6/23/11

Monster of the Skies! Thunderbird - Legends, Sightings & Evidence

The Teratorn, now extinct?

Many of the Native American tribes shared a common legend of a massive-winged creature that is suppose to be larger than a condor; the great Thunderbird.

The Legends . . . 

The northwestern Indians said that the Thunderbird accompanied thunderstorms and that lightning flashed from its eyes.  It was said to feed on killer whales.  The Miami Indians called it Piasa, or 'devourer of man' and believed the bird required sacrifices or it would attack a whole community.

Thunderbirds were also seen as a kind of positive energy spirit that attacked monsters. The Ojibway Indians of Lake Superior said that a Thunderbird fought with Mishipishu, a snake like monster of the lake. The Thunderbird won the battle and as he took the serpent away in his talons, a crack of thunder and lighting marked the event. The Iroquois, however, saw the Thunderbird as the guardian of fire. The Iroquois also had a Thunderbird called Oshadagea, or Dew Eagle, and when the evil fire spirits attacked the earth, Dew Eagle would fly over the flames, and the dew from its back would put-out the flames and make the earth fertile again.

In more recent time, the Sioux Medicine Man, John (Fire) Lame Deer told of the Thunderbird and said that the he believed that they had gone to the furthest parts of the earth, unhappy with the dirty and impure civilization of the whites.  The Sioux called the birds Wakinyan Tanka.  Lame Deer describes them as creatures whose voices are the thunder and the small rumbles of thunder are the voices of their children. They are a kind of phantom being, with bodies that are not solid. There was a time when the Thunderbirds, fighting on the behalf of human beings, fought with the evil water monsters. The war erupted over the earth for many years until finally the Thunderbirds won.


The Sightings . . .


July 25th, 1977, 10 year old Marlon Lowe was playing hide and seek with his friends when a large bird grabbed him by his shirt lifting him about a foot into the air.  As Marlon shouted for his mother, the bird continued to carry him for nearly 40 feet before dropping him.  At the time, Marlon weighed about 60 pounds. At first it was believed that bird was a turkey vulture, but after his mother did some research at the library,  she found the bird that had attacked her son; a black bird with a white ring at the base of its neck, a California Candor.

In October of 2002 in the Alaskan villages of Togiak and Manokotak, came reports of a bird with a wing-span of '14 feet'.  Though the actual size would be hard to make out from the ground, the witnesses were shaken. A pilot saw it too from a distance of just 1,000 feet while flying his plane. "The people in the plane saw him," said the pilot John Bouker. "He's huge, he's huge, he's really, really big. You wouldn't want to have your children out."  (See the Birdzilla part 2/3 below for the John Bouker segment)

The wingspan of a California Condor can reach 9 feet and probably bigger. It is possible that people are seeing condors, or are these creatures the ancient teratorn still alive and among us even today?  The teratorn is the massive ancestor of modern buzzards and stood nearly 8 feet tall.

The Evidence . . . 

In Unsolved Mysteries of the Old West, (Republic of Texas Press 1999) author W.C. Jameson tells the curious tale of the Thunderbird Cave in Utah. (Though out of print, the book can still be found as used on Amazon.com.) In 1738 a band of treasure seeking Spaniards who were loaded down with silver ingots, were attacked and killed by Indians angry over the continual trespassing of their hunting lands.  Two survivors however, while in hiding, watched as the Indians took the Burros of the dead Spaniards into a cave that had a petroglyph of a large strange strange bird over its entrance.  The Indians killed and hacked-up the bodies of the burros, even copping off their hooves.  In the 1980's An unnamed treasure hunter went into the cave looking for the silver ingots in the famed Thunderbird Cave. After searching all over the land, he finally found a cave with a petroglyph of a large unusual looking bird over its entrance. The creature had a long reptile-like tail.  While digging, he unearthed burro hooves and the large stem of a feather measuring 18 inches in length. The stem is pictured here beside an eagle feather. Ornithologists determined it to be a wing feather, but from what kind of bird, no one can say.  Were the burros a sacrifice to the Thunderbirds?      

