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Tags Arlene Gaal , bigfoot , cryptozoology , flatwoods monster , Ken Chaplin , lake worth monster , loch ness monster , onza , panthers , Trunko

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Old 27th November 2012, 05:23 PM   #161
William Parcher
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Originally Posted by Slocie's View Post
Two of my favorite BS subjects " God & Bigfoot "
Both are here in this thread together.
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Old 27th November 2012, 05:42 PM   #162
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HAHAHA That thread's a riot.

Since God created Bigfoot, and since there's no God, it follows that there's no Bigfoot.

Ergo, if Bigfoot exists, he has to be an atheist.
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Old 27th November 2012, 08:11 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Both are here in this thread together.
I got a few posts in there, Might be time to start that thread up again ? After all ! With this new " ANGEL" DNA there might be something to this God Created Bigfoot Stuff.
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Old 27th November 2012, 08:14 PM   #164
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Maybe Bigfoot IS God?
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Old 27th November 2012, 08:25 PM   #165
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Well I hope not ! If so, he seems to like lies and deceit. I have always seen BF portrayed as a Good Gentle Ape.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 07:14 PM   #166
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Nessie's First Sighting a Hoax for Money?

Most sources discussing the Loch Ness Monster erroneously mention an alleged "earliest sighting" of the monster by St. Columba in 565. This is a hopeful but weak attempt to give Nessie a history before 1933. It is true that an ancient text, a biography of Columba, mentioned that he turned away (by supernatural command) a water beast in river Ness. The book predated secular history by centuries and was filled with wondrous events and animals. It should be discarded by Nessie researchers as a meaningful source.

It is generally believed that the Loch Ness Monster became "known" and known to the world during an eyewitness flap in 1933 and carried over to 1934. The first sighting was reported in April of 1933 in a local newspaper. Here is an accounting of the sighting by Mr. and Mrs. MacKay, with the newspaper headline "Strange spectacle on Loch Ness -- what was it?: http://www.lochnessinvestigation.com/history.html

Two things to note. Folks around the loch were puzzled and the published responses of folks attributed the sighting to mundane causes, like otters, fish, or ducks, etc. There appeared to be no monster tradition.

The newspaper article was written by the loch's water bailiff, Alex Campbell. One wonders why he mention a monster tradition unless he was referencing various superstitious beliefs in the Highlands, such as about the supernatural "water horse." Or, did he have another motive?

Henry Bauer wrote a book, The Enigma of Loch Ness, a book weighing both sides of the monster issue, and included an under-appreciated tibit of information.

Bauer remembered he had read a biographical novel where a journalist said he had created the Loch Ness Monster. Bauer tracked down this author and received this letter (edited down by me for space):

In the early 1930s I, with two young partners, ran a publicity service in London. One of the partners was a native of Lossiemouth....not far from Loch Ness. On returning from a holiday he brought us a small account. A group of hotels catering to tourists in that area wanted publicity and offered a fee of 50 pounds. We accepted...Around the same time we were offered a more important account by [a realtor]...in the Okanagan Valley of Britsh Columbia... We were told and I am inclined to believe that he invented the Ogopogo, a legendary creature inhabiting Lake Okanagan. .... The Lossiemouth member of the firm then told us that for centuries a legendary creature was supposed to dwell in Loch Ness. We had never heard of it. At that time our "board room" was the saloon bar of a pub just off Trafalgar Square and over several pints of beer we became midwives of the reborn Loch Ness Monster. All we had to do was to arrange for the Monster to be sighted. This we did and the story snowballed. Thousands went north to see it and see it they did. It was, of course, pure hokum. The unwitting parent was the Ogopogo.

He is probably referencing the McKays' "sighting." Did Cambell know about the scam and was paid to write it up? Or, was he unsuspecting and merely, and fortuitously, relating the sighting to superstitous rumors of something inhabiting the dark waters of Ness?

