Category Archives: Community Interest

Of interest to residents of Lakewood, California

Missing Children and LUFC

By Jonathan D. Whitcomb, cryptozoology author

The tragedy of strange missing-persons cases—that compels me to write about my interpretation of the more mysterious aspects of these disappearances, especially because so many of these lost individuals are children.

In giving this explanation, I don’t mean to imply that all the details in all these cases fit well with my model. Not at all. But many strange aspects of these vanishings become easy to understand with a LUFC (large unidentified flying creature) interpretation. Many of these cases appear to come from attacks from large flying predators, be they huge unclassified birds or ropens (long-tailed modern pterosaurs) or non-ropen Pterodactyloids (short-tailed pterosaurs).

Earlier this month (April of 2016), I was one of those interviewed for a television episode on missing persons in national parks of the United States, in this case Yosemite. This should be broadcast on American TV sometime around the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017 on the Travel Channel.

David Paulides, author of a number of books about these strange disappearances, apparently has not taken a stand on LUFC (or other explanations involving cryptozoology, as in Bigfoot), but he has noted a  number of similarities in many of these cases of missing persons:

  1. Dogs fail to track or refuse to track the missing person
  2. Some clothing, or one or both shoes, are missing from found person or body
  3. No sign of any struggle and no evidence the victim was dragged away
  4. Body (or living person) is found far from where it would be expected to be
  5. Body is found where searchers had already looked (not finding it before)

The above mysteries are explained below, under the heading “explanations.” Be aware that this is my own theory of LUFC and human disappearances: my own ideas.

Children who go missing

A disproportionately large number of these cases involve missing children. Especially vulnerable are the two-year olds, who are just beginning to become slightly independent.

I have gathered data from the book Missing 411 – Western United States & Canada, by Paulides. I found that small children (under the age of three years old), in these strange cases, are found an average of 7.2 miles from where they became lost. Keep in mind the overall tragedy: many of these little ones are not found and many of those who are found are no longer living.

Children aged three to eight, on the other hand, when they are found, are an average of 5.2 miles from where they became missing. Older children, teenagers, and adults are found at a similar distance away as the 3-8-year-olds.

Many of these areas are rugged wilderness areas, some of them difficult for even experienced adult hikers to get to. Obviously, the two-year-old kids are not just wandering off, hiking up steep mountainous terrain for miles.

Why is a body often found in water?

Mr. Paulides has found many reports in which a missing person’s body was discovered in a lake or other body of water. Coroners often fail to reach a conclusion on cause of death. In addition, much of the evidence shouts loudly at investigators: The missing person was dead before the body got into the water.

In those cases in which the person may have been carried away by a large flying creature, the explanation is not so strange. It has two parts:

  1. Bodies are easier to discover (by searchers) when they are in the water
  2. Large flying creatures are often near water, and they can tire and drop a human body.


1. Dogs fail to track the scent on the ground because a large flying creature has carried the person up into the air.

2. We may have two reasons for missing clothing and shoes. While the person is being carried through the air, the LUFC’s grip may be more on the clothing or shoes. The victim can fall out of the clothing or shoes, leaving the predator flying away with a boot or jacket, etc. In addition, when the predator stops to eat the victim, it may remove clothing. The first explanation appears more reasonable, but some of the details in some cases—those point to the possibility of the second explanation for missing clothing or one or more missing shoes. In addition, the researcher Gerald McIsaac, in British Columbia, where large flying creatures are reported to attack animals and people, says that sometimes a human victim is partially dragged on the ground for a short distance, before being lifted up into the air, and that this causes one or more shoes to be pulled off sometimes.

3. The victim is probably overcome by a noxious mist or vapor used by the flying predator to subdue prey. This mist or vapor is debilitating to inhale. The person is unable to call for help or to struggle against a predator that very soon returns to find that the victim is in a weakened condition. (This may be more like seconds than minutes.) The person is then carried into the air, without leaving much of a drag mark on the ground, or at least for only a short distance.

4. The person is carried in the air towards a location, possibly a cave or other secluded area, where the predator usually takes prey. This is usually far from where a human hiker would be expected to end up.

5. The flying predator may loose track of where the person falls out of clothing. The animal may not be able to find the fallen victim for some time, after discovering that it is carrying only an article of clothing. It may take even more than one day for the flying predator to find the body that was dropped, killing the victim perhaps. The predator may take the victim up into the air again but only for a limited distance, as it stops to rest. Search parties may have already been organized, with many people looking where they would expect that the missing person might be. When they return from a particular search route, they may then find the person’s body at a place where they had already searched. While people are searching for the missing person, the predator may be in the process of moving that person, in degrees, and sometimes losing the intended prey temporarily (or permanently, if people find the person or body).

Report a sighting

If you, or someone you know, have seen a large featherless flying creature, please report the sighting to Jonathan Whitcomb. Thank you.



