Tag Archives: cryptozoology

Physicist Clifford Paiva found the wings to be apparently real

Modern Pterosaur in an Old Photograph

By the nonfiction author Jonathan David Whitcomb


Introduction to the Ptp “Pteranodon” Photo

This photograph of an apparent modern pterosaur has been around for a long time: According to some persons, such as Tom Payne, it was in an old publication that was published many years before Photoshop existed. So guess what many skeptic proclaim about the Ptp photo. Yes, they say it’s a Photoshop hoax.

I explain much about this in my nonfiction book Modern Pterosaurs.

Apparent Civil War soldiers with an apparent Pteranodon


In 2007, the well-known cryptozoologist Loren Coleman said of this photo only two words: “Verdict: photoshopping.” So where did he get that idea? Of course the old hoaxes, like a dinosaur alongside a group of Civil War soldiers, puts us into a frame of mind to assume that this photograph is also a hoax. But just remember that the American Civil War was a real event that happened long ago and large pterosaurs lived long ago, albeit we’re taught that it was much longer ago.

The point is this: When did any scientist examine this photo carefully before Loren Coleman’s declaration referring to a Photoshop trick? Perhaps never, that is until early in 2017, when two scientists looked at Ptp very closely and concluded that the apparent animal in the picture was most likely a real animal.

Before 2017, Clifford Paiva and I had written scientific papers, including the following two:

  • “Results of Investigations Concerning Pterosaur Sightings In Papua New Guinea” (Paiva)
  • “Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific” (Whitcomb)

I doubt if Loren Coleman has ever written a scientific paper related specifically to the possibility that not all species of pterosaurs are extinct. The two publications mentioned above, by me and my associate Clifford Paiva, are not to be automatically taken as proof of extant pterosaurs, of course, but they are evidence that the two of us have taken that possibility seriously.

To be brief, the following are just a few of the points that we found, in 2017, that suggest a real animal was actually photographed and that it was extremely likely to have been a modern pterosaur. Here is a partial list:

  1. The curved neck of the apparent Pteranodon shows muscle structure.
  2. Shadows under the animal are consistent with a shadow under the shoe of a soldier.
  3. The physicist Clifford Paiva found what are probably image-stabilization props under the animal. These were often used in photography before about the year 1870.
  4. Whitcomb found a drag mark on the ground: consistent with a recently shot-down flying creature being dragged out from underbrush, into that clearing.
  5. Paiva and Whitcomb independently found a small tree that appears to have been broken down to make it possible to drag that animal into the clearing.
  6. Paiva found that at least some of the six men were using stances with their rifles that are consistent with a 19th century practice of keeping the human body motionless during the many seconds necessary for a camera to record a photo.
  7. Whitcomb magnified the images of the soldiers’ buttons and belt buckles and found that the pixel-width sizes were perfectly consistent with six men standing in the positions these six appear to be standing. In other words, the man in the front was actually standing in the front. In other words, these were men who were standing as they appear to be, NOT cutout images of soldiers being pasted onto an image of a monster in a clearing.

More Advanced Examination of the “Pteranodon” Photo

Now let’s consider a critic who has recently insinuated that at least part of this photograph was created digitally by creating one wing and then duplicating that wing to make the other wing. That hypothesis falls apart under close scrutiny.

Physicist Clifford Paiva found the wings to be apparently real

Paiva and I have carefully examined the whitish part of the outer areas of the two wings. We may have been the first persons to have noticed that patterns are very similar from wing to wing, with this white area. This brings up the idea that one wing was created and then duplicated, with modern digital image software, to make the other wing, which could easily be inverted horizontally. Paiva and I considered that possibility, but I found differences as well, early in 2017.

The recent skeptical remarks were that a wing must have been duplicated in that way, but look more closely. The wing shapes themselves, as we look at the darker outlines, differ greatly. Paiva and I independently experimented with wing duplicating, in September of 2017, and found that one wing cannot practically be manipulated in the way that two skeptics have insisted they were. We showed it experimentally, while the two skeptics, apparently, only imagined it vaguely in their minds. Any distortion that would allow one wing shape to come to resemble the other wing shape caused great distortion of the whitish area.

The best explanation for the similar patterns in the whitish areas of the wings is this: It is biological similarity, not from any digital hoax manipulation.


The Ptp photograph continues to pass anything that skeptics throw at it. It becomes more clear, as we examine it, that the best explanation is this: That apparent animal was an actual animal that was photographed, not in any way, in any part, created through anything like Photoshop.