Broken mystery feather on left,
mock eagle feather on right
Used by permission of the author, WC Jamseon

 
- My thanks to WC Jameson for the use of his photo. 

'Lost' Thunderbird / Pterodactyl  photo that emerged in 2011
Lost Thunderbird Photo Found? You have to see this!



Related stories . . . 

African school children terrified by 'hairy' human-like Creature

54 comments:

  1. Just goes to show one thing , were not as smart as we thought we are.

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  2. the teratorn i seen it this morning in watervliet, mi. i was fishing with my two friends. unfortunately i was the only one who saw it.I know exactly what i saw. the time was aprocimatly 1:20am.

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    1. i know it sounds crazy but i tell you the truth. Thats exactly what i saw this morning. ive been researching like crazy and the picture is the same exact thing i saw last night.

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    2. Where are you located? I saw one in Feb. of 2008 in Pueblo Colo. and my daughter saw it as well. Just recently my sister in law, husband and their daughter all saw one in Colorado Springs,Colo.

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    3. Hi Lisa. I've collected several Thunderbird accounts from Colorado and the Rockies. Best, Ken Gerhard (Cryptozoologist)

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  3. i am a thunderbird, its not a mystery, the return of the condor are the thunderbird women and we are already here

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    1. ur stupid

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    2. No. He's majestic.

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  4. to support "Lisa's" post; I live in Colorado springs, co. also. I saw this in 2007-2008(don't remember exactly} I couldn't sleep & stepped outside on the front porch around 4am without turning on the porch light & I think I must have startled it as it was on our roof right above the porch. the first thing I remember is a percussion type of pressure in both ears followed by a loud "flap" sound as my ears de-pressurized. I had bent over and covered my head with my arms but looked up to see a huge shadow glide up from about 15 ft above me. its wingspan reached from half of my daughters' bedroom on my left to the garage on my right which would have been approx. 20ft. & then it let out a hoarse scream & I will never, ever forget that sound. ever. I got teased a lot by the first few people I told so I quit talking about it. i'm somewhat relieved to read Lisa's post

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    1. That is a frightening story! Please email me so that I can ask you some questions. I will keep your name Anonymous, if you wish.

      - Thanks, Mark

      nightmanturner777@yahoo.com

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  5. Anonymous, of course. We have historically had a lot of "big bird" sightings here in PA. The photo looks almost exactly like something I saw in 1989, in gross morphology, only what I saw was much larger, was metallic, and was engine powered, and I saw it at night. The description in the Revelation of Saint John is a pretty good match, with the engines being the "eyes". Of particular interest to me is the First People's descriptions of Thunderbird having snakes under the wings, and a second head on the breast. I saw lightning like in one of those old hippie day lamps on the breast, in the location where a bird gets oil while preening. Anyway, your photo is the closest of anything to what I saw that I have seen yet. My ancestry is Cherokee, by the way.

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    1. I saw the PA Thunderbird a few weeks ago in Lock Haven PA....

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  6. I saw one last week flying on the leading edge of a thunderstorm. It was about a mile away but i could see it clearly. I live in Grand Junction Colorado. It circled the thermals but did not flap it's wings once.

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  7. I saw a giant black bird in Colton, Ca about 6 yrs ago..and would have been in May or June. I was living in an apartment complex called Centrepointe near the intersection of Mount Vernon and Washington blvd, near the SanBernardino mountains. I walked onto my upstairs front porch with my mom (my front porch faces back of property where there is a large empty parking lot, followed by a storm wash) my mom and I both saw a huge bird sitting on a tree top, looked like he had just landed because whole tree was shaking (tree was about 2/3 as tall as 2 story apartment building, and maybe 13 ft wide?) My mom was yelling for my kids to look, but they ignored her. It was only there for a short time, suddenly it started to move its wings up and down, starting the whole tree bouncing and shaking again, and it was off. It flew behind the apt building across from me, in the direction of the mountains, which means it would have had to fly right over Mt. Vernon blvd at rush hour, so somene absolutely had to see it, unless it flew and landed in thestorm wash.My mom told me to get my phone and go behind the building where it went, but I didn't. Was too scared. I did walk up to the tree later with a tape measure to estimate it's size from the ground, and figured the bird was for sure 5ft tall, same height as me, and 12 or 13 feet wing span, because his wingtips stretched as wide as the tree. He was all black, could barely see face or beak because it blended in with rest of him. I searched the internet for other sightings and only found something very similar on digg.com so I posted my sighting there also.