In any event, Rupert Gould, a sea-serpent enthusiast and author, was the first to investigate the 1933 monster scene at the loch. He found that the McKays were the lessees of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, near Urquhart Bay!
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Old 2nd December 2012, 08:01 PM   #167
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My mom and I visited Loch Ness and stood there at Urq. Castle for a bit, gazing out onto the waters, looking for Nessie. I'll be darned if my native skepticism gradually turned into a semi-state of belief, as that darn lake is so deep and mysterious.

Alas, in spite of the momentary belief, nothing appeared, and I soon recovered and we moved on.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:45 PM   #168
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Sonny2,
When I was a crypto-zoo kid, Loch Ness was my mystical mecca. Never did go, but always wanted to. Even dreamt about it.

I understand it can be a foreboding place, with dark waters, often overcast skies, ancient castles, peat, etc.

Nessie enthusiasts like to believe the Monster had a history prior to 1933. They cite a handful of accounts of Nessie sightings before 1933. Almost all, however, were told, or remembered, during the 1933-34 flap.

While there are references to some general unease and superstition surrounding Ness (and other lochs) through the years before 1933, such references are better explained by superstitions like the following, and not a real animal:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelpie
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Old 3rd December 2012, 09:38 PM   #169
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My mom's a Scot, and they say Scots make some of the world's best engineers, but she seemed the opposite of that, not very analytic. I don't think she believed in Nessie, but she sure believed in ghosts. This belief never did seem to bother her any in the sense of being afraid. We traipsed all over Scotland and the Orkneys and Hebrides etc. and visited many old castles and she would tell me the tales of the ghosts in each one until I was looking over my shoulder all the time, even though I don't believe in them. LOL

I think she really influenced my skepticism, as I would always argue with her that such things can't possibly exist. I probably got a bit better at thinking about it analytically because of her, but she would be peaceful as a baby while I'd be scared stiff. Ironic.
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Old 4th December 2012, 04:03 AM   #170
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Beautiful Scotland seems to have two encouragements. It has its strong superstitions, yet it is the home of David Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment.

Enlightenment and endarkenment.
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Old 4th December 2012, 07:00 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by jerrywayne View Post
Beautiful Scotland seems to have two encouragements. It has its strong superstitions, yet it is the home of David Hume and the Scottish Enlightenment.

Enlightenment and endarkenment.
So it's the home of en-tao-ment?
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Old 4th December 2012, 02:18 PM   #172
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That Ogopogo video

B-but what about the size? Sure the beaver picture they compared it to looked about the same size but what were the distances between the two pictures? They said it looked fifteen feet, not four feet.

It looks just like a beaver except bigger and more snake like! Why is everybody ignoring the simplest, Occam's Razor-approved explanation that it is a GIANT SNAKE LIKE BEAVER?! One that lifted it's head more than normal beavers. I mean if you're an honest seeker of new species, and you practically admit that it looks like a beaver except for being a bit bigger . . .

"If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck and is just a bit too big . . . it must be a reptile"?

Last edited by Crocoshark; 4th December 2012 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 9th December 2012, 02:47 PM   #173
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Years before some cryptozoologists decided Bigfoot is native fauna of Texas, we had "goatman." Goatman was a satyr-like creature that was casual folklore; an imaginary creature we scared each other with while camping out, even if the camp was in a friend's backyard. In 1969, the goatman made the local newspapers over a series of alleged "real" encounters at nearby Lake Worth. Here is a reproduced article: http://lake-worth-monster.blogspot.c...es-parked.html

When I looked at this article I was surprised (and shouldn't have been) that the article was written by Jim Marrs. Marrs years later would write Kennedy assassination conspiracy books and then write pro-UFO books. A red flag?

Next issue of the newspaper is even more sensational, and the "monster" is being converted from the original "goatman" into an albino ape: http://lake-worth-monster.blogspot.c...-but-cant.html

Eventually, the Lake Worth Monster became a Bigfoot or North American Ape in the crypto-zoo lit., and highly documented (because of the number of people who claimed to see the thing over weeks time.)

Someone even took a picture of the creature: http://texascryptidhunter.blogspot.c...texas-was.html

Obviously, the picture is unimpressive. Even the kid who took the picture thinks it was a hoax: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/cre...lake_worth.htm

The partial solution to this monster story is found here: http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2003/oct/legend/

Putting it all together, it suggests that the Lake Worth Monster was manufactured by a series of loosely related events. Some kids scared by pranksters, other kids acting like kids and mistaken for a tire-tossing monster, someone else running around in an ape suit or old rug and caught on camera, bobcats and possibly even a monkey, etc.

Yet, in cryptozoology, the events in 1969 around Lake Worth are cataloged as evidence of a species of animal unknown to science.

Last edited by jerrywayne; 9th December 2012 at 02:48 PM. Reason: no edit
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Old 10th December 2012, 09:34 AM   #174
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I discovered this weekend that my kids and their friends have been trying to outscare each other with tales of "Shadowman". It seems that the comic book character (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowman_%28comics%29) has morphed into some kind of boogeyman/cryptid thing for this next generation. They told me that Shadowman is really tall and skinny, all black but he has a white mask of some kind, and that he lives in the woods and steals children. So their Shadowman kind of wears the same outfit as the comic character, but that's apparently where the similarities end.
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Old 10th December 2012, 05:40 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by The Shrike View Post
I discovered this weekend that my kids and their friends have been trying to outscare each other with tales of "Shadowman". It seems that the comic book character (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowman_%28comics%29) has morphed into some kind of boogeyman/cryptid thing for this next generation. They told me that Shadowman is really tall and skinny, all black but he has a white mask of some kind, and that he lives in the woods and steals children. So their Shadowman kind of wears the same outfit as the comic character, but that's apparently where the similarities end.
Sounds similar to Slender Man, apparently a created entity from a web page of faux paranormalism. It has taken on a life of its own.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/slender-man
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Old 11th December 2012, 07:09 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by jerrywayne View Post
Sounds similar to Slender Man, apparently a created entity from a web page of faux paranormalism. It has taken on a life of its own.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/slender-man
Yes - my kids straightened me out last night but you beat me to the punch in correcting my error. Thanks! It is Slenderman they talk about.

(On the plus side, I've now got them quite interested in the Shadowman comics, which seem pretty cool to me!)
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Old 25th December 2012, 03:13 PM   #177
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Goatman and High Weirdness

This post is not about a specific cryptid sighting. Instead, it relates to the deep fringe in which belief in cryptids may be found germinating

Here is the Prince of Woo on the Goatman of White Rock Lake, Dallas.
http://www.mania.com/coming-goatman_article_112524.html

Since I live down the road (Northwest Highway, to be exact) from White Rock Lake, and have visited it many times, from childhood to old age, I had to chuckle at Redfern's attempt to make the lake seem sinister. It is a beautiful, urban lake. Probably the scariest thing about the lake is the presence of coyotes, but they seem to be everywhere in Dallas. (For instance, I've seen a coyote at my place of employment, in an industrial park, during daylight hours.)

Redfern is not a cryptozoologist, by his own reckoning, and it is hard to say exactly what he does. The best I can think of is, he is a purveyor of claptrap, or high weirdness, or alternative realities, or whatever. His MO is always the same: here he quotes a woman who he says saw the Goatman recently, doesn't give any more information than a bare statement alleged by the lady, and then he goes off cocked in half manner about the god Pan, etc!

Apparently, though, Goatman as a bipedal hairy monster is drifting away from popular consciousness (or sub or un): http://catierhodes.com/2012/01/06/the-goatman-of-texas/ I speculate that Goatman has been superseded by Bigfoot, an on-the-surface more plausible entity. In my teenage years, people around here heard about Goatman; Bigfoot, not so much (unless you read True Magazine, or Ivan Sanderson). Now, the star power is reversed.

I tried to google Sandy Grace's sighting that Redfern cites. I found more high weirdness: http://www.richmondmastering.com/blo...rewards-clever This is a blog that has (literally) oddly mixed messages, including the information brought up by Redfern. Here too: http://www.fraternitiesonline.com/co...d-conditioning There are other sites in this vein.

Anyone know what-in-the-hey is going on here? I'm figuring the explanation is known to everyone but me.
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Old 31st December 2012, 08:55 PM   #178
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Centaur Sighting

As someone above pointed out, cryptozoology mostly seems less interested in the possible existence of such things as a new species of deer or mouse than it is in Monsters that excite the imagination.

Zoologist (and cryptozoologist) Karl Shuker has written several books and articles about "mystery animals." Some of his stuff is interesting, even if unsensational. But then, he is also prone to slide into the deep end of the Fortean pool.

In his book titled, FROM FLYING TOADS TO SNAKES WITH WINGS, Shuker records a couple of centaur sightings. Here is the first: Margaret Johnson and John Ferrell had been driving past the estate of Lord Dillon near Drogheda, in County Louth, when they were forced to brake sharply. In the road, just up ahead of them, stood an extremely large animal with a horse-like body. Looking out of the window, Johnson at first thought that the creature was indeed a horse----until it turned to look at her. Then she screamed in absolute horror, for she could see only too clearly that it had the face of a man! (p.114)

The thing had not an ordinary human face; instead, its eyes bulged grotesquely, its skin was hairy, and its mouth was grimacing in a hideous evil leer.(p.114) This Black Beauty blocked the road for almost two minutes, then vanished, and Johnson and Ferrell fled away in the car, very, very scared.

The second: While appearing on a British TV show, Shuker participated in a viewers' participation call-in segment. One of the callers was Nicky Knott, who claimed that while driving home along a back road in King's Lynn (near the Norfolk-Linconshire border) one evening a couple of years earlier, her husband saw what he initially thought was a horse or deer, standing at the right-hand side of the road. As he approached, however, he could plainly see that although it did have a horse's body and legs, its face was that of a man!(p.115) Like the other story, the eyewitness was scared shine-less and fled away in his car.

Shuker, sounding like fellow Fortean Nick Redfern, offers this illumination: One of the most feared monsters of Irish mythology is the pooka, which often assumes the guise of a malevolent horse or pony. Is this what John Farrell and Margaret Johnson saw that night? But pookas are only imaginary, aren't they?(p.114) (Only bolding from Shukers' book.)

Apparently, Shuker believes Charles Fort is the equal to Charles Darwin.

I knew a young man from work who claimed to have had a centaur sighting. He was a rock musician and we were able to discuss a wide variety of subjects over the course of a year. He told me he had seen a centaur one sunny day in a city park. He said it was up ahead on the trail and looked like a horse with the upper body and head of a man where the horse's head and neck would be.

I don't think he was lying. And I don't think he saw a centaur. He said the centaur was only briefly glimpsed and then it moved around a bend and out of sight. He then explained what he probably saw. He said he moved cautiously ahead in order to see the creature again. He couldn't find it. Several yards later, he saw a man with no shirt walking a large dog!

Yet, even though he gave the detail about the man walking his dog, and even admitted that maybe that is what he saw, he still maintained that he saw what looked exactly like the images of centaurs he had seen in books and movies, and not like a man walking a dog!

If I had been an investigator for a Centaur Field Researchers group, I would have been impressed by the young man's sincerity. I would have set a few hours with him to be able to discern his trustworthiness. And I would have probably given him the green light.

However, I was able to spend many hours with him in the coarse of a year, and understood him better. He was taking medication (I never knew why, but I suspect for panic attacks.) He was heavy into the paranormal. For instance, he once brought up a recording for me to hear; he had recorded what he believed was a ghost call-out ("Help me!") recorded in a cemetary at night. I heard wind.

