Credibility of a Photo of a Modern Pterosaur

By the living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb (started this post about Jan 13, 2017)

Introduction

By about 2006, at least one or two skeptics had criticized our investigations with words that included this:

If it’s big and flies then it must be a pterosaur

Yet even when my associates and I were beginning our research, even before our two ropen expeditions in 2004, we were acting from a larger set of eyewitness reports than a typical skeptic would have imagined. Whatever bias we may have had many years ago, the skeptics’ declarations about it were greatly exaggerated.

Please bear with me, for this introduction is essential to understanding the value of photographic evidence for modern living pterosaurs. The credibility of an individual piece of evidence is one thing; overall credibility is something else. We’ll get to a photo of a non-extinct pterosaur soon enough.

After my Umboi Island expedition, I returned from Papua New Guinea with a determination to publicize what I had learned from the native eyewitnesses. I had always disbelieved in Darwin’s philosophy that life originated from evolution, yet my own perspective on eyewitness testimonies of apparent living pterosaurs—that did gradually evolve a bit. But that particular limited evolution was not toward overall doubt or belief: It was partly an increased awareness that I did not need to come any firm conclusion with every sighting report. I became completely convinced that some pterosaurs are still living on this planet, regardless of the credibility issues with new eyewitness reports.

I came to see the difference between the credibility of one eyewitness report and the overall evidence from all the reports. Early in 2013, I finished compiling much data from some of the more-credible sighting reports up until the end of 2012. Each eyewitness account I judged to be more than 50% likely to have come from an actual encounter with a modern pterosaur. That’s when I came to understand why I had become so firmly convinced of the reality of non-extinct pterosaurs: Those were 128 reports. Using my judgment that each report was more likely than not to have come from a valid sighting, the overall case was overwhelming. From a statistical perspective, it was practically impossible that none of those 128 sighting reports were from an actual living pterosaur. It’s basic math.

I know that a skeptic may attack my judgment regarding the value of individual reports. But this is cryptozoology, after all, not a biologist stooped over a laboratory table, measuring the wing of a recently-deceased Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

No matter how a skeptic may feel about it, I am one of the world’s leading experts on sighting reports of apparent pterosaurs. A skeptic may assume, consciously or not, that he or she is objective while ridiculing me, but I am the expert here. Along with all the skeptics, I am human. Yet I have spent over 10,000 hours, in the course of over thirteen years, investigating this controversial subject, with eyewitness reports coming to me from five continents, mostly in emails but with some significant phone conversations and face-to-face interviews.

With all that said, it’s now time for a photo.

A known hoax-photo: non-pterosaur

Let’s begin with what we know, practically for sure. The following image is from a television production, a staged performance that has been said to be an imitation of another, possibly much older, photograph.

fabricated photo - Civil War reinactment

A staged performance, NOT actual Civil War soldiers

Once we know that the men shown above are actors, it easier to see that the thing at their feet is not actually a dead animal but a cheap imitation of one. Details about the television-show episode have little relevance here, but the production decisions that caused this particular staging—that can be important: This appears to be an imitation of an older photograph. I may go into details in another post.

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possibly genuine photo of a 19th-century pterosaur

Photo of a possible 19th-century Pteranodon (although maybe labeled “monster”)

Until four years ago, I had mostly avoided using the “Pteranodon photo” in my writings. Part of my reluctance was in thinking that it appeared too good to be true: After all, for this to be genuine, it would have to have been around since about the middle of the 19th century. Most people in the United States appeared to still believe in ancient dinosaur extinctions, and pterodactyls are thought of as flying dinosaurs. If we got through all the 20th century still believing that way, despite this old photo, then how could this image be what it appears to be? How could it be genuine?

Then I started looking deeper, and guess what: The “Pteranodon photo” is actually far more credible as evidence for modern pterosaurs than we had assumed. It really does deserve a closer examination.

Skeptical Look at the “Civil War Soldiers and Flying Monster” Photograph

One skeptic mentioned a man who pointed out three evidences that this was manipulated using Photoshop. One big problem jumps out here: Some persons report that they remember seeing this photo in the 1960’s or 1970’s. That was long before anything like Photoshop existed.

But it’s the first “red flag” that especially caught my attention:

“. . . the lack of fingers grasping the rifle held by one alleged soldier” [spelling corrected]

Woops! That detail (appearing on the surface to damage the photo’s credibility) actually might shoot down all three of the red flags, indirectly strengthening the case for the authenticity of this photo. The skeptic accidentally shot himself in the foot.

If anyone wanted to create a realistic hoax, for whatever reason, that appeared to be a photograph of a modern pterosaur, what would be needed? Create a realistic-looking pterosaur. The people standing around a recently-deceased pterodactyl—they would be far less important, hardly worth any trouble.

Why would anyone paste an image of a rifle onto a photograph of Civil War soldiers? Those guys already had rifles. Look at the whole picture, noticing the six soldiers holding rifles. It shows eight hands grasping those six rifles. What is the best explanation for that one hand that apparently has no fingers in front of the rifle? Take your pick, but it’s definitely not from anybody trying to create a fake pterosaur.

Notice that this hand is by far the closest (of those eight hands) to an edge of the photo. Maybe the development process had not become completed near that edge. Maybe better photographic development would have allowed those fingers to show up. But we have other possible explanations.

Is it hard to imagine that one out of eight hands holding rifles would actually have no fingers going around a rifle? Maybe one soldier had a blister on one hand.

A skeptic has pointed to those missing fingers as if evidence that the whole photograph is a hoax. If it proves anything, it is more likely the opposite. But coming to a knowledge of the truth sometimes requires digging into the details, using “the little grey cells.”

Look again at the soldier on the far left. Why would any man hold his arm out like that, as if he had a rifle, if he did not have a rifle? It doesn’t matter if he’s a real Civil War soldier or an actor imitating one. The man obviously had a gun when the photo was taken, regardless of where he put his fingers.

The skeptic said that this apparent Civil War photograph had multiple red flags indicating the “almost certain work of photoshop.” The first “red flag” is that hand that does not show any fingers. Now consider why a person would manipulate a photograph in such a way that those fingers would accidentally go missing. The obvious purpose would be this: to remove those fingers from a genuine photo so that it could be made to look like a hoax photo.

The implication we get from the skeptic who mentioned that “red flag” is this: that the fingers were in an original photo but Photoshop manipulating accidentally made those fingers disappear. How does that work? Pasting a rifle onto the image. Why would the careless Photoshop hoaxer ever paste a rifle onto a photograph that had a man holding out his arm? Because a rifle was missing and needed to be put there artificially. And that brings us back to the critical question: Why would any soldier ever put his hand out to his side and only pretend that he was holding a rifle?

When the impossible has been eliminated, what is left, however improbable, is the truth. What appears at a casual glance to be damning evidence of a fraud is, in reality, evidence of shallow thinking, and the most impressive case against the authenticity of this photograph of an apparent Pteranodon—that skeptic’s case—falls apart.

Those men, appearing very much like Civil War soldiers, and their rifles—those are genuine, with no significant doubt. But it brings up something else, a double-agent sort of counter-hoax possibility.

If Photoshop was used to tamper with this photo, it was most likely done to make the genuine photo look like is was tampered with. In other words, a genuine photo was messed with in a way to allow a person to “disprove” it by showing that Photoshop was used. I am not saying this is what happened, but it shows how weak is the skeptic’s “red flag” and that he should have thought about this more carefully. If he continues to insist that Photoshop was used with those missing fingers, then he may find himself becoming a suspect in a different kind of hoax: Messing with a genuine photo of a modern pterosaur to try to deceive people into disbelieving the photo.

So how does shooting down the first of three “red flags” shoot down the other two? The first shell was explosive, not blowing off human fingers but decimating the credibility of the skeptic. The other two “red flags” have their own problems, but that has been covered in one or two of my previous posts.

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Pterosaur Sightings and Photos of . . . Whatever

A critical support for the concept of modern living pterosaurs is the accumulation of sighting reports of those flying creatures. Direct eyewitness testimony of a pterosaur sighting is essential, even if we have to wait many years for photographic evidence.

Pterosaurs Alive

The account in the book continues, “I know what it was. It wasn’t a heron; it wasn’t a vulture; it wasn’t an albatross.” The eyewitness was shocked to see that the creature had both a head crest (common in Pterodactyloids) and a long tail with a “diamond tip” (common in Rhamphorhynchoids).

Ropen Sightings

  • The Big Picture of Modern Pterosaurs
  • Reply to Misidentification Conjectures
  • Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaurs and Ropens
  • Ropens in Western USA
  • Big Flying Creature in Utah
  • Recent Ropen Sightings
  • Non-Ropen Pterosaur Sighting in Papua New Guinea
  • Van Meter Flying Creature

The Fiery Flying Serpent and Living Pterosaurs

. . . How does all that relate to “The fiery flying serpent and the geologic column?” It’s the dogmatic assertion that all species of pterosaurs should have become extinct many millions of years ago. If the problem were with only one paleontologist, I would not delve into the matter. But the problem is much deeper.

Introduction to Living Pterosaurs

Jonathan Whitcomb introduces basic concepts in living-pterosaur investigations

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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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Dinosaur Fossils Dated With Carbon-14

Direct Radiometric Dating of Dinosaur Bones

Dinosaurs and pterosaurs, we have long been taught, became extinct many millions of years ago . . . or did they? The discovery that bones from an Acrocanthosaurus and a Triceratops, not to mention several other types, were alive and part of living dinosaurs only tens of thousands of years ago—that astonishing discovery was met with immediate . . . censorship.

The carbon-14 dating research (C-14 or radiocarbon dating) was done over a period of years, with many samples from bones of several types, including:

Allosaurus (excavated in Colorado)

Hadrosaurus (Alaska and Montana)

Apatosaurus (Colorado)

Acrocanthosaurus (Texas)

Triceratops (Montana)

Blatant Censor Instead of Correction

If some scientist giving a lecture in a science conference makes a mistake, why not correct that mistake? Conference leaders may add an addendum to the official website, after the oral presentations are completed, with details about why the conclusions of that speaker may have been in error. Specific details can be included in that addendum, with future responses possible for the one who gave the lecture and was later corrected. Open discussion, with details, makes for an atmosphere where the truth may come into open view.

So why did two chairmen of the 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore delete one of the oral-presentation reports from their official website? They gave no warning to the Paleochronology group. The whole report was just deleted from public view, with no online explanation.

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scientific conference report censored

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Notice the absence of report number five in the above image from the official conference web site. The Paleochronology group asked for an explanation; they were given the following:

blunt explanation for censorship

Notice this: “There is obviously an error in these data.” So where is the error and what exactly is that error? No explanation is given by these two chairmen. Science, meaning real science, thrives in details. The details given in the conference lecture itself included explanations for how contamination was avoided in the bone samples sent to the carbon-14 testing laboratory and much more.

Raw censorship in this deletion of an abstract—that deserves an investigation. Here are some clues for why the report was censored (unfortunately no pterosaur fossils were tested, only dinosaurs):

Carbon-14 Dating Results for Dinosaurs (BP=before present)

Acrocanthosaurus (Texas, five samples): 23,760 to 32,400+ years BP

Allosaurus (Colorado, one sample): 31,360 years BP (+/- 100 years)

Apatosaurus (Colorado, one sample): 38,250 years BP (+/- 160 years)

Hadrosaurus #1 (Alaska, two samples): 31,050 to 36,480 years BP

Hadrosaurus #2 (Montana, five samples): 22,380 to 25,670 years BP

Hadrosaurus #3 (Colorado, one sample): 37,660 years BP (+/- 160)

Triceratops #1 (Montana, three samples): 24,340 to 33,830 years BP

Triceratops #2 (Montana, two samples): 30,110 to 39,230 years BP

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Typical error potential listed for the above C-14 testing is only a few centuries but sometimes even less than one century. Notice how greatly the above data vary from the millions-of-years figures commonly proclaimed in Western media and textbooks.

Radiocarbon dating of dinosaur fossils has generally not been done until recent years, for the great majority of scientists had assumed such testing would be pointless. Carbon-14 should not exist in dinosaur bones, for it should have decayed away millions of years ago. But that idea comes from the assumption that those creatures actually lived millions of years ago, an assumption now challenged by other scientists.

Those astonishing data give a clue why the research report was censored: It was revolutionary in a way that those two chairmen did not like.

