Big Flying Creature in Utah

A newspaper article was published in Salt Lake City, about a century ago, reporting a huge flying creature described as half-bird and half-reptile. How big was it? The image coming with that article showed a dragon flying off with a horse in its mouth. Where was that flying thing flying? Over Stansbury Island, which is in the Great Salt Lake of Utah.

Three children, including Devon Roberts and his brother Dallin, saw something huge flying overhead, at about 11 p.m., around the fall of 2001, something very unlike any bird. Devon estimated the flying creature had a wingspan of fifteen to twenty feet, although that estimate depends on his estimate of the distance. Where was that flying thing flying? Over Grantsville, which is just south of the Great Salt Lake.

Was it an over-imaginative newspaper reporter a century ago and three over-imaginative children fourteen years ago, with no relationship between the stories? Maybe . . . but maybe not. I suggest both stories may have had some truth, with more credibility for the recent sighting, for two of those three eyewitnesses (sighting around the fall of 2001) I myself interviewed face-to-face, and those two young men appeared perfectly credible to me. I also suggest the two young men did, in fact, observe a very large bioluminescent flying creature and the best candidate for that kind of animal is the ropen.

Devon videotaped during interviewDevon Roberts was interviewed, in 2015, by Jonathan Whitcomb

I recently interviewed Devon and Dallin Roberts, of St. George, Utah, concerning the flying creature they witnessed, when they were children, in the farming town of Grantsville. The point of this investigation of that encounter fourteen years ago is not to promote belief in a dragon that carried away a full-grown horse and flew over the Great Salt Lake a century ago, but to promote an open mind to the possibility that something much larger than any classified bird now flies over North America, including northern Utah.

Some of the sighting reports in the United States suggest the larger ones, the creatures that resemble pterosaurs, may be able to lift much more weight than eagles or owls can, for the wingspans of the apparent ropens are much greater. But let’s now concentrate on the sighting in Grantsville.

Sighting in Grantsville, Utah

Twelve-year-old Dallin was the first of the three boys to see the strange thing that was flying overhead that night. None of those boys could see it well enough to say it was a half-bird and half-reptile, as an earlier generation may (or may not) have seen in that area of Utah, for the more-recent encounter was late at night. How did they see the creature? It was glowing, although the light went off and on over a period of minutes.

At first, Devon thought his brother was playing a joke. Dallin was telling him there was a huge bird that was “on fire” and then it disappeared. Sure! But then Devon saw the glowing creature. It was no joke but real, seeming to disappear when the glow stopped.

So how could the recent sighting relate to the old story of a horse-carrying dragon-like thing? When the flying creature in 2001 turned on its glow, the farm animals under its flight path “started going berserk” (words of Devon Roberts). Those animals felt threatened, even if the flying creature was not large enough to carry away a horse.

Perhaps the old report included an exaggeration and a false detail about a horse, but that does not mean that all aspects of that old newspaper story were only fictional. Regardless of how truthful that horse-eating story was, the three boys in Grantsville, in 2001, saw something other eyewitnesses have seen in North Ameria: a strange flying creature that glows when it flies at night, an animal much bigger than any bird in a science textbook.



Ropen Bioluminescence in Utah

Three boys were playing at night on a playground in the farming community of Grantsville, Utah, around the fall of 2001, when they were shocked at the appearance of a large glowing creature that flew overhead.

Van Meter Flying Creature

If the town of Van Meter, Iowa, stood alone with a series of sightings in the early 20th century, what about recent sightings? What about reported encounters with pterosaur-like animals in recent times, in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Missouri? I doubt that Van Meter really stands alone.

Author in Utah Reports Flying Creatures

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.

Are Modern Pterosaurs Bioluminescent?

I suggest, to anyone who would attempt to explain pterosaur bioluminescence to a skeptic, that we begin with reports of large flying creatures known to some of the natives of Papua New Guinea, creatures that glow as they fly.

Bioluminescence in Pterosaurs

I interviewed Paul Nation in his home in Texas, soon after he had returned to the United States  from his late-2006 expedition in Papua New Guinea. . . . Jacob Kepas, his interpreter, was able to climb up a cliff where he and a local native saw what  appeared to be a giant winged creature sleeping on another cliff.

Ropen Pterosaur

The word “ropen” comes from Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea,  where in the local language of Kovai it refers to a large nocturnal flying creature that  briefly, on occasion on some nights, glows brightly.


Live Pterosaurs in America - third edition

Nonfiction paperback: Live Pterosaurs in America – by J. D. Whitcomb

From a reader in Wisconsin:

“. . . there is something here for everyone . . . Once you  start to reading it you won’t want to put it down . . .  amazing and awe inspiring . . . Out of five stars, I’ll give  it all five.” (From Isaac Elekom)


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Recent Ropen Sightings

For the past eleven years, I (Jonathan Whitcomb) have interviewed eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs from various areas of the world. Many of those whom I have questioned report a flying creature resembling what my associates and I call ropens.

Let’s consider some of the recent reports that have come in.

West Virginia, 2015 (apparent bioluminescence)

An eyewitness sent me an email about a sighting he had early on May 18, 2015, near Blue Lick Road, in Harrison County, West Virginia.

. . . this past Monday morning around 4ish we seen what appeared to [be] a ufo but then we realized it was alive. It had wings [and] was glowing green, extremely bright. It flew maybe 150 to 200 ft above us . . .