He told me about a very odd event that once happened to him. On a bright and sunny day, he saw a very large shadow move across the grass, and nothing seemed to be the basis for the shadow. He thought it was an ominous event. I told him it was nothing more than a quickly passing cloud momentarily blocking the sun's rays. We all have seen such "events" countless times in our lives, I mentioned.

To be blunt: my co-worker saw a centaur because he was fantasy prone. In today's ascending endarkenment, my friend's sighting might just make it into a cryptozoologist's book someday.
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Old 1st January 2013, 06:19 PM   #179
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You know they have had very recent sightings of centaurs in Four Corners, but if they are happening anywhere else in the US, I haven't heard about them.

It's funny you should mention the bare chested man walking the large dog. I was at a friends house at dusk who happened to have a very loveable, but huge, Great Dane named "Lucy". Lucy was interferring with our studying by coming up to me while I was sitting at the dining room table and leaning on me. It was hard to ignore.

The owner put her out in the back yard until we were done and shortly thereafter we heard a knock on the door. This woman swore there was a deer in the back yard. We went to look and the only thing standing there was Lucy...LOLOL.

I 'm sure the man in the park was walking ahead of the dog and from behind it probably did look like a centaur if it was an Irish Wolfhound or a Great Dane.
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Old 1st January 2013, 08:01 PM   #180
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I'm aware of a local report to the police that a lion was seen in a neighbor's shrubs. The investigating officer found a chow dog there, taking in the shade.

Last year, in early morning downtown Dallas, there was a report of a tiger seen going down an alleyway! The authorities never found a tiger and assumed a bobcat had come up from the river bottoms.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:19 PM   #181
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The whole man-horse thing raises interesting questions. I mean, on the one hand it's not actually impossible; on the other, it's so wildly unlikely that I'd have to see a body.

(ETA: To be clear, I'm not saying that I believe centaurs exist. What I mean is that they may be possible to create, which is a fun topic to speculate about--particularly given that Horner opened the door to such experimentation.)

The number of limbs mammals have is genetically controlled. If you were to tweak those genes, you could end up with a six-limbed critter. This would probably kill the critter, however, so you could only really do this in a lab setting at this point (and even there it'll be incredibly tricky). The other option is to have had two lineages of terrestrial vertebrates--one four-limbed lineage, like us, and one six-limbed, like centaurs and dragons sensu stricto and gargoyles and all the rest. That wouldn't lead to man-horses, though; lizards and mammals are much more similar than four-limbed and six-limbed tetrapods would be, and you don't see reptilian humanoids anywhere in the fossil record.

Still, it'd be fun to play with the HOX genes and see if you could develop a six-limbed horse. If nothing else, it'd be an interesting study on the degree to which HOX genes control development, and the plasticity of mammals (something that could have implications for evolutionary theory). So I could see someone deciding "Why not?"

The face is also weird. Horses have the mouths they do for a reason--to chew grass. Apes have the mouths they do for a reason--the wider variety of food, and the less-abrasive food, we eat. You can't have a horse with a human face, because the teeth wouldn't function properly. You CAN have a human that eats hard-to-chew food; we've found fossils of some. They look rather odd, but didn't have an "evil leer" any more than a gorilla does. Also, I find it very odd that someone would scream in fright over a near-human face anymore. After all, all sci-fi aliens are exactly that: near-human. If I saw something with a near-human face I'd be curious, maybe afraid (depending on what the rest of the critter looked like!), but I certainly wouldn't scream in terror.

As far as trustworthyness goes, it's an invalid criteria. I've studied morphology more than most, and I still see weird things. Then I look again and realize that no, my brain was just playing tricks on me. Bad eyesight combined with a quick glance combined with preoccupation combined with a sadistic brain result in seeing all sorts of things. I still see the face of a girl I once knew all over the place.
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Old 3rd January 2013, 07:55 PM   #182
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Dinwar,

Could centaur sightings be linked to some genetic experiment, gone horribly wrong (in theory, of course)? Fun to speculate. The more mundane explanation (cultural influences, imagination, etc.) is, well, not very exciting.

