New Book for Children

By the investigative journalist Jonathan Whitcomb

[Updated November 14, 2018; the book was published on Nov 8th]

I wrote the nonfiction book The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur for several purposes. As a gift giver for a child or teenager, you need to know what this does and does not do and what benefits it can give to the young reader. I recommend it for readers between about the ages of eight and fourteen; for some ten-year-olds (and eleven and twelve) it will be exceptionally delightful: easy to understand yet stimulating.

This is not about dinosaurs in the usual sense but about pterosaurs, commonly called by many English-speaking Westerners “pterodactyls” or “dinosaur birds” or “flying dinosaurs.” Some people, in the past and in the present, have called them “dragons.”

It’s not about how they all died many millions of years ago or about why they all died. It’s more like a true-life adventure, getting into eyewitness testimonies from men, women, teenagers, and children, common people from two continents. This book explores what they actually saw, or at least what they tell us that they saw, and why we can learn from the many similarities in the reports: what the animals looked like, or what they’re reported to look like.

This book explores why people did not believe eyewitnesses at first and why people are beginning to believe them in recent years. Indeed, some cryptozoologists are completely convinced that many eyewitnesses have given us reports that deserve serious scientific investigation. I am one of those cryptozoologists who believe what many eyewitnesses have told me. Again, the reader can decide what to think.

Critical Thinking

Unlike almost all nonfiction books on dinosaurs and pterosaurs, this one does not indoctrinate readers into what to think. It reports what three eyewitnesses said about  flying creatures in Cuba (1965 and 1971) and compares those accounts with others: four eyewitness accounts from Los Angeles County in the 21st century and seven eyewitness accounts from Papua New Guinea.

The book explains, in simple English, the three most important points about what a person tells us and then explains the credibility of the reports mentioned:

  1. The person is telling the truth and is not mistaken
  2. The person is telling the truth but is mistaken
  3. The person is telling a lie

The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur reports human experiences. It allows the reader to decide what to believe: The final statement on the title page says, “You, the reader, decide what you want to believe.”

Please do not misunderstand what this book suggests. From the many species of pterosaurs that are now known to many scientists through fossils, it is obvious that countless species of this flying creatures have lived in the past. The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur suggests that one long-tailed species has survived and that this uncommon nocturnal animal has avoided official scientific discovery partly because it rarely appears in daylight. Unfortunately for eyewitnesses, when such an animal is reported and described, almost nobody believes it . . . until recently.

Here are brief quotations from this book for kids and teens:

From first chapter

. . . One day in 1965, a few children were walking near some tall grass in eastern Cuba. Patty was about six years old and was with her little brother. Suddenly an animal stuck its head up above the grass, about thirty feet away from Patty.

As the children looked at the animal, nobody moved. Not just the head but the upper part of the wings were showing. It looked confused, like it had just woken up and was looking around to see what was happening.

After about five seconds, the creature jumped up and flew away. It had a leathery brown coloring, with no sign of any feathers. The end of its long tail was diamond shaped.

From second chapter

Six years after Patty saw the flying “dinosaur,” a United States Marine saw two “pterodactyls” at Guantanamo Bay. Most people did not believe him. It’s not just children that have that problem, for many people believe that all of those flying creatures became extinct many millions of years ago.

. . . The two pterosaurs flew together, slowly flapping their wings. They were not far from Eskin and maybe 100 feet high. He described their wing flapping: “graceful.” He had a clear view, as they flew from the sea, going inland.

Wingspan is the distance from one wingtip to the other. Eskin thought the two pterosaurs each had a wingspan of about ten feet, but he said that it could have been as small as eight feet or as large as twelve feet. It’s hard to tell how big something is if it’s up in the air and you have never seen anything like that before.

sketch by Patty Carson: long-tailed featherless flying creature

This sketch was drawn by the eyewitness Patty Carson

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Two pterosaur sightings in Cuba

I would here be writing mostly about those interviews in 2004, except that I’ve just started a new nonfiction cryptozoology book for children: The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur. That’s why I need to concentrate on two pterosaur sightings in Cuba . . .