It had a tail . . . the wings are in a pyramid shape, I’m talking about both wings as it glided over us, from the head to where they went in the body, from the top of the wings, meaning the head, down to the body was like a pyramid. The whole body was glowing . . .

Nicaragua, about 2009

I found your web page and would like to share with you a sighting of a bird that happened more than 5 years ago. It was a rainy day and for some reason from the patio deck I looked up and saw the only bird flying. I can recall its shape as a big M with long neck and tail. I called my wife and she also was amazed for the looks of the animal. Even though it was high in the sky, it seemed to be big and featherless.

Louisiana, 2014

I seen one for myself. Last year, living in Metairie (suburbs of
New Orleans, LA), while at a friends BBQ. . . . I am CERTAIN of what I saw. The beasts size was as big as a small plane. It circled around my area a couple of times . . . I also noticed the slick skin . . . This was no silent drone glider plane. I know what I saw and one friend saw it too.

Virginia, 2015

I’m not positive about what [I] and my 16 year old son saw flying across a major road in Richmond, VA, a couple of days ago at dusk. What I do know is, it was something we have never saw before. Its wing span was massive! It looked to be about 10 feet across and its tail was long with a triangle point! We were so flabbergasted looking at it that I nearly crashed!


Gitmo Pterosaur sketched by eyewitness Patty Carson

Ropen sketched by the eyewitness Patty Carson (sighting in Cuba, circa 1965)



Ropen of Papua New Guinea

. . . an alleged relict pterosaur that has been reported from the jungles . . .  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 . . .

Ropen Attacks

Suddenly, we heard screams . . . We looked up the field at the girls and the ones farthest away from us were pointing into the overhead fog bank and screaming. Then the girls below them started screaming and pointing into the fog. . . .

What is a Ropen? A Pterosaur?

Before you dismiss the concept of a  modern pterosaur (in particular, of a long-tailed  featherless Rhamphorhynchoid), consider the many  eyewitness testimonies of those flying creatures. . . . 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.

The ropen is not a bat

Up until the late 20th Century, the flying fox explanation was used to dismiss reports of large flying  creatures in Papua New Guinea, nocturnal creatures that some people called pterodactyls.

Ropen Expeditions

In addition, the two ropen expeditions of 2004 brought to light the long tail of this huge flying creature. The native Gideon Koro told the American cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb that the creature that he and his six friends saw had a tail that was seven meters long (twenty-three feet).


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Non-Ropen Pterosaur Sighting in Papua New Guinea

Two Americans returned home to the Portland area of Oregon on Saturday, April 18, 2015, after having searched for a living pterosaur in Papua New Guinea for several weeks. No photograph or video footage was obtained but they did see an apparent pterosaur in daylight. This was the eleventh pterosaur expedition in which Americans were heavily involved in Papua New Guinea over the past twenty-two years. It was the first such expedition in which an American visitor witnessed an apparent pterosaur in daylight.

Pterdanodon-like pterosaur

Pteranodon-like Pterodactyloid pterosaur

Not a Ropen but a Possible Pterodactyloid

At the time of the sighting, one or more natives caught the attention of the two Americans as the large creature flew overhead. One of the Americans had forgotten where he had put his camera, and the other tried to videotape the apparent Pterodactyloid pterosaur but in the excitement missed pointing the camera in precisely the right direction, which was to some extent towards the sun. (Neither American is a professional wildlife photographer.) Yet both men did see the form and features of the flying creature, and both of them got the impression that is was a pterosaur.

It appeared to be short-tailed, however, and so it was unlike the long-tailed ropen that appears to be more common in Papua New Guinea. Is this Pterodactyloid-type also bioluminescent? We don’t yet know, for the new sighting, during this expedition in March and April of 2015, was in daylight.

Although the sighting was hardly a scientific proof of the existence of modern pterosaurs, we can learn from the experience. Let’s begin by going over who these men are: Peter Beach and Milt Marcy.

Two pterosaur searchers in Washington state

Milt Marcy (left) and Peter Beach, by the Yakima River, state of Washington

Dinosaur Search in Africa

According to Wikipedia:

In January 2006, the Milt Marcy Expedition traveled to the Dja river in Cameroon, near the Congolese border. It consisted of Milt Marcy, Peter Beach, Rob Mullin and Pierre Sima. They spoke to witnesses that claimed to have observed a Mokèlé-mbèmbé only two days before, but they did not discover the animal themselves. However, they did return with what they believe to be a plaster cast of a Mokèlé-mbèmbé footprint.

That was one of many expeditions in central Africa, over many years, by various Western explorers, in search of a non-extinct Sauropod dinosaur. A few of those American dinosaur “hunters” have also searched for living pterosaurs, including David Woetzel.

I specialize in modern pterosaurs, not modern dinosaurs, but I did interview Marcy and Beach in August of 2014, on the banks of the Yakima River in Washington state.

Bioluminescent Pterosaurs in Northwestern USA

Glowing nocturnal flying creatures in Washington state may appear irrelevant to sightings of apparent pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea, but Milt Marcy and Peter Beach have searched for them in both locations. We can learn at least one thing from that.

I found these two men quite credible, as I interviewed them in August of 2014, by the river where they had witnessed strange flying lights at night. They admitted that they were unable to see anything like a pterosaur in daylight, and almost all of their night sightings were only of the flying lights.