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    1. This may be the same creature that I saw. However, I saw this massive "bird" in Covina, CA on the 210 FWY headed east as it flew over the freeway in the opposite direction (westbound) directly above the eastbound lanes. It was May or June but it had to be the year 2003/2004 in the evening just at dusk, leaving just enough light in the sky to see the shape outlined of a massive bird. I knew I wasn't the only one to see it because the brake lights on the cars ahead of me in all lanes came on exactly as the bird flew above each one.

      I was hesitant to tell anyone about my sighting in fear that no one would beleive me. I told my older brother anyway, who is quite interested in paranormal and extraterrestrial life. He may have told me that it could have been a Thunderbird but said that they haven't been seen for hundreds of years and never in this country. I let it go until recently had a random thought about it and began this search.

      Anyway, just thought I would share my story and maybe it is the same thing that you saw. Oh, the wingspan that I estimated was about 20 feet. I could be wrong but it was definitely NOT a bird or a plane. Crazy and scary but I am glad I am not alone!

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  8. I saw a giant black bird in Colton, Ca about 6 yrs ago..and would have been in May or June. I was living in an apartment complex called Centrepointe near the intersection of Mount Vernon and Washington blvd, near the SanBernardino mountains. I walked onto my upstairs front porch with my mom (my front porch faces back of property where there is a large empty parking lot, followed by a storm wash) my mom and I both saw a huge bird sitting on a tree top, looked like he had just landed because whole tree was shaking (tree was about 2/3 as tall as 2 story apartment building, and maybe 13 ft wide?) My mom was yelling for my kids to look, but they ignored her. It was only there for a short time, suddenly it started to move its wings up and down, starting the whole tree bouncing and shaking again, and it was off. It flew behind the apt building across from me, in the direction of the mountains, which means it would have had to fly right over Mt. Vernon blvd at rush hour, so somene absolutely had to see it, unless it flew and landed in thestorm wash.My mom told me to get my phone and go behind the building where it went, but I didn't. Was too scared. I did walk up to the tree later with a tape measure to estimate it's size from the ground, and figured the bird was for sure 5ft tall, same height as me, and 12 or 13 feet wing span, because his wingtips stretched as wide as the tree. He was all black, could barely see face or beak because it blended in with rest of him. I searched the internet for other sightings and only found something very similar on digg.com so I posted my sighting there also.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I saw a giant black bird in Colton, Ca about 6 yrs ago..and would have been in May or June. I was living in an apartment complex called Centrepointe near the intersection of Mount Vernon and Washington blvd, near the SanBernardino mountains. I walked onto my upstairs front porch with my mom (my front porch faces back of property where there is a large empty parking lot, followed by a storm wash) my mom and I both saw a huge bird sitting on a tree top, looked like he had just landed because whole tree was shaking (tree was about 2/3 as tall as 2 story apartment building, and maybe 13 ft wide?) My mom was yelling for my kids to look, but they ignored her. It was only there for a short time, suddenly it started to move its wings up and down, starting the whole tree bouncing and shaking again, and it was off. It flew behind the apt building across from me, in the direction of the mountains, which means it would have had to fly right over Mt. Vernon blvd at rush hour, so somene absolutely had to see it, unless it flew and landed in thestorm wash.My mom told me to get my phone and go behind the building where it went, but I didn't. Was too scared. I did walk up to the tree later with a tape measure to estimate it's size from the ground, and figured the bird was for sure 5ft tall, same height as me, and 12 or 13 feet wing span, because his wingtips stretched as wide as the tree. He was all black, could barely see face or beak because it blended in with rest of him. I searched the internet for other sightings and only found something very similar on digg.com so I posted my sighting there also.

