Depiction of a Thunderbird

An event occurred near Clendenin West Virginia, in late September or early October of 2007, as an unidentified motorist followed a two-lane road in broad daylight, around 8 a.m. Rounding a curve, the driver slammed on his brakes to avoid striking a large, winged creature standing on the pavement, eating roadkill. As described to Gordon, the bird-thing stood at least four feet tall, with a "dominant" head poised above the car's roof line. Its head was bare above a long and "somewhat crooked" neck, separated from the bird's coat of thick dark feathers by "a very dominant yellowish orange collar of plumage". Its chest was "very distinct and well formed", while the dark body perched atop bare feet and legs.

"We both startled each other it seems," the driver remarked, "for it looked as shocked as I was. In seeing me, it turned me and in an awkward way, ran from my vehicle so as as to fly away. It was more like a jumping, hopping run which took probably a distance of five yards before its absolutely huge wingspan lifted it into flight. Its wingspan easily was as wide as the two lane road which we were on". The driver later measured the road's width, a total of twenty-one feet.


Teratorn, Extinct Bird

"The wings were, as I can remember, as arms of a human are attached. It had shoulders. It had a very muscular upper torso and the wings were as if they were its arms. The wing beat, as you put it, seemed distinct, not panicky or cumbersome but distinct in its fluid motion. The only thing cumbersome was the gait in which it seemingly ran jumping from one foot to the other in a hopping manner while flapping to gain speed to take off. As the bird did gain flight and in flapping away, it appeared the wings were massive feathered arms. Shoulders were evident, however not huge athletic sized shoulder."

After his sighting, the witness did some research in an effort to determine what he'd seen. Gordon writes, "He said the closest thing that he could find, was a drawing of a Teratorn, an extinct bird."

In fact, the family Teratornithidae includes at least five species of prehistoric birds, with a sixth species disputed. The Largest, Argentavis Magnificens, known from fossil found in Argentina, boasted a wingspan of twenty feet or more, tipping the scales at 176 pounds, and is presumed to be extinct for some eight million years. The next largest species, Aiolornis.

Strange West Virginia Monsters by Michael Newton
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