Some weeks after our interview, Marcy and Beach witnessed similar flying lights but over a different river in that northwestern area of the USA. Again they saw no form or features of a pterosaur. That brings up an important point.

Honesty in Searching for Living Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs

Is it possible that Milt Marcy and Peter Beach were dishonest when they returned from their African expedition in 2006, when they admitted that they had seen nothing like any dinosaur? How easy for a liar to make up a story, if a dishonest man were to go to some remote area of the planet where his lie could hide in the dark! How unbelievable that two men would try to deceive the world into believing in modern dinosaurs, when those two would spend their own money on an expedition and afterwards admit that they had seen nothing like a dinosaur!

Why did those two men tell me nothing about any sighting of an apparent pterosaur that they had seen in daylight at a river in the northwestern USA? They had no such sighting and were honest.

So why would Mr. Marcy tell me about an apparent pterosaur he had observed early in 2015 in Papua New Guinea, admitting that he was not 100% sure it was a pterosaur? He was still being honest.

And why would Mr. Beach hesitate when I asked him how sure he was that he had observed a pterosaur with Mr. Marcy in Papua New Guinea? He was trying to think of something else that it could have been. He was thinking of different birds and bats that may have presented the appearance of what he had seen that day with his friend Milt. He was being honest.

Peter Beach was once a biology professor at a small college. He is well aware that a human with a bias can observe something and misidentify it because of that bias. I give him credit for being careful about assuming that he and Milt must have seen a pterosaur. Both of these men have shown us honesty in their investigations.

So was it a Pterosaur?

I have spoken with both of them by phone this past week. I feel that the three of us agree that it is more than 50% likely that it was a living pterosaur they had observed in Papua New Guinea. So where does that leave us?

At the end of 2012, I compiled data from 128 of the more-credible sighting reports that I had received over many years. Each one of those 128 appeared to me to have been more than 50% likely to have been from an encounter with a living pterosaur. What does that mean? To those who understand probability, it means that if my assessment of each of those 128 reports was anywhere near the mark, it is practically impossible for all of those reports to have come from non-pterosaurs: Not all pterosaurs are extinct.

Who am I do declare myself objective enough to make such a proclamation? I have spent the past eleven years researching and searching for living pterosaurs, although most of the searching was for truth within eyewitness reports rather than for the creatures themselves. I appear to have written more on this subject than all other cryptozoologists in the world combined, in nonfiction books and web pages and blog posts, which does not in itself prove the validity of my ideas, proving only that I am serious. In 2004, I returned from an expedition in Papua New Guinea, admitting that I had seen nothing like a pterosaur. In 2013, I finished examining 14,333 game-camera photos of a location where such a flying creature had been reported, and I admitted seeing nothing like a pterosaur. By early 2015, I had received eyewitness reports from five continents of this planet, not rumors or second-hand reports but the words of the witnesses, from those persons themselves. As of April 24, 2015, I have never myself seen anything like a living pterosaur. In other words I am honest. To the point, honesty is the first step and the biggest step to objectiveness.



Pterosaur Sighting in Papua New Guinea Early in 2015

Peter Beach and Milt Marcy, both of the Portland area of Oregon, led an expedition in Papua New Guinea, in March and April of 2015, searching for a living pterosaur that previous American explorers had failed to see clearly. This time Americans did see, in daylight, the form and features of an apparent pterosaur.

Investigators of Reports of Living Pterosaurs

Garth Guessman, David Woetzel, Paul Nation, Jonathan Whitcomb—each of these four American men has explored in Papua New Guinea, searching for a living pterosaur.

Flying Pterosaur Creature

The problem is not in the eyewitnesses but in the indoctrination, over generations, that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs must have become extinct millions of years ago. That’s the problem.

Sightings of Flying Creatures

[In] July of 2010, My wife and I were sitting outside when motion from above the tree tops to our left caught my attention; it’s very hard to explain how I felt at that moment. We were looking at two extremely large birds flying together and heading north . . . I can only guess to be 15-20′ wing spans and the motion of their wings as they flew was very slow.

Can Ropens Hide 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. Its seems these lights fly over at least two rivers in this part of the country and near one particular river the lights enter and exit nearby caves.

Bioluminescent Pterosaurs in Washington State

The flying creatures are nocturnal, not usually seen there in daylight . . . I emphasize that sightings of apparent living pterosaurs are throughout the states of Washington and Oregon . . . We were unable to get a picture but we saw many . . . flashing lights. I would have assumed that [they] were fireflies but we [don’t] have them in Washington.


Live Pterosaurs in America - third edition

Probably the best-selling nonfiction book on modern “pterodactyls” – Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition) by the cryptozoologist Jonathan David Whitcomb

From the Amazon page:

Reports of huge flying “pterodactyls” in American skies have floated around the internet for years; but before about 2005, details were scarce. . . .  Universal pterosaur extinction has been an assumption; some pterosaur species are still living. The author, one of those American explorers who interviewed natives in Papua New Guinea, has been interviewing American eyewitnesses since 2004.


