Revised Edition of “Live Pterosaurs in America”

A revised edition of the nonfiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America [link to third edition, which was published late in 2011] will be published soon, perhaps before the end of November, 2010. A few excerpts are available pre-publication. Here is one of them.

Since the two ropen expeditions of 2004, in Papua New Guinea, more Americans have learned of the living-pterosaur investigations and the many resulting eyewitness interviews. Many web pages have sprung up, many of them by explorers themselves. But despite other web pages, by scornful critics who never went anywhere and never interviewed anyone, those two expeditions, and those that preceded and followed them, are causing an awakening, opening human minds in the birth of a new perspective: Universal pterosaur extinction has been an assumption; some pterosaur species are still living.

We can expect more eyewitness sighting reports in this second edition of the book. This seems to be a good place to put an excerpt of one of them.

At 11:15 p.m., she was driving near Kenton, Ohio, on Route 309. With clear sky and a still-full moon, the landscape was brightly lit. A creature swooped down—an obvious “pterodactyl”—gliding gracefully over the hood of her car. She watched it fly into some dense underbrush of trees. Because of the brightness of the moon . . . and the nearness of the creature’s flight, she saw it clearly. OJ was impressed with that slow smooth flight, with no wing flapping. She told me, “It was very eerie . . . Sent shivers over me.”

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cover of the nonfiction cryptozoology book "Live Pterosaurs in America" second editionLive “pterodactyls?” In the United States? Many scientists have long assumed all pterosaurs died millions of years ago. Now take a whirlwind tour of many years of cryptozoological investigations, and prepare for a shock: At least two species of pterosaurs have survived, uncommon, not so much rare as scattered.

Nocturnal pterosaurs have always lived among us, but hidden by something. Enter now the realm of a new branch of cryptozoology, a branch overshadowed by the dogma of a “universal extinction.” How did scientists miss living pterosaurs? Get the answers here, hidden secrets about how these amazing flying creatures of the night have gone mostly unreported: Until recently, almost nobody would listen to eyewitnesses; but for the past seven years many of them have been interviewed by the author of this book.

Many modern pterosaurs are much larger than any bat, many with long tails, many with head crests. What about news headlines? How did these creatures avoid media attention? Get the answers from years of work by American cryptozoologists. The old “fruit bat” explanation for reports of pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea–that bat idea has now been shot down; the tail length of the larger creatures has been estimated at a minimum of ten feet and a maximum of over twenty feet.

More shocking, these giant long-tailed flying creatures are not confined to the southwest Pacific: They are seen in the contiguous United States of America. Most pterosaurs in North America, however, are smaller, with many wingspan estimates at less than fifteen feet; nevertheless, how shocking!

$13.65 U.S., second edition, nonfiction, by Jonathan David Whitcomb, available in late 2010

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Flying Fox and Pterosaur Sightings

In Papua New Guinea, and in surrounding countries in that part of the world, the flying fox fruit bat, with many species, is prevalent. Some of those bigger “Old World” bats may attain wingspans of over four feet, really big for a bat. But what does the flying fox bat have to do with modern dinosaurs and pterosaurs? It’s in a critical objection that is common, a suggestion from critics that sightings of living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea are just misidentifications of that fruit bat.

So why don’t we examine a couple of eyewitness sighting reports, putting this misidentification conjecture to the test? Many sightings could be included here, reports of encounters in Papua New Guinea and in Australia. Two should suffice: Duane Hodgkinson’s 1944 sighting west of Finschhafen and Gideon Koro’s sighting at Lake Pung.

Both Hodgkinson and Koro have been interviewed by American cryptozoologists or other investigators: Hodgkinson by Jonathan Whitcomb and Garth Guessman, Koro by James Blume and Jonathan Whitcomb. Both eyewitnesses were shown to be credible, with numerous reasons to believe that they had actually experienced encounters similar to the ones that they had described.

Before looking into their testimonies, however, we need to look at the tail of the flying fox. Actually, there’s not much to look at. If any species of fruit bat has any tail, it is short, sometimes maybe only a fraction of an inch long. That is important to realize: No flying fox has any tail whose length can be measured in terms of feet.

Hodgkinson, an American World War II veteran, was stationed on the mainland of New Guinea in 1944; he described the creature in detail: It had a wingspan similar to that of a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane (around twenty-nine feet); it had a long pointed head crest, a long beak-like mouth, and a long neck. Important is another description: The tail was “at least” ten or fifteen feet long, yes, 10-to-15-FEET long. It was obviously no flying fox fruit bat.

Now we compare that with the description given by Gideon Koro. The young man lives in a remote village on Umboi Island, but he was only a boy (maybe in his early teens at the oldest) when he and his six friends climbed up to Lake Pung, the crater lake near their village. Within only a few minutes, a giant flying creature came down, flying just over the lake’s surface. It had a “mouth like a crocodile” and a tail. Whitcomb asked him how long that tail was. He hesitated, looking back and forth at the ground to make an estimate; he then said, “seven meters” (twenty-two feet). It was obviously no flying fox fruit bat.

