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Thunderbird Cryptid: Bird with a 70ft Wingspan



A thunderbird cryptid display in a museum.

The Thunderbird Cryptid is a giant bird resembling a condor or vulture that has been seen all over the United States.

Description of the Thunderbird Cryptid

Thunderbirds, as described in George M. Eberhart’s Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, are massive and intimidating birds with a wingspan that can reach up to 70 feet.

Described as resembling vultures or condors, thunderbirds have dark feathers, a light head, and occasionally, a white feather collar around their necks.

In addition to their mysterious movements through the sky, these birds have been known to abduct small animals such as calves, dogs, and in rare cases, children.

In contrast, the largest bird in North America, the California condor, has a wingspan of only 10 feet, while the wandering albatross, the largest bird in the world, has a wingspan of 12 feet.

We need to look to the past to find a larger bird, as some teratorns from prehistoric times had wingspans of 20 feet. Thunderbirds are even larger than some planes.

The thunderbird cryptid is a phenomenon that spans across the continent, originating from the myths and beliefs of multiple tribes who depict its image on rocks and totem poles.

In the legends of various tribes such as the Comanche, Chippewa, and Mandan, the thunderbird was believed to be the cause of storms, with its eyes emitting lightning and its wings producing thunder.

Despite being considered a benevolent creature towards humans, it engaged in intense battles with formidable opponents like giant snakes and killer whales, demonstrating its ferocity.

Thunderbird Sightings

The thunderbird cryptid as seen at North Dakota’s Writing Rocks.

Located in the northwest corner of North Dakota, at the border of Montana and Saskatchewan, is the Writing Rocks State Historic Site. Here, beneath a modest awning and protected by a rebar barrier, sit a pair of unassuming, four-foot-wide granite boulders adorned with petroglyphs of thunderbirds that are believed to date back between 300 to over 1,000 years.

One of the most well-known accounts dates back to 1890, when two cowboys in Arizona asserted that they had shot and killed a sizable bird. According to their description, the creature lacked feathers and possessed a head resembling that of an alligator. After taking down the bird, the cowboys reportedly transported its lifeless body back to town. The report implies that the creature resembled more of a pterodactyl or dragon rather than any bird known to exist today.

A thunderbird attempts to fly away with a child in Lawndale, Illinois. Photo: Cryptid Wiki

Another infamous thunderbird sighting happened in Lawndale, Illinois. At approximately 8 p.m. on July 25, 1977, 10-year-old Marlon Lowe was playing in his backyard while his mother, Ruth, was cleaning up in the kitchen.

Suddenly, she heard her son scream and rushed outside to witness two enormous birds with wingspans measuring nine or 10 feet attacking him. The birds relentlessly pecked at Marlon’s head and shoulders until one of them lifted the 56-pound boy 35 feet into the air.

Eventually, the birds abandoned their attempt to capture the child and disappeared.

A video discussing Thunderbird Sightings

Possible Explanations for the Thunderbird

Although thunderbirds have been suggested to be modern-day teratorns, this seems unlikely as no flying bird larger than an albatross or Andean condor has been discovered recently. While unlikely, it’s not impossible that they still exist.

Pterosaurs have been considered as suspects in thunderbird sightings, but this theory seems far-fetched as pterosaurs are believed to have gone extinct during the Late Cretaceous period around 66 million years ago.

Exotic non-native birds such as African crowned eagles and Andean condors may have contributed to thunderbird sightings by escaping from captivity, with African crowned eagles reportedly causing so-called “thunderbird attacks” and Andean condors sometimes being mistaken for the larger mythical thunderbird at first glance.

Some have suggested that thunderbird sightings may be hoaxes carried out by pranksters, or simply cryptid enthusiasts’ cases of misidentifying real/native American birds.

Have you ever seen a thunderbird? Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoyed learning about the thunderbird cryptid you might also be interested in learning about the Palmyra Wolves or Ukraine’s Mutant Spider

Further Reading

(Affiliate Link, we may earn a commission if you make a purchase.)

Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology – Volume 2

George M. Eberhart

Get it on Amazon

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Nandi Bear: A Ferocious African Cryptid




An artist’s interpretation of the Nandi Bear. Photo: Cryptid Archives.

The Nandi Bear is a ferocious cryptid spotted in the highlands of Kenya during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Description of the Nandi Bear

A footprint of a Nandibear

The Nandi Bear is also known as the Chemosit, Kerit, Koddoelo, Ngoloko, or Duba. It has been described as as a carnivorous animal with a formidable build, possessing long legs exceeding a height of four feet, and a back that slopes downward. It is described as being highly aggressive in nature.

Nandi Bear Sightings

A drawing of a Nandi Bear encounter by A. McWilliams

A number of early 20th century authors mention the Nandi Bear in their work.

Richard Meinertzhagen claimed in 1905 that he was told by the Nandi people that the Nandi bear was once widespread when they first settled in the highlands of present-day Kenya, around the early 17th century.

The Nandi people believed that the rinderpest epidemic towards the end of the 19th century pushed the Nandi bear to the brink of extinction. Although the Nandi bear was never numerous, it was not uncommon prior to the epidemic.

Unfortunately, the population never fully recovered from the impact of the outbreak. During the colonial era, the Nandi bear was held responsible for the deaths of numerous native people, whose skulls were found crushed every year.

While the Nandi Bear was widely feared by the native population, it does not appear to have been known to Europeans or colonial officials until the beginning of the 20th century.

Prior to 1912, the Nandi reportedly killed a Nandi Bear after it climbed onto the roof of a hut, broke through, and killed everyone inside. Subsequently, the village inhabitants burned down the hut with the animal still inside. Geoffrey Williams had heard of a similar animal’s preserved skin in Kabras, but was unsuccessful in obtaining it.

There were rumors that a Boer had shot a Nandi bear, but was unable to retrieve the carcass. C. W. Hobley wrote of this story.

Similarly, a farmer from Uganda named K. R. Williams supposedly unintentionally poisoned a young Nandi bear while setting out bait for hyenas.

Williams described the animal as being much larger than a spotted hyena, with the same yellowish fur, and a head similar to that of a bear. However, when he returned to his camp to retrieve a knife for skinning the carcass, actual hyenas had dragged the Nandi bear’s body away.

In 1905, while on the Nandi Expedition to the Uasin Gishu in western British East Africa, Geoffrey Williams wrote of his experiences with the Nandi Bear.

He observed an animal of around 5 feet in height sitting upright like a zoo bear, with small pointed ears and a long head, about 30 yards away.

The creature then ran away with a sideways canter towards the Sirgoit Rock. Williams quickly took a snapshot of the animal with his rifle, but missed it.

He claimed the Nandi bear was larger than a typical zoo bear and heavily built, with thick fur covering its forequarters and all four legs. The hindquarters were relatively smooth, and the color was dark.

Williams could not recall much about the ears, but mentioned that they were small, and the tail, if any, was tiny and barely noticeable.

Engineer Dennis Burnett and his wife Marlene reported the most recent documented sighting of the Nandi bear in February 1998.

While driving along the Koru-Kisumu road near the base of the Nandi Escarpment during a rainy evening, they saw a large animal crossing the road.

Upon reversing their car, the couple observed the animal for about fifteen seconds. Although they initially thought it was a bear, they soon realized that it was “an enormous, shaggy hyena – resembling a Striped Hyena but significantly larger.”

Theories about the Nandi Bear

Bob Gymlan of Bigfoot hunting fame has posted a detailed video telling the history of the Nandi Bear.

In 1923, Charles William Andrews proposed that the Nandi bear might be a surviving species of the extinct Chalicothere. Louis Leakey later suggested in the 1930s that the Nandi Bear’s descriptions matched those of the Chalicothere, despite chalicotheres being herbivores.

The Chalicothere hypothesis was eventually abandoned. In 2000, paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs stated that if Chalicotheres still existed, they would have been discovered, much like the giant forest hog. Jacobs concluded that if there was any truth to the Nandi bear story, it could be a description of gorillas passed down orally across the continent.

Zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock argued that the Nandi bear sightings were actually misidentified spotted hyenas. The British Natural History Museum also stated in 1932 that many reports of the Nandi bear were nothing more than spotted hyenas.

Paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson claimed that the Nandi bear turned out to be honey badgers, which zoologists had been aware of since 1776.

Have you ever seen a Nandi Bear? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about the Nandi Bear you might also be interested in the J’Ba Fofi: A Giant Congolese Spider Cryptid or the Tikoloshe, a South African Cryptid.

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Squonk: The Saddest Cryptid




The Squonk as featured in Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by William Cox. Photo: Wikipedia

The Squonk is said to be the ugliest creature in the world. It is so ashamed of its appearance that it will hide from anyone who approaches and, if caught, it will dissolve into a puddle of tears.

The Legend of the Squonk

The rock band Genesis wrote a popular song about the Squonk

The first mention of the squonk in written history is in William Cox’s 1910 book “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts.”

Cox describes the as the ugliest animal in the world and claims it is aware of its unfortunate appearance.

Cox claims that the squonk used to have a wide distribution and preferred habitats with plenty of desert vegetation on high plains. As these areas changed into swampy, lake-dotted regions, the squonk was forced to adapt to the water.

Due to its low intelligence, the squonk constantly searched for food by swimming in the marshes, and over time developed webbing between its toes, but only on its left feet that were submerged in water. As a result, it could only swim in circles and could never return to shore, leading to thousands of squonks dying from starvation, as evidenced by fossil bones found in the lake bottoms.

Cox also claimed that the squonk can only be found in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. It is said to be shy and reclusive, and can be seen mostly during twilight hours.

It is covered in a loose and warty skin that doesn’t fit properly. The squonk is known to be perpetually unhappy and often weeps due to its distressing appearance, leaving a trail of tears that can be followed.

The best time to search for a squonk is during moonlit nights, as it tends to stay hidden in its hemlock dwelling, afraid to catch a glimpse of itself in a reflective pool.

Sometimes, the sound of a softly weeping squonk can be heard, which sounds like a mournful call resembling that of the cross-feathered snee.

A Mr. J.P. Wentling had a disappointing experience with a squonk near Mont Alto. He captured the squonk by mimicking its crying sounds and tricking it into hopping into a sack. As he carried it home the sack suddenly became much lighter. Wentling unslung the sack and looked in. He found that the squonk had dissolved into tears and bubbles.

Squonk Meme

A variation of the squonk meme that has become popular in recent times.

The squonk has become a meme in recent times, with many internet users feeling like they can relate to the poor little creature. The squonk has even featured in one of our paranormal meme dumps.

Have you ever seen a poor little squonk in the wild? Let us know in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the story of the kushtaka or the Central American Whintosser.

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