Ropen (Pterosaur) in Draper, Utah

By the nonfiction cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb

I write books about flying creatures whose descriptions suggest living pterosaurs. In general, most of the reports that get to me appear to actually have been from those non-extinct pterosaurs, strange as that may sound to many people. That strangeness may sometimes be a problem.

For those new to this blog, a pterosaur is not actually a “flying dinosaur,” although many Americans call it by that incorrect name. It is a featherless non-bat flying creature. People several centuries ago probably mostly called them “dragons.” The big problem with the strangeness of one of those words or the phrase “flying dinosaur” is this: When a community or neighborhood might potentially be in danger, how do you warn them about a large ropen? It’s just too easy for anyone ignorant of those animals to assume the person reporting one is crazy or a fanatic.

If you don’t already know, a ropen is a particular kind of modern pterosaur, one that has a long tail. The end of that tail, when somebody looks at that end rather than at the menacing beak, often is seen to have a structure, sometimes called a “diamond.”

This morning I interviewed, face-to-face, an eyewitness of an apparent living pterosaur that flew over his backyard in Draper, Utah, on Sunday, November 4, 2018. He  seemed perfectly credible to me, and I also talked with his wife and found nothing wrong with her deportment.

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new houses in Draper, Utah

Houses west of the one where a ropen flew over the backyard in November of 2018

The creature flew over their backyard at about 5:30 p.m., on Sunday, November 4, 2018, at a height of possibly less than 50 feet at one point. The closest it came to the man, in horizontal distance, may have been about 85 feet.

The wingspan seems to have been between about 16 feet and about 28 feet. Those wings had a very uneven shape to them in the trailing edge.

Other eyewitnesses have reported a similar flying creature in western Draper, the other encounters being about two miles away in the year 2017.

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Pterosaur in Draper, Utah

On June 26, 2017, my wife and I met with several eyewitnesses in a neighborhood of Draper, Utah, (in the southern part of the Salt Lake Valley) a few miles west of the Wasatch Mountains. Each of the four persons we talked with lived within about 300 yards of each other and a little south of the Swire Coca Cola complex . . .

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Book for a 10-year-old girl

To precisely judge what might be the best Christmas (or birthday) gift for a ten-year-old girl requires knowing the interests of that child. If you’ll excuse me for promoting my own book, however, please consider my new nonfiction The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur. It’s for middle-grade children and youth up to about fourteen years old.

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Flying dinosaurs

Press release on these flying creatures (pterosaurs)

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Ropens may catch fish

A native village leader on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, encountered a strange light shining down on him as he was in a canoe, over a reef at night, while his buddy was underwater trying to catch fish with a flashlight.

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Pterosaur sightings in Utah

. . . we stared up at the night sky . . . [My brother] suddenly noticed something and started yelling something about a giant bird . . . At around the same time, the animals in the farm next to us started going berserk. . . . Suddenly as I looked up at the night sky, the farm animals started up again and then I saw it.

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Are modern pterodactyls dangerous?

The “pterodactyl attacks” do not seem to come just from the imagination of the author of Bird From Hell, although he displays a keen sense of imagination in his writing (not necessarily in any negative sense of “imagination”). He reports quite a few cases in which residents of a sparsely-populated area of British Columbia have been attacked at night by a large flying creature.

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Books about non-extinct pterosaurs

A limited revision of Searching for Ropens and Finding God, the fourth edition, does include new material at the end of the appendix, an interview I had with Professor Peter Beach and with the nonfiction author Milt Marcy.

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New Book for Children

By the investigative journalist Jonathan Whitcomb

[Updated Nov 14 & 21, 2018; the book was published on Nov 8th]

To the potential giver of a gift for a young reader (birthday, Christmas, etc):

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 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.

The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur can help a young developing mind to think critically and objectively, which can help to prepare that young person for a possible future as a great scientist. This book is not, however, for a reader who simply wants to sit inside the same box forever, never to become an important leader in science. It’s not a book that indoctrinates the reader, telling her or him what to think. The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur helps the young person to examine what people actually experience in the real world and what it might mean, in spite of the potential shocking consequences.

In other words, if you the gift-giver and the young reader want only to be told the same old tale about universal extinctions of all dinosaurs and pterosaurs, then this book is not for you. The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur does not indoctrinate with ideas from the late 1700’s and the 1800’s, like so many nonfiction science books do. It explains why scientists from old times could have been mistaken about universal pterosaur extinction. What a treasure this short book can be!

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 look like, or at least 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: I believe what many eyewitnesses have told me. Again, the reader can decide what to think.

new paperback book "The Girl who saw a Flying Dinosaur"

The nonfiction book that can open minds to new possibilities

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. . . .

 

New Book on Living Pterodactyls

Searching for Ropens and Finding God says little about religion but a lot about how persons of various faiths have contributed to the early stages of a wonderful scientific discovery: modern non-extinct pterosaurs. The Introduction of the book explains, “Yet 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.”