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People who see “flying dinosaurs” (pterosaurs)

The “flying dinosaur” of Papua New Guinea is often called ‘ropen.’ It seems to be a large Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur, far larger than any of the fossils of those long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoids known, at least into the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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Missing children and living pterosaurs

I don’t accuse all ropens for all the disappearances of children who go missing in North America. But the reported sizes of some of these flying creatures makes it possible for a small number of them to go bad in the worst way, like a few mountain lions and a few bears that we have heard of over the decades.

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Cryptozoology book on pterosaurs

Since the time of Darwin, many scientists have assumed that some general types of animals became extinct long ago. One of the assumptions is that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs died off before any humans existed.

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Children who saw a modern pterosaur

Wesley Koro, Gideon’s brother, was one of seven boys who saw the ropen fly over a crater lake on Umboi Island (about 1994).

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Pterosaur books

. . . some of the nonfiction books are entirely about these featherless flying creatures and others include cryptids of other types or even are mostly about paranormal events in general . . .

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Kids see a pterosaur in England

. . . last weekend two of my children were playing in the garden . . . around 10 a.m. [and] my son of 13 years came running in to me saying he saw a giant big brown bird with giant wings. . . .

 

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Live Pterosaurs in America – Third Edition

cryptozoology book about reports of living pterosaurs in the United States

The expanded third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America is now available on Amazon. Most of the expansion has been the addition of a critical sighting by Patty Carson, a report that supports Eskin Kuhn’s account of a long-tailed pterosaur at Guantanamo Bay in the mid-twentieth century. Here is an excerpt of this eyewitness report (from the appendix of the book):

“I was only a child when I saw it . . . around six years old. . . . We were walking from the boat yards toward home . . . There were some stagnant pools here and there, a few inches deep, in the area. . . . 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 (tips still held down) showed.

” . . . in front of us 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, in a big hurry, more of a scramble, and flew to its left and disappeared behind trees and terrain . . . The skin was a leathery, brownish reddish color. It had little [small] teeth, a LOT of them. The eye was smallish and dark . . .

“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 its haunches. It was close. It froze for a few seconds so I got a good look. . . .”

From the blog Modern Pterosaurs: (from the title page of the book)

How are sightings in the United States related to those in the southwest Pacific? How do some apparent nocturnal pterosaurs pertain to bats, and how are bats irrelevant? How could modern living pterosaurs have escaped scientific notice? These mysteries have slept in the dark, beyond the knowledge of almost all Americans, even beyond our wildest dreams (although the reality of some pterosaurs is a living nightmare to some bats). These mysteries have slept . . . until now.

Live Pterosaurs in America and Standard-Model Paleontology

This book was not intended to tear down generations of work in paleontology nor to ridicule the intelligence of paleontologists. It give more of a hint of axiomatic conflict, generations of conflict between standard models in Western society (namely Neo-Darwism and strict naturalism), but little is said about it outside the appendix, the conflict between “creationism and Dawinism.”

Cryptozoology Books

By nonfiction author Jonathan Whitcomb

Note: See the revision at the bottom of this post (“Update”)

The most recent cryptozoology book on living pterosaurs, I believe, is my second edition [now in third edition] of Live Pterosaurs in America, published November 20, 2010 [third ed. publ. Nov 2, 2011]. As far as I know, it is the only nonfiction book devoted to eyewitness reports of these creatures flying in many areas of the United States.

Title Page of LPA-2:

Reports of huge flying “pterodactyls” in American skies have floated around the internet for years; but before about 2005, details were scarce. When an eyewitness was named, the interviewer was often anonymous; even when an eyewitness was credible, and the account published in a newspaper, the story was ridiculed, discouraging others who had also seen strange flying creatures. Where could eyewitnesses go? What a predicament for them! Who would believe their reports?

