An eyewitness of a long-tailed featherless flying creature has recently come forward: Patty Carson of Southern California. She witnessed the “Gitmo Pterosaur” when she was a child, on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in 1965. Jonathan Whitcomb, the cryptozoologist who interviewed her, believes the flying creature is related to the kongamato of Africa.
Patty Carson described the encounter:
I was only a child when I saw it. . . . around six years old. My brother George was with me, but he was only around four. We were walking down near the boat yards, headed home. We lived . . . by the radio tower. . . . Where it was sandy . . . scrub vegetation around four feet tall . . . There were some stagnant pools here and there, a few inches deep . . . We were walking through that scrub area, and suddenly it sat up, as if it had been eating something or resting. The head and upper part of its body, about a third of the wings at the joint . . . showed. . . . about thirty feet away. All of us froze for about five seconds, then it leaned to its left and took off with a fwap fwap fwap sound . . . and flew to its left and disappeared behind trees and terrain. . . . It did have a tail and it had a diamond shaped tip . . . The skin was a leathery, brownish reddish color. It had little teeth, a LOT of them.
We went home and I was ALL excited to tell my family I had seen a dinosaur, but they all poo poo’d me and started to tell me it was a pelican or frigate bird. NO WAY! It was as tall as a man when it stood up on it haunches. It was close. It froze for a few seconds so I got a good look. When we were kids we lived in Arlington (dad worked in the Pentagon) and we would often go
to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and when I saw it I knew exactly that it was a pterodactyl, and even named it as such to my family. They didn’t believe me. I know what I saw. I know exactly what I saw.
Carson’s report resembles the one by a U. S. Marine, Eskin C. Kuhn, who watched two similar creatures fly by at Guantanamo Bay, six years after Carson’s sighting:
“I saw two pterosaurs . . . flying together . . . perhaps 100 feet [high], very close in range from where I was standing, so that I had a perfectly clear view of them. . . . ”
Mr. Kuhn had assumed that the two long-tailed pterosaurs he observed were exceptional cases and that short tails were what would be expected of modern living pterosaurs. That was before his 2010 interview with cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb. Most sightings do involve long tails.
Before considering the origin of the word “kongamato,” we need to evaluate what witnesses have seem to have seen, regardless of what they call the flying creature. How can two freshwater stingrays fly slowly, directly over ones head? They cannot. It is possible for one stingray to jump out of a river, however uncommon that may be, but never two overhead, flying slowly. How can a freshwater stingray have a head that looks like “an elongated snout of a dog?” It cannot. But a pterosaur, called by some people “pterodactyl,” may appear as described by J. P. F. Brown, according to his report, regardless of whether or not someone else had once seen a freshwater stingray and called it “kongamato.”
Of course “dinosaur bird” is incorrect in a scientific sense, for a pterosaur is neither dinosaur nor bird. But an eyewitness like Patty Carson probably said something similar when she, as a child who had just seen a live pterosaur in Cuba, reported her encounter to her family. In more recent years, a man in Richmond, Virginia, reported a “dinosaur bird” after he looked through a telescope.