping above me. Hey, I was a kid!

    Thanks for the memory! :)

  9. When I was living in Greene County Mississippi on the chickasawhay river- it was so hot that summer that I tied rope around my foot and to a tree on the riverbank and got in the river. So I was basically just floating in the river with the current keeping me afloat and I had my eyes closed. All the sudden a huge shadow came over my eyes- I open my eyes and it was the biggest bird I've ever seen and it looked exactly like a pterodactyl, the wingspan must have been at least 12 - 14 feet. It really freaked me out because I thought it was going to eat me- needless to say I got out of the river. This is a true story and I saw this bird around 1993.

  10. For a thorough review of living pterosaur claims, including analysis of the photos in question, please see: http://paleo.cc/paluxy/livptero.htm

  11. When I was younger in my 20s while hunting just sw of ft. Worth texas I saw one of the creatures leave a tree top and fly off out of sight. Believe or don't but true story. I'm in my 60s now

  12. In the early 1970s while hunting sw of fort worth, texas I saw one leave a tree top and fly out of sight. Believe or don't but it's the truth

  13. The photo was staged with Civil War actors and a model pterosaur as a promo for the FreakyLinks TV program. For more info about this and similar photos, as well as a detailed review of "living pterosaur" claims, please see my article at: http://paleo.cc/paluxy/livptero.htm

  14. In my last comment, I was referring to the photo with six soldiers, not the one with the 3 soldiers in front of the barn.


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