In the third edition of my nonfiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America, I gave several pages to the two sightings near Winder, Georgia. When that edition of the book was published, however, the eyewitness was anonymous, and I had no knowledge of her subsequent sightings in that area. In addition, she had not yet given me permission to publish any of her sketches. Those things have changed.
Copyright 2008 Sandra Paradise (sketch drawn by the eyewitness)
First two Sightings (from third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America)
She told me a bit about Winder and about her commute, which is about twenty-five miles through a partially forested area.
[Sandra Paradise] drove to work on August 27, 2008. She had woken up early and could not get back to sleep, so she left her house at 6:45 a.m., with the sky still overcast from the last remnants of the storm. I believe this weather disturbance may relate to her daylight encounter with an animal I believe to be nocturnal.
. . . an animal suddenly flew from the right, just over the front of her car. Although alone, she yelled, “What the — what — what is that?” She was stunned. . . . she looked up at a “very long” tail that had a strange shape at the end.
“Dive-bombing my car,” is how she described the flight path, as it crossed the highway in front of and slightly above her. “Curved, like a hammer,” is how she described the head, which had a crest that she thought was “solid, not feathery at all.”
“The thing made perfect sense as it flew;” other eyewitness have also been struck by the gracefulness of flight [of modern pterosaurs].
[She] looked at the online page her friend had recommended and searched through online photos of herons and other birds . . . Negative. Everything about the bird photos was wrong, including the color and shape. Her friend later asked about planes; she pointed out that the creature flew under the tree tops.
Two weeks later, the lady had her second sighting: a flying creature similar to the first one only bigger. It was a little later in the morning: obviously not two identical tricks of sunlight striking a bird. Her sightings reminded me of the South Carolina sighting, by Susan Wooten, years earlier.
“. . . you don’t have to go to New Guinea. Far as I can tell, you can sit on a hill outside the town where I live in the mornings and see them. One sighting was at 7 in the morning, and one was at 9 am. Both days were overcast . . .”
More Sightings in Georgia
From an email I received from Sandra Paradise early in May, 2012
. . . it was around october of the same year . I was driving the same road, had just passed the point of my second sighting. looking ahead and up a hill I saw a flock of crows cross the road, from right to left, followed by –yep, you guessed it. The pterosaur was in perfect silouhette, wings outstretched, distinctive head in full view, pad on the tail. . . .
. . . about a year and a half ago, maybe a little more, I saw what I believe to be the same animal from directly below, traveling fast, with a distinctive, quick, 1,2,3 rest (with wings outstretched) 1,2,3, rest wingbeat. Birds don’t do that. The tail is what riveted me, you could see the shape on the end; instead of rippling along, this time it stuck straight out. . . .
With both the third and fourth sightings (above), she tried to drive after the creature, but with no luck. Having a camera on hand does not guarantee that a driver can get a good photograph while driving. Neither will parking near the sighting location cause the creature to fly back to you.