I love researching cryptids because the history of these monsters is interesting. Some of the fascinating cryptid stories are from Native American myths and legends. Examples are the Arizona Skinwalker, a Navajo Shaman who murders a close relative to gain shifting powers, or the Algonquian Wendigo, an evil spirit that possesses its victims and turns them into cannibals.
However, Pennsylvania might have a real-life prehistoric cryptid terrorizing them. The Algonquian tribes have been telling of the monster for centuries. They have blamed the creature for abductions and attempted abductions of small children.
Let’s meet the Pennsylvania Thunderbird, who has scared countless witnesses since the 1800s. Algonquian mythology says the Thunderbird controls the Upper World while the Great Horned Serpent controls the Lower World. Moreover
, Thunderbirds are ancestors of humans and even helped to create the world.
What is the Thunderbird?
There has been much speculation on that very question. In 1892, a witness says he saw a whole flock of Thunderbirds. He saw them near Dent’s Run in Cameron County and described them as Large Buzzards. But much larger with 16-foot wingspans. In the mid-1900s, another sighting of a Thunderbird near Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, PA. Jersey Shore is south of Williamsport, PA so it’s a dense wooded area. This one was as big as a plane.
The witness didn’t specify what type of plane. Whether it was a Cessna or a commercial airplane. In the autumn of 2010, two witnesses this time saw “a large bird with a very long beak.” It was flying over Coudersport Pike, north of Lock Haven.
A massive bird with a long beak?
Now that description sounds familiar to anyone who has watched the movie Jurassic Park. The description matches that of a Pterodactyl, which is extinct. Well, so everyone thinks. If it is a Pterodactyl, where has it been all these millions of years? If it isn’t, there is something very similar to it flying around in Pennsylvania.
One evening, a teen heard what sounded like flapping wings. He looked up and saw a winged creature flying over Route 119 in South Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The wingspan was 10 to 15 feet long, and it had a three-foot-long beak.
It does fit the description of a Pterodactyl, but if it is? Where did it come from, and how did it survive? Meanwhile, the sightings keep coming in on this mysterious beastie.
Two friends were walking through the dense Pennsylvania woods when startled by a loud noise from above them. They looked up and saw the strangest sight. In the tree above them sat a giant black bird with a 10-foot wingspan. It was at least 4-foot-tall, and it scared them as much as they frightened it. This sighting was on May 24, 2013.
Now that would be a spooky thing to come across in the woods. Can you imagine taking a nice quiet through the woods and hearing this loud sound, then looking up in the trees and seeing that huge creature?
I live in Arizona, and it is considered part of the wild west. I love the stories that involve the wild west because you know those yarns will be fantastical. For example, in the 1890s, two cowboys decided to shoot one or try to, anyway. They claim it had a 192 feet long wingspan and was 92 feet long.
That’s a humongous monster, assuming the cowboys weren’t telling some yarn. Not saying Arizona cowboys would lie, but a 92-foot monster sounds like a tall tale. Except, that some of the most recent sightings have described the cryptid as big as a plane.
Granted, we don’t know what plane the witness had in mind when describing his sighting. But, we do know that the size of aircraft ranging from civilian to commercial can be considerable. So it’s not a too far stretch of the imagination to say that the cowboys were telling the truth.
Even if the cowboys were lying, stories of this massive bird haven’t stopped. They reported the monster in 1890, yet witnesses are still reporting sightings.
In June 2012, two young ladies camping in Chapman township, Pennsylvania ran into their cabin crying. A Thunderbird with a 14-foot wingspan swooped out of the sky low over them. It had no feathers on its head, and it terrified our young ladies.
I have to admit, if something like that flew out of the sky at me? I would have gone running into the cabin myself.
So, what is the Thunderbird?
You have stories that describe this prehistoric-like creature with wingspans anywhere from 14-feet to 192-feet. It looks like a giant Turkey buzzard to a Pterodactyl with dashes of gargoyles thrown in. Could it be more than one cryptid people are seeing?
Is there more than one monster people are seeing? Stories of the Thunderbird in Native American mythology have been told all across the United States. Yet, Pennsylvania has the most reports, and most of those reports come out of the remotest parts of the state.
So, if you find yourself driving along one of Pennsylvania’s remote highways one day?
Keep one eye on the sky in case the Thunderbird swoops down to visit you.
Featured image by Dariusz Sankowski, courtesy of Pixabay