The ropen and missing persons

A kind of unidentified flying creature has been suggested as the cause of a portion of the missing children cases, for two-year-olds who disappear in or near wilderness areas of the United States and Canada . . .

Two-Year-Old Children Missing

A kind of unidentified flying creature has been suggested as the cause of a portion of the missing children cases, for two-year-olds who disappear in or near wilderness areas of the United States and Canada . . .

Why the Ropen is a Modern Pterosaur

Eyewitnesses from around the world report a large featherless flying creature with a long tail. These reports of long tails outnumber reports of a lack of a long tail by 20-to-1 ratio: 41% to 2%, according to analysis of data compiled at the end of 2012. Those sightings come from eyewitnesses of various cultures . . .

Missing People and Pterosaurs

Some of the strangest missing-persons cases may relate to a few individual animals of one species of ropen in North America . . . When a person is alone in a wilderness area in the United States, a large hungry ropen may attack, subduing the human by a mist or vapor that is debilitating when inhaled by prey. This may explain why human victims, when found alive, are asleep or unconscious or in a state that rescuers may describe as “confused” or “disoriented.”

Flying creatures and missing persons

From reading only a few dozen pages, I noticed the possibility a rogue ropen may have attacked some persons, although this is still speculative, based upon a small percentage of the living-pterosaur sighting reports that I have received over the past eleven years. A few modern pterosaurs do seem to have gone bad, and an apparent ropen has been known to approach a human through a suspicious dive.


Nonfiction cryptozoology book on non-extinct pterosaurs

Fourth edition of the nonfiction cryptozoology book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – by Jonathan Whitcomb


Modern Pterosaurs in Griffith Park?

In a period of ten weeks, two eyewitnesses saw a total of four flying creatures: three “dragons” and one “pterosaur.” The three were gliding together early in the morning of March 3, 2013, over the I-5 freeway near Griffith Park. The “pterosaur” was seen gliding over that same freeway on May 13, 2013, just a mile and a half to the south.

Both eyewitnesses were young-women drivers in northbound lanes of the I-5. The first chose to be anonymous; the second did not mind having her name published: Devin Rhodriquez.

First Sighting Near Griffith Park

The anonymous eyewitness said, “I saw three ‘dragons’ flying over the 5-North freeway between Griffith Park and Glendale. They appeared to be several feet long, with a head:body:tail ratio that was certainly not that of a bird. Their wings were long, angular and pointed and their tails had triangular points. They appeared light in color . . .”

Second Sighting Near Griffith Park

Devin Rhodriquez said, “. . . what I saw fly over the freeway in Los Angeles WAS NOT a bird of any kind . . . matches the exact descriptions of a pterosaur except for the tail.” She was focusing on the head of the apparent pterosaur and so did not notice the presence or absence of a tail.


Panorama of a part of Griffith Park in the city of Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park in Los Angeles


Sighting North of Pasadena, California, Years Earlier

It was around 1968 when another eyewitness saw a huge “pterodactyl” north of Pasadena. It was flying up into the mountains north of Altadena, near the corner of Allen Avenue and Altadena Drive. It was the size of a school bus.

This apparent pterosaur may be the same species as others that have been seen for many years in Southern California: San Diego, a desert east of San Diego, near California State University at Irvine, Lakewood, Long Beach, Pico Rivera, San Fernando Valley, and other locations. Most of the sightings have been near a storm channel, or the Los Angeles River, or some other major river system or stream bed.


Do Dragons Live in Griffith Park?

Both eyewitnesses contacted me by email within hours of their sightings and answers my many questions over a period of several days. Although I found a number of differences in what they described, I found enough similarities to declare the two sightings involved the same species of ropen. My associates and I believe this kind of flying creature is an extant Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

Hollywood Pterodactyls, for Real?

The lady driving northbound on the I-5, at 6:10 a.m. on March 3, 2013, was not sure that the three flying creatures gliding over the freeway had no feathers (the sighting was too quick), but she was sure that they were not birds.

Dragons of Los Angeles

She was driving north on the Interstate 5, just east of a golf course on the east side of Griffith Park, in Los Angeles, on Sunday, March 3, 2013. The flying creatures flew almost exactly over her car in the opposite direction. It was just minutes before sunrise, so the sky was no longer dark and she could see the undersides of the “dragons.” They were light colored and had a peculiar shape.


Baby Pterodactyl in Lakewood, California?

Eyewitness account investigated by Jonathan Whitcomb:

For Lakewood residents, don’t leave your Chihuahua overnight in the backyard, at least not if your backyard is bordered by a storm channel. On June 19, 2012, a lady was sitting in her backyard, at about noon, when she noticed her dog was barking more wildly than usual. She walked over to the dog and then looked up to see what appeared to be a “dragon-pterodactyl” sitting on the lowest telephone line, almost above the storm channel at the back of her property. When the animal became aware of her presence, it quickly flew off to a neighbor’s property, where it hid in the canopy of a tree.

