Us on our honeymoon after swinging through the rainforest canopy.


I bet none of you has ever seen a pterodactyl before. Perhaps you’re thinking, “Well, duh, that’s because they’re extinct, Lauren!” But you would be wrong. Because Nate and I saw one, maybe two, maybe three, maybe one that just followed us everywhere.
The first time we saw a pterodactyl was on our honeymoon. There was a national park/rain forest that had a nice trail that walked along the beach, so we hiked it for awhile one day. It was kind of adventurous. The trail started out along the beach, where there was black sand with little swirlies of white mixed in. So we took awhile and looked at all the swirlies, and then got distracted and made out, because, hey, we were on our honeymoon. Then we decided to follow the trail deeper into the forest. As we walked we were suddenly pelted by rotten apricots and looked up to reveal howler monkeys sitting in the trees above us. If you’ve never seen a howler monkey—they’re really ugly and don’t howl. It’s more like a lion’s roar and they’re basically scary. Of course, Nate wouldn’t say that he was scared of them, but I was stinkin’ was. So Nate fairly quickly moved us on, citing that they might get bored throwing rotten apricots at us and start throwing something else, like poo, at us.
Farther on, we had to cross this log bridge into the forest, and right when I was in the middle of it, this HUGE thing glided above us. It was so big, its shadow blotted out the sun for us for a moment. Since I was out in the middle of the bridge, I tried not to scream so it wouldn’t swoop down and eat me and ran to Nathan. He was concerned enough to be waiting with open arms and a concerned look on his face.
“What the–“
“What was that? Oh my gosh, Nate, it looked like a pterodactyl or something!”
“I know. Maybe it was a huge bat.”
It was gray, probably had a 10-12 foot wing span, and, I don’t know, it didn’t have feathers. When we got back to the park office about an hour later, we told the ranger about it. She had a book of bats in her office. We took the book and asked if there were any really, really big bats. She said no. We couldn’t find one that looked like our unidentified flying animal. We also asked her about some birds, and she went through possible species it could have been. None of them came anywhere close. So we eventually left, a little confused, and went back to our adventurous honeymoon. But that is a story in itself that will have to come later.
We usually didn’t mention the Costa Rican pterodactyl, because we thought it discredited our later stories about again seeing the pterodactyl. Especially when we ended up seeing it in good old Denton.
We were driving “the back way” home from my parents’ house. The back way is sort of out in the country. It’s becoming less so as the city expands, but as a teenager, we would drive out there to scare our friends about Goat Man’s Bridge. It’s a hundred year old bridge where witches would gather under and sacrifice their goats. And people always had freaky stories about Goat Man’s Bridge. At night. But during the day, it’s just pretty and old-fashioned.
So we were driving out in the country when we saw another? the same? pterodactyl. Again, it was smooth, gray, and even had a tail that hung as it flew with a spade-type thing on the end. And, it never flapped its wings even when it seemed like it should have. It just glided. We were just driving along, talking about whatever, and as it flew above us, maybe 50 feet, we both just stopped with our mouths dropped open. Nate looked at me incredulously.
“Whoa! Did you just see that?! It was like the pterodactyl again!”
“I know! That is so freaky! Oh my gosh, what if it’s following us because it wants to taste our flesh!”
We told a few people about the pterodactyl, but no one really believed us…at first.
A few months later, I was driving my school bus of half-awake kids to school in the same area. It was early morning when the sun was coming up. I looked over at the sunrise, and there in front of my eyes, was the pterodactyl again. It was at a considerable distance this time, but I could still see its shape and watched it closely to see if we had been imagining it. Again, it looked, as sunrise gleamed on it, like it had no feathers and was dark gray in color. Spade-like tail that just hung in back and never moved. The weirdest thing was how it never flapped its wings. I looked most carefully at its head, but couldn’t see it too well at my angle. It looked just like a good old grade school textbook pterodactyl head! With a bone or something that protruded up and out from the back. I pointed it out to my kids.
“Does anyone else see the pterodactyl?!”
“What?” they all sleepily looked in the general direction I was pointing.
“Wait, what is that?…Look at that, man!…Hey, Sarah, wake up! There’s a pteradactyl outside!…Charlie, what’s a “terra-fazum?…Mrs. T, is that really a pterodactyl?” arose the general voices in the back.
“I don’t know, kids…I just don’t know…” The thoughts of what this meant on supposed world wide extinction of dinosaurs filled my head…Just kidding, I wasn’t that dramatic.
Later I told Nate about it. He decided to go to the source of knowledge that was good and true…the internet. He actually found a few sightings in our area. By a group of middle school teachers, nonetheless. And there are a lot of Native American myths about something that seems to have the exact same description as a pterodactyl that even ate a few children. Whoa.
We told a lot of people about it. And people started to think we were for real. One day, one guy was driving along out in the place we were talking about, and said he saw something that fit the description we were talking about.
“I don’t know what is was, man. But it was weird. And it was not like a bird. And it had the tail thing you described.”
We even had different people we know go on pterodactyl hunts. I don’t think anyone ever saw anything, though.
It’s been a long time since I saw the pterodactyl. I also am more preoccupied with my thoughts when I drive out in the country and rarely look up anymore. But there was a time when Nate and I could look to the skies and see the impossible flying above us…

Me swinging on the beach to be pretty for Nate…the day we saw the pterodactyl.
A picture of a pterodactyl…a fake one. Amateurs.