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The Van Meter Flying Creature

Yesterday I noticed a post by a skeptic who wrote about the legend of the Van Meter creature of 1903, a reportedly winged monster that frightened citizens in a small town in Iowa. (Actually, it appears there was more than one of the creatures.) I will not mention the pen name of the skeptic here, but she had previously written about me, assuming that I had been deceiving people about the ropen or living pterosaurs. She grouped me with those whom she proclaims are “deceiving people to undermine science.”

So perhaps I am not without bias when I first encounter any post by this woman, but I took notice that she again attacked the possibility of a modern pterosaur. Let’s look deeper than this outspoken skeptic appears to have looked. We’ll consider how bioluminescence might explain the strange reports from a century ago.

If the town of Van Meter, Iowa, stood alone with a series of sightings in the early 20th century, what about recent sightings? What about reported encounters with pterosaur-like animals in recent times, in the neighboring states of Wisconsin and Missouri? I doubt that Van Meter really stands alone.

Please consider what I wrote on page 31 of the third edition of my nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America:

Later I received an email from a man in Wisconsin.

” . . . wanted to tell someone about a sighting I had back in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s. I grew up on a farm and picked cucumbers to make money as a kid. All of my sisters and brother did also. Anyways one late afternoon, I had just brought out the tractor to pick up the bags of cucumbers when I noticed a strange looking bird in the sky. . . . it looked like something straight out of the dinosaurs era. It scared the . . . out of me right away. I knew it was not a sand hill crane, which we have a few hundred migrating thru. What stood out was the long pointed head and the fact that there was a very long tail between the legs and with a ball shaped on the end of it. . . .”

On page 228 of the fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God, I wrote about a sighting in Missouri:

On the afternoon of January 2, 2013, a U.S. Marine, who is stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, saw something strange overhead. He told me, “I could not believe my eyes. It appeared to be several feet long, and had a very large wing span, perhaps 10 feet or more. It was gliding for the most part . . .”

It had a long head with a “cone protruding from behind its head.” He also told me it had “a very long tail with what I can only describe as a diamond shape at the end.”

In spite of the protest of one skeptic, the Van Meter flying creatures may have been nocturnal pterosaurs, related to others that have been reported more recently across the United States. If it’s not the same species, it may still be related, and bioluminescence may be the correct explanation for its glow.



Bioluminescent Flying Creatures in America

“It was late in the evening almost dark . . . I was walking from my car to my house [in Sun Valley] and something in the sky caught my eye. My girlfriend also looked up and right away said is that a bat . . . What caught my eye was the bright radiation like light coming from the belly of this Pterodactyl looking animal . . .”

Van Meter Creature

“The Van Meter Visitor” is a large paperback with 238 pages, on a subject whose main points could easily be summed up in a medium-length article, if no photos or sketches were included. This book has a generous selection of photos and other images, many of which are directly or indirectly related to the winged creature.

Van Meter Visitor – The Book

I don’t recommend The Van Meter Visitor for those who are ignorant of live-pterosaur investigations, for this book may keep those readers ignorant of the best explanation for the strange winged creature seen in Van Meter, Iowa, in 1903. But this book may nevertheless be useful for the reader open to the possibility that the authors of this paranormal book are themselves ignorant of the plausibility of live pterosaurs.


Book by Whitcomb: Searching for Ropens and Finding GodFourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God

From the back cover:

“Settle into a comfortable chair and prepare for what may become the most unsettling scientific discovery since Copernicus and Galileo.”


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Nonfiction Books That Mention Non-Extinct Pterosaurs

Not all books that include a sighting of an apparent living pterosaur are in the cryptozoology genre. Let’s begin with a translation of an ancient writing by the Jewish historian Josephus, who lived almost 2,000 years ago.

English translation of ancient Josephus

The New Complete Works of Josephus, translated by William Whiston

But Moses . . . did not march by river, but by land, where he gave a wonderful demonstration of his wisdom; for when the ground was difficult to be passed over, because of the multitude of serpents (which it produces in vast numbers, and, indeed, is singular in some of those productions, which other countries do not breed, and yet such as are worse than others in power and mischief, and an unusual fierceness of sight, some of which ascend out of the ground unseen, and also fly in the air, and so come upon men at unawares, and do them a mischief).

By the way, the above account of Moses encountering flying serpents has no direct relationship with the fiery flying serpents mentioned in the Old Testament. Josephus is here telling us about a time before Moses was a prophet to the Israelites, when Moses was leading an Egyptian army to battle. Still, it could have been the same species of pterosaur, a Rhamphorhynchoid (long-tailed) pterosaur.


book by Marie Trevelyan & E. Sidney HartlandFolk Lore and Folk Stories of Wales, by Marie Trevelyan and E. Sidney Hartland

The woods around Penllyne Castle, Glamorgan, had the reputation of being frequented by winged serpents, and these were the terror of old and young like. An aged inhabitant of Penllyne . . . said that in his boyhood the winged serpents were described as very beautiful. . . . Some of them had crests sparkling with all the colours of the rainbow. . . . His father and uncle had killed some of them,  for they were “as bad as foxes for poultry.”

The first publication date of the above book (1909) suggests those winged creatures could have been killed off, in that part of Wales, before the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, the “aged inhabitant” may have lived in that area in the early years of that century, and his father and uncle even much earlier, and he gave no indication he had seen the creatures himself: that species of “winged serpent” may have become extinct by early in the nineteenth century.

strange sightings, incredible occurrences

Unexplained! by Jerome Clark

At 3:55 a.m. on September 14, 1982, James Thompson, an ambulance technician, was driving along Highway 100 four miles east of Los Fresnos, Texas. . . . He suddenly spotted a “large birdlike object” pass low over the highway 150 feet in front of him. . . . “It had a black, or grayish, rough texture. It wasn’t feathers. I’m quite sure it was a hide-type covering.” . . . its wingspan was five to six feet.

