Reported sightings of pterosaurs in Texas outnumber those in surrounding states of the south-central USA, but Texas is a much bigger state, in human population and in land area, than its neighbors, with plenty of room to hide nocturnal pterodactyls.
Sightings in Texas
Much of what amateur cryptozoologists know about these flying creatures in Texas has been published in two non-fiction books: Big Bird, by Ken Gerhard; and Live Pterosaurs in America, by Jonathan Whitcomb. Most of Big Bird is about sightings in Texas but not necessarily of feather-less cryptids; only a small portion of Live Pterosaurs in America refers to direct sightings in Texas, but all of those seem to be feather-less cryptids.
Richard Guzman and his friend Rudy, in about 1982, at about 6 p.m., in Houston, Texas, saw a strange creature flying about fifty feet above the ground, only a little over a hundred feet from the men. The “snakelike tail” and hump on the back of the head caught Guzman’s attention. Also strange, the end of the tail had a “fin.” The total length of the creature was about five feet, and the wings were “bat-like.” Guzman was later interviewed by Ken Gerhard.
A lady and her brother, in San Antonia one evening in 1986, saw something flying around across the road, a little above the phone lines. “It would go one direction, turn, and swoop back. The shape was wrong for any large bird of the area, and the size was much too large to be any bat . . .” The lady described the wingspan to Jonathan Whitcomb: “huge, anywhere from 6-10 feet across.” The two eyewitnesses watched the flying creature for about twenty minutes.
(The eyewitness learned of other’s encounters by searching with “I saw a prehistoric bird.”)
“My father and I saw a huge, featherless bird in Arkansas . . . We were sitting on big rocks at a cliff about 300 foot above the river when it flew out just under us and we watched it all the way down toward the river till it passed the tree lines. It was an awesome experience, indeed. . . . wing span of maybe eight feet . . .”
“I had seen an extremely large bird that resembled a pterodactyl some years ago . . . between Rush Center and Larned, Kansas. I could not believe my eyes as I immediately thought of a prehistoric bird when I saw it. It must have had a wing-span of 16-20 feet. . . . It did not appear to have feathers. . . . This bird looked textbook pterodactyl. . . .”
. . . in Woodward, Oklahoma, near a small river, at about noon, a fourteen-year-old became terrified at the sight of a pterosaur-like creature. “I was walking to the small river where I usually caught carp fish. . . . a large animal took off into the air. . . . Then I noticed it was a dinosaur. I went to my knees so that it would not see me. I was afraid it would eat me.
Sometimes an eyewitness will not mention the word “pterosaur” or even “pterodacty,” but might label the flying creature a “dinosaur bird.” One eyewitness did an online search with ”I saw a prehistoric bird.”
“Mr. Whitcomb does a thorough job questioning indoctrination and the close-mindedness of the Western world. Reading so many eye-witness reports of people who have seen living pterosaurs in America was mind-opening, to say the least . . . The passion that Whitcomb and the pterosaur witnesses feel about these investigations make this book a great read and keep the pages turning. If you are prepared to question the indoctrination society has imposed on you since childhood, you are ready for Live Pterosaurs in America.” [Amazon.com review for third edition of this nonfiction crypotozoology book]
Why would some Texans call it a “big bird?” Many of the sighting reports suggest a pterodactyl (technically “pterosaur“) more than a bird. But many eyewitnesses think in the common sense when they see something large flying through the sky, even when it is very unlike any common bird. From the book Live Pterosaurs in America, we read:
. . . between Houston and Pasadena, Texas, two men saw a pterosaur-like creature . . . I’ve not yet interviewed either eyewitness; my associate, the cryptozoologist Ken Gerhard (Big Bird book author), has. RG and his friend, in the late afternoon of a clear day, were startled by a flying creature less than 150 feet away. For about fifteen seconds, they watched it fly, about fifty feet high, before it disappeared into some trees. The general appearance was “leathery” and it had a pointed beak and head appendage. The total length, about five feet, included about two feet of tail, the end of which had a “flange or sail.”
By Ken Gerhard: “a winged monster . . . Today, from all over the dusty U.S. / Mexican border come hair-raising stories of modern day encounters with winged monsters of immense size and terrifying appearance.”
She was positive that the flying creature had no feathers. She estimated the neck was about a foot and a half long (that alone eliminates a Frigate Bird misidentification). She also mentioned a “pointed crown” on the head; it was “long and curved back toward the neck.”
The case for group-hunting of nocturnal bioluminescent flying predators is overwhelming . . . except for one problem: There is no scientifically-acknowledged species of anything, anywhere, that is known to be a large bioluminescent flying creature. So what?
Sightings of “pterodactyls” from Texas to Southern California confirm that these flying dinosaurs, technically “pterosaurs,” are far from extinct. Most of the creatures, not all, have long tails, suggesting Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs, even though modern ones seem to be more like giants than the ones we know from fossils, which suggest more of a bird-size.
“In [Socorro, New Mexico], me and a close friend . . . were hiking during the midday . . . and something blocked the sun . . . We both looked up to see . . . a large flying animal . . . It had a 20-30 foot wingspan . . . It had a long tail with [a] seeming spike at the end. Its head was very pterodactyl shape with a fluted back pointy head. It glided at about 700 feet [high]“
“Neither my brother or I was prone to being scared by anything outside at night. This night was different . . . We noticed something flying around across the road . . . the creature was flying just above the phone lines. It would go one direction, turn, and swoop back. The shape was wrong for any large bird of the area, and the size was much too large to be any bat . . . The wingspan was huge, anywhere from 6-10 feet across. We watched the thing for maybe twenty minutes or so . . . I get little chills just writing about it now.”