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dinosaur with mouth openDinosaurs have been carbon-14 dated to much more recently

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Carbon-14 Dating and Dinosaurs

Radiocarbon dating is the most accurate and most verifiable of the radiometric dating systems. . . . Sad to report: Because so many paleontologists have so long assumed that all dinosaurs became extinct many million years old, the abstract of the report by the Paleochronology group was censured, deleted from the conference website because they did not like to consider such an apparently revolutionary discovery.

Radiometric Dating of Recent Dinosaur Bones—Censored

It now appears obvious that both kinds of animals [dinosaurs and pterosaurs] lived together much more recently, although two supposedly scientific authorities have censored this discovery, in my opinion, preventing public viewing. Decide for yourself if this is a case of censorship.

Radiocarbon Dating of Dinosaur Fossils

Carbon-14 dating was recently performed on dinosaur fossils,1 and the results were presented at the Western Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, August 2012, a gathering of approximately two thousand scientists. . . . Compared to the conventional theory of dinosaurs’ being at minimum 65 million years old, the time it would take soft tissue to degrade and the < 50,000 year ages reported from carbon-14 dating are less than 1 tenth of 1 percent of the expected age for the dinosaur fossils.

Radiocarbon Dating Acrocanthosaurus and Triceratops

Radiocarbon dating is the most accurate, most studied, most verified of all the radiometric dating schemes. One of the chief reasons for this is that absolute dates for carbon material can be absolutely independently verified for certain parts of its useful range.

Dinosaur Bones Have Radiocarbon (C-14)

. . . they gave 14C [carbon-14] dating results from many bone samples from eight dinosaur specimens. All gave dates ranging from 22,000 to 39,000 years . . . But if dinosaurs really were millions of years old, there should not be one atom of 14C left in them.

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Missing Children Found in Caves

First, if you have any information on any unusual flying creature observed in or near a cave, please contact me, Jonathan Whitcomb, at:

Contact Whitcomb by email

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Bracken-Cave-Texas

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.

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Mist Used in Attacks on Humans?

. . . 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.

Missing Persons in USA

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.

Can Ropens Hide in Caves?

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?

Pterodactyl Attacks in Yosemite?

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.

Nonfiction books by Jonathan Whitcomb

Books like the cryptozoology genre Live Pterosaurs in American and the cross-genre Searching for Ropens and Finding God

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Missing Persons in USA

This is only a preliminary investigation of a few of the more-mysterious disappearances of men, women and children in the United States. 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. I hope to have more details to report within the next few weeks or months.

Direct Eyewitness Accounts That Suggest Potential Attacks

From a comment on a page of cryptomundo.com in 2006:

Hairless and featherless, grey to almost slightly pinkish in skin colour, a ‘flock’ of these 20-foot+ wingspanned ‘birds’ came in high over their sailing vessel around the same time each evening for several days. [in the Pacific, in the Samoan Islands region]

These screaming furies would circle lower and lower and then make strafing runs low over the hull of their vessel. My friends had to retreat with their children into the cabin for protection when these frightening squadrons came over. They called them pterodactyls . . .

Well, that may sound like reports of giant flying creatures carrying off children and adults in Papua New Guinea: maybe third-hand accounts from faraway tropical islands. But we do have some direct eyewitness accounts that suggest at least a few modern pterosaurs can appear threatening to humans in the USA. Consider two of them.

From a lady in Rhode Island, I got an email in 2004:

I have seen a pteradactyl in my backyard. . . . It was a cold night, and I heard a loud whooshing noise  moving in the air to my right. I saw a huge pteradactyl. It circled my house six times, and once it turned its head and looked at me. By the sixth time it was somewhat lower; it definitely was interested in me . . . I can’t believe more people don’t report seeing them.

That sounds subjective, regarding any possibility of an attack, for the creature did not actually attack the lady, but there’s more.

Two years ago, a lady sent me an email about her sighting years earlier. Our email interviews became extensive and I concluded that the flying creature she had seen was in an attack dive when it had second thoughts. That young lady was standing waist-deep in a small pond at night, and the apparent pterosaur probably thought it an unnecessary risk to continue the attack, without knowing the size of what was partially in and only partially out of the water. The flying creature hovered for a short while and then flew away, although that hovering seemed almost like an eternity to that young lady. Here are some of her words about her encounter one summer, late in the 20th century:

It came from the direction of the moon and, as we had no flashlights or any light source, all I saw was its silhouette.  I could see it was big even before it was close.  It seemed like it crossed a great distance with only a few flaps of its wings and mostly glided but it came very fast. I have not before nor since ever been so petrified in my life. . . .

I felt incapable of moving my legs.  I just stood there, facing it until it literally got about 20 to 30 feet away and it “stopped” and hovered mid-air. . . .

The wings were somewhere between 15 and 20 feet wide and they covered the entire opening to the U-shaped inlet when they were open.  The wings were bat shaped without feathers, the head’s silhouette looked like a point (again, could not see facial features as it had the moon behind it) like a head crest but what I was looking at more than anything else was its large, sharp talons. . . .

Well, maybe that creature heard the splashing in that pond and assumed, at first, it may have been a raccoon or something; maybe that huge flying thing would never harm a human. But circumstantial evidence points to something more sinister in large flying creatures in general, and right here in the United States. Take a peak at what little I have found on this so far.

Strange Missing-Persons Cases

David Paulides has investigated some of the strangest cases of human disappearance, especially in national parks of the USA. Sometimes a person is never found; sometimes the person’s body is found under strange circumstances; sometimes a person is found alive but in a strange place.

I do not imply that all or even most of the cases in his book relate to attacks from ropens or any other kind of pterosaur. At least a few of them, however, do look like that, and common or even uncommon alternative conjectures fall flat compared with a ropen-attack explanation.

Looking through the glasses of Sherlock Holmes, what would law enforcement professionals be expected to find if they were open to large ropens attacking people and carrying them away?

  • Unlike deer and other potential prey for large pterosaurs, humans wear clothing. If people are being carried away by huge flying creatures, we would expect that some missing persons would never be found and if clothing were found then it might be one shoe or a pair of pants that was inside out or with one pant-leg inside out. Why? A creature would occasionally grab a foot, eventually allowing the human to fall out of a shoe, or claws would grab the upper part of the pants, eventually causing the pants to go inside out as the person fell away.

Well, that’s what searchers find sometimes, one shoe or one piece of clothing that is inside out, including at least one pair of pants that had one pant-leg inside out. With that said, it may be more common for the pants to be completely inside out; we need more information.

  • We would also expect that some missing persons would be found at a much higher elevation than where they were lost. Whether the person was alive or dead when found, he/she would probably be carried away to a higher elevation for the ropen (or other huge flying creature) to feast. Clothing makes a few escapes possible, allowing a very few persons to survive and be found, although they would not always be still alive when found by searchers.

Well, a significant number of found persons turn up much too far away from where they went missing, often at a much higher elevation.

  • If people were simply wandering away, and no huge flying creatures were ever involved, children would be found closer than adults and toddlers would be found even closer to where they were lost. That is not what happens with these really strange cases.

Toddlers, older children, and adults are all found far from where they were lost. Even little kids two-to-four years old are found miles away, sometimes with a mountain separating the found-location from the originally-lost-location. Unfortunately not all of them are found alive.

  • We would expect tracking dogs to stop at where the person was carried away into the air.

Well, tracking dogs do stop following the scent suddenly, and multiple teams of multiple tracking dogs have the same problem.

I hope to have more information and even some statistics, as this investigation continues.

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Attacks From a Ropen in New Mexico?

Some kind of predator was probably involved in at least two of those cases, someone or something dangerous residing in that part of New Mexico.

Nita Mayo and Patricia Tolhurst

 I now approach a painful problem in our American society: missing persons. I really want to help in any way that I can, but I also need help in tying together two disjointed concepts, if they can honestly and objectively be tied together. I don’t know how to proceed without speculating, so let’s just jump in.

Papua New Guinea Ropen Attack

On the northeast coast of Umboi, in 1993, she saw the glowing tail (little else was visible) approach the funeral procession; apparently the creature had smelled the body. After the mourners banged pots and yelled at the ropen, it flew away.

Human Deaths From “Pterodactyl” Attacks

I hope that no pterosaur was responsible for any of the human deaths in British Columbia, Canada, along the 500-mile stretch of highway from Prince George to Prince Rupert, but I also hope that all attacks from irresponsible humans, against innocent human victims, will cease, and that this world will become a paradise in which death itself will cease. Notwithstanding all our hopes for the future, however, we now face a present danger, a warning from Gerald McIsaac, author of Bird From Hell, who believes that “most of the hitchhikers [on this highway at night] who disappear have been killed by this animal. It is also my opinion that many of the people who have disappeared have not been reported.”

New Book on Living Pterosaurs

It looked like a dead pterodactyl: not fossil bones but with skin, like it had died recently. Could those creatures, non-extinct, still fly? Although I could not verify the photo was genuine, the idea within that image in a soon-forgotten book would be awakened four decades later . . .

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4th edition, front cover: Searching for Ropens and Finding God

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – fourth edition

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Ropen-Pterosaur in Oregon and Washington?

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.

The undisclosed river in Oregon is near caves and the two eyewitnesses also saw the flying lights enter and/or exit one or more of the caves. Since the ropen-like lights appear similar to what were previously observed on a river to the north, in Washington, the following is relevant, taken from the fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

On August 6, 2014, I interviewed Milt Marcy and Peter Beach on the bank of the Yakima River in Washington state. I knew, when we arrived for the interview, about the flying light that they had witnessed one night and the apparent pterosaur that another man had encountered in daylight; I had not known that the flying light came up out of the same tree where the other man had seen the flying creature. That was a pleasant surprise, for it strengthens the case that a species of ropen lives in the northwestern United States.

A man, on two separate mornings (about 5:00-6:00 a.m.), saw what looked like a “pterodactyl” perched on a limb of a tree on the bank of the river. He reported it to his friend Shawn who contacted Milt Marcy and Peter Beach, who then interviewed the eyewitness and Shawn.

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two cryptooologists in Washington state

Peter Beach and Milt Marcy at the Yakima River in Washington state

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Ropen Lights in North America

With many sighting reports of flying lights in the United States and Mexico, a direct connection with possible living pterosaurs is only indirect. The sightings of an apparent “pterodactyl”near the Yakima River in Washington, however, makes a connection. Consider the following, taken from another nonfiction book, the third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America:

We now have evidence for rare nocturnal bioluminescent flying creatures in the United States; nevertheless, because form or features are rarely reported, and locations are widely separated (with local residents being mostly ignorant of similar lights outside their locality), the flying lights have been given various labels and explanations. . . .

A flying bioluminescent thing can escape notice, unseen or mistaken for a meteor, but I received an email from a person I call “DU.” He did notice.

“I and two other people had an extremely interesting experience fishing at night along a river. I will not tell you the exact location . . . at least not yet, because it is a remote portion of the mid-U.S. and I want it to stay that way. It happened Aug 21, 2008 . . . midnight.

“. . . we all three saw a small creature that was flying very fast . . . but the catch was it was glowing off and on, off and on (otherwise we would have never seen it). It darted around much like a bat, but was faster than any bat I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen swallows dive as fast as it, but the object wasn’t diving but rather moving horizontally across the tops of the river bank trees and out along the middle of the river.

“The glowing portion of the object was only [6-8 inches], but it must have had wings too. It came within 30 ft from us and was probably only 20 ft off the [water’s] surface. . . . The on-off cycle lasted around 3-4 seconds and would start up again after the same amount of time not glowing. We could not make out a definite shape of the thing, because it was pitch black outside. . . .”

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Ropens Hiding in Caves

Last month, I learned about multi-eyewitness sightings of flying lights in the northwestern United States, lights that the observers believe are bioluminescent pterosaurs, possibly ropens. . . . My associates and I believe that most, if not all, ropens are nocturnal. They are uncommon, if not rare, and are rarely reported in Western countries like the United States, for a living pterosaur contradicts generations of universal-extinction indoctrination.

Flying Dinosaurs in Papua New Guinea

Do you believe in the possibility that long-tailed featherless flying creatures, much larger than any fruit bat, live in the jungles of Papua New Guinea? Your belief depends a great deal on where you lived your childhood: in a village like Gomlongon on Umboi Island or in a western country like the United States.

Ropen appear to live in Washington state

My wife and I were coming back from . . . Skamania Lodge on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.  At the time we lived in the Portland Oregon area, and we were driving back west on I-84 to get home. . . .

” . . . coming left to right across the highway about 100 yards (give or take) in front of us came the most odd looking thing I have ever seen flying.  My wife and I both immediately said “what was that?” . . . probably only about 30 feet or so off the ground, and we only had about two seconds of visual on it, because it came swooping over the trees on the left side of the highway . . .