Those two eyewitnesses had no association with each other. The descriptions, the details of the features on giant flying creatures, are similar, shockingly similar. In addition, their testimonies were collaborated individually, without need to refer to the other testimony.

Hodgkinson’s army buddy was with him when the giant “pterodactyl” flew out of the jungle clearing; Koro’s six friends were with him when the “ropen” flew over the crater lake. In fact, Whitcomb interviewed two of Koro’s friends, just a few minutes after he had interviewed Koro (Whitcomb expedition, Umboi Island, 2004).

Other things distinguish the long-tailed pterosaur (called “ropen” on Umboi) from the flying fox bat: bright glowing flight, taste for fish, hanging upright from a tree trunk; the flying fox does not glow brightly when it flies around, and it does not eat fish, and it hangs upside-down from tree branches. Yet it is the size difference that is most telling in these two feather-less flying creatures of the night.

Pterosaurs Living in the United States

Reports keep poping up: People see what they call “pterodactyl” or “pterosaur” or “featherless flying creature.” And they report those creatures flying in the United States. So why don’t we just look at some of these accounts by state and see what the eyewitnesses experienced?

Ohio Pterosaurs

With eyewitnesses interviewed by cryptozoologists that have included Jonathan Whitcomb . . .  accounts come from Ohio. . . . Antwerp, Ohio, is where one young man saw long-tailed pterosaurs on two consecutive summers: “huge . . . about 4.5 ft. tail, 10 ft. from head to end of tail. long skinny tail with a spade.” It was the hottest time of the summer afternoon when the sightings took place.

Marfa Lights of Texas

The flying (and sometimes dancing) lights of Marfa, Texas, only show themselves a few times a year, in contrast to the counterfeit “strange” lights caused by headlights of cars on a nearby highway. But if those lights are caused by the same general kind of creature as the ropen of Papua New Guinea (large or giant featherless flying creature with a long tail), how would ancient people describe it? A featherless long-tailed creature that curled up its wings while in repose would surely bring to mind a snake. And the “fiery” part of “fiery flying serpents” could come from the glow . . .

Pterosaur Sighting in California

On one of the first nights of observation, Scott stayed up later than the other researchers. He’d been skeptical after watching an unclear video that others thought might be a pterosaur; he was sure it was just a bird. But in the early morning hours of July 19th, he saw something large fly nearby: no bird.

. . . the dark creature flew twenty feet high, over a shed only twenty feet from Scott. Although it was dark, there was no mistaking it: a wingspan of eight to ten feet, a head three to four feet long, and a two-foot-long head-crest that reminded him of a Pteranodon. The wings were more bat-like than bird-like.

South Carolina Pterosaur Sighting

She saw a giant creature glide over the highway in front of the car. . . . “It looked as big as any car, and had NO feathers, not like a huge crane or egret. . . . it swooped down over the highway and back up gracefully over the pines.” It was in a remote swampy area.

The pterosaur was “gliding” but it flapped its wings slowly once or twice. The wingspan was about twelve to twenty feet.

Marion County, Texas, Sighting in 1995

Mr. Tullock made no immediate formal report of his 1995 sighting, for he was only eight years old; who would have taken him seriously? He reported his sighting to me in 2009 (I interviewed him in January, 2010), and that throws light on the reliability of his experience. Why? Childish imaginings do not usually remain misunderstood after a person grows into adulthood; even what is vividly imagined will normally become revealed as imagination as a person matures. My communications with Mr. Tullock revealed no symptom of any abnormality related to potential hallucination or delusion, and I have had adequate experience with those with that kind of problem. I believe that Mr. Tullock observed a flying creature with features basically the same or similar to those that he described to me.

Pterosaurs Still Living

Any pterosaur still living is subject to being reported on this older modern-pterosaur web site. (The home page of Jonathan Whitcomb’s site has recently been updated). The title includes this:

Pterosaurs Still Living is here to document, then analyze, eyewitness accounts of living pterosaurs or pterosaur-like creatures and to support expeditions and investigations . . . 

The home page itself has few details about eyewitness sightings, but many links. Regarding Paul Nation’s 2006 expedition, it says:

Late in 2006, Paul Nation’s expedition, deep in the mountainous interior of the mainland of Papua New Guinea, elevated the credibility of living-pterosaur cryptozoological searching. He videotaped what investigators believe was the bioluminescent glow of one or two living pterosaurs. . . .

Links to eyewitness pages include the 1971 sighting of two pterosaurs seen in daylight by Esin Kuhn in Cuba; the 1989 sighting (also in daylight) of a huge pterosaur seen by Susan Wooten in South Carolina; the sighting (early 1990’s) of the ropen by Mesa Augustin at Lake Pung, Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea; and the 1971 sighting of a “prehistoric” flying creature by Brian Hennessy on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea.

Also included are references to the Whitcomb 2004 expedition and other expeditions in Papua New Guinea, and Duane Hodgkinson’s sighting (1944, mainland New Guinea).