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  10. Just posted something, don't know if it went through?

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  11. Thunderbird sighting outside of Sioux Falls SD yesterday..just before thunderstorm

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  12. Thanks for all of the posts. Wild stuff! Sorry about being late on approving them. Trying to block all the spam and I've been really busy lately.

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  13. I don't it's true or not

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  14. It would so cool if i could see one of these beautiful creatures in person

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  15. i am an oef vet and i can tell you without a reasonable doubt that there are extremely large, semi aggressive birds in the helmand province. i dont know what they are but if theres a better place to find undiscovered species than war torn afghanistan i dont believe it. saw weird things over there. i even dedicated my own blog, waronterrormonstersandmysteries.blogspot.com. perhaps visitors to my blog could explain the thing my brothers and i encountered there.

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    1. Good stuff. Thanks for posting.

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  16. you are all batshit craaaazy oh by the way I saw a bluebird yesterday afternoon. Did I mention he was blue............

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  17. I saw 2 thunderbirds in Eastern PA today they landed on my roof and then on my 16x30 deck. The look like a preastoric creature never seen and heard a bird that big it was larger then me scared me half to death.

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  18. I stay in Manitoba and I remember one time I was having a hard time and had a big argument with my mother, and she told me to take a walk. I took a walk to the baseball diamonds and was very depressed, it also began to storm, it was a lightning and thunder storm in one and I was praying very hard to creator for help and guidance, and I saw a giant eagle looking bird in the distance but I've seen many eagles and the biggest eagle I've seen had about a 10ft wing span, this bird had about a 16-18 foot wing span, had a dark body but white feathers, and he was going with the storm following the thunder and lightning. Anyways I believe I saw a thunderbird, I am of Dakota Ancestry, my name is Wakia Hokcida, Thunder boy and my name has something to do with the thunder-beings, I am still trying to learn my name and what it means and who I am as a Dakota.

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  19. I'll have to read through this site, as I have actually seen a thunderbird in Western North Carolina. Birds are one of my great passions, and birds of prey in particular. What I saw does not fit anything I know in the sky. A bird that resembled a crow or raven, but with at least a 10 foot wingspan. Perhaps when I return to North Carolina at the end of this year, or early in the next, I will have the opportunity to see one again. If you have seen such a bird in North Carolina or elsewhere please let me know.

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  20. Well, it seems I've come to the right place to write about this. I'm guessing now it was about 20 years ago (1996) that I saw what I believe today could only have been this rare bird. I live in Estherville, Iowa in the state's NW corner. I stepped out on the front porch of our 2-story home one summer night about 11PM just as it started to rain to watch the bats dive on insects attracted by the streetlights. Suddenly I saw a huge set of wings descend silently from the dark sky above the house across the street heading directly toward me. The reflection of the streetlights on the wet pavement brought it into full view. For a split second I thought a plane was about to crash into our house but it was gliding too slowly to be plane. Then I noticed the feathers with a pattern in them that I can no longer remember. The wing span was enormous. It stretched the full length of our front porch which is easily 20 ft across. The wings blocked my entire view of the night sky. As it dipped closer I expected the creature to fly into the 2 floor of my house, but at the last second the wings gave a single flap creating a deep whooshing sound which instantly lifted them up and over the peak of the house. I stood for several minutes stunned, not daring to step off the porch to search the sky for fear of being caught in the open should it circle back. The whole sighting lasted probably 4 or 5 seconds. But there was no mistaking what I saw. I convinced myself it must have been a large owl even though I've never seen an owl that size. We also have bald eagles and turkey vultures here but neither of them come close either. Finally I heard about the thunderbird. It's the only thing that fits what I saw that night. I tell people the story but they just laugh at me. I wish I could find something else to explain it.