As to problems with perception, if we keep an eye out, so to speak, we might find daily incorrect perceptions all around us, high and low. One of my favorite examples: once, around lunch time, while at my work desk, a fellow worker walked by and said that my hamburger really looked appetizing. Since I had no hamburger, nor was eating anything, I looked at him strangely. He caught my look, and was puzzled. He looked at my "hamburger" again and became embarrassed. He was looking at my up turned work hat with my work gloves laying inside the crown.
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Old 4th January 2013, 06:10 PM   #183
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Well Jerrywayne, there was a pterosaur sighting in Charlotte, NC yesterday. That's just 70 miles north of me. My other favorite cryptid.....

http://lightsinthetexassky.blogspot....-carolina.html
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Old 4th January 2013, 06:48 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by Jodie View Post
Well Jerrywayne, there was a pterosaur sighting in Charlotte, NC yesterday. That's just 70 miles north of me. My other favorite cryptid.....

http://lightsinthetexassky.blogspot....-carolina.html
I live on the gulf coast and see lots of sea birds. But on day,I was out fishin for redfish when this rather large looking thing comes flying by (300 yards away maybe) and my fishin buddy and I are like "wow, that looks like a small pterodactyl eh?" It had the sharply pointed snout pointing down, long black looking wings..etc

Well, we watch it for awhile and it gets close and turns ,we notice that it's actually a very large seagull with a sizable fish in it's beak! The way the fish angled down, plus the lighting had made it a dead ringer for a dinosaur of some type!


On reflection, it may not have been a "sea gull" but one of the various large seabirds that frequent the area, I'm sure all sorts of different things get labelled as seagulls by us redneck rubes!
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Old 4th January 2013, 06:57 PM   #185
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I have seen herons of all types around here that could pass for pterosaurs and we do get gulls this far inland. We have turkey vultures that rival the legendary Thunderbirds. I had never seen vultures this big until I moved to South Carolina.

Right after I moved here, I happened to be driving along Hwy 77 one day and got stuck in traffic behind a wreck. Evidently there was a dead dog on the side of the road that the buzzards were feasting on but when I pulled up along side of it they stood up and looked at me through the passenger window. They were over freaking three feet tall!!

No one else seemed to be paying them any attention, so I asked about them when I got to my destination. According to the native SC'ers, they do get that big. I guess that is why the witness made sure to emphasize in the report that he wasn't looking at a vulture. They will circle over head if you happen to be napping outside, I've been swooped by them checking me out to see if I'm dead before. Suffice it to say there is plenty of wildlife here that could be mistaken for a pterosaur.
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Old 4th January 2013, 07:11 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Jodie View Post
Well Jerrywayne, there was a pterosaur sighting in Charlotte, NC yesterday. That's just 70 miles north of me. My other favorite cryptid.....

http://lightsinthetexassky.blogspot....-carolina.html
Love the pterosaur. Is it my imagination (no pun), but have "sighting" dinosaurs and ancient reptiles, on land and air, in U.S., arisen after the Jurassic Park film series and walking with prehistoric monsters tv series?
I was raised on King Kong and The Lost World, and I never heard of dino sightings back then. Were we more mature then? Stupid? What?

Certain times of the year where I live, we have egrets migrating and passing through. Spray paint one of those birds, put a reptilian tail on it, and it would make a passable pterosaur.
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Old 4th January 2013, 07:17 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by Jodie View Post
Suffice it to say there is plenty of wildlife here that could be mistaken for a pterosaur.
What is it about our culture that would induce a person to consider a pterosaur the first option, rather than the dead last or no option at all?
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Old 4th January 2013, 07:25 PM   #188
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Someone who is not familiar with the native wildlife like I was when I saw those giant vultures. They saw the movie but they probably don't spend very much time outdoors to know what is normal.
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Old 4th January 2013, 07:30 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by jerrywayne View Post
What is it about our culture that would induce a person to consider a pterosaur the first option, rather than the dead last or no option at all?
Some people just need to accept the fact that they need glasses.
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Old 4th January 2013, 07:43 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by jerrywayne View Post
What is it about our culture that would induce a person to consider a pterosaur the first option, rather than the dead last or no option at all?
I don't think people ,by nature, jump to "that IS a pterosaur" but we DID go "doesn't that look like a little pterosaur?". We have the normal profile of birds burned in our memories, and we also have the profile of the scary dinosaurs there too. It's not odd to see something strange that has a similar profile and have the brain jump to that critter. Not at all. It all goes wrong when you get to pterosaur on your mental list of possible critters and stop checking any more files!
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Old 5th January 2013, 07:54 AM   #191
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Or something just goes wrong with data processing at the brain. We were wired by evolutionary forces to quickly discern patterns - ast recognition of the face of an ambushing predator, for example, would give you an edge when it comes down to passing your genes to the next generation if you were some primate living in the jungle.

Sometimes, somehow, it goes wrong. Somewhere here at JREF forum you can find my sighting report of a two-headed guinea fowl. Which turned out to be a hare. It took long enough for me to think "OK... Now, how the f-word am I going to tell this to JREF posters?" but it was also long enough for the illusion fade away. If it hadn't...

So, people may "see" centaurs, pterodactyls, lake monsters, etc. etc. etc.
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Old 5th January 2013, 08:38 AM   #192
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Hold on a second. There are three species of vultures in North America: California Condor, Turkey Vulture, and Black Vulture.

Condors are huge and big enough to make folks do a double-take, but out side of coastal CA and some reintroduction locations in the Grand Canyon, you're not going to see them. They are just under 4' long (beak tip to tail tip when laid on their backs), but their standing height is probably about 30" or so.

Turkey Vulture is the common North American vulture you can see pretty much anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and southern Canada. Their total length is about 27"; I'd put their standing height (based on some photos of mine) at 18".

Black Vulture is the other common vulture in the Southeastern U.S., these are even a bit smaller than Turkey Vultures, but mostly because they have a shorter tail: total length 25".

The vultures in South Carolina are no larger than anywhere else. If anything, Bergmann's rule might predict that they'd be a bit smaller. The difference might be, however, that there are more of them in the southern U.S. and therefore more opportunities to see one up close and on the ground as opposed to high overhead.

I have a long-running argument with a birding buddy that the South is birdier than the North. He says I'm wrong because there are a lot more species of birds that breed in the North than in the South (e.g., all those boreal forest warblers). I say the abundance of multiple big, conspicuous species in the South means that folks actually see and notice birds more readily. In a place like coastal South Carolina, folks are seeing lots of Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Wood Storks, Brown Pelicans, Anhingas, Ospreys, Bald Eagles, plus geese, cormorants, ibises, and, as mentioned, lots of close-up vultures. In Upstate New York where I cut my teeth on birding, we'd occasionally see a Great Blue Heron or a Turkey Vulture, but that was it for the big, showy birds.

All of which means that I think the visual perception of size is distorted for a lot of folks when they see some big-ish birds close-up, and it causes folks to interpret those birds as much larger than they really are.
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Old 5th January 2013, 10:12 AM   #193
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This thing was right on the other side of my passenger window and I could see it's shoulders and collar bone. I might have thought it was bigger than it actually was but it was a big ass prehistoric looking thing regardless, I was in awe. The one that swooped me while I was in the lounge chair on my deck was about 12 feet above me. It's wing span was wider than I was tall and I'm 5'4".

Speaking of pterosaurs, I was just in my living room 30 minutes ago sitting in Big Orange and looking out my floor to ceiling windows. As I talked I saw a huge heron fly by that looked exactly the way pterasaurs look in the movies, from the profile view it's legs looked a reptilian tail.

