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That Lost Thunderbird Photo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 30th, 2011

In Mark A. Hall’s book, Thunderbirds: America’s Living Legends of Giant Birds, he examines the alleged photographic evidence for these cryptid birds in depth. At the end of his discussion, he writes: “The status of the infamous ‘Thunderbird photograph’ has remained the same for years. A lot of people think they have seen the picture. Everyone wants to see it. But no one can produce a copy.”

Writer Shawn Lindseth over at Awesome Or Off-Putting penned a new mini-feature on Thunderbirds in 2006. Okay, that’s interesting, but what is more intriguing to me is the “photograph” shown with the blog, pictured here:


Is this the long lost “Thunderbird photo”? There is no caption. Why keep all this mystery going with another old seemingly “lost” photograph? From our Cryptomundo commenters, of course, it is just another computer-created “lost Thunderbird photo”. But it does beg the question, how many times are we going to see this photo popping up again and again as “the” lost T-bird snapshot?

The internet has many formerly flying candidates for the “lost photo.” They have included everything from the drawing of what people remember (below)…


…to the confusing “Mystery Civil War Pterodactyl” photo (directly below), in fact produced for the year 2000’s fictional program, “Freaky Links.”


Pterodactyl photograph used with permission of Gregg Hale, Executive Director, Haxan Productions. Credit, Fox TV. The actual object, all 11 feet of it, is now housed in the International Cryptozoology Museum. Another version of the image is below:

What’s in your wallet? Do you have a photograph of the Thunderbird? Or have seen it?

[Old comments on this previously published blog have been retained, because they are, well, interesting and entertaining to read, once again.]

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

54 Responses to “That Lost Thunderbird Photo”

  1. akbens responds:

    This photo is not new. It’s been circulating on the internet for at least a year or two. Who knows if it’s real or not. I wish all of them were real!

  2. jjames1 responds:

    That photo was published in an issue of Strange Magazine 19 in 1998. It’s referred to as the “Ivan Verlaine” photo. It’s a complete hoax. Later, in Strange 20, Mark Chorvinsky showed how the photo was manipulated from “a posed photograph of the capture of the outlaw John Sontag,” in 1892.

    Chorvinsky did a great series on the search for the Thunderbird photo in Strange 21-23. Unfortunately, he passed away before completing the series, but the first 3 parts are still available online.

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    Thanks for the information. Well, its still circulating and being taken as “proof.” Of course it is a fake.

    I am tired of vagueness in the discussion of these photographs, aren’t you?

  4. jjames1 responds:

    Loren, I’m not sure that Shawn Lindseth is using that photo of “proof” of anything. In fact, he doesn’t even reference it in his brief write-up of the Thunderbird mystery. Of course, it does accompany the article, but Lindseth just makes a general comment about Thunderbird photos: “Throughout the years some photographs of the creatures have emerged. Most of them are decried as obvious fakes, others deserve a deeper look.”

  5. Kim responds:

    Hi Guys,
    There was a lengthy discustion about the “Lost Photo” at Fortfest some years ago. I was one of the few people who actualy recalled having the photo in a book. I even had the name of the book!
    The first time I heard about the missing photo was in an INFO magazine. I said to my husband “That photo isnt missing I have it right here”, went to the book and couldnt find the photo. I literly drove myself crazy looking in every book and magazine I owned, thinking perhaps I was mistaken about which book. In the end I was never able to produce the book with the photo in it.
    Strange, because I know the photo was in a book called “Mysteries of the Unexplained”. It was on page 45. I was given this book as a gift in the 1980’s when I was in Highschool. I studied this book, showed it to every one I knew and talked about it all the time! When I met my husband, and started telling him about Fortean Phenom. I showed this book, and the photo of the Thunderbird nailed to an out building/small barn wall. He was also shocked to find out the photo was gone.
    I dont talk about the missing photo much anymore. People start looking at you like your nutz…but to the best of my recolection here is what the photo looked like:
    One man standing next to an out building or small sized barn. He was wearing a hat, not a cowboy hat. Nailed to the barn wall was a pteradactyl. It was facing downwards.