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

 

Nonfiction book by Jonathan Whitcomb (fourth edition)

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Part of the Book Description (subject to revision after April 17, 2014)

Fly above common true-life adventures as you dive into what may become the most unsettling scientific  discovery since Copernicus and Galileo: Living pterosaurs of the modern world—what a discovery!

It soars above disputes about religion, revealing why an official discovery of an extraordinary animal has been delayed for so long. Above all, this explores human experiences—of eyewitnesses and those who interviewed them. People have become connected by common encounters; persons of various faiths, with various levels of education, from various countries and cultures, have seen a living pterosaur, commonly called “pterodactyl.”

Notwithstanding the delay in the official scientific discovery, eyewitnesses from around the world continue to encounter these flying creatures: featherless, long-tailed, often larger than any known bird.

A few Americans explored a few islands in the southwest Pacific, in brief expeditions scattered between 1993 and 2007, looking for a modern pterosaur. “Creationist” each man was labeled, yet many of those following them carried no religious purpose.

Eyewitnesses of “Pterodactyls”

The first paragraph of the first chapter explains where the author got the idea of extant “pterodactyls.”

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, to plunge me into the most dramatic adventure of my life: exploring a remote tropical island, searching for giant living pterosaurs.

The book includes the sighting report by a World War II veteran: Duane Hodgkinson

I was stationed in Finschhafen, New Guinea, with the U.S. military. While there, I made several trips into some of the surrounding native villages with a friend of mine and a native guide (provided by the Australian government). On this one particular trip, we had the wonderful opportunity to witness a pterodactyl take off from the ground and then circle back overhead and to the side, giving us a perfect side view which clearly showed the long beak and appendage protruding from the back of its head . . .

Basic Book Information

List Price: $17.50
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
paperback
360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1502865526
ISBN-10: 1502865521
BISAC: Religion / Religion & Science

Fourth edition (first two titles were “Searching for Ropens”)

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A different book:

New Cryptozoology Book: Pterosaurs in Australia [not the above; a different book, in Kindle digital format]

FREE online download of a pdf book

Honest Skepticism Regarding Live Pterosaur Reports

Finding a skeptic has written about the improbability of a modern pterosaur—that does not surprise me. But I do find it refreshing to read something written by a skeptic who accepts that possibility with hope that it is true. How far afield is the negative skeptic who writes with zeal to persuade everybody possible that a modern pterosaur is impossible! What a difference! Quoting from “A Whole New Level of Weirdness” –  a book review of Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition:

I want to believe in big flying dinosaurs roaming the skies, but experience and common sense argue against it. So far I have never been chased by one as I wander through town. . . . First surprise is technically they were not dinosaurs at all . . .  Secondly there were incredibly diverse, and many of them looked nothing like the beasties I think of when I hear the word “Pterosaur.”

The reviewer then relates what he found online, that pterosaurs were “definitely extinct,” many millions of years ago. The point I enjoyed reading was about what he did after reading that oft-repeated obituary: He searched for accounts of people who had been “chased by pterodactyls!” That is when he learned about the “’Living Pterosaur’ research community, a fringe even within cryptozoology.” That is when he discovered, ordered, and read Live Pterosaurs in America.

This long book review is more positive than negative (see the link below: “A Whole New . . .”). The reader took a critical look, reading both my writings and those of critics of living-pterosaur investigations. Rather than write more about this book review, I quote from my book:

Introduction to Book

. . . We need to understand why we believe what we believe. When I first began researching these . . . sightings, years ago, I mentioned a word to a kindergartner: “pterosaurs;” he said, “A comet.” Years later, while writing this book, I mentioned my work to a second-grader; she said, “Who will buy your book? Crazy people?” I think better of you. And I think, because of what she and many others have told me, that we must understand indoctrination, for it influences our beliefs . . .

Chapter Two – California Sightings

When I returned from Papua New Guinea, in 2004, I knew almost nothing about reports of apparent pterosaurs, or “dragons,” in California. I was convinced of the reality of long-tailed ropens of the southwest Pacific, but assumed they live there because of the vast tropical wildernesses, providing them warmth, food, and seclusion. I also assumed that the few reports that I had read—apparent pterosaurs in some of the 48 States—were of a few stragglers from Central America. But after publishing many web pages about living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea, I received emails and phone calls from eyewitnesses: sightings in California, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland-Virginia border, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Washington State. I became a believer in American pterosaurs.

The greatest danger facing innovators, rebels, and those who search for living pterosaurs—that’s a newspaper. National newspapers ignored the success of the Wright brothers (their December, 1903, successful powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina). News reporters and editors, many of them, assumed that the controlled powered-flight of two bicycle mechanics was a lie, that it never happened. Even as late as 1908, many newspaper professionals thought the Wright brothers “better liars than flyers.” After all, a well-funded government-sponsored flying machine had crashed only a few days before the Wright brothers were said to have first flown. But lack of news reporting and abundance of lie-insinuations can relate to both flying machines and flying pterosaurs, even those called “dragons.”