Page 31 of LPA-2, Sighting in Wisconsin:

. . . a sighting I had back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I grew up on a farm and picked cucumbers to make money as a kid. . . . one late afternoon, I had just brought out the tractor to pick up the bags of cucumbers when I noticed a strange looking bird in the sky. . . . The thing that caught my eye was that it looked like something straight out of the dinosaurs era. It scared the . . . out of me right away. I knew it was not a sand hill crane, which we have a few hundred migrating thru. What stood out was the long pointed head and the fact that there was a very long tail between the legs and with a ball shaped on the end of it.

Big Bird

Ken Gerhard is an accomplished cryptozoologist and field researcher for The Centre for Fortean Zoology and The Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization , as well as a fellow of the Pangea Institute.

Amazon.com Book Description of Big Bird

A LEGEND ON LEATHER WINGS! The Indians called it the Thunderbird, a winged monster so vast that the beating of its mighty pinions sounded like thunder. But this ancient beast is not to be held in the cage of mythology. Today, from all over the dusty U.S. / Mexican border come hair-raising stories of modern day encounters with winged monsters of immense size and terrifying appearance.

Searching for Ropens (Second Edition, by Jonathan Whitcomb)

Amazon.com Book Description of Searching for Ropens

Expanded second edition: An American flight instructor, an Australian psychologist, many natives on tropical islands, an Australian couple, a Baptist minister, a teenaged farm-boy–each saw a giant living pterosaur. Each was amazed, or terrified, or shocked by a brown or dark-colored featherless creature: long-tailed and with a wingspan as great as fifty feet. Why have many Western scientists been wrong about universal extinctions? Read how standard models of macro-evolution have actually caused the problem, indoctrinating millions into believing that pterosaurs are extinct and ancient. They live now.

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 Update

 Live Pterosaurs in America is in its third edition, and Searching for Ropens and Finding God is in its fourth. To learn about those two nonfiction books and two others about modern living pterosaurs, see the post about four cryptozoology books.

 

 


Live Pterosaurs in America - third edition - by Jonathan WhitcombFrom the back cover of Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition):

Scott Norman did not believe he would see a living pterosaur, as he sat alone, taking his turn watching the night sky. A bird is what his friends had probably seen. But at 2:00 a.m., less than forty feet away, what flew over the shed was no bird. The head alone was about four feet long; the head crest, two feet long, like that of a Pteranodon.

Discover for yourself these amazing yet true stories and why they are usually absent from news headlines. Learn of the searches and research done by a few American cryptozoologists who stand up to ridicule and proclaim the truth. Why delay? Each account was scrutinized before inclusion in this nonfiction book. Each person who reads it receives something that can make life more meaningful or at least more exciting. See for yourself.

Third edition published November 2, 2011

SRP: $13.65

Written by Jonathan David Whitcomb

Flying Dinosaur Still Flies in Cuba

Gitmo Pterosaur (“Gitmo” refers to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base)

I have recently learned that Eskin Kuhn is not the only eyewitness of a large long-tailed pterosaur (Rhamphorhynchoid) at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. On May 4, 2011, I interviewed, by phone, Patty Carson, who now lives in Southern California but who witnessed a “flying dinosaur” at Guantanamo Bay, in 1965. Although she was only a child at the time, she immediately told her family about the frightening encounter, and although her family disbelieved her at the time, her testimony of the appearance of that flying creature now verifies the plausibility of Kuhn’s 1971 sighting. Patty verified that the sketch drawn by Kuhn is very similar to what she had seen in 1965.

