Virginia Pterosaurs

I recently began extensive email communications with an eyewitness of a huge flying creature in eastern Virginia, years ago. I name this sighting “TV-12.” Here is a small part of our conversation:

Whitcomb: I would be grateful for whatever you would like to tell me.

Anon: Thank you, Jonathan.  The following is what I wrote a couple months back after reading through your website and before I read your book.  I was 17 at the time of this encounter.  It was very late at night. . . . [possibly around] somewhere between 10 and midnight. . . . I went swimming with a friend at a local reservoir . . . I was standing straight up in the middle of the [U-shaped body of water] with the water about as high as my hips and I was making some splashing I remember, rather loudly, right before I saw it.

It came from the direction of the moon . . . all I saw was its silhouette.  I could see it was big even before it was close. . . . I have not before nor since ever been so petrified in my life. . . . I felt incapable of moving my legs.  I just stood there, facing it until it literally got about 20 to 30 feet away and it “stopped” and hovered mid-air.

The wings were somewhere between 15 and 20 feet wide and they covered the entire opening to the U-shaped inlet when they were open.  The wings were bat shaped without feathers, the head’s silhouette looked like a point (again, could not see facial features as it had the moon behind it) like a head crest . . .

I thought it was going to attack me.  I was thinking about whether or not I could fight it off . . . when it hovered there mid air 20 to 30 feet away directly in front of me about 15 to 20 feet above the water level, it moved its wings from wide outside to inside in front of its body twice which made a big “Whoosh!” sound both times and the wind it created made waves in the water coming towards me and blew my hair back and then it flew off. . . .

I think almost immediately the word “pterodactyl” came to mind. . . . Incidentally, the largest known bat in Virginia has a wingspan measured in mere inches–not feet.  And the largest known wingspan for them in the world is six to seven feet:  again, not nearly large enough.  Plus, bats fly rather erratically, not at all like the slow, deliberate flaps and glides of the creature I had seen so bats were pretty easy to rule out . . .

Whitcomb: Thank you . . . for your detailed account.

. . . regarding holding your position when you felt paralyzed with fear . . . [I believe] it was the best thing that you could have done in the [awkward] circumstances of the moment.


highway in rural Virginia

Rural highway in Virginia


Flying Creatures in North Carolina and Virginia

It was at night. I was standing outside my car [talking on the phone] when I saw the creature emerge directly over the three-story building I was standing next to. The creature was so close [that] my reflex was to duck.

Live Pterosaur Sightings in Virginia

The most obvious feature was the diamond or spade tipped tail, I have not found any creature that compares. My first sighting was far enough away that I couldn’t rule out man made gliders, imitation, but the last sighting moved in such a way that it was highly unlikely to be fake.

Flying Creature

You have seen a flying creature unlike any bird or bat. It’s more like a pterosaur but alive, a “flying dinosaur.” What do you do? [Don’t bother calling animal control, the police, or a big newspaper.]