    I have a theory about the missing photo, it’s pretty far fetched, even as Fortean theorys go:
    I suspect that someone with the ability to go back in time stopped the photo from being taken. After that occurred the photo disapeared from all the books and magazines it was ever in.
    I think this happened in the early 1990’s. Sounds crazy I know, but I also know I had the photo in a book prior to 1996.

  6. Jake responds:

    That is a pretty fantastic theory, but it seems to me that all knowledge of the photos ever having existed would have vanished if someone went back in time to prevent the photos from being taken. I mean, the photos would simply never have existed in that case, rather than actually vanishing from books sometime in the 90’s (at the instant that this person went back in time).

  7. siquisiri responds:

    This is my first post on this forum. As a teen in the late 1980’s, I recall seeing a book of unexplained mysteries with the infamous Thunderbird pic. I seem to remember that it was an old picture of a enormous bird or eagle nailed to a barn, not a Pterodactyl. I remember the pic bothered me because it was nailed to the barn with its wings spread out and it took up the entire side of the barn. Just my 2 cents.


  8. azrael_graves responds:

    To Kim:

    Do you remember who the author of that book is, and do you still have it? “Mysteries of the Unexplained” seems to be a pretty common title.

  9. cradossk responds:

    hmmm, temporal paradox’s always stretch the brain. If you went back in time and killed your mother before you were conceived, how could you exist to do that?

  10. Tube responds:

    Before we indulge in Fortean space-time warps as explanations for “missing” photographs I’d like to suggest that those curious about these things to research “false memory” and “confabulation” as likely candidates to explain this mystery.

    Though is is highly probable everyone has false memories, most people are not even aware of the term or understand its significance.

    The issue of false memory has a great bearing on investigation of anomaly research.

  11. akbens responds:

    With all the proficient use of photoshop these days, you can never be sure if what you’re seeing is real. There’s also another version of the Civil War soldiers Thunderbird photo I’ve seen as well.

  12. ZenBug responds:

    I own a Readers’ Digest anthology-type book that I believe is called Mysteries of the Unexplained, but I don’t rememer a thunderbird photo in it (it’s at my parent’s home in another province right now).

    Regarding the off-topic discussion of time-travel, I’ve always considered that if we allow for the possibility of travelling ‘into’ the past, then we must see time as being cyclical, as some Eastern religions suggest. Different ‘points’ in time exist simultaneously, in which case different timelines (like one in which Kim possessed that photo) might exist alongside others (like one in which she did not). So going back and changing something might not eliminate it from existance, but merely send everything down a different path. So perhaps she has a memory from one path while experiencing another?

    I’m told that the concept of string theory (or is it M-Theory?) in Theoretical Physics suggests that all possible series of events that can occur, do occur, in the proverbial “other dimensions”.

    Just a thought.

  13. realgoatboy responds:

    The descriptions are completely in accord with what I saw when I was a kid (in a general fortean-interest book, cant remember the title, but I remember the photo); every “thunderbird photo” ever since has NOT been the one I saw – I’ll know the real one when I do.

  14. Batgirl responds:

    Does anyone remember when TIME LIFE books did mysteries of the unknown? There was a book that had a picture of a thunderbird in the air, above an indian reservation. I cannot find that book. My mother had the whole series and there are only two books left and neither one of them has the pic. I am sure it was a time life book. I do remember that it looked like a pterodactyl and I had nightmares after seeing it. The photo was taken in early 1900’s I think.


  15. ZenBug responds:

    Oh yeah, I had that Time Life series too. The ‘monsters’ issue was called “Mysterious Creatures” I think. The cover showed the silhouette of a sasquatch viewed from behind.

    I don’t remember thunderbird material in it, but perhaps I just forgot. (That book’s also at my parents’ place – I may have to call my folks and put them to work!).

  16. M Valdemar responds:

    Tube, I entirely agree with you about false memory and confabulation. And yet, there’s some really powerful mojo at work with the thunderbird photo. When I first heard about the lost thunderbird photo, my first thought was, “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that.”

