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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When a Child is the Eyewitness

We have eyewitness sighting reports from around the world, from encounters with apparent living pterosaurs, for many years. Some of those eyewitnesses were not adults but children. It’s not surprising, considering how many often a child enjoys playing outside while adults are indoors. But what do we do with those sighting reports.

I’ll tell you. I treat them the same way I treat reports from adults. I record details and publicize them along with other reports. Are children less dependable? What difference does it make, for many of the reports are given to me by adults who were children when the sighting occurred. How rare are the children who contact me while they are still kids!

Pterosaur Sighting in Oklahoma

From the third edition of the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America:

. . . about 1985 . . . in Woodward, Oklahoma, near a small river, at about noon, a fourteen-year-old became terrified at the sight of a pterosaur-like creature.

“I was walking to the small river where I usually caught carp fish. . . . a large animal took off into the air. . . . it was a dinosaur. I went to my knees so that it would not see me. I was afraid it would eat me. I stared at the back part of the head because it was exactly like the ones depicted in books. . . . had a long neck and wide wings just like in the movies or in books. It had no feathers and it was flying around and looking downwards into the fields. . . .”

From the second edition of the nonfiction Searching for Ropens:

. . . an old man [in Papua New Guinea] . . . described how, before wooden coffins became popular, the deceased were wrapped in leaves. One night, after a burial, the ropen approached, glowing brightly; the villagers tried to stay awake to protect the grave, but the ropen stayed awake longer: In the morning, the grave was empty. . . . he was a small boy when the creature robbed the grave.

Other examples could be given for sightings in which the eyewitness was a child, but I’ll let this suffice for now. Credibility is not actually much harmed by the age of the one encountering the apparent pterosaur, for the details in the descriptions are generally similar to what is told to us by eyewitnesses who were adults during at the time.

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Pterosaur Sighting in North Carolina

The eyewitness also reported what appeared to be two legs that were held out behind the creature and a long tail that had “a spade at the end.” Perhaps the most critical factor in the observation was that the legs were separate from the long tail that had a structure at its end, for that suggests a non-extinct Rhamphorhynchus-type pterosaur.

Child Care

They are licensed by the state of California, so laws and  principles of safety and security are observed and practiced.

“Marfa Lights Hunting”

I hope the scientist James Bunnell, author of Hunting Marfa Lights, takes no offense; I could not resist the play on words “Marfa Lights Hunting.” Mr. Bunnell’s nonfiction book on his years of investigating those strange phenomena in southwest Texas—that book, which I highly recommend, deserves notice here:

Results of an Eight-Year Investigation

This is, to date, the only long-term, extensive study of these phenomena. Reports of unusual lights east of Marfa extend back to the 1800s. . . . the author finds that while most of the observed lights in this area can be explained, about 3 percent are truly mysterious and of unknown origin. In addition to frequent on-site observations and photography, the author installed three automated monitoring stations equipped with a total of nine cameras, to collect nightly video records.

Be aware that Mr. Bunnell’s book says almost nothing about the possibility of bioluminescent flying predators except a brief mention of research into barn owls, and he rejects that idea, the suggestion that birds are behind the flying lights. I agree with Bunnell in the specific Tyto alba sense but disagree with him on the general concept of flying predators.

Communicating with Bunnell

I communicated with Mr. Bunnell early in 2010, by emails, telling him about my ideas about nocturnal bioluminescent flying predators that intelligently hunt bats in southwest Texas. He appreciated my hypothesis but said, “Your concept, interesting as it may be, does not fit my collected observations.”

The following are problems that Mr. Bunnell found in my hypothesis that a group of bioluminescent flying predators are hunting bats:

  1. “ML-IIs are also common and sometimes transition into the ML-IIIs”
  2. “I have observed ML-IIs stay in one spot, pulsing on and off for as much as seven hours”
  3. One ML-II grew to an enormous size. It lit up clouds “to an extent similar to the amount of cloud illumination caused by the city of Alpine when viewed from the same distance with overhead clouds at a similar height” (June 3, 2005). Bunnell estimated the size at probably more than one hundred meters in diameter.

Answering the Objections

The first “problem” appears to me to be irrelevant to the overall concept of flying predators, for the only difference between ML-II and ML-III is that the first stays in one place and the second travels. Sometimes an animal stays in one place and sometimes it travels. There’s no real problem with the biological interpretation in general, only, perhaps, in regard to one form of bat-hunting.

The second problem is also irrelevant to the key concept, for an animal may stay in one place for as long as seven hours. One example is sufficient here: a juvenile ropen may wait in one place for many hours, while its parents are hunting for food. That juvenile may turn on its glow periodically so that the parents can find it.

The third problem is interesting but appears to be based on only instance. Nevertheless, it can be answered. A large group of the flying predators may, on rare occasions, engage in courting that involves competition. Many of the adults may gather to prove who has the brightest glow, who is more fit to breed. This may cause an appearance, at a distance, of a very large glowing structure, even perhaps over one hundred meters in diameter. What may be occurring, if a human could get closer to observe better, is that there are many bioluminescent flying creatures displaying their best and brightest potential, and they have gathered in a group, albeit separated enough that they cover a wide area of land, even over a hundred meters in diameter.