Books Specializing in Modern Pterosaurs

I mention the above nonfiction books to emphasize that I am not the only author that writes about apparent encounters with modern living pterosaurs.

My three nonfiction books about these amazing flying creatures are:

  1. Searching for Ropens and Finding God (in 4th edition)
  2. Live Pterosaurs in America (in 3rd edition)
  3. Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea (free pdf)



Fourth Edition of Ropen Book

“He has lived and worked in some very remote areas [of the Congo in Africa], and has had several encounters with different cryptids. He says that the existence of pterosaur-like creatures is common knowledge among the locals of a certain area where he was working.”

Sense of Truth – Nonfiction Book

Look at a box of mac ‘n cheese or frozen chicken nuggets, the ones with tasty shapes of dinosaurs. Notice that some of those shapes have wings, like what many of us call pterodactyls. Did you notice the word prehistoric on the box? Now notice what small children are taught.

Two Amazing Nonfiction Books

Why would we work so hard, for so long, with so many opportunities to fabricate pterosaur sightings in so many remote jungles, and then admit that we never saw any clear form of a pterosaur? It is because we intend not to deceive but to enlighten.

Fiery Flying Serpent of Old Testament

. . . a  modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur, possibly related to  the long-tailed nocturnal creatures now seen in various areas of the world. A small portion of modern encounters with these creatures is reported to have caused human deaths in Papua New Guinea and in British Columbia . . .

Three Books on Modern Pterosaurs

Three nonfiction cryptozoology books on modern pterosaurs in North America are now available on Amazon. The three authors, Ken Gerhard, Jonathan Whitcomb, and Gerald McIsaac, have independently written their books, with no apparent collaboration between them.


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Scientific Testing of Dinosaur Bones: Carbon-14 Methods

This is about radiometric carbon dating of dinosaur fossils, but we need an introduction, for it also relates to reports of extant pterosaurs.

Nikola Tesla once said, “The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”

Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I say, “Not everybody embraces a live pterodactyl.” I’ll add to that: “Not everybody embraces a dinosaur that is not yet completely decomposed.”

For eleven years I have heralded the credibility of eyewitness testimony of living pterosaurs, especially long-tailed featherless creatures, that fly overhead in our modern world. For almost that long, some critics have insinuated (at least) things like insanity or dishonesty, when mentioning my name. In this new year of 2015, I began writing about something new, and I expect that among some readers it can make a difference. If I were crazy to have expected my repetitious writings to have grabbed public attention, I can at least be consoled that I can now do something different and wonder if the results will differ. I hope that more people will think more clearly.

Carbon Dating and the “Age of Dinosaurs”

Consider one of the comments on answers-dot-yahoo-dot-com:

“The dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago, and HomoSapeins only became a distinct primate about 200,000 years ago. This is fact, as proved by carbon dating of fossils and the remains of early man.”

Actually the above is not “fact” but false, and that comment was fortunately not ranked as the best answer to a question about a possible dragon-dinosaur relationship in history. Carbon-14 methods cannot date anything older than a few tens of thousands of years old, for the half-life of that isotope is close to 5,700 years. Dating accuracy may be as high as 60,000 years, at best, but carbon-14 just does not last much longer.

Did Dinosaurs Live Recently?

If dinosaurs lived as recently as 40,000 years ago, it would certainly open many human minds to the testimonies of countless eyewitnesses of modern pterosaurs. But who would believe such a wild idea, that at least some dinosaurs lived so recently? Well, a few researchers who used carbon-dating on quite a few dinosaur bones, that’s who.

A lecture was given in a geology conference in Singapore, in 2012, with carbon-14 dating of dinosaur fossils the subject. All the bones were found to have that isotope of carbon, a shocking finding, but there it is: Those particular dinosaurs in North America lived only a few tens of thousands of years ago, at most.


dinosaur colored green



Recent Dinosaurs and Carbon-14 Dating

Recently-living dinosaurs help people to realize that eyewitness reports of flying pterosaurs are more credible than people may have assumed. Yes, I am talking about dinosaurs that have lived relatively recently. Some dinosaurs appear to be well under 1% as old as Westerners have been taught, tens of thousands of years rather than many millions of years old.

Dinosaur Fossils That are Carbon-14 Dated

For generations, Americans and peoples of other Western countries have been indoctrinated, from early childhood, with continuous proclamations about all of the dinosaurs and pterosaurs becoming extinct many millions of years ago. [Actual carbon-dating of dinosaur bones, however, does NOT support that.]

Censorship of carbon-14 (C14) dinosaur dating

Carbon-14 dating was recently performed on dinosaur fossils,1 and the results were presented at the Western Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, August 2012, a gathering of approximately two thousand scientists.


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Religion in “Searching for Ropens and Finding God”

With a title that includes “finding God,” how much religion is in my recent nonfiction book? Actually not much. I wrote Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition) with readers of all faiths in mind, for anyone open to some kind of positive spiritual experience. Let’s allow the book to speak for itself with these excerpts:

Title Page

[This] soars above disputes about religion, revealing why an official discovery of an extraordinary animal was 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.

