Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 28th, 2005
Editors: Expand Your Thunderbird Awareness
An Illinois newspaper’s answer columnist Ms. Brenda Story attempts to tackle a cryptozoological question in her "Hotline" column on November 28th, with the standard terrible results.
Peoria, Illinois Journal-Star’s Ms. Story was asked by a reader if she remembers the "story circulating around the Peoria area about a ‘giant bird’ that was spotted by several people around the area" in the 1970s.
"My co-workers all think that I have lost my mind as they don’t recall anything like that," complained the reader.
It is amazing how short memories can be.
Ms. Story notes she "checked with local historian Bill Adams, who has written three books about Peoria’s past. Adams said over the years there have been lots of stories circulating about such things. ‘I really can’t come up with a date,’ Adams said, ‘but there was a time this area was a breeding site for eagles. Eagles have a very large wing span,’ he added. ‘I think that’s how a lot of stories got their start.’"
I congratulate Ms. Story for taking on the question, but she just looked in the wrong direction to discover an answer. Editors really need to become more aware of cryptozoology, and this inquiring reader was no doubt talking about the April 1977 flap of "big bird" encounters that centered on Lawndale, Illinois, but also included sightings near Peoria-Pekin, in such towns as Tremont, Delvan, and Minier. The local papers from Decatur, Bloomington, and Peoria covered the near abduction of Marlon Lowe from near his home along the Kickapoo Creek, in Logan County, Illinois. The story made national news.
The April 1977 birds, just like the other peak flap years such as 1948, involved not "eagles" but Thunderbirds, giant avian cryptids, different in description, size, and we must assume from the reports, behavioral personality, than mere eagles.
Once again, I highly recommend Thunderbirds: America’s Living Legends of Giant Birds by Mark A. Hall for editorial newsrooms around the country.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.