    I’m willing to concede that there is no such photo; nonetheless, I find it fascinating that so many people (including me) should find the suggestion so irresistably strong.

    I first heard about the lost thunderbird photo around the same time I first heard of Black Eyed Kids. The BEK story was so compelling and suggestive, that I was sure we’d shortly be inundated with confabulated or hypnogogic accounts of BEKs. And yet, there’s almost nothing beyond the original Usenet post. But I bet you could easily find thousands of people willing to swear that they’ve seen the lost T-bird photo.

  17. fiercegrin responds:

    What IS it with this phenomena? I’ve never encountered BEK, but I SWEAR I’ve seen the legendary Thunderbird photo when I was a kid, flipping through books of the unexplained at my local library.

    I even once remember swinging in my backyard on my swingset around ’83 or ’84 in small-town Iowa, when I heard a loud flapping above me. Now when I looked up this was definitely a bird with feathers, but the wingspan was so immense and the audible wing flaps froze me where I was. Now granted, I was 5 or 6 at the time, but I went and told my teacher about the incident the next day. She said “It sounds like you’ve seen a Thunderbird.” That was the first I had ever heard and/or possibly seen such a thing, and have been fascinated with it ever since.

    I have seen the photo. But have not seen it since. What sense does that make? Truly a mystery, and seemingly one many people are trying to solve themselves to this day.

  18. ZenBug responds:

    This is pretty fascinating. So none of you are referring to any of these photos?:

    Thunderbird photos.

  19. ToddPartain responds:

    I remember seeing the bird nailed to the side of a barn in a book, it may have been the TIME_LIFE series. We need to see if we can find the series. I know my high school had the series but I will check local libraries.

  20. coolzaidi786 responds:

    WOW- Check out this website. It has a great collection of crypto-related pictures.

    Here is photo of a thunderbird they had.

  21. scorpiowanderer responds:

    In the late 70’s, while in school, I read books about cryptids, aliens, ancient peoples. I do clearly remember a book with a picture of a large black bird.In the picture were six cowboys standing side by side with arms outstretched holding the bird spread-eagle to show the wing span. I do not remember a barn(probably a false memory), though there could have been one in the background.The caption below told the story. Two of them,I believe,were riding far from town , near cliffs, one heard a shriek and looked up.Both astonished, they shot it down with a rifle.The six men were close to six feet each, giving the bird a wingspan of nearly 36 feet.The picture was reported to be factual, and looked to be.

  22. inbeing responds:


    I am currently living in Washington state. I have seen a thunderbird over Shoreline, WA in late July of 2006. I called every news station to get a camera and or crews outside to cover the sighting and to verify what I had seen. To describe the bird would be to a big brown bird. What makes the sighting interesting is the circumstances behind the flight and movement.
    About 2 PM I heard what seemed to be a small anoying ultralight passing over head, I looked up to notice what first appaerd to be and ultrlight. However, the ultralight was soundless, the noise was comming from a sea plane over to the north and east heading towards lake union to land. I could see the line or tie rope hanging down. My attention turned to the soundless ultralight above and moving northerly along 15 Ave NE and NE 145 St. I was surprised to see such definition in the wings – this was no ultrlight, it had a first glimpse yes, and it moved without a flexing of it’s wings. I looked back over my right shoulder again at the sea plane heading away and getting quiter in the distance as it lowered over the trees and horizon. I felt a strange thought about how and what this was and then the bird of huge size, flexed it’s wings in against it’s side and directly back out. I saw this movement only once as I continued my watch under it’s glide. I could see the end feathers of it’s wings different from the body due to the sun shinning through them slightly. I could make out legs and clawed feet behind in flying position.
    So, now that I have witnessed this movement of wings and the feathers, I asked my self, Self is this what you think? I really went through the process of denial and how? I watched as the huge bird (the thunderbird) soared up and away, I repeat up and away and it’s size and shape never varied again. It moved westerly and northerly towards to Puget sound.
    I will testify before any panel, on any subject of validity. I saw a huge bird with a wing span of 30 feet about 10 to 15 feet long from beek to toenail. The color brown with no markings, legs were only variation of color. Wings folded horizontal in and dirctly back out again. No sound was heard other than the plane flying away. The sound was the initial reason to look up, I thought who would fly an ultralight in town – the sound was from a sea plane and the difference is as gross as boat and a duck.

