First, if you have any information on any unusual flying creature observed in or near a cave, please contact me, Jonathan Whitcomb, at:
A typical cave entrance, this one in Texas
Pterosaur Caves in General
Before getting into the missing-persons cases of Mike McDonald in Arizona and Timothy Farmer in Australia, consider other reports that tie caves to ropens (or other modern pterosaurs).
The following are limited quotations from the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition (more about caves can be found in this book):
Another [native] man, also interviewed by Blume, examined a magazine-cover illustration of a pterosaur and said that he had seen those creatures himself. He estimated their size, perhaps wingspan or length, at six to seven feet, “bigger than a man.” They eat fish “out of the water” and live in caves. [page 22]
Stopping to refuel at Kampalap [Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea], they learned that villagers occasionally see the ropen as it leaves a cave, most recently three weeks earlier. [page 95]
. . . he heard of an old story of the flying creature that is called kor on islands north of Umboi. During World War II, some Japanese had bombarded a cave inhabited by the creatures because some of their soldiers had been attacked by them. [page 134]
“I live in Lamero, Kentucky. . . . I have a friend who lives near Renfro Valley, which is about twelve miles north of me. Its a wooded area as well, with . . . several caves. And I’m talking a lot of caves, lol. This county is seriously like swiss cheese [page 228]
Timothy Farmer in a Cave in Australia
This two-and-a-half-year-old boy was found in a cave in New South Wales, Australia, in May of 1954, after he became missing from the family’s front yard the previous day. I learned about this case from the book Missing 411 The Devil’s in the Detail, by David Paulides. (Keep in mind that the pterosaur-abduction hypothesis—PAH—is my idea, not his.)
Timothy was found without serious injury in that cave by a waterfall in a gorge, but how does that relate to a modern pterosaur? That little boy could not have climbed down there without serious injury; rescuers had difficulty getting down there. It’s far more likely he was carried to the cave.
But why should it be a pterosaur? Why not a Bigfoot or other unclassified cryptid? For one thing, it was the strange stare that met the rescuers when they found Timothy. Mr. Paulides says, in his book, that children found alive are usually semiconscious or unconscious and a strange stare is common.
This fits the model of the modern-pterosaur attack in which a debilitating mist prevents an animal or human victim from putting up much of a struggle when the predator flies off with its prey.
Does the shock of abduction cause many children to have memory problems and other mental weaknesses when found by rescuers? Simple reflection repudiates that notion, for these are not rare mental breakdowns but common symptoms, found in children of various ages, including two-year-olds.
In addition, rescuers in this 1954 search in Australia found one of Timothy’s shoes before they found him, another connection with the standard model of a flyaway abduction by a pterosaur. A victim sometimes falls out of a piece of clothing or a shoe, which sometimes saves the person’s life.
In this case, the flying creature probably accidentally pulled the shoe off the child, and Timothy fell a very short distance to the ground. The predator dropped the shoe and flew back to locate the boy. It then again grabbed him and flew away to its cave. Fortunately, rescue time came before ropen dinner time, in this case.
Mike McDonald in a Cave in Arizona, USA
This two-year-old was found fifteen miles from where he became missing, in 1945 in southern Arizona, asleep in a small cave. Like the case in Australia, he was found the day after he disappeared. Mike had no injury other than a small cut on one foot.
Could the two-year-old have wandered that far, so quickly, and found a cave by good fortune, as a safe haven to sleep? No. Something took the child to that cave and it was not a bear or a mountain lion. The most likely animal would be a flying creature large enough to carry him by grabbing him almost entirely by the clothing.
I don’t think rescuers in Arizona found Mike asleep because it was naptime, and I don’t think that one small cut on that one foot was from walking fifteen miles. The family dog was also found at the same time the child was found: standing guard at the cave entrance. That would explain why there was no ropen having lunch in that cave, for no family dog will stand having its human become any animal’s lunch.
We still may have a mystery in the case in Australia: Why was Timothy found alone in that cave? Perhaps noisy rescuers arrived just in time, and the ropen decided to eat out while the strangers came to call; perhaps another exit allowed the animal to escape without being noticed. Anyway, everyone can be grateful that the rescuers noticed that cave . . . everyone except that ropen.
. . . how an attack is accomplished, since these animals are considered by me and my associates to be modern pterosaurs with wings that may be delicate in comparison with the bodies of other large predators. The answer is in a few reports that suggest a debilitating vapor or mist is ejected at the victim.
Much of what I have learned so far has been from the nonfiction book Missing 411 – Western United States & Canada (by David Paulides) and from what I have learned from some reports of apparent pterosaurs. . . . we do have some direct eyewitness accounts that suggest at least a few modern pterosaurs can appear threatening to humans in the USA.
So where might a ropen hide in daylight? On Umboi Island, some natives say that the ropen . . . lives in a cave. Yet a deep cave in a cliff is not necessarily essential for a sleepy ropen who needs a safe bedroom for daylight napping. For a small ropen, why not a hole in a rock, just a modest little cavity?
These weird disappearances are not confined to Yosemite, nor even to the United States. Several factors do seem to tie together cases that are separated by long distances and sometimes separated by decades.
Books like the cryptozoology genre Live Pterosaurs in American and the cross-genre Searching for Ropens and Finding God