First Page of Acknowledgements

The pioneering investigations of three men illuminated the path for my own expedition: James Blume, for decades a Baptist missionary and plane pilot in Papua New Guinea; Carl Baugh, founder and director of a creation-science museum in Texas; and Paul Nation, an associate of Baugh.

Second Page of Acknowledgements

The prayers of family, friends, and other Americans were answered when I found Luke Paina, who became my interpreter, bodyguard, and counselor. By the grace of the Father of us all, Luke and I were welcomed like brothers by those we met on Umboi Island, and through the friendship of humble native Christians in remote villages, we were fed, sheltered, and led to those who made this book possible: the native eyewitnesses. Thank you . . .


Expect answers in this book: why my associates and I traveled to a remote tropical island to search for living pterosaurs and why only a few professors have given us any hope that they still live. . . . I hope my readers will discover more than adventure—a purpose in life—as worthy a purpose as I have found. This is no instruction manual for finding God, yet I suggest that the spiritual quest gives us the highest reward. . . .

Is this a tool for promoting Biblical Creation and ridiculing evolution? Clear thinking we need, without fear, allowing us to discover both truth and error in whatever camp we find ourselves, entrenched or visiting, at the moment. Beware of simplistic labels.

Chapter One

The existence of life I credited to God, from childhood choosing to respect the Bible as nonfiction. When I was ten, my father, psychologist for the San Bernardino School District in California, showed me the largest collection of bird eggs in the Western United States, in the museum in our own little town of Bloomington. The variety of eggs and birds, all dead, fascinated me. Then I read the labels. Non-birds becoming birds discomforted me, for each type of life appeared to have a role in its own basic form.

If all of the above gives a reader no offense, with its religious tones, the book as a whole should not offend that reader. Does it improperly mix religion and science? It’s really more of a cryptozoology book with reasoning about the meaning of eyewitness testimonies and the adventure of searching for modern living pterosaurs.

Jonathan Whitcomb - from a mini-documentary

Jonathan David Whitcomb



Flood of Genesis

Did every variety of every type of creature enter the Ark of Noah? Why should they? Take the obvious example first: Would Noah have taken every breed of dog into the Ark, if all the present-day varieties existed in his day? No. Only a few genetically-healthy dogs would be needed, for they would have all the traits that could later become active in our modern breeds, even though the countless traits would not be outwardly visible in those original ancestors.

Scientific Paper on Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific

While both ropen lights and meteors are fast-moving flashes of lights in the sky, several characteristics distinguish them (Whitcomb, 2007). For example, Abram of Opai Village, Umboi Island, described a ropen light that flew down to a reef and stayed at or near the surface of the sea before flying back toward Mount Bel (Whitcomb interview) . . . Analysis of 2004-expedition records suggest that many suspected ropen lights move away from Mount Bel early at night but toward it late at night.

Religion and Belief in Ropens

. . . the eyewitnesses come to us with different religions, almost as if religion had nothing to do with encountering a live “pterodactyl.” . . . A person who sees an apparent pterosaur is just as likely to be an atheist as a Bible believing Southern Baptist.

Fiery Flying Serpent

The Fiery Flying Serpent of the Old Testament is also found in the Book of Mormon. In fact, in First Nephi, Chapter 17, verse 41, it is more clearly a flying fiery “serpent” that afflicted the children of Israel at the time of Moses, more clear than at least one of the relevant passages in the Bible, in that “flying” is included.


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Ropen Attacks

I recently received an eyewitness report from a man who was one of many children, many years ago, who had seen a giant flying creature in Canada. Please consider some of what this anonymous eyewitness reports, and believe what you will about the possibility that these children saw a large ropen.

Gigantic flying creature in Canada

I also saw a “giant” pterodactyl! Actually most of the senior students of our public school saw it too. This was back in about 1960 when I was 12 years old. . . . Since I am now almost 67 yrs old, I would like to find anyone else who might have seen one too.

Year: … 1960-1961
Date: … sometime in the fall.
Location:… Kitchener, Ontario, Canada,
Address:… King Edward Public School,

It was a dull and rainy fall morning. The rain had just stopped so we kids were forced to go outside during our morning recess. . . . it was cold and wet and a low hanging fog hovered about 20 feet above the ground.

Us guys started a ball game, but quickly gave up because the ball kept disappearing into the overhead fog . . . So, we decided to quit and just wait for the bell.

Suddenly, we heard screams . . . We looked up the field at the girls and the ones farthest away from us were pointing into the overhead fog bank and screaming. Then the girls below them started screaming and pointing into the fog. . . .

I was curious, as were all the other boys, so we positioned ourselves under the fog, hoping we would get to see whatever it was they were screaming at. I can still remember me bracing my legs apart, so as not to lose my balance as I looked up into a grey cloud.

Suddenly, It appeared! . . . An airplane-sized black bird was silently gliding just at the bottom of the fog bank. It must have been that low, so it could see where it was going by looking at the ground. It appeared to be only maybe 20 feet over my head and I could see it as clear as a bell.

The first thing I noticed was obviously its size. I was directly under one wing and it was much wider than myself and a group of my buddies put together. . . . I would estimate “one” wing to be 20 feet in length. Then I noticed a good 3 foot long pointed beak and a shorter 2 footish bump on the back of its head which was not as pointed as its beak.

