The Legendary Thunderbird Photo

mejane

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I'm going to stick my neck out here to say that pic 3 isn't a fake as such, just not what it purports to be. My guess would be that it shows a small child holding a large bird (condor or a large vulture?)

Pic 2 - hmm... the "wings" look a canoe to me.

Pic 1 - sealed knot re-enactment.

Jane.
 

mejane

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Ugly boy? Oi, that's my grandmother you're talking about! :)

Seriously, just an excuse to say how much I like the ninja cat picture... (Oh and Tang-Mallow, your, erm, creature, is beautiful too)

Jane.
 

Beakmoo

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I'm sure I've seen pic 1 in FT. Pic 2 is a canoe with a large pickaxe sticking out of it.

Resident "beak" expert:)
 

ninja_cat

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Didn't make out the canoe till you said that:D Now it becomes clear
 

minordrag

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Those pics, although entertaining, look like shameless fakes.

Oh no! It's coming! Through the trees!
 
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Anonymous

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I think the caption above picture 3 says 'All picture courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History [something something] photography'. The first [something] might be 'except'? I'll do a google search.
 
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Anonymous

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i think its very safe to say that this picture is a fake

i dont think it is a child holding a bird either, definately not a Condor or Vulture as these birds have curved beaks, if anything it is a duck or goose with the beak it has in the picture but i dont think that it is. Birds have finger like bone structures in their wings and the creature in this picture has wings that look like big flaps of rubber.

Also if it is a bird it has a wierd tail dont you think?
 

NilesCalder

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The first picture is a fake.

The model in picture 2 is just better looking, that's all. The wings look vaguely convincing rather than otherwise.

Picture 3 is another fake, the wings are square and the text around it is completly unrelated to it.

FAKE, FAKE, FAKE

Niles "Unconvinced" Calder
 

carole

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In Picture 1 the 'thunderbird' looks like a tent that has just been taken down, and the other two don't look much better.

Carole
 
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Anonymous

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can someone fill me on the legend of the elusive thunderbird

hey,
I am not all too familiar with this thunderbird photo thing. I have read about it, but only little. help me out. sounds interesting...
ZERO
 
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Anonymous

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are you talking about the photo that showed a large bird nailed to the side of a barn?
If so when i heard about this on a forum somewhere it stirred up memorys in my mind about seeing such a picture a while back in a book somewhere, so i went and hunted down all my old books from the attic and after about 2 hours of searching i found a page that had a drawing of the picture not the actual picture! the book said that the drawing is a reconstruction of this famous pcture that noone has actually been able to locate. The book was about 10 years old and i cant remember the titlebut my theory is that the people that can remember this picture are just like me, they think they have saw it but its just a faded memory of a charcoal drawing they saw in a book when they where younger.
 
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Anonymous

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Back in the 70's,several Fortean writers like John Keel and Ivan Sanderson claimed to have seen a picture of the Thunderbird in some book or magazine,probably sometime in the 50's.They described it as a large winged creature nailed to the side of a barn,or some other large building.

Needless to say,this got a great many people curious.Many have looked for it,to no avail.So far,the best account of the affair has been a series of articles by Mark Chorvinsky in"Strange Magazine",the print version of which is now defunct,unfortunately.The latest installment of the series can be found at the http://www.strangemag.com website.
 

ogopogo3

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Notice in picture 2 how everything in the pic has a soft, blurry focus until you see the bird's head, which is ten times sharper. That's just bad Photoshop.

That first picture was definitely from the Freakylinks TV show website when it was up and running. FT actually wrote about the Freakylinks website and printed the ptero photo in an issue. This, of course, was before anyone knew that freakylinks.com was just a tie-in to the Fox tv show which had yet to air, or even be marketed. Sure, it was all phoney material but they had a lot of cool stuff there. I can't believe no one mirrored the site when it shut down.
 

ogopogo3

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Jerome Clark writes in his book UNEXPLAINED about the Thunderbird photo. He talked to old-time photograph historians in the area where the picture was supposedly taken, and could find no verification of such a picture ever existing. The picture has been written about and described ad naseum, however. So it would not be surprising to see some degree of confabulation, as is proven by Keel and Sanderson (hardly the two most trustworthy Forteans out there, IMHO).
 
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Anonymous

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Out of curiosity, then, is there a scan of the charcoal drawing available online anywhere? (Or can you tell me which book it was in?)

I've never seen it but I'm fascinated by the story of the lost photo, and it'd be nice to see the drawing so I could have some idea of what I'm looking for :)
 
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Anonymous

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Hasn't someone recently uncovered a skeleton of a bird with a huge wingspan in Mexico? It's a huge thing and far bigger than any other ornithorper ever found. I seem to remember seeing a prog' on the telly about it. In the area where it was found local legends tell of a huge bird that would carry off children etc etc. Pity I can't remember more... anyone else see the prog'?
 
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Anonymous

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I seem to remember seeing a prog' on the telly about it. In the area where it was found local legends tell of a huge bird that would carry off children etc etc.

I saw that program too. There were several stories, if my memory serves me well.

One man said that when he was a kid, about 10 I think, he had been grabbed by the shoulders and carried for a few hundred meters by a giant bird. I can't remember whether the bird dropped him because he was too heavy or because his parents came out and chased it away.

There also was some footage. A hunter (or bird watcher?) who was out in the swamps had seen giant birds in the trees and filmed them flying. The scientist who examined the film said it was hard to determine the size of the birds because there was nothing to compare them with, like people, buildings, etc. He came up with several possible IDs by looking at the wings and flight patterns, but I can't remember what they were. :confused:

All in all, the program was pretty disappointing. A lot of speculation and very little information. And a rather overly dramatic commentary. :D
 
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Anonymous

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btw i forgot to mention that the famous picture of the giant bird nailed to the barn door was supposidly taken in tombstone.
 

