By the living-pterosaur author Jonathan D. Whitcomb
In December of 2017, I received the following email from Dane Simmons (I’ve slightly edited it for English):
Subject: pterodactyl sighting, 1993, Durham, NC
Hello, I just wanted to contact you to let you know, me and two of my friends saw one at different times in NC, Durham. I was alone driving my car, and looked out my sunroof to see what I think was a pterodactyl. It was  to 500 ft up, but looked like a hawk at 50 ft up, (size) . . . huge bat-like wings, two feet in the back, and long pointed beak and back of head. It was so big I could easily make out the features. At that height I estimate wingspan was like 10 to 15 feet.
Also [at another time] two of my friends were fishing at the river, and one [such flying creature] flew down the river. They said it was huge, 10 to 15 ft wingspan … my sighting has haunted me ever since. I KNOW WHAT I SAW. Most of my friends laughed at me, and it wasn’t until 20 yr later that I mentioned it to the friend [who then said] his sighting . . . was about 3 miles from mine. I have been looking up for many years hoping to see another one. Let me know if you would like any more info. . . .
Later Dane added the following:
It was huge . . . The other two friends that saw the one by the river I hadn’t spoken to for over 10 years or more, and there was no mention of our sightings to each other, I have never talked about it to the 2nd . . . friend, since we never speak . . .
I was telling [first friend] about how in first grade the teacher asked us to pick a letter, and draw a picture of something with that letter, so I picked N and drew a knife, not knowing that knife started with a K. I was telling him how I was so embarrassed . . . and we started naming screwed up words and I said like pterodactyl. This was when his story came out.
They were at the Eno River, and it flew by them so close . . . they could feel the wind from its wings. They were shaken up and immediately quit fishing and drove to the beach. Later that day, they even told people there what happened . . . and were not believed . . .
Thank you very much, Dane.
In Western countries, including in the USA, the word “pterodactyl” is used by most people in a general sense: those featherless flying creatures that are unlike bats and which are associated with the “dinosaur age.” The correct word for all of those flying creatures together is “pterosaur.” . . .
Duke Chapel, Durham, North Carolina
I saw a Pterodactyl up close tonight. Not joking. I was driving along on I-540 in Raleigh [North Carolina] at sundown . . .
It seems that between 50,000 and 4,000,000 Americans have seen an obvious pterosaur at some time in their human lifespans. It certainly cannot be much below that minimum or much above that maximum.
One of the first detailed pterosaur sighting reports that I received from a state of the USA was the encounter by Susan Wooten in South Carolina. It seems to have been a large ropen.
This also has sightings in New Jersey, South Carolina, Rhode Island, California, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, although the reports on this page are brief, like introductions.
By Jonathan Whitcomb, author of Live Pterosaurs in America
“In my searches I have been trying to find someone who might be interested in helping me to verify the existence of an animal I have seen twice in the last few weeks, on my way to work”[words of Sandra Paradise of Winder, Georgia]
Last month I got an email from a man who lives in Gahanna, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. He and his teenaged son were driving near their home at 6:45 p.m. on December 19, 2016, when a large creature flew over their car.
Why do I use the word pterodactyl in some of my writings? It’s not from adhering to the scientific definition of pterodactyl but from a common word used by eyewitnesses.