Do ropens ever attack people?

Unfortunately, yes, although human victims are much more rare than the fish, birds, and bats that are usually hunted by these flying creatures.

I have seen reports, not first hand, of large flying creatures killing people on the mainland of Papua New Guinea. In villages around the cities of Lae and Finschhafen, adult humans have been carried away, apparently, although news like that rarely gets into any Western newspapers. In the remote village of Tawa, many years ago, a number of indavas used to attack natives, sometimes carrying away a child or a pig, according to Paul Nation.

In the United States and Canada, we have indirect and not-so-indirect evidence that unidentified flying creatures (UFC) sometimes attack people and may be the cause of a considerable percentage of the most mysterious cases for missing persons.

In particular, when you visit a wilderness area in North America, try not to be alone for long, and keep an eye on what may be flying overhead. Enjoy the scenery, of course, just don’t let yourself get carried away.

Gitmo Pterosaur sketched by eyewitness Patty CarsonRopen of eastern Cuba, mid-20th century (sketch by Patty Carson)




Can Ropens Hide 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. Its seems these lights fly over at least two rivers in this part of the country and near one particular river the lights enter and exit nearby caves.

Ropens are pterosaurs

The men soon realized that it was no bird that started to circle the clearing. It  had a tail “at least ten to fifteen feet long.”

Three native eyewitnesses of the ropen

Last week’s “Flying Monsters” episode of MonsterQuest had major problems. For one thing, the producers included almost no detail on the eyewitness sightings.

Ropen – a living pterosaur?

How often we’ve been taught that all dinosaurs  and pterosaurs became extinct millions of years  ago, as if that were proven! But what if some are  still living?

Credibility of native eyewitnesses

“Note that these islanders [of Umboi know about] . . . the bat we call “Flying Fox.” That nocturnal featherless flying animal  is common on that island. The Flying Fox holds no fear for the native. In fact, it’s an ingredient in a soup they  relish.

Bioluminescent ropen of Papua New Guinea

American cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb believes the ropen of Umboi is related to the “Gitmo Pterosaur” of Cuba.

About the flying ropen

Brian Hennessy saw a “prehistoric” flying creature on Bougainville Island, in 1971. About twenty-three years later, the Umboi Island native Gideon Koro saw a similar creature,  many miles to the west of Hennessy’s ropen sighting.

Destination Truth Ropen Episode

Just before Eric Wing and Neil [Mandt] interviewed me in their Hollywood office, I had received news that Paul [Nation] had videotaped some ropen lights (also called indava lights: the first video footage of its kind that would enter the United States).

A modern live pterosaur

What is this flying creature called “ropen?”  Countless eyewitnesses, in many countries  across the planet, have pondered what it  was they had seen. But ropens continue to  fly overhead, continuing to shock humans  who had assumed that all pterosaurs had  become extinct millions of years ago.

Flying Fox Bat Versus Ropen

Up until the late 20th Century, the flying fox explanation was used to dismiss reports of large flying  creatures in Papua New Guinea, nocturnal creatures that some people called pterodactyls.

Attack in the Dead of Winter – Nightmare

Remember your worst nightmare? Were you glad to wake up? Be grateful. In the early morning hours of February 23, 2010, a few miles or so southwest of Marfa, Texas, the victims were terrified by what awakened them. I am not the eyewitness . . . I interviewed my friend James, who had been driving through Southern Texas . . .

Searching for Ropens and Finding God (nonfiction)

During those fourteen months of failure to get a ropen’s photograph,  I did get many precious sighting reports from across the United States.

El Ropen de Papúa Nueva Guinea

El “ropen” es un cryptid de Papúa Nueva Guinea. Algunos investigadores creen que es un pterosauro que vive.

Jonathan Whitcomb’s Ropen Research

I have admired Jonathan Whitcomb’s Ropen / Pterosaur research for many years. I have posted a few of Jonathan’s offerings from recent years, which includes an article he wrote for Phantoms & Monsters.

Flying Dinosaurs—Alive?

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.


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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, according to what I have read so far in the book Missing 411 Western United States & Canada, by David Paulides.

Please keep in mind that I have read nothing that even hints that Mr. Paulides has considered the possibility of large modern pterosaurs in regard to any disappearance of any missing person. I take full responsibility for the following model, and the evidences, so far, are circumstantial, for such attacks in the forty-eight contiguous states of the USA.

Model of a Ropen Attack (Theoretical)

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.”

The ropen may grab the person by the coat or pants or shirt or even by the shoes. That is why the body or living person found by rescuers has such clothing missing. It also explains why such clothing is found in other locations and why the pants are sometimes found inside out. The victim falls out of the clothing sometimes but not always.

The ropen flies away with the human victim but not high above the ground. Why not high? It would take more energy and time to ascend high above the ground. This explains why tracking dogs sometimes cannot find a scent and when they do track, it’s only for a limited distance, for the victim may have had limited contact with bushes or even the ground, during the low-level flight.

This low-level flight also explains why people nearby do not see the victim being carried away, for the abduction is obscured by trees or vegetation or by the hills surrounding the creeks or creek beds that ropens use for navigation.