Ok, I just went out and measured the height of the edge of my passenger window to the ground. It's 40 inches. Maybe we have some cryptid condors here or the vultures just eat very well and grow big. No one else on the road seemed to pay them any attention and I've seen the big vultures/condors since then, all the time living on the river. One was perched up in an elbow of an oak tree behind my condo watching my cat one day. It was massive. I just thought these were the turkey vultures everyone was talking about and didn't pay them any further attention. If I can get a pic of one, I'll PM it to you Shrike.
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Last edited by Jodie; 5th January 2013 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 5th January 2013, 10:34 AM   #194
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Originally Posted by Jodie View Post
Maybe we have some cryptid condors here or the vultures just eat very well and grow big.
No, you just had a close-up view that made you think it was bigger than it actually was. There are no vultures standing 40" tall in South Carolina, and no condors that tall either.

Photo of CA Condor with two women of apparent average size. The condor appears no taller than about half the women's height. I'd say 65" women = condor standing no more than about 32".
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Old 5th January 2013, 10:54 AM   #195
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Could it be that some people are using the shadow of the flying bird to estimate it's size, we had a small farm next to us years ago and once in a while turkey vultures from the state forest would fly over, I was mowing the grass once and one of them flew over me, I watched the shadow on the ground and it was about the same size as a two seat beechcraft, I have to say it was a bit nerve racking seeing something that big fly right over ya.
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Old 5th January 2013, 03:31 PM   #196
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I tell you what Shrike, as close as these were I don't think I was mistaken but could have been. The shoulder was even with the road so that wouldn't explain it. As soon as I see one with something next to it for scale I'll snap you a pic.
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Old 5th January 2013, 04:24 PM   #197
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I once was standing on a shore in Saskatchewan in fall as a Sandhill Crane took flight overhead. It probably helped that the scene looked like something straight out of a paleozoic textbook, barren and rocky, but if I hadn't known better, I'd have said "pterosaur." The thing was huge, slow, and the experience otherworldly. I have no real idea of how large it was, but it certainly was the biggest flying animal I'd ever seen at that point by so much that I could have exaggerated easily, lacking references.

Not to say I did think it was a pterosaur, nor would I give credit to any such sighting, but I can certainly connect with the feeling. I mean, that was in 1977, and it still gives me chills.
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Old 5th January 2013, 04:52 PM   #198
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I think the pterosaur would be an easy thing to misidentify but it's still fun to read about them.

Now I'm going to be noticing vultures everywhere I go just to see if my eyes fooled me.
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Old 5th January 2013, 04:52 PM   #199
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People forget "The Old Fisherman Rule": The first time you see a wild animal it always looks bigger than it is. Old fisherman always have a story about the one that got away, and it's always the biggest fish they've ever seen. When you talk to the other guys on the boat they usually laugh and say it was big - but not that big.

The those times I've first seen wild animals they've always seemed larger than they are. Bobcats, Golden Eagles, Western Diamondback rattlesnakes, and critters like them seemed huge. I think it's a perception thing, maybe the brain needs to add them into the catalog, so it sucks in all kinds of details without rational perspective.

True story: I'm hiking high on a ridge here in Central California. I come across huge, three-toe'd footprints from a bird. First thought is an Ostrich has escaped, and is roaming the park. A little ways down the trail I hear movement in the trees to my left. I see this prehistoric, red-brown face staring back at me from ten feet away. My first honest thought? Dinosaur! He seemed to be at least 6-feet tall (remember the rule).
Then I relaxed and took a better look. It was a turkey. He was standing on a rise which made him look tall. I didn't know there were wild turkeys where I live. So I learned something that day that began to change my mind about cryptids. Well meaning people can fool themselves with incomplete information.
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Old 5th January 2013, 06:10 PM   #200
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In Texas, we have pterosaurs. In fact, in bragging Texas fashion, we have the largest. (Well, we did, once upon a time.)

http://www.utexas.edu/tmm/sponsored_...alcoatlus.html
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