Pterosaur Sightings in Ohio

This past October, I received an email from an eyewitness in Ohio:

[To] whom it may concern,

All these years I’ve told my story to close friends about when I was nine or so (I am thirty-two) I was fishing with my mother and step father in Vandalia, Ohio, on Rip Rap rd., when I saw a pterodactyl up across the river on a tree branch. I went to grab my mother to show her, and when we looked back at it was gone.

No one has ever believed me, but I have always known the truth. Today my best friend in the whole world sent me information on the Ropen. I had never heard of it, and now I feel assured it was not “just a dream” as everyone likes to say. Thank you for having a place I can tell someone who believes me.

I know of other reports of pterosaur sightings in Ohio, the most recent reported encounter from James Boice, but his experiences have been with hearing a flying creature, rather than seeing it. Here is part of the long letter he sent me earlier this week, his second and third experiences hearing a “screaming” sound from something flying at night (in Ashland, Ohio):

. . . there was a storm and you could hear this same sounding creature flying and screaming over the thunder. It appeared to be half a mile away and was still loud. I heard a weather man say once that big birds will sometimes fly in front of a storm, riding the thermals, and the weather man believed a big bird such as a California Condor could get here by this means. . . .

Another day . . . I heard a cackling screaming sound . . . as though it was killing something. It wasn’t an owl. Owls don’t make that sound and you can’t hear their wings flap.

It moved out to the front of our house and to the next door neighbors yard. [My wife] and I went out to check it out. We stood on the sidewalk and listened to it, but as it was dark out and we didn’t take a flashlight we couldn’t see it, although we were only around fifteen to twenty feet from it . . . You could tell it was good size and not friendly sounding.

Cats came up missing . . . I heard this creature several more times over around a three-year period: always traveling from the college by the cafeteria and going towards where Grant School was[that school has since been torn down]. It only came out around two to three times a year.

The earliest I’ve ever detected it was 10:00 p.m. but usually between 2:00 to 4:00 in the morning, never in the day time. . . . I tried to catch the sound on tape but I never could.

To be sure, a report of hearing strange sounds at night is hardly convincing evidence, to most people, of modern pterosaurs, but it blends perfectly well with eyewitness reports of huge flying creatures that are seen not just in Ohio but across the United States. In the context of those visual encounters, a few encounters with screaming sounds at night does support the case for extant pterosaurs, notwithstanding those audio experiences do not stand up well by themselves.


sunset photo by Dennis Deitrick - Ohio

Somewhere in Ohio


Strange Winged Creature in Ohio (James Boice in Ashland)

I heard a sound outside, like screaming. I heard . . . as if a cord cutting through the air, also the sound of a dog fighting with a cat, all these sounds at once.

Pterosaur Sighting Reported in Newspaper

About 4.5 ft tall, 10 ft from head to end of tail. Long skinny tail with a spade about 3-4 [inches] from end of tail. It had a wing span of I would say 8-10 ft.”

Pterosaur Sightings in the United States of America

. . . a very large flying creature . . . in Orange County [in clear daylight] . . . north of [UC] Irvine. . . . the dark gray or black animal as 30 feet long, with 15-16 feet of that being a tail.

Worldwide Pterosaur Sightings

. . . how much long-tailed pterosaurs seem to dominate reports. Of those eyewitnesses who reported a long tail or the lack thereof, the ratio was 95% to 5% in favor of long tails.


cryptozoology book about reports of living pterosaurs in the United States

Non-fiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America (revised third edition)

From a reader of an earlier edition of this book:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for writing such an interesting and well-documented book on pterosaur sightings in America! I literally danced down to the mailbox when it arrived, and hardly put it down until I had finished the last page. . . . I loved your cautious, yet enthusiastic writing style. Thank you so very much for all your good work. I read parts of it aloud to my family, and they seemed to enjoy it, too.

From another reader of an earlier edition:

This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This book has been on my shelf for almost a year now. I pick it up every now and then and a part of me becomes more impressed by the book every time. . . . I highly recommend this. . . .

Whitcomb painstakingly reviews every account for credibility and reason. This man is not a crank. He tries to weed out would be hoaxes and miss-identification. This is not a guy looking to create evidence to confirm his own beliefs. On top of this, I have great respect for a guy who follows his dreams so passionately. He has traveled to Papua New Guinea to search for the creature there and this book is somewhat of a sequel if you will.