Confirmed: Modern Pterosaurs in Cuba

The wings connect with the legs in a strange way, perhaps not exactly orthodox according to what would be proper for a fossil of a pterosaur, but the detailed sketch by the U.S. Marine Eskin Kuhn has recently be validated by another eyewitness of a modern pterosaur: a registered nurse in California, who had seen the same type of flying creature in Cuba, a few years before Kuhn’s sighting. Both encounters were in daylight, at a close distance, and at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaur

After eliminating any reasonable possibilities of hoax or misidentification, the obvious explanation for these two sightings is that a large modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur (long-tailed “flying dinosaur”) lives in the Caribbean, or at least did live in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Misidentification of a known bird, for either the 1965 or 1971 sighting, is eliminated by the many teeth observed in 1965 and the sketch drawn by Kuhn in 1971 (in addition to the noted abscence of feathers in both sightings). Misidentification of a known bat, for either 1965 or 1971, is eliminated by the huge size and long tail in both sightings.

What about one or two hoaxes? That explanation also fails upon detailed examination of the reports. Eskin Kuhn has maintained the truthfulness of his sighting for decades, even enduring ridicule from some thoughtless critics; he is not a hoaxer. Patty Carson has only recently revealed her own sighting (she has only recenly learned about Kuhn’s sighting, so she is not alone), but has told us that she was only about six years old at the time: a very unlikely detail for a hoaxer to invent.

Some critic might try to dismiss her sighting because of her young age, and the many intervening years, but she told her father (the commander at Guantanamo at the time) about the huge flying creature just minutes after the encounter, and Daddy dismissed the account immediately; if such a creature existed, an adult would have seen it (six years later an adult saw the “pterodactyl”). Youthfulness cannot be used to dismiss an experience that is shared by someone who is not so youthful.

There are now a number of online sources for more about this 1965 “flying dinosaur” sighting by Carson.

Corroboration for Kuhn Pterosaur in Cuba

I was around six years old. . . . We were walking down near the boat yards, headed home. . . . where it was sandy underfoot, sparse scrub vegetation around four feet tall . . . suddenly it sat up, as if it had been eating something or resting. . . . right in front of us 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 . . . It was as tall as a man when it stood up on it haunches.

Pterodactyl — Extinct or Alive?

“Pterosaur” is the correct name for what is called “pterodactyl,” but we will here use the common, albeit inaccurate, word. The controversay of recent years involves assumptions about extinctions (yes, the plural of “extinction,” for these magnificent feather-less flying creatures are of many species, not one). This extinction assumption itself deserves thoughtful scrutiny.

Extinction of all pterodactyls has been assumed for generations, at least in Western societies, so why doubt that these flying creatures are all extinct? Look at the history of fossil discoveries and find the answer: Early searchers and researchers assumed that the strange fossils were of animals that no longer live. Why? Those particular discoverers (few they were in numbers) had no knowledge of living creatures that were like those pterodactyl fossils.

But why believe that pterodactyls still live? It is the eyewitnesses, common persons from many countries and many cultures. Those eyewitnesses have reported large flying creatures, featherless but different from bats. Most reports are of long-tailed creatures, obviously not bats.

Let’s look at one of those eyewitnesses, Eskin Kuhn, who was a United States Marine in 1971, when he was stationed at the Guantanamo military base in Cuba. Let’s consider some of his own words.

 I was looking in the direction of the ocean when I saw an incredible sight . . .  I saw 2 Pterosaurs (or Pterodactyls…what’s in a name?) flying together at low altitude, perhaps 100 feet, very close in range . . . I had a perfectly clear view of them.

Pterodactyls have been reported alive for many generations, although they used to be called “flying dragons.” Trusting human experience more than human imagination, we must admit the possibility that at least one or two species of pterodactyls may still be living.

Kuhn’s ropen sighting in Cuba

I interviewed Eskin Kuhn by telephone early in 2010. He had no warning I would call, which helped me to judge his credibility by asking him questions on the spot. He proved himself perfectly, giving no hint of any possibility of any hoax. So what did he experience that would cause anybody to doubt him? In 1971, at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba, this U.S. Marine, in clear daylight and in close range, he saw two large long-tailed pterosaurs, each with a large head-crest. Consider his own words:

It was a beautiful, clear Summer day, hot ( but we were pretty well acclimated to that), still; most of the platoon was in the new barracks “hanging out”. I was looking in the direction of the ocean when I saw an incredible sight. It mesmerized me!