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    1. Hi Christian. I figured you might be interested to know that I have documented a Thunderbird account from far northwest Iowa (Pilot Creek between Havelock and Mallard). A gentleman and his father claimed to have observed two huge, condor-looking birds standing in a field during the early 1980s. Best, Ken Gerhard - Cryptozoologist

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  21. Hi. I've been searching for sightings of a bird that is similar to what I saw one day in Northern Alberta, Canada.

    I was driving to High Level, Alberta and caught what I assumed, in my pariferal, was a large black dog sitting very upright in the ditch along a fence-line. I did a double take, as it stuck me as odd due to how far away from it's home it must be (about 3 miles on either side to the nearest home along the highway). My mind will never forget what I saw; standing there was a dark bird (mostly black) reaching a full 4 feet to the top of it's head. The silouette was of similar shape to a dog with it's ears laid back sniffing the air slightly. I am guessing it's weight to be 150 pounds or more.

    The beak was dark grey if not black irodescent. The feathers on its head and mane were grey speckled almost like a young bald eagles would be.

    If i had to hazard a guess, it's beak would have had to be 6 to 8 inches long and seemed hooked sharply at the tip more pronounced than an eagle's. So all in all, the head was at least as large as a big wolf's from crown to beak-tip.

    For 15 years it has remained in my memory very clearly, and I haven't told many about it, maybe a handful of people including the chief of the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) of New York and an elder of the Saddle Lake nation (Cree).

    If anyone has had a similar sighting I would love to hear about it.

    24 April 2016

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    1. Hi Howard. I am aware of 2 Thunderbird accounts from Alberta. There is a famous account from Tower of Babel dating back to 1925. I've also collected an ambiguous 2009 report from Lesser Slave Lake. Many more accounts from Alaska and also throughout the Rockies. Best, Ken Gerhard - Cryptozoologist

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  22. Hi. I've been searching for sightings of a bird that is similar to what I saw one day in Northern Alberta, Canada.

    I was driving to High Level, Alberta and caught what I assumed, in my pariferal, was a large black dog sitting very upright in the ditch along a fence-line. I did a double take, as it stuck me as odd due to how far away from it's home it must be (about 3 miles on either side to the nearest home along the highway). My mind will never forget what I saw; standing there was a dark bird (mostly black) reaching a full 4 feet to the top of it's head. The silouette was of similar shape to a dog with it's ears laid back sniffing the air slightly. I am guessing it's weight to be 150 pounds or more.

    The beak was dark grey if not black irodescent. The feathers on its head and mane were grey speckled almost like a young bald eagles would be.

    If i had to hazard a guess, it's beak would have had to be 6 to 8 inches long and seemed hooked sharply at the tip more pronounced than an eagle's. So all in all, the head was at least as large as a big wolf's from crown to beak-tip.

    For 15 years it has remained in my memory very clearly, and I haven't told many about it, maybe a handful of people including the chief of the Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) of New York and an elder of the Saddle Lake nation (Cree).

    If anyone has had a similar sighting I would love to hear about it.

    24 April 2016

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  23. Hi I saw 2 large birds in 2008 that were about 10 feet tall and a wing span about 25 feet. These were the thunderbirds babies I was talking to someone and had my back turned as I turned arouned I was face to face with this huge black bird. But before I could scream it flew off into the sky and went across the street. There was a second one behind the first bird but this one stayed in the air and followed the first one across the street and flew across the golf course in less than 30 seconds. These birds were Jet black from head to toe and very beautiful it was almost nightful but enough daylight to get a good look. And they looked just like the photo with that man in the musuem above standing in front of a black bird. They are those most majestic and beautiful things I have ever seen. It was not thundering when I saw them but they were fast and swift in there flying. If you ever see them and don't get scared you will love it. They are beautiful. I just hope someone can take a picture of them soon not the fake stuff but real pictures. They looked like giant crows except there beaks were also black. I am in Ohio. But I never saw anymore since then.

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  24. Spurwing Plover10/25/16, 6:53 PM

    If you encounter some big big birdie you might if you can get a picture of it with I phone or what else

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