  23. Loren Coleman responds:

    Reality check…the above message was written in April 2006 about a “recent sighting” in July 2006. Time travel is not allowed in the CryptoZoo because we do not have hand railings installed yet, and so please clarify if you are discussing a 2005 sighting in July or a 2006 sighting in some other month than July?

    Thank you.

  24. ZenBug responds:

    It would also help if you didn’t recount your story as if you were writing a poem.

  25. inbeing responds:

    My bad, I really apologise, It was of course July 2005 of last year. I really made a huge error, can all who please forgive such a grevious error. I again really feel bad that I could create such a frenzy with just a date wrong or in this case year. Do you all write your congressmen and the political structures with the same scrutiny shown with the recent sighting article.

    I am very impressesed that so many people are reading.

    I made a mistake. Thank you for the corrective requirement. I felt it a direct attack upon my person. Thanks and peace out.

  26. wendysjungle responds:

    I own both the Reader’s Digest book “Mysteries of the Unexplained” and the full Time-Life series “Mysteries of the Unknown”. I’ve looked through “Unexplained”, and the Thunderbird is never mentioned, and there is no photo. The closest thing is a brief story about French miners in 1856 who broke open a limestone boulder and were startled when a creature stumbled out of the boulder and died at their feet. The article gives a good description of the thing, and says a local paleontology student identified it as a pterodactyl. (page 45, for those who want to read the story themselves).

    I did not look through every one of the Time-Life books, but the Thunderbird is never mentioned in the “Mysterious Creatures” volume. Thankfully, I own the master index book for the series, and it lists “Thunderbird” as being discussed in “The Mysterious World” volume on pages 47 and 50, and “Pteradactyl” on pages 67, 68 and 70 of the same volume. There are brief comments, but again, no photos, just a drawing or two.

    I also could have sworn that I saw the famous photo “somewhere”, and was initially sure it must have been in one of the books mentioned above. After looking at the internet photos, however, I’m pretty sure these are the ones I was remembering.

  27. seneca1 responds:

    I’m newly passionate of Cryptozoology, with a special interest in thunderbirds. Regarding the Thunderbird photo, I’m not one of the people that “supposedly” saw or had this fascinating photo. However, in the Internet I’ve found a sketch of this photo, made by a person that argues that has seen it in elementary school in a book about Dinosaurs. I hope this sketch can help people that say that they have seen it to have a clear picture about it.

  28. SaruOtoko responds:

    Gotta say, I remember that photo as well… (the one of the supposed Thunderbird nailed to a barn wall) my memory is of it looking oddly crow-like… the feathers were tark grey or black… hard to tell because the photo was black & white. I do remember the thing, and I remember having a strong reaction to it. Damn, just wish I could find it!

  29. SaruOtoko responds:

    Ok, I know I just posted a few minutes ago, but geez… this is REALLY messing with me! I know I saw the picture, I know others have seen it as well. Why can’t we find it? I don’t know about you guys, but, this is nuts. Group false memory? I have no idea……..

  30. gghg responds:

    When I was around 10 years old (I’m 40 now)I saw this photograph in a book about sea serpents. It had all kinds of strange creatures in it including bigfoot, loch ness monster and others. I know without a doubt that this thunderbird photo was in that book. I remember the cowboys standing in front of this giant bird nailed to a barn wall.

  31. madrone responds:

    I too remember this photograph. The first time I heard about the controversy I was confused. I remember seeing it clearly in a book in my elementary school library in the early 80’s. I’ve forgotten the title, but it was some variation on “mysteries” and/or “unexplained”. The cover photo was of the crystal skulls. In retrospect, I suppose it’s possible this photo was a representation relating to the missing photo mystery. When did people first start asking this question?

