Thunderbird is a term used in cryptozoology to describe large, bird-like creatures, generally identified with the Thunderbird of Native American tradition. Similar cryptids reported in the Old World are often called Rocs. Thunderbirds are regarded by a small number of researchers as having lizard features like the extinct pterosaurs such as Pteranodon. Although reports of Thunderbird sightings go back centuries, due to the lack of scientific evidence (such as a fossil record), the creature is generally regarded as a myth.
The Thunderbird figures prominently in the traditions of many Native American tribes. For some, it is the flapping of the Thunderbird’s wings that one hears during rainstorms rumbling in the skies and it is the Thunderbird’s eyes and beak that flash the lightning.
To the Lakota of the prairie, the Thunderbird is an embodiment of the Great Mystery, the Supreme Being, which created all things on Earth. For the tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy of the northeast, Hino, the Thunderbird, was the guardian of the skies and the spirit of thunder, it could assume the form of a human as needed.
The cosmology of many of the western tribes establish a Thunderbird in each of the four corners of the world as guardians and protectors, fighting always to keep away evil spirits. Many scholars over the centuries have attributed the Native American myths of the Thunderbird to their reverence for the eagle, the largest of indigenous birds in North America.
Interestingly, however, many people have claimed to have seen and reported seeing great birds, far larger than eagles, flying overhead. In fact, even in the nineteenth century, some witnesses were claiming to have seen flying monsters that resembled pterodactyls, the winged reptiles that should have been extinct 60 million years ago.
On April 9, 1948, a farm family outside of Caledonia, Illinois, saw a huge bird that they all said was bigger than an airplane. Across the state on the same day, a Freeport truck driver said that he, too, had seen a gigantic bird-like creature.
The Thunderbird is a legendary creature in certain North American indigenous peoples’ history and culture. It’s considered a “supernatural” bird of power and strength. The Thunderbird is especially important, and richly depicted, in the art, songs and oral histories of many Pacific Northwest Coast cultures It is found in various forms among the peoples of the American Southwest and Great Plains. Thunderbirds were major components of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex of American prehistory
A former army colonel admitted that he had seen a bird of tremendous size while he stood talking with the head of Western Military Academy and a farmer near Alton, Illinois. On April 10, several witnesses saw the gigantic bird. One man said that he had at first believed it to be a type of plane that he’d never seen before.
On April 24, back at Alton, a man described what he saw as an enormous, incredible thing, flying 500 feet in the air and casting a shadow the same size as that of a small plane at the same height. Two policemen said that the monster bird was as big as a airplane.
Giant Thunderbird-type creatures have continued to be sighted in various parts of the United States, from the northeast to the northwest and many points in between.
Via: The Unexplained Mysteries
Read more at http://theunexplainedmysteries.com/Thunderbird.html
Related Circa71 articles: The Alton, Illinois Piasa