It had a longer neck, crested head, big curved wings that connected at the back of the body, and a long tail.  Out of all those things the tail is what really stood out to me.  The tail was longer then the animals whole body from tip of head to base of tail. . . .

Biology Professors and Living Pterosaurs

The biology professor who is a critic of reports of modern pterosaurs made it clear: “The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.” I will not mention his name here (nor link to his page), but the post in question, on his personal blog, was dated August 17,2014, and titled, “There are no living pterosaurs, and ‘ropen’ is a stupid fantasy.”

One of the web pages that caught this professor’s attention was my post “Bioluminescent Pterosaurs in Southwest Washington State.” We need to be clear about the differences between two professors, for Peter Beach has also taught biology but he has no doubt that modern pterosaurs live in the state of Washington and elsewhere.

Critic who Teaches Biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris

  • Is upset about the many web pages written by Jonathan Whitcomb
  • Proclaims himself an athiest
  • Has written a blog post very critical of Whitcomb’s writings
  • Teaches at the University of Minnesota, Morris

Peter Beach

  • Supports the modern-pterosaur idea shared by Whitcomb
  • Believes in the Bible and in a Divine creation
  • Wrote the foreword in the first edition of my book Searching for Ropens
  • Used to teach biology at a local college (He lives near Portland, OR)

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Peter Beach explains flying light by Yakima River

Peter Beach interviewed at sighting location in southeast Washington state

Scientific Approach or Name Calling?

I would not label the online publishing of ideas by those with whom I disagree “dropping turds.” I never dreamed a biology professor would do that. Since one professor of biology (NOT Professor Beach), has referred to my online writings with that label, I will respond: Reason on ideas, if you would attract wise readers (feces attract flies and dung beetles, as most biologists will tell you). I am grateful that Professor Peter Beach is infinitely more kind than that other professor of biology.

From the first two pages of the introduction in the third edition of my Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

Responding to a strange idea by negatively labeling its advocate—that can blind us or at least blur the border between truth and error, even if our concept is better. When in human history has one person always been wrong? And when one pearl is found in the mud of an old oyster bed, expect another.

. . . If each of us listens more thoughtfully to those with whom we have disagreed in the past, what an accomplishment! This is not a “how to win friends” book, yet I will continue to keep that concept in mind as I write; please keep it in mind as you read. Each of us needs to listen—to learn to listen much better, for some of us.

The living-pterosaur critic did some searching online, apparently, and said, “There isn’t any evidence. There’s just one fanatic.” He then pointed out that many of the web pages were written by me. He might have hit closer to the target if he had said “one fanatic writer,” however, for although I seem to have written far more on this subject than anyone else, as an investigator of living-pterosaur sightings I am hardly alone.

I have several associates, including Professor Peter Beach and Milt Marcy, who fully agree with the concept of modern living pterosaurs. In addition, we have several American explorers who have searched remote jungles in Papua New Guinea, looking for those elusive nocturnal flying creatures. Yet we have much more: countless eyewitnesses, from around the world, who have seen these wonderful animals. I have estimated that between 7 million and 128 million persons now living, at some time in their lives and somewhere on this planet, have seen a living pterosaur. Call me a “fanatic,” if you like, but I have explained those number on pages 304-305 of my book Searching for Ropens and Finding God. Regardless of how some persons label me, and regardless of how critics may cry out that I have exaggerated with “between 7 million and 128 million,” I am not alone.

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No “Ropen Myth” in Washington State

. . . it was in the late morning . . . [in late May of 2010].  My wife and I were coming back from . . . on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.  At the time we lived in the Portland Oregon area, and we were driving back west on I-84 to get home.

. . . coming left to right across the highway about 100 yards (give or take) in front of us came the most odd looking thing I have ever seen flying.  My wife and I both immediately said “what was that?”   It was flying pretty low to the ground probably only about 30 feet or so off the ground, and we only had about 2 seconds of visual on it . . .

It had a longer neck, crested head, big curved wings that connected at the back of the body, and a long tail.  Out of all those things the tail is what really stood out to me.  The tail was longer then the animals whole body from tip of head to base of tail. . . .

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