When a Child Sees a Pterosaur

I got the following email early in May of 2016 (quoting most of it here, with only a very few spelling corrections):

Mr. Whitcomb,

Three of my children, [up to age eight] are quite sure that they observed a pterosaur above our home in Pottstown, PA, today, mid-afternoon. . . .

Today, while I was at work, my wife contacted me about this. She said that she heard the kids suddenly start screaming in the back yard, and rushed out to see what it was. She is accustomed to the kids playing loudly and such, but said that this was very different–that there was a mix of sincere terror and excitement which was not playing. They were screaming that they just saw a pterosaur. My wife did not see it.

There is no doubt in my mind that they truly believe that they saw a pterosaur. That doesn’t mean that they did–but they truly believe that they did.

When my wife first told me, my first thought was that this was probably a heron. I’m concerned that cryptozoology be credible, and I don’t want to gullibly believe every report just because I want to believe it. But as I interacted with my kids about this, I grew to suspect that they may really have seen something unexpected.

I know that perspective in the sky is very uncertain, but I wanted to get my kids’ impressions of size nevertheless:
They guess that the body was “about as long as a lion.” They guess that the wingspan was “one and a half of our
bathrooms…maybe a little less.” Our bathroom is eight feet long. They guess that the tail was as long as “one and a half broomsticks.”

They emphasize repeatedly that the tail had a knob at the end.

I thought that perhaps, if this were a misidentification, the “tail” might actually be legs, and the “knob” the feet. BUT they insist that they saw short legs and feet BESIDE the tail. THAT is what I find most curious. . . .

They agree that it was tan colored, and that it did not seem to have feathers. “Like elephant skin.” They say that the knob at the end of the tail may have had some kind of fur on it . . . it seemed different, but they weren’t sure what it was.

If they were imagining things, they probably would have mentioned a head crest, since they’re familiar with that image. But, interestingly, they all agree that they did not see any head crest. My oldest noted that it flew directly overhead, so he could not have seen a head crest if there were one. . . .

It was flying east. We live on the west outskirts of town, so presumably it flew over Pottstown.

My younger two saw it flap several times, then glide. My oldest did not see any flapping–he looked up a few seconds later than they did and only saw it glide overhead.

Anyway, the features which most impressed them were the “snout,” the long tail with a knob at the end, and the hands/feet besides the tail. They are very excited about these features. . . .

Thanks.

So what do you do when a child sees a pterosaur? For me, it’s the same as when an adult sees one: get the details like the following:

  • Where was the sighting?
  • When was the flying creature seen? (date and time)
  • Did it have a tail? (if so, was it long?)
  • Were there any feathers?
  • Did it have a head crest?
  • About how big was the wingspan?
  • How many persons were eyewitnesses to it?
  • What did the flying creature do? (flapping wings?)

In this sighting report, much of the information was given to me by the father, who provided many details from what he learned from questioning his children, so I had fewer questions to ask. According to the three eyewitnesses, we have the following:

  1. It was in Pottstown, Pennsylvania
  2. In the first week of May, 2016, mid-afternoon
  3. It had a long tail, maybe six feet long
  4. “It did not seem to have feathers” – maybe fur
  5. It flapped its wings a bit then glided

But should the testimonies of three children be summarily dismissed because of their young ages? Definitely not in this case, for we have three children who were interviewed soon after the sighting, by a father who carefully questioned them. I feel that this father was objective in trying to determine what the children saw.

I believe that they saw a ropen, a long-tailed pterosaur, and I’ll be looking for others to come forward with what they saw flying overhead in the Pottstown, Pennsylvania, area in the first week of May.

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Pterosaur Sightings in the United States of America

On a pleasant day in June of 2012, I walked into the Sheriff station in Lakewood, California, two miles northeast of my home in Long Beach. I knew better than to tell a police officer of my concerns about the safety of family pets now that pterodactyls had invaded the community. . . .

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Duane Hodgkinson saw a "pterodactyl"

YouTube video: interview of a World War II veteran (eyewitness of a pterosaur)

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Mysterious Ropen Lights

Another report of flying lights has surfaced, this one from a wilderness area of Oregon. It seems that the mysterious lights that have been reported to fly over the Yakima River in the state of Washington—those are also seen to fly over a river in Oregon, reported by two cryptozoologists from the Portland area.

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