A huge pterosaur-like creature, in daylight, in August of 2007, flew into the wildlife refuge, crossing the road going north from the university campus (road on the west side of the sanctuary), and according to the anonymous eyewitness, the length of the flying creature was close to the width of the road (30 feet), for it flew right over the road, at low elevation. There were no feathers.
How have these modern living pterosaurs avoided being officially discovered by the many biologists and nature photographers? It’s the dogmatic extinction assumption, the assumption that all species of pterosaurs became extinct long ago.
Live Pterosaurs in America, second edition, by Jonathan David Whitcomb (published late in 2010) is the undisputed authoritative cryptozoology book on reports of living pterosaurs in the United States of America.
Thrill to the amazing encounters eyewitesses have had over many years, in the United States. Some of these sightings have been in recent years. Many of the reports coorelate with each other, giving evidence for a nocturnal long-tailed pterosaur species living in America. Some sightings are at a close enough distance to eliminate any bird or bat misidentification.
From one of the readers of the first edition of this nonfiction cryptozoology book:
“This seems to be the author’s second book on the subject, and this one is worth the effort. He has focused on the accounts of witnesses who saw something, and that adds credibility. The writing is easy to read and he adds comments and analysis to make it all more useful. Mostly, the author lets the sightings speak for themselves, which is good. A worthwhile book.” (Red Rabbit, Cleveland, Ohio; Amazon.com book review for the first edition of Live Pterosaurs in America)
It deserves a question mark, “are Marfa Lights predators,” for as of late November, 2010, there seems to be no scientific proof that those strange flying lights in southwest Texas are created by large bioluminescent flying predators. Nevertheless, that explanation makes sense for some of the strange “dancing” activities of the truly mysterious lights that are seen only a few times each year.
But a problem remains, hindering what could otherwise be a smooth progress in enlightenment in the scientific interpretation of Marfa Lights. The core of the problem is simple: What is the definition of “Marfa Lights?” That question, apparently, was not properly addressed by a group of college students, a few years ago, who spent two nights observing car headlights on a highway near Marfa.
What are Marfa Lights? James Bunnell, in his book Hunting Marfa Lights, has examined, scientifically, the various lights around Marfa, lights that could be called “mysterious.” He has listed quite a few categories. The point is that car headlights, made mysterious by night-mirage atmospheric conditions, are only one type of mystery light near Marfa. Other classifications of what Bunnell calls “ML” (mystery lights) are seen where there are no highways and even no roads. Some ML have combustion-like properties (Bunnell is literally a rocket scientist), very unlike car headlights, even in the most bizarre atmospheric conditions that could create night mirages. Remote automatic cameras have captured the flights of some lights as they soar just above the bushes south of the Marfa Lights Viewing Platform. Indeed, the explanation of “car headlights” fails miserably with some of those flying lights.
Unfortunately, a few writers, having done little reading of the best-researched writings, or having neglected thinking deeply, have resorted to sarcasm about a big bird and repeating the interpretation of car headlights for any strange lights that might appear around Marfa, Texas.
Think about this: Did the brief scientific study done by those college students really prove that all mysterious lights around Marfa are made by car headlights? What about meteors? What about train lights? What about flashlights? Those students never proved that those lights can never appear to be mysterious. Neither did they prove that Marfa is immune from meteors and trains at night and flashlights, that those common lights are impossible around Marfa, unless they never appear to anybody to be mysterious. No, those college students never demonstrated the non-existence of any kind of light, only that car headlights can appear mysterious around Marfa.
That is the problem: Some writers need to think more deeply and research more carefully.
The second edition of Live Pterosaurs in America has just been published by Createspace (an affiliate of Amazon.com). The sightings detailed in this nonfiction book are from many U.S. states: Texas, California, Washington state, Kansas, Arkansas, Florida, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York state, and many others. Brief excerpts are in order here.
“Neither my brother or I was prone to being scared by anything outside at night. This night was different. We noticed something flying around across the road from where we were. . . . the creature was flying just above the phone lines. It would go one direction, turn, and swoop back. The shape was wrong for any large bird of the area, and the size was much too large to be any bat I have ever seen.”
Oklahoma Pterosaur Sighting
. . . in Woodward, Oklahoma, near a small river, at about noon, a fourteen-year-old became terrified at the sight of a pterosaur-like creature. “I was walking to the small river where I usually caught carp fish. . . . a large animal took off into the air. At first I thought it was an eagle. Then I noticed it was a dinosaur. I went to my knees so that it would not see me. I was afraid it would eat me. I stared at the back part of the head because it was exactly like the ones depicted in books.”
Missouri Pterosaur Sighting
The man and his grandmother saw the large apparently smooth-skinned creature, on July 15, 2004, flying about a hundred feet above an Arby’s restaurant in St. Louis.
Q: Did you catch sight of the head?
A: Yes, it did not have the long crest on top; the creature’s head and body was very similar like Rhamphorhynchus.
Q: Did its wings have claws on them?
A: I couldn’t tell, it wasn’t close enough to distinguish that, but it did have the diamond-shaped tail end.
Q: How wide would you estimate its wings were?
A: [It’s] hard to be precise, but I say around twenty feet; it could have been a bit wider though . . . an impressive wingspan . . . widest I’ve ever seen.