Living pterosaurs in Africa

What about the kongamato? It may be the same flying creature that is called “Batamzinga” in Kenya or “ropen” in Papua New Guinea.


Nonfiction Books About Living Pterosaurs

Quoting three cryptozoology books that are about non-extinct pterodactyls


A Modern Pterosaur in a Photo

Yet before the beginning of 2017, before Cliff and I began our joint investigation of Ptp, the typical skeptic would say, in response to this photo, something like, “It’s a Photoshop hoax.” One skeptic said that it was a very good Photoshop job, but that it was a hoax. Cliff and I found significant evidence, however, that it is not only much older than that digital image manipulation software but that it has evidence that the soldiers were actually standing in the way that they appear to be standing and that the animal was a real animal.


Ptp photo of a modern pterosaur (~ Civil War time)

Problems in an online publication by an extreme skeptic of living-pterosaur investigations


More than one prop in the photograph

I’ve written about the tree-branch prop used when this “Ptp” photo was recorded, indicating it was probably before about 1870 when those six men were standing over the body of the pterosaur. . . . The scientist Clifford Paiva has recently found another prop, this one under the left wing of the animal.


Is the ropen a living pterosaur?

We have reports of modern pterosaurs in other parts of the world including the United States: California, Washington State, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Maine, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Georgia,North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania,Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas,Oklahoma, Kansas, and other states.



Nonfiction book about the “Civil War” pterosaur photograph Ptp


non-fiction cryptozoology book about a photo of a real modern pterosaur

Modern Pterosaurs – by Jonathan David Whitcomb


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


two "pterodactyl" ropens seen in Cuba in 1971

Religion and Belief in Modern Pterosaurs

By Jonathan D. Whitcomb, investigative reporter

A handful of American cryptozoologists and explorers have searched for living pterosaurs around the world and have searched for eyewitnesses of those featherless flying creatures. Let’s examine how religion relates to belief in modern pterosaurs.

The Breadth of Sighting Locations

Over the past twelve years, I have received emails from five continents, from persons of various cultures, various religions, and various backgrounds. Most of them are eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs, not paleontologists examining fossil bones but ordinary persons who have witnessed an extraordinary winged creature that resembles a pterosaur more than a bird or bat.

Yet I have done more than read emails. In 2004 I traveled to Papua New Guinea and explored part of Umboi Island with my interpreter-bodyguard, the native Luke Paina. We searched for the nocturnal ropen and almost totally failed, but we succeeded in finding many eyewitnesses of the gigantic featherless long-tailed flying creature of the night.

After returning to the United States, and during the eleven years since that expedition, I have communicated with many eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs. I have learned about the flying creatures and about people. Here are some of the countries where sightings were reported:

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Australia
  • Philippines
  • Afghanistan
  • Namibia
  • Sudan
  • Spain
  • Amsterdam
  • Great Britain
  • Canada
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Cuba

two "pterodactyl" ropens seen in Cuba in 1971Sketch drawn by an eyewitness of two flying creatures seen in Cuba in 1971


An Objective Look at Religion

How does religion relate to non-extinct pterosaurs? It appears to mostly connect with one’s passion in searching for those creatures; religion appears unrelated to sightings themselves. In other words, your religion has nothing to do with whether or not you will see an apparent pterosaur, however it relates closely to whether or not you will go on an expedition in search of those creatures. Also, it can relate closely to whether or not you’ll believe an eyewitness.

Critics and skeptics have sometimes ridiculed the living-pterosaur (LP) investigations with a statement like this: “A modern pterosaur will not prove the world is only 6,000 years old. We already have ‘living fossils’ and yet we know the world is billions of years old.”

Yet rarely will a critic quote the words of any LP investigator (like me or Garth Guessman or David Woetzel or Paul Nation), preferring to set up a straw man argument and trying to make us look silly. Let’s take a more objective look at how religion relates to the concept of non-extinct pterosaurs.

Biblical Creation and LP Investigators

Most of the expeditions and interviews were conducted by a few Americans who hold a firm belief in literal readings of the Old Testament. Critics have pointed out that belief, apparently to dismiss everything we have done and said regarding sightings of apparent pterosaurs.

