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Readers with long memories and an interest in odd phenomena might recall that in 1982-83 there were some startling sightings around the district of what observers described as a “Big Bird”.
According to descriptions of it, it was a heavy brute with a massive wing span which bent television aerials and tree branches when it landed on them and was known to screech alarmingly.
It was initially suggested that it could be a heron, although there was also a strong body of opinion that it was a large bird of prey – an eagle, perhaps, or even a condor.
That was a theory I subscribed to after staking out this bird for three weeks, during which time I scoured the skies above North Bradford (which was where many of the sightings took place). I was rewarded by several times seeing a large bird circling in the high distance, much too far away for a photograph.
But once, just once, it came lower down and I was able to take a dim, distant, fuzzy shot of it with a borrowed 300mm telephoto lens – an event which Jenny Randles records in her new book Supernatural Pennines.
It looked to me through my binoculars, then through the lens, and finally on the indistinct photograph, like a massive bird of prey. That was how it moved too – circling like a raptor.
However, according to Jenny Randles, who has had many years of exploring the unknown and the unexplained, it was understandable that some of the people who had seen this creature at closer quarters should have described it as a sort of pterodactyl (although I have to confess that no-one described it that way to me during the months we were investigating this strange story, which just fizzled out towards the end of 1983).
But if it was a pterodactyl, it would fit nicely into the theory explored by the writer and researcher in this entertaining and sometimes intriguing book: that the Pennine area is some sort of “window” into another sort of reality created by electrical forces, which are themselves generated by the pressure on, and shifts in, the underground rocks.