When a body or living victim is found by rescuers, scratches may be found on the person. Those are from the claws or talons of the ropen. When scratches are absent, the victim was fortunate the creature had been holding onto the clothing only or the shoes only.

Falling out of clothing/shoes also explains why living victims may be found in bushes like berry bushes: The fall was cushioned by the vegetation. Remember it’s low-level flight.

This model also explains why children, even toddlers less than three years old, are often found miles away from where they disappeared. Two-year-olds do not climb high mountains and hike many miles across barriers like a river or a fence or a steep cliff. They are carried over all those obstacles through the air.


comparing a very big fruit bat with a big ropen pterosaur

Some ropens are large enough to be dangerous to people


Gitmo Pterosaur sketched by eyewitness Patty Carson

Sketch by the eyewitness Patty Carson: a flying creature seen in Eastern Cuba


Missing Children

The case of missing-child Garrett Bardsley has barely enough evidence to even mention in regard to potential attacks from a North American ropen. But even if only one child can be saved from being a victim, it will be worth all the efforts we can muster.

Missing Persons – Coast to Coast

David Paulides was interviewed on Coast-to-Coast on May 18, 2014

“Pterodactyl Attacks”

. . . it brings to mind native accounts from Papua New Guinea, but this is far closer to home, in British Columbia, Canada. For many years, there have been reports of people being attacked in Africa and in Papua New Guinea. I have only recently noticed this news about flying creatures attacking people in British Columbia at night.


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Sock Puppets and Jonathan Whitcomb

According to the paleontologist Donald Prothero and the biology professor P. Z. Myers, I Jonathan Whitcomb have used sock puppetry in online publications promoting the idea that modern pterosaurs are living. Each has written a post about me, with each post proclaiming that I have admitted using sock puppets. Both statements in each post are false, yet some of my proper use of two pseudonyms may resemble improper usage, so this needs to be explained in detail.

Norman Huntington and Nathaniel Coleman

Soon after my expedition on Umboi Island, in 2004, I found a web site highly critical of the living pterosaur investigations. In fact, the URL included the words stupid, dinosaur, and lies. In the original posting, both my first and last names were misspelled: “John Whittcomb.” Keep in mind that this was in 2005.

So what did it say about me, Jonathan Whitcomb? It said I had led creationists on an expedition in Africa and that I had been sponsored by Carl Baugh. All three statements were false; I had never led any creationists on any expedition, never set foot anywhere in Africa, never been sponsored by Carl Baugh. It would have been purely comical except for what followed on other sites.

Insinuations and direct statements about dishonesty followed. It came to the point where one skeptic suggested people should take statements by Paul Nation with a “grain of salt” because he was associated with Jonathan Whitcomb.

By about that time, I had begun writing nonfiction book about eyewitness sightings of apparent pterosaurs, especially in Papua New Guinea and in Australia. My main purpose was not in making a profit but in telling the truth to the world, the truth about details in the many sighting reports that I received from around the world.

To publicize details about the encounters with apparent pterosaurs, I needed some way to emphasize those reports without my name getting in the way. I began using two pseudonyms on a limited number of my many blogs: Nathaniel Coleman and Norman Huntington. Neither of those names were ever used as if they were happy purchasers of my books. They were used to emphasize the logic of a modern-pterosaur interpretation of many sighting reports and critical details in those eyewitness accounts.

When using my regular name, Jonathan Whitcomb, I sometimes admit personal weaknesses, most notably in the problems I faced in my expedition in 2004, problems sometimes caused by my lack of planning or inexperience in exploring on a tropical island. When using one of the two pen names, I sometimes mentioned a weakness or potential bias in the reasoning or writings of “Jonathan Whitcomb.” That’s not deceptive but honest, for I am human like everybody else. I did not use any pseudonym or sock puppet to heap empty praise on “Jonathan Whitcomb,” for that would have been dishonest.

What are sock puppets?

According to Wikipedia:

A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. . . . [It] originally referred to a false identity assumed by a member of an Internet community who spoke to, or about, themselves while pretending to be another person. The term now includes other misleading uses of online identities, such as those created to praise, defend or support a person or organization, or to circumvent a suspension or ban from a website. A significant difference between the use of a pseudonym and the creation of a sockpuppet is that the sockpuppet poses as an independent third-party unaffiliated with the puppeteer. Many online communities attempt to block sockpuppets.

Dr. Prothero’s post went much further than suggesting that I might have been guilty of using sock puppets. He said, “it’s a classic case of a typically modern internet phenomenon, sock puppetry.” I suggest my usage of those two names was more like the opposite. Consider the following ways of improper online writing, sock puppetry:

  1. Endorsing a self-written book as if from a common reader
  2. Praising oneself
  3. Sneaking around a suspension or ban

I suggest a “classic case” of sock puppetry would include at least two of the above, if not all three, when the person involved was an author. Yet none of the above three applies to my use of the names Nathaniel Coleman and Norman Huntington. Where does Dr. Prothero get the his definition of “a classic case?”

Honesty or deception in the first expedition of 2004

The point of this controversy about modern living pterosaurs is in honesty or dishonesty. In particular, have I, Jonathan Whitcomb, been deceptive or have I tried to bring the truth out into the open? Consider my expedition on Umboi Island in 2004.

Nobody disputes the fact I was on that tropical island, wanting to find evidence that a species of pterosaur was still living. Yet I returned home to the USA admitