The Pennines are said to be the backbone of England, and it is also thought to experience more paranormal phenomena than any other part of this country. It has been speculated that on occasions some sort of window can open up and another reality can impinge upon this one, this may be the case with the following amazing story. Over the years there has been reported strange creatures linked to unusual names of places in this area, such as the Devils Elbow overlooking Glossop, however this story starts at Shipley Glen near the Devils Punchbowl.
The Devils Elbow high above the town of Glossop.
A Paul Bennet in 1982 stated that he witnessed a bird with leathery wings flying in a haphazard way, and he likened it to a Pterodactyl he had seen in the movies. Three days later a Jean Scofield reported that she had seen a huge bird flying at Yeadon which was being mobbed by Rooks, she went on to describe it as having a wingspan of around 10 feet, the last she saw of it was when it was flying in the direction of the Leeds / Bradford airport.
The photograph on the right shows what is claimed to be a Pterosaur which was said to have been shot down during the American Civil war.
The Bradford Telegraph and Argus newspapers followed the story and Ornithologists were involved but failed to come up with an explanation, they ruled out the most likely culprits such as Herons and no large birds of prey had been reported as having escaped.
An earlier sighting has come to light which was made by Richard Pollock who was walking his dog in Pudsey, when a huge bird with a 10 foot wingspan swooped down on him making a terrifying screaming noise, he then claims the creature came to rest on a nearby rooftop which seems to rule out the possibility that it could have been some sort of flying model. He went on to say that when it flew off its skin had a leathery appearance and its face was reptilian, it also had problems gaining height due to the way it flapped its leathery wings.
This is another photo of what is thought to be a dead bird like reptile, it is not known whether these photographs are genuine.
A Constance Hird had a very clear daylight sighting in October when she spotted it flying over the town of Eldwick. One suggestion was that it might have been an American Condor, but no reports came to light of one having escaped so this explanation was quickly ruled out.
On the 6th of May 1983 more sightings occurred mainly in the Thackley area and photographs were taken by an investigator by the name of Mike Priestley but unfortunately they were taken from such a distance that any detail was lost.
Another earlier report that came to light took place in November 1977 by a Mr Morris, he claims that he heard a loud growling noise, he looked up and saw what appeared to be a large dark reptilian looking bird with scales gliding over him. He claimed its head appeared to be long, dog like and blunt, it also had vivid red eyes and what appeared to be razor sharp teeth.
Did an extinct pterodactyl fly over the town of Mexborough in March of 1999?
During 1856 when workmen were excavating a railway tunnel through the mountains between St Dizier and Nancy located in the North Eastern part of France they came across a massive limestone boulder. Using explosives they managed to split the boulder, and when prised apart it revealed a bird about the size of a goose, it had rows of savage looking teeth and what appeared to be leathery wings, it was covered in a thick oil. The bird was still alive and attempted to escape down the tunnel, however it died within minutes. The workmen took the bird to the nearby Natural History Museum in the town of Gray where an expert identified it as a young Pterodactyl.
The rock strata that the living fossil emerged from is known as the Jura mountains found between Switzerland and France, this limestone has been calculated as having been formed 150 million years ago. According to the Illustrated London News the pterodactly had fitted snugly inside the rock leaving an outline of its body after the mud had hardened and turned into rock. How the creature had survived without any food and in suspended animation for such a long period of time remains a mystery to this day!
It seems that England isn’t the only place where sightings of these strange bird like creatures have occurred. A spate of them have taken place in the state of Texas in America, however typical of the Americans they have to go one better and have someone carried off by one! The following account tells the story: It was 10.30 on the evening of January 14th 1976, and Armando Grimaldo was sitting in the backyard of his mother-in-law’s house on the north side of Raymondville, Texas. He had come to visit his estranged wife Christina, who was now asleep inside.
Grimaldo say’s,”As I was turning to go look over on the other side of the house I felt something grab me, something with claws. I looked back and saw it and started running. I’ve never been scared of nothing before but this time I really was. That was the most scared I’ve ever been in my whole life.”
Something had dived out of the sky, and it was something that Grimaldo had never seen before or wanted to see again. It was as tall as he-five feet eight inches, and it had a wingspan of between ten and twelve feet. Its skin was “blackish brown,” leathery and featherless, and its face had huge red eyes.
Grimaldo screamed and tried to run but in his panic tripped over his feet, falling face first into the dirt. As he struggled back up, he could hear his clothes being ripped by the beast’s claws. He managed to dash under a tree as his attacker, now breathing heavily, flew off into the night.
It seems that this creature may have already struck previously in the Raymondsville area, because in the early hours of December the 26th an animal had been tied up in a corral behind a barn on the Suarez’s farm. There were no footprints around the body which had been found and the police could not explain how it had been killed.
A similar creature slammed into Alverico Guajardo’s trailer in nearby Brownsville. When Guajardo went outside, he got into his station wagon and turned on the lights to see what he described as, “Something from another planet.” As soon as the lights hit it, the thing rose up and glared at him with blazing red eyes. Guajardo, paralyzed with fear, could only stare back at the creature, whose long, bat like wings were wrapped around its shoulders. All the while it was making a “horrible sounding noise” in its throat. Finally, after two or three minutes, it backed away to a dirt road three feet behind it and disappeared into the darkness.
Yet another sighting of the creature took place on February 24th far to the north in San Antonio, when three elementary school teachers driving to work on an isolated road southwest of the city spotted an enormous bird with a wingspan of “fifteen to twenty feet, if not more.” It was flying so low that when it swooped over the cars its shadow covered the entire road.
As the three watched this unlikely creature, they saw another flying creature off in the distance circling a herd of cattle.
Later, when the teachers searched through books trying to identify the first bird that they had seen, they were able to identify it. The only trouble was, that the bird closely resembled the pteranodon, a flying dinosaur that had not existed for 150 million years!
They were not the only south Texans to think they had seen a prehistoric winged reptile. Just a month before, two sisters, Libby and Deany Ford, sighted a “big black bird” near a pond. The creature was as tall as they were and had a “face like a bat.” Later when they came upon a picture of a pteranodon in a book, they concluded that was what they had seen.
The Big Bird scare subsided in early 1976, but that was not the last that the Rio Grande would see of the creature. On September 14th, 1982, James Thompson, an amubulance technician from Harlingen, saw a “large bird like object” pass over highway 100 at a distance of 150ft. The time was 3.55a.m.
“I expected him to land like a model airplane,” Thompson told the Valley Morning Star. “That’s what I thought he was, but he flapped his wings enough to get him off the grass. It had a black or greyish rough texture. It wasn’t feathers. I’m quite sure it was a hide type covering. I just watched him fly away.” It was, he would later realize, a “pterodactyl-like bird.”
The International Society of Cryptozoology, a scientific organization that investigates reports of unknown or allegedly extinct animals, noted that the sighting, “occurred only 200 miles east as the pterodactyl flies of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Oriental, one of the least explored regions of North America.
It seems that Pterodactyl sightings are more widespread than I first thought as the following sighting took place on the island of Crete and is as follows: In 1986, according to the Greek newspaper Ethnos, Nickolaos Sfakianakis, Nikolaos Chalkiadakis and Manolis Calaitzis were hunting along a small river in the Asterousia Mountains in Western Crete. At about 8.30 one morning during the outing, they heard a strange noise that sounded like the flapping of a bird’s wings. At first they paid no attention, but they eventually sighted a huge, dark grey bird gliding not far above them.
The winged creature was odd looking, to say the least. Seemingly composed of membranes, its wings reminded the three of them of those of a bat, except they had fingerlike protusions. Its hind legs, moreover, had large, obviously sharp claws and its beak was similar to a pelican’s. The men watched the odd animal until it flew into the mountains and disappeared.
Returning home, the three men searched in several books until they found a similar depiction. The only picture they found that even closely resembled their bird was that of a pterodactyl, a flying reptile that spposedly became extinct millions of years ago.
On the 15th of October 2002 the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska reported that villagers in Togiak and Manokotak in the remote south-western corner of Alaska had repeatedly seen a bird as big as a light aircraft and looking like a pterodactyl. It was at least 4 times the size of a bald eagle, America’s national symbol. Another sighting was made from 1000ft away by bush pilot John Bouker and his passengers while flying his Cessna 207 to Manokotak around the 7th of October. He calculated its wingspan at 14ft, roughly the length of one of his Cessna wings.
Then Moses Coupchiak, 43, a heavy equipment operator from Togiak, 40 miles west of Manokotak, saw the bird on the 10th of October, flying towards him from about two miles away as he worked his tractor. “At first I thought it was one of those old Otter planes,” he said. “Instead of continuing towards me, it banked to the left, and that’s when I noticed it wasn’t a plane.” It flew behind a hill and disappeared.
“As far as we know,” said Phil Schemf, a bird of prey specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Juneau, “nothing with a 14ft wingspan has been alive for 100,000 years or so.”
Two huge black birds were seen on the 26th of June 2002 in a mountainous area between the towns of Tunkhannock and Nicholson, in Wyoming County, northeast Pennsylvania. The primary witness saw the birds approaching from the North when he stepped out on his back porch at about 9.05pm.
His first impression was that they were Herons, but soon realised they were too big, about 6ft from head to tail – and the colour was wrong. They landed at the top of a very large coniferous tree, which seemed as though it would break from their weight. The legs were not long like those of a Heron or Crane, and the wings appeared , “batlike.”
The witness yelled for others in the house to come outside to look. Another family member was able to see the birds as they passed overhead, heading for some woods. Consulting a bird book, the witness said that the closest species that he could find in shape was a black Cormorant, although they were much too big to be one of these.
Judging from the dimension of the branches where the birds had rested, the witness estimated that the wingspan would have been at least 12ft and probably more than that.
Below is a series of links regarding flying reptiles which readers may find of interest: