Many of the eyewitness reports that I receive are delayed, sometimes many years after a sighting. A few days ago, an eyewitness reported a summer-of-1977 sighting in western Arkansas: a “small teradactyl.” She estimated the wingspan at eight feet (eyewitnesses have different perspectives on what is a normal pterosaur size). I don’t normally ask why it took so long to report an encounter with an apparent pterosaur, for serious LP investigations were rare and little known until this century. Who would listen to a report of a “teradactyl” in 1977?
Early in the afternoon a sixteen-year-old girl and her father were between Van Buran and Cedarville, Arkansas: “We were sitting on big rocks at a cliff about 300 foot above the river when it flew out just under us and we watched it all the way down toward the river till it passed the tree lines. It was an awesome experience, indeed. . . . wingspan of maybe 8 ft and had a large head.”
I asked her many questions by emails (some of them included here):
Question: Was it flapping its wings?
Answer: Yes for a second as it took off, then it glided . . .
Question: Did you notice any detail or details on the head?
Answer: Large pointed head, we couldn’t see the mouth because it was going the other direction
Question: Did you see any neck on the creature? If so, how long, assuming the wingspan was eight feet?
Answer: Long neck, maybe around 1.5 feet long
Question: Do you remember whether it had a beak that could be distinguished from the rest of the head?
Question: Was it descending rapidly or slowly going down or in level flight (or otherwise)?
Answer: slowly as it took off going down to the right then Glided gracefully at a descent to the left . . . like a hawk
Mountains many miles south of the sighting area in Arkansas
In the third edition of my cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America, page 32, an eyewitness in Arkansas said, “It was probably 1982 when me and my older brother were sitting in our carport at Union Village Apartments, in Texarkana, AR. It was getting dark but there was plenty of light in the sky when we saw what we believe to be a pterodactyle. The wingspan seemed to be about 25’ to 30’ ft wide. It was probably about 70’ to 80’ off the ground, flying over a large tree in front of the house. . . . it just glided on air.”
Jonathan Whitcomb is a pterosaur expert in the cryptozoological sense: interviewing eyewitnesses.