Summary

James Bunnell has made great contributions to our knowledge of many details about the most mysterious of what are called “Marfa Lights.” He found several problems with my concept of flying predators hunting bats through a particular hunting technique. But those problems involve that particular technique; they do not distract from the overall concept that a group of bioluminescent flying creatures sometimes search for prey near Marfa, Texas.

Mr. Bunnell admits problems in the (non-living) conjectures or hypotheses that he describes in his book Hunting Marfa Lights. I suggest that bioluminescent predators explain what he has observed in those strange flying lights, and that this explanation is much better than anything that other investigators have been able to come up with.

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MarieEly-1223480789_7287d265bc_z-text-crpd

Near Marfa, Texas

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"Searching for Ropens and Finding God" was pubished by the author, Jonathan Whitcomb, in April of 2014

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – nonfiction paperback

From the Introduction in the book:

. . . this is not mainly about religion, not in the usual sense. It’s less likely to take you to church than into the lives of ordinary persons who have encountered extraordinary flying creatures, and into the lives of Christians who have risked their health, even their lives, in searching for living pterosaurs. Our disbelief in the General Theory of Evolution has freed us to search far and near, and for years, with a firm belief that God’s purposes will prevail.

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Marfa Lights

According to the late-2010 press release “Unmasking a Flying Predator in Texas,” a group of “bioluminescent  flying predators may be hunting at night and catching a few unlucky Big Brown Bats.”

Marfa Lights Controversy

“Are there mysterious lights around Marfa, Texas, which cannot be explained away as commonplace, like night-mirages of car headlights?” The answer? A resounding “Yes!”

Interview of Jonathan Whitcomb

We did not get into any details about the Marfa Lights of Texas, but we did discuss the bioluminescent-pterosaur concept, and Susan Wooten mentioned her experiences watching the Bingham Lights of South Carolina.

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Pterosaur Sighting in North Carolina

Universal extinction is the assumption, in Western culture, regarding pterosaurs, so when somebody reports a pterosaur sighting in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can expect objections from skeptics. That’s what we got earlier this year, on a musicians’ forum called “The Gear Page.” The sighting was around March 24, 2013:

Ok… so I saw a Pterodactyl up close tonight. Not joking. . . .

I was driving along on I-540 in Raleigh at sundown tonight, cruising at about 70 mph, heading to my weekly jam session with my buddy. All of a sudden I see the HUGE bird looking thing fly across the overpass I was on, maybe 20-25 feet in front of my car and about 7 or 8 feet off the ground. . . .

. . . it had an enormous pointed beak, with a pointed top of its head. . . . the wingspan was probably about 5-6 feet . . . bony wing structure ending in points (almost like sails) with what looked like small claws in the middle . . . the body looked like greyish fur or dark skin. . . .

The eyewitness also reported what appeared to be two legs that were held out behind the creature and a long tail that had “a spade at the end.” Perhaps the most critical factor in the observation was that the legs were separate from the long tail that had a structure at its end, for that suggests a non-extinct Rhamphorhynchus-type pterosaur.

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Interstate-540 highway near Raleigh, North Carolina --- photograph by Dougtone

Highway I-540 near Raleigh, N.C. – photo by Dougtone

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Remark by a Critic-Skeptic

More than likely what your brain remembers that you saw, is not what [occurred] in reality. . . . [Eyewitnesses] are the most unreliable source of information that I know of.

I understand that eyewitnesses sometimes appear to remember one or more details that turn out to be completely wrong; in fact, this is common. I myself have encountered that human mental weakness after answering police questions about my observations of a man who was running away from the scene of a homicide in Pasadena, California, many years ago. After that, and after other personal experiences with misinterpretations, I have learned to be more careful about drawing conclusions about what I remember about an experience.

But the skeptic who made the above remark appears to be unaware of a human weakness that has even greater potential for error than eyewitness error: interpreting another person’s experience according to our own pre-conceived assumptions.

What is Even More Unreliable Than Eyewitness Testimony?

To best understand this problem, let’s examine what can happen with eyewitness error. We’ll use a true-life example from years ago, in a usually peaceful neighborhood, not in North Carolina, in Long Beach, California. I don’t recall all the details, but what I add does not change any relevant principle: In the basics, this really happened.

Brad brought his daughter home from high school one afternoon and walked with her into the house; she was crying, obviously upset about something. They soon left, leaving the house with nobody home.

Later that day, Brad returned but entered through the back door, or at least entered where the back door used to be. He called the police to report the door that had been broken down. The police officer was embarrassed in answering the report. Here’s why:

While Brad was gone, a neighbor had reported to the police that a strange man had taken a young lady captive at gun point, taking the girl into that house. You know the rest.

So what happened in the mind of the eyewitness? He saw a man, with something in his hand, walking with a young lady who was in tears. The eyewitness unconsciously used his imagination to fill in the appearance of a gun, or saw only just enough that he believed that it could have been a gun. Also critical in this misunderstanding, he did not recognize that the man was his neighbor, not a stranger to the neighborhood. If he had recognized the man as father to the young lady, the eyewitness would not have allowed his imagination to run wild.

But what about the police officer who received the report? Would it have been appropriate for him to assume that no gun was involved? Of course police officers must be prepared for the worst and respond to that kind of report.

What if a police officer received a report of a man with a gun, a man who had a Nazi swastika emblem on his shirt? If the police officer had been raised from childhood with the believe that all Nazis had become extinct in 1945, would that justify ignoring the report and assuming there was no gun involved? This reveals another weakness in reasoning.

What is less reliable than eyewitness testimony? It’s imagining that somebody did not experience what was described because it does not fit well into the assumptions of the person who received the report. Changing a report to be more in harmony with our own assumptions is far more likely to result in errors than reporting a personal experience.

Both the eyewitness and the one receiving the report are human. Both are subject to the human weakness of mentally manipulating what is experienced to become more harmonious with deeply held assumptions. The different between these two persons is that the eyewitness directly experienced what was reported; the other person has no direct experience, only the report and his imagination.

Changing details in a report of another person’s experience is like looking out a window smeared with rain drops and observing what is happening in the living room of your neighbor’s house across the street. You do so by looking through two windows that are both smeared by rain drops. The eyewitness, on the other hand, looks through only one window smeared with rain drops. Beware of trying to peer into another person’s mind to manipulate things to harmonize with your own assumptions.

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Why Pterosaur Extinction may be Wrong

At about sundown, but with sufficient light, on March 23, 2013, the eyewitness . . . was driving on the I-540, in or near Raleigh, North Carolina, when he had his encounter.

Little Known Pterodactyl Sightings

I saw [it] in October 2009 in Charlotte, NC . . . it was at night. I was standing outside my car on the phone when I saw the creature emerge directly over the three-story building I was standing next to. . . . It looked like what I had seen in a Jurassic Park movie . . . [I got] my cousin, who was in my passenger seat, out the car so I didn’t see it alone. He did . . . I know what we saw. [North Carolina pterosaur sighting in Live Pterodactyl blog]

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Can Pterosaurs Perch on Tree Branches?

According to the standard models that include the assumption of unlimited common ancestry, the short tailed-pterosaurs lived on earth more recently than the long-tailed variety, at least in general. Until recently, paleontologists had thought that pterosaurs could not perch, like many of our modern birds can sit on small tree branches, for the foot or toes of pterosaurs lacked the needed opposing-digit for it. But the pterosaur expert David Peters has shown us that the Rhamphorhynchoidea type (long-tails) did indeed have opposing digits, but the curved fifth toe is used differently than the toe grasping of modern birds.

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Paleontologist pterosaur expert David Peters explains how some of those flying creatures could perch on tree branches like birds

From the writings of David Peters:

Pterosaurs [some types] could perch on horizontal branches — although not quite like birds. As in birds, the anterior toes were located below the center of balance in flight, the shoulder glenoid, so a bipedal configuration was possible without shifting or lifting the torso.

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Griffith Park Pterosaurs and Perching

Wellnhofer illustrates the curved fifth toe of a long-tailed pterosaur, but without explaining the function of that curve, at least not on page 56 of his book. David Peters, another expert, does explain how this toe can help pterosaurs [of some species] perch on a tree branch.

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Pterosaur Seen in Lakewood, California

I saw this huge dragon pteradactal [sic] looking thing. I scared it because when he saw me he jumped off the telephone wires and when he opened his huge wings they sounded like heavy fabric . . . I watched him fly across to a large tree and go inside . . .

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front and back covers of the nonfiction book "Live Pterosaurs in America" (by Jonathan David Whitcomb) - in cryptozoology genre

“Pterodactyl” book Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition

From the Introduction of this nonfiction book

This book might make a few Americans uneasy to walk alone at night; my intention, however, is not to frighten but to enlighten as many readers as possible to know about live-pterosaur investigations. Those who’ve been shocked at the sight of a flying creature that “should” be extinct—those eyewitnesses . . . need no longer be afraid that everyone will think them crazy, and no longer need they feel alone. Those of us who’ve listened to the American eyewitnesses . . . we now believe. So, if you will, consider the experiences of these ordinary persons (I’ve interviewed most of them myself) and accept whatever enlightenment you may.

From Chapter Two: California Sightings

I realize that somebody may suggest the eyewitness saw only a model pterosaur; mechanical “pterodactyls” are common. Several details rule out this explanation. The size of the creature was estimated by its appearance when it flew over the road at low altitude; I doubt that he saw a 30-foot-long model. In addition, it was flying from a fenced-off marshy area off-limits to the general public; I doubt that any model-pterodactyl enthusiast would choose that marsh for launching a giant model.

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