When she was gazing at the creature, she felt like running into the house from fear, but her curiosity kept her rooted to where she was standing, until the “dragon-pterodactyl” flew away. Then she dashed into the house and she and her husband drove through the neighborhood, searching unsuccessfully for what she would soon learn had a name: “ropen.”

She had found one of my web pages and sent me an email. I was soon in her backyard, interviewing her and her husband. Their mannerisms and answers to my questions convinced me that no hoax was involved and that the lady had indeed seen a ropen, a modern Rhamphornynchoid pterosaur.

She estimated the wingspan at about six feet (at first, she thought it a bit smaller, but after consideration she felt it may have even been larger than six feet). The tail she estimated at about four feet long, but I felt that this may be less accurate an estimate, for it was flying away from her and she used an indirect method of estimation: She based the tail length estimate on the way that it was vibrating during flight. Nevertheless, she did get more of a side view of the tail when the creature entered into the tree foliage.

Compared with the size estimates for other long-tailed pterosaurs observed in North America, including some sightings in California, the Lakewood ropen seems almost like a baby “pterodactyl.” The one seen flying just above a road near the state university at Irvine (Orange County) five years ago—that ropen was about thirty feet long, nose-to-tail-end.

I believe that the storm channel is significant, for it provides a way for the ropen to fly around at night, without being seen by people, as it hunts for rats and possums. I believe this daylight sighting was from an exception to its normal routine, perhaps because squirrels in daylight had become easier to catch than possums at night.

That’s not pure speculation. The woman’s husband told me that he has noticed that during the past year possums are no longer running along the phone lines at night, although they used to do that all the time. While I was talking with the man, in their backyard, the other day, we saw a squirrel running along the phone line. I don’t think it grossly speculative to suggest why a ropen was on that phone line in the middle of the day on June 19th. Since nocturnal possums had become less common, that ropen now hunts squirrels in daylight.


Lakewood, California, storm channel

Storm channel at the south end of Mayfair Park in Lakewood, California


Lakewood, California, has a Flying Predator

An apparent ropen [modern living Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur] was seen by a 38-year-old lady in her backyard, in Lakewood, California, on June 19, 2012, at about noon. She at first estimated the wingspan at about five to six feet, later revising her estimate to at least six feet.

Tale of the Pterosaur Tail

Contrary to what some paleontologists believe, the orientation of the tail vane, in the “basal” pterosaurs, now appears to be horizontal. Two eyewitnesses, both living in California, have made this clear: Patty Carson, of Riverside; and an anonymous eyewitness living in Lakewood.

Attack of the Pterodactyl Skeptics

No, this does not refer to a giant flying creature carrying off a human victim. It’s about a cryptozoologist who was attacked by skeptics on a forum discussion: “Jonathan Whitcomb: pterodactyl expert.” Skeptics of the live-pterodactyl idea made Whitcomb the victim.

Most biologists have believed that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs became extinct millions of years ago. Of course part of the problem with challenging that concept is that definitions of “dinosaur” and “pterosaur” usually include a word like “extinct.” But some cryptozoologists believe that some species of pterosaurs sill live, for eyewitnesses report seeing them.

Jonathan Whitcomb has written two nonfiction books and a scientific paper about reports of living pterosaurs (AKA “pterodactyls”). But some skeptics on an online cryptozoology forum have become upset at the idea that he is a “pterodactyl expert.”

A Different Kind of Pterodactyl Attack

In the sense of being a paleontologist, I am not a pterosaur expert; but many paleontologists do not seem to even consider the possibility that any pterosaurs are extant. “Ape man” seems to rebel against any idea involving any modern living pterosaur. But in that sense—some living pterosaurs (AKA “pterodactyls”)—I am probably one of the leading “pterodactyl experts” in the world.

Attacks on “Pterodactyl Expert”

I suggest that we all examine the eyewitness reports rather than attack those who interview eyewitnesses.

Marfa Lights Mystery Solved

For over a hundred years, the Marfa Lights of southwest Texas have puzzled residents and visitors with their strange splittings and “devil dances.” A cryptozoologist has now suggested a solution to the mystery: large nocturnal bioluminescent flying predators that hunt as a group, trying to catch small creatures, like the Big Brown Bat, at night.

Marfa Lights Solved

Although most of the [Marfa Lights] have been explained away as simply car headlights, a significant minority of the sightings have been inexplicable. Those low-elevation flying lights [appear] only a few times each year—those are called “CE-III” by the rocket scientist James Bunnell . . . Jonathan Whitcomb, a cryptozoologist in Long Beach, California, compares those lights with the ropen lights and Cheesman lights of Papua New Guinea. Those lights are associated with sightings of large nocturnal flying creatures, unclassified by modern science, that are believed to be bioluminescent.

Marfa, Texas, area where the mystery lights sometimes appear