    The photograph I remember showed a half dozen or more men standing and kneeling behind the outstretched wings of a giant creature, although I remember it as being across a shallow-pitched low roof rather than a wall.

    I think I’m going to have to go back to my old school and try to find this book.

  32. jeepiedee responds:

    I too remember seeing the Thunderbird scene: five or six grim-faced cowboys holding shooting irons, standing side by side in front of a huge barn to which a spreadeagled pterodactyl is affixed.

    However, I don’t recall seeing it in any of the commonly quoted sources, and it wasn’t a photograph.

    Back in the 60s, when I was an impressionable 8-10 year old, I was an incurable reader of weird books. Among my favorites were a series of pocketbook reprints of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not cartoons. My 40-year-old memories tell me the Thunderbird scene was one of Ripley’s realistically rendered comics.

    Perhaps that’s why a _photograph_ of the Thunderbird eludes discovery.

    Has anyone ever searched Ripley’s archives (if there is such a thing) for leads into the Thunderbird story?

  33. reaper2k responds:

    I know this is an old thread, but I have to share my story. Like Kim, I believe that I once saw the thunderbird photo in a book.

    I visited the local library a lot in those days (this would have been late-’80s to mid-’90s) and read the book often. I was really into the Philadelphia Experiment, and I believe the book had a chapter on the disappearance of the Navy ship as well. (I can’t remember the title. Sorry.)

    One day, I was doing some reading about the thunderbird and how the photo had been lost. I thought, “That’s weird, it’s in that other book.” I went to the library and looked through book I knew so well. I looked repeatedly, but could not find the photo. There was a description of the photo, but the photo itself was not in the book.

    I know exactly what it looks like. It’s in my head, an image of several men standing by the side of a barn with a large bird/pterodactyl tacked up on the side of the building. The men are standing a bit a part with arms stretched to show the relative size of the bird.

    Reading Kim’s story freaked me out a little because it mirrors my own. I don’t know if I buy her “time travel” theory, but something is amiss in the universe’s continuity. Maybe it is false memory. If it is, that in and of itself is an interesting phenomenon.

  34. ThunderBirdMD responds:

    I have grown into a HUGE thunderbird fanatic. my dad told me a story about why they are called thunderbirds and mentioned “the photo”. a bird nailed to a barn accompanied by a half dozen men spread finger tip to finger tip. i will ask him where he saw / if he has the photo.

  35. ThunderBirdMD responds:

    i believe they may look either like a vulture/condor/buzzard or more like a hawk/eagle. the first would probably be southern like in southern north america and south america and the second in northern northern america and canada.
    i could always be wrong.

  36. Randyman responds:

    What’s in my wallet?
    I have a small BOTTLE of Thunderbird in my pocket…
    does that count?

  37. flame821 responds:

    Count me among the many 40-ish year old people who remember seeing the picture of a huge bird nailed to the outside of a barn. It was a book from the local (East Branch) library when it was still housed in Dieruff High School.

    I’m not going to jump into the time anomaly discussion but there MUST be a reason that so many of us in the same basic age group remember the same basic photo yet none of us can find it anymore. We can’t all be delusional or subjects of mass hysteria as I imagine we come from all over the country (I’m in Pennsylvania).

    There must be a rationale explanation for this missing book/photo or mass delusions regarding seeing the photo in the first place…..something in our school lunches? Mystery meat as a government experiment regarding false memories inducements? LOL This phenomenon is almost as interesting as the thunderbird itself.

  38. morguese responds:

    I never really thought about the Thunderbird pictures until someone mentioned “cowboys”. My father used to get men’s magazines way back in the late 50’s through early 70’s. Argosy, True West, Western Stories, magazines like that. It’s where I first saw the pictures of “Patty” Could the picture have been in one of those magazines? Now that’s where I feel like I might have seen it.