SmirnoffMule

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yeah @ photoshop.. in pic 2, the guys foot is hovering above, rather than resting on, the thunderbird's nose.

Pic 3 is clearly a dodo in a Batman cape.
 

mejane

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Pic 3 is clearly a dodo in a Batman cape.

... which would be a fortean subject by itself :)

Jane.
 
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Anonymous

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O.k. Here is the Tombstone legend as I have heard it.

In April of 1890, two cowboys claim to have sighted a giant flying creature in the Arizona desert. Apparently it had the body of a serpent, face of an alligator, and two clawed feet.

The cowboys got as close as their horses would let them (horses being skittish creatures), and then persued the beast on foot (not easy in the High Lonesome). They shot at the beast with rifles and sidearms as it flew a short distance and then landed (repeatedly).

Eventually they killed it.

The body was smooth, with a wingspan of 160ft and a body length of 92ft +. More bat than bird.

According to the Tombstone Epitaph, the cowboys cut off a piece of wing and brought it into Tombstone.

According to reports, the Epitaph has no picture on file.

Apparently the picture of the "Thunder Bird" nailed onto the side of a barn does not exist and is credited as an embellishment of writer Jack Pearl in Saga magazine.

Since I live just two hours from Tombstone, if anyone wants even more proof that the photo did or did not exist, I am willing to call up the Epitaph and ask them about it.
 

SmirnoffMule

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So what happened to the piece of wing?
And did no one feel inclined to go back to the spot where the bird was shot, and collect further evidence/photos?
 
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Anonymous

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It's all Bulls**t really isn't it!?

Slytherin's right, if you'd shot a crocodile/bird thing you would probably inform some kind of authority and it would no doubt be well documented in history.!?!?

If i found a new species and killed it i'd drag the bugger all the way home - not cut off abit of it's wing:(

Be great to see some kind of photographic evidence though. Go on! prove me wrong . . .
 
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Anonymous

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Weel, yeah....I'm sure it is bullshit. Papers at that time carried all sorts of "interesting" stories. The truth wasn't exactly their first priority.

The story in question was "believable" at the time for a few reasons though.

1) The Arizona Territory was little explored at the time.
2) SE Arizona hosts many very "odd" creatures. For many primarily South American species, it is at the northern-most end of their range. For example, a person from say Ohio, would be shocked an puzzled by the appearance of the native Coatimundi. Likewise, the sight of a Jaguar would be quite odd to many people.
3) People were not that educated back then.
4) The idea of "finding" a carcass out in the desert is pretty much laughable to residents. April temps out there would be hitting the 90s (F). Maybe higher. In August 110 is common. Dead flesh doesn't last out there. Likewise the sheer amount of scavangers makes the survival of anything dead unlikely. The vultures an coyotes would make short work of anything out there.
5) Navigation in this area is VERY difficult. We are talking a "needle meets haystack" situation. Even a huge carcass would be almost impossible to find again.

Combine these, and you have a situation where many people would be fine with a report of some strange creature being killed by some cowboys. Nobody would be keen on looking for the carcass, as finding it would be unlikely. And wandering around the desert back then on horseback was done only for good reason (ie: travel, or the quest for silver). So nobody would look.

The real mystery is this "photograph" that allegedly was run in the Epitaph . The paper says it never ran. But interstingly many people say it DID. Some even claim that they saw it!

Human memory is obviously somewhat malleable. :)
 

SmirnoffMule

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I thought I'd heard different versions of the Tombstone legend before...

parascope.com/en/cryptozoo/predators10.htm
Link is dead. The MIA webpage can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/20020601220045/http://www.parascope.com/en/cryptozoo/predators10.htm


gives two different accounts, one where the cowboys carry the whole corpse triumphantly into town, and one where the bird got away.
It's also got a full account of the story of the photograph, if ZERO still wants to look :)

Schmell, why not give Epitaph a call and ask them about it? I'd be interested to hear what they say. Can't hurt to try, though they may be sick of people asking about it by now!
 
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Anonymous

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Come monday I'll call Tombstone and get some info.

BTW: Is THIS the Thunderbird?

h2060pi.jpg

h2060p3.jpg

sandhill02.jpg


The Sandhill Crane is actually very common in SE Arizona and in fact large numbers of them (in the thousands) roost every winter on the Willcox Playa just north of Tombstone. During the day they fly over a radius of 70 miles to feed in corn fields. So they DO get into the Tombstone area quite readily.

IIRC (could be wrong) this is a relatively new event. It wasn't until farming started in the Willcox/Tombstone area that the cranes started wintering there. I'd imagine that prior to that they'd be flying farther south or to the coastal regions in the Sea of Cortez.

Perhaps a wayward crane was seen by some cowhands and then the legend started? From a distance, and to an untrained eye these large birds with a 6 foot wingspan could easily look like some sort of prehistoric monster!

Just a theory.....
 

SmirnoffMule

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Could be, could be. Everytime I see a heron flying, I think it's a pterodactyl, and I'm shocked by how bloody big it is... so someone seeing a crane for the first time could find it strange. it's got the long beak and the long neck, anyway.
And the size of a bird in flight is nearly impossible to guess, because there's nothing to compare it with, so poor estimates coupled with exaggeration could make an already big bird even bigger.
 

marble18

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Forty2 said:
Hasn't someone recently uncovered a skeleton of a bird with a huge wingspan in Mexico?

Forty2.
There is an account of such bird remains published in one of Karl Shukers books. (In search of Prehistoric Survivors). I think the bird has been named Argentinas Magnificus , after the location in which it was found.

Cheers.
 
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