 I saw 2 Pterosaurs (or Pterodactyls…what’s in a name?) flying together at low altitude, perhaps 100 feet, very close in range from where I was standing, so that I had a perfectly clear view of them.

The rythym of their large wings was very graceful, slow ; and yet they were flying and not merely gliding, like turkey vultures do here in Ohio.

How fortunate that Eskin was a talented artist, for soon after his sighting he sketched what he had seen:

Are reports of living pterosaurs anecdotes?

“A short account of a particular incident”—that is one definition of “anecdote.” But the connotation includes more than “short,” for “anecdote” is the word more appropriate when an event is witnessed by only one or a few and the report is second hand at best. Regarding eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs, I have found that “anecdote” has been eliminated as a valid word for some of the reports. Consider what some critics have said and observe how the word is proven inappropriate. Those critics’ dismissals are themselves dismissed.

Things that eliminate the appropriateness of “anecdote”

  1. A written account was recorded by the eyewitness soon afterwards
  2. A sketch was drawn by the eyewitness soon afterwards
  3. An investigator or researcher examined the first-hand eyewitness testimony and wrote about it, quoting the eyewitness

Other things make “anecdote” less appropriate, for example, when two or more eyewitnesses describe the same thing, with details of similarity recorded. But any one of the above three points eliminates the appropriateness of the word “anecdote.” Consider some examples.

A critic of the report by Eskin Kuhn (two pterosaurs in Cuba)

In part, the critic said in his blog, “I had been planning on writing a post called ‘Thoughts on Eskin Kuhn’s Pterosaur Sighting’ . . . an American soldier named Eskin Kuhn saw a pterosaur while stationed in Cuba. The claim is a hoax. I no longer have the patience for dealing with creationist-related debunkings and I have no intention of actually writing up one for this topic.”

The problem with that short blog posting soon became obvious, for the writer used the name of a real person and wrote “The claim is a hoax,” without any explanation except that the eyewitness report is supposed (according to him, apparently) to be supported by persons labeled “creationists.” (His meaning of “debunkings” is unclear, unless he means that creationists attemp to debunk ideas contrary to Biblical Creation.)  The eyewitness himself replied to the blog, with no uncertain disdain for the one who tied his name to the word “hoax.”

The critic replied, “Relax, bro, I said I was not going to do a debunking of your alleged sighting. Anyway, obtain a specimen and you’ll convert me to belief in living pterosaurs lickety split. Until then, all you have is an unlikely anecdote.”

The critic tried to step away from his previous stand about a hoax. How? By trying to shove onto the shoulders of the Marine the responsibility of making what could be one of the most dramatic biological discoveries in history: Obtain the body of a modern pterosaur and prove its authenticity to the world.

That critic has written many postings, apparently (I’ve read only a little of very few of them), but has he any inkling of the implications of his position? He makes no personal claim of any earth-shaking scientific discovery. Does that mean we can dismiss his words? Are all of his postings of no account, because his has not astonished the world with a scientific discovery? But I’m getting off topic.

That critic labeled the eyewitness report of Eskin Kuhn “an unlikely anecdote.” But the link that he gives in his original posting is to a site with at least twenty-nine short paragraphs about the sighting; that alone makes the word “anecdote” questionable. And all of those paragraphs were quotations of the eyewitness, Eskin Kuhn; that shoots down the word “anecdote.” And Kuhn drew a detailed sketch of the two pterosaurs soon after the sighting; that buries the word “anecdote.” I interviewed Kuhn, verifying his credibility, sealing the tomb on the word “anecdote.” And both his sketch and his words have been compared with other eyewitness sighting reports, obliterating any evidence for the burial location of that word.

See also: pterosaur sighting by Eskin Kuhn

And: Pterodactyl in Cuba

And: Marine Sees Two Pterosaurs at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Sketch by Eskin Kuhn