  39. theush responds:

    I saw this Photo when I was a kid back in the 90’s, It was called Creatures from Elsewhere by a gentleman called Peter Brookesmith. I must admit I vaguely remember the photo itself, however it being nailed to the barn I do remember. I also believe that the reason it sticks in our minds is because it looked quite genuine. I certainly think that we may be victims of mass hysteria, however the way this seems to stick in our minds is just a little unusual.

  40. MountDesertIslander responds:

    I have the book, Mysteries of the Unexplained in my hands. Page 45 consists of a two page spread about spontaneous human combustion. On page 186-187 there is a story about Thunderbirds with three pictures of Native American representations of the bird and an etching of the 1835 incident of an eagle carrying off a 5 year old girl, Marie Delex.

  41. occulus responds:

    I’m fascinated by this phenomena. I also have this false memory of the thunderbird pic. I remember it like yesterday. I was younger, in the back seat if my patents car going to the beach. I was looking through one of my books on cryptids. I havnt seen it since but could identifiy it in a heartbeat if i ever saw it again. Has there ever been another example of a mass false memory like this before?

  42. MattBille responds:

    Countless people have looked everywhere for the photo. The only logical conclusion is that it does not exist outside of fallible human memories.
    I once interviewed a distinguished physicist who described an American satellite as looking the way it was mistakenly depicted in media and books, not the way unpublished photographs proved it actually looked. And this gentlemen had BEEN THERE and worked on the satellite. Let’s forget this artifact of memory and move on.

  43. TheForthcoming responds:

    I too am sure that I may have seen the photo somewhere in my life. I think it was in some sort of book on Cryptids as well as on the internet. We need some people who are good artists to draw this picture for us as well as psychologists to explain what we may have seen and why no one can find the photo. We also need to find and look through every book and magazine on cryptids ever published for this mystery to be solved in a joint effort.

  44. TheForthcoming responds:

    Also I typed into Google Images thunderbird nailed to barn and some interesting photos came up. Many people on here have some interesting theories and ideas. I think that inbeing has an interesting story and did nothing wrong btw.

  45. flame821 responds:

    I don’t know if this is plausible. I’m thinking that most of us remember seeing it during school age (in my case 3rd or 4th grade) and many remember either being in either library book regarding the ‘unexplained’ or ‘male-centric’ magazine. I wonder how many other ‘memories’ regarding this picture overlap?

    If anyone reading this is a psych student and needs a good topic for a paper, or is a go-get-them journalist this might be right up your alley and I think a lot of us would be behind you. I’m half tempted to start it all and then ask a few friendly souls at Google to take the ball and run with it. If it exists I’m sure they can find it and I’m sure at least one or two of their technicians has ‘seen’ this picture as well.

  46. fooks responds:

    i know i’ve seen it in the 60’s or 70’s in the book fortean times.

    i really stopped my heavy interest back then.

    whether it’s really from the 1800’s, i don’t know but’s it’s been around.

  47. Natalina responds:

    This is truly a fascinating topic. I too remember seeing a photo something like this. When I was younger I had a subscription to a Time Life series of hard cover books on the Unexplained and I swear I saw the photo in one of those. I am going to have to go through my parent’s storage to see if I can dig out those books.

    In the meantime, for all of you Thunderbird enthusiasts, you may be interested in this post from my website that I wrote recently about a monument in Bismarck, ND to the legendary Thunderbird.

    Sculpture Celebrates Thunderbird Mythology

  48. mungofoot responds:

    Hello fellow Cryptomundians, I know I don’t post often but like many of you, this one has gotten under my skin a bit. I am convinced I have seen this photo, although I cannot recall exactly when or where. I therefore resolved to put my meager researching skills to work, certain that someone had missed something. It MUST be out there, I thought. Well to make a long story short I did not find it YET. I did however find a very very interesting lead. Many of you probably already know that Ivan T. Sanderson claimed to have once owned a copy of this pic only to have it disappear after loaning it to 2 colleagues. Well before it was lost he appeared on a TV show hosted by Pierre Berton where he reportedly showed this pic on camera!! The site I got this info from said that no episodes of this show remained, but I have found 3 so far, including one of the best interviews with Bruce Lee ever recorded. My hope and intent is to track down the episode with the Thunderbird pic so that we can all put this one to rest finally. However, I encourage any of you to do your own searches and we will see if we can make it happen!!!