Yet many of the most celebrated scientific discoveries of the last few centuries have been made by those who hold a firm belief in literal readings of the Old Testament. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have spent more hours studying the Bible than in scientific work. That makes any attempt at dismissing LP investigations inappropriate, to say the least, when religious belief is the reason for dismissal. Look at the ideas themselves and consider the value of those ideas.

And yet our purposes can be explained, for those who are actually interested. I cannot speak much on behalf of my colleagues, only for my own purposes, and they have multiple levels.

One Purpose of Jonathan Whitcomb

I here mention one level of purpose, so we’ll let that suffice for now.

I want people of Western cultures to see more clearly, each person thinking more for himself or herself, with a better awareness of how we have been affected by indoctrination. How have we been indoctrinated? A book might be required to address that question completely, but let’s now take a brief look. The following is taken from the fourth edition of my nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

Automatic dismissal of an eyewitness report of a live pterosaur—that usually comes from dogmatically protecting ones philosophy or the universal-extinction assumption of our culture; it does not come from protecting science, at least with what I consider any reasonable definition of science. [page 10 of SFRFG, 4th ed.]

Watch science documentaries for years, those broadcast on American television, and you may find no mention of “origin philosophy,” or even a hint that such a thing exists. Why? Those science documentaries are funded by those who have adopted the standard-model axioms about origins, and they sometimes use the word “science” for that origin philosophy, which includes Darwin’s idea of unlimited common ancestry of all living organisms. [page 338 of SFRFG, 4th ed.]

I know from personal experience that Darwin’s concept of natural selection actually prevents the evolutionary changes he imagined. By the mathematical simulations in my investigation “Evolutionary Boundary,” I know. Take that by faith or reject it or set it on a back burner, but I myself know that flaw in Darwin’s philosophy, by my own personal experience. [page 339 of SFRFG, 4th ed.]

In Western countries, how often does the media portray belief in accidental existence as if that is a foundation of scientific thought! How often is the philosophy of Charles Darwin promoted in universities as if that philosophy is the center point of science! We are taught from childhood through old age, and what are we taught? Not how to think but what to think. Many Americans have rejected the indoctrination, but how many others have been molded into mental zombies, hardly capable of thinking for themselves! Part of my purpose has been to encourage clear independent thinking.



Pterosaurs and Belief in God

The following online sites contain scientific evidence or observable phenomena that directly or indirectly can lead to belief in the existence of God or confirm the logic of that belief.

Evidence of Modern Pterosaurs or Ropens

Many persons in Western societies, including in the United States, are blind to ideas that run contrary to deeply-entrenched assumptions.

Modern Pterosaur on Creation-Wiki

“Their most primitive representatives (seen through fossils of bats and pterosaurs) are fully transformed as capable fliers.” [“The Evolution of Dinosaurs” by Paul C. Sereno]

Video Evidence for Ropen Bioluminescence

Cliff Paiva, a physicist living in California, analyzed the video footage: two lights that Paul Nation (of Texas) recorded in Papua New Guinea, late in 2006. Whatever the lights were, they were not airplanes, meteors, car headlights, flashlights, or camera artifacts. The images were also not from a paste-on hoax.

The “Bible of Modern Pterosaurs” Cryptozoology Book

“. . . a hope that  carried us to a remote tropical island to search for a  living creature that almost all scientists had set aside  as if dead for millions of years. How dearly we all need  the mother of that little hope: a sense of a worthy  purpose to live!”

The Fiery Flying Serpent and a Book by Whitcomb

Although this new book has been called “the Bible of Modern pterosaurs,” and it explains a new interpretation for the flying “snakes” in the Old Testament, the Bible itself is quoted only in a few places.

Searching for Ropens and Finding God

On Barnes & Noble: “Fly above common true-life adventures, and dive into what may become the most unsettling scientific discovery since Copernicus and Galileo: living pterosaurs of the modern world–what a discovery!”

Brief Introduction to Living Pterosaur Investigations

Youtube video by Jonathan Whitcomb: his Umboi Island expedition in 2004

The Ropen of Papua New Guinea

It is described as a large, featherless flying creature with a long tail. It is reported to glow at night, in a way suggesting the animal controls the light (called “intrinsic bioluminescence”).

Kongamato Pterodactyl

A flying cryptid in Africa: The word “Kongamato” is said to have come from a native word that means “breaker of boats.” Even though some people believe it is a fictional animal of myth, some cryptozoologists belief kongamato is a “pterodactyl,” meaning a pterosaur.


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 cryptozoology.com 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.