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cover of cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America

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Pterosaur Sightings in U.S.A

Modern pterosaur eyewitnesses often report a structure at the end of the long tail of the flying creature, with different witnesses using different words for the structure . . .

A Whole New Level of Weirdness

I vaguely recall having a book as a child in which there was a picture, daguerreotype style, of some cowboys  holding a shot pterodactyl by a barn. Actually I soon found out, chatting about with friends on Facebook, that I may have be suffering from a False Memory . . .

Pterosaur Sightings in Florida

“A huge Rhamphorhynchus-like flying entity . . . grabbed my attention . . . flying . . . close enough it could’ve been shot down. I had ran to the door and about . . . lost my breath in disbelief. Had an estimated wingspan of 8-12 feet and a tail . . . with a large bulb or lump at the tail very diamond shaped. . .”

New Cryptozoology Book: Pterosaurs in Australia

My latest book, Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, is now published on Amazon as a Kindle ebook:

cover of e-book on pterosaurs in southwest Pacific - still living creatures

No paper version is available–save those trees.

A Few Details:

About 20,000 words: a medium-length book, smaller than the largest Kindle Singles ebooks

Published September, 2012

Author and publisher: Jonathan David Whitcomb

Images: one (cover image on first page)

Table of Contents (internal linking):

Preface
Dedication
Introduction
How can Pterosaurs be Alive?
The Finschhafen Pterodactyl
The Bougainville Creature
The Lake Pung Encounter
Another Expedition on Umboi Island
The Perth Creature
Other Sightings in Australia
Expedition of 2006
Other Sightings in Papua New Guinea
Conclusion
Index

To quote part of the Introduction:

What is a Pterosaur?

We must begin with the basics: What is a pterosaur? It’s not really a type of dinosaur, although it’s associated with them. The flying creature is called “pterodactyl” by many non-scientists; some Americans call those featherless fliers “dinosaur birds” or “prehistoric birds.”

Most pterosaur fossils fit into one of two types: long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoid or shorter-tailed Pterodactyloid. Those two types differ in other ways, not just tail length, but that’s a subject for a book on pterosaur fossils.

In modern eyewitness reports, long-tailed pterosaurs outnumber short-tails, at least four-to-one. Standard models of extinction make this ratio appear strange, for the long-tailed variety were thought to have dwindled before the short-tailed pterosaurs became dominant, at least that’s the theory. Nevertheless, the ratio is significant in modern sightings, appearing consistent regardless of the culture or beliefs or education of the eyewitness.

Introduction, page-1, of e-book "Live Pterosaurs in Australia . . ."

Book Featured on Live Pterosaur Blog

I can’t remember why our vehicle had stopped. Maybe we had to wait for another vehicle to pass us. I don’t know. But I can still hear that slow flapping sound in the stillness of an early tropical morn, on the road from Panguna down to Loloho on Bougainville Island in 1971.

For those who order on Amazon-UK, purchase this ebook through Amazon here: UK Kindle

For those who purchase Kindle books on the French-language Amazon site, this book (in English) is here: FR-Amazon

Nonfiction cryptozoology books (paper versions) specializing in modern pterosaurs include Live Pterosaurs in America and Searching for Ropens.

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 Book by William Gibbons

Many wonderful eyewitess accounts fill this cryptozoology book: Missionaries and Monsters. The cryptozoologist-explorer William J. Gibbons has done a fine job with it. I found the report of the Orang-bati (a large humanoid-like flying creature in Indonesia) particularly interesting:

In 1987, Tyson Hughes, . . . [missionary] arrived on the island of Ceram . . . [He gained] the trust of the Moluccan tribespeople. . . . [He] began to hear stories about a fearsome flying creature called the Orang-bati . . . this terrifying creature of the night is . . . up to five feet in height, and possesses huge, leathery wings . . .

Details about the pterosaur-like creatures flying in Papua New Guinea, however, I found at least somewhat outdated. Gomlongon Village (southwest of Mount Bel) is on Umboi Island, not on the mainland. In addition, “Duah” is probably a distorted version of the correct word: “duwas,” and “ropen” and “duwas” do not refer to different sizes or types of flying creatures but to different languages used by various villages and groups in Papua New Guinea.

Nevertheless, I am delighted to have my own copy of Missionaries and Monsters, for those many eyewitness reports of living dinosaurs and pterosaurs (or apparent ones: not every report need be of a genuine dinosaur or of a genuine pterosaur; it takes only one living dinosaur or one living pterosaur to disprove the universal extinction dogma) thrill the imagination.

See also Cryptozoology Books (by Whitcomb and Gerhard)