    Good luck my friends.

  49. joedastudd responds:

    I believe the photo itself never existed or atleast the version everyone remembers.
    If we were to gather drawings from everyone who “remembers” the photo I’m sure there will be a large variation.
    Which I’m sure would be argued it was due to aged memory.

    In fact I’d love to see a collage of what people remember the photo to be.

    I’ve read a lot into the missing photo myself and after a while I too thought I’d seen it. Only to realise that it had been a combination of photos found online, films/programs I’d seen (notably Jeepers Creepers 2, with “bat of of hell” nailed to the barn) and my imagination.
    As there is no way I could have seen any of the original publications as I’m simply not old enough.

  50. Dogsqueezins responds:

    Thunderbird photo = false memory. Moving on…

  51. harlock responds:

    I too remember seeing it in an book. There is another photo called AZ thunderbird.

  52. Opalman responds:

    I just now discovered the topic here. I can honestly state that I have definitely (without any doubt whatsoever) also seen the old tin type looking photo of a leathery Pterodactyl nailed to a barn just as described above. The photo looked like it was from the 1930’s! Like many of you I don’t remember exactly where I saw it. I have a pretty extensive library with several hundred books of this type (Cryptozoology) so it will take me some time to locate the book with photo if I have it at all.

    Along the line of discussing big birds I will quickly relate an incident that took place about five years ago.
    My son who is now an Army aviator, was visiting us on the southwest coast of Florida (at Christmastime) along with two army buddies that had no way to get home for their Christmas vacation, (living on the west coast and I believe, in Hawaii) We were fishing in a very productive mangrove jungle canal (adjacent a 900 acre refuge nearby), along with my Nephew. So there were five of us in the boat. We decided to move from one location in the canal to another—slowly in order to not spook the fish. (Snook and grey trout or weakfish) In doing so we flushed out a huge black bird that looked like a dull black turkey vulture crossed with an eagle, only much, much bigger. The first thing that got everyone’s attention was the very loud squawk (qhaaaaak) followed almost simultaneously with a very loud disturbance in the mangroves approx. 100 feet away. The bird (and it was definitely a feather covered bird, though barely feathered about the grey skinned head area) flew flapping incredibly huge wings very slowly, BUT wind noise could be heard sounding like; whomp……whomp, nonetheless! It was and is difficult to estimate its size while it flew away as there was no sure point of reference. If I had to hazard a guess id say the wingspan was somewhere in the area of 16-18’ We all watched it until it was almost out of sight—and majestically perched on the top of a telephone pole on a dead end, unpopulated street that crossed the canal Northwest of it. The pole had attached to it a transformer measuring approx. 24” in dia. And 38” tall. The bird with wings folded was about the same size not inclusive of its eagle like legs. Tufts of feathers could be readily seen at its stout leg /body juncture
    Three of us had digital cameras but everyone was so startled that we just stood there in the boat flabbergasted. When we came to our senses the bird was atop the phone pole but too far away to get a picture. (3/4Mile)
    I have the witness of my nephew and son but none of us know how to contact the two soldiers anymore.

    So There!

  53. Opalman responds:

    Are you certain the show featuring Ivan T. Sanderson was with host Pierre Berton or could it have been with Desmound Slattery? I don’t recall him being on Berton’s program and I watched nearly all Ivan’s TV appearances. But then again I must have missed any show featuring big bird like creatures except his run in with the olitiua [ropen ?], in Cameroon. Hope this leads somewhere.

  54. oldiron_79 responds:

    I’ve seen a T bird before, when I was driving through IL back in ’04 or so. it looked like a normal turkey vulture except many times bigger.

    The torso was about as big as that of the 8 point roadkill buck deer it was eating on and when it took off its wingspan was wider than the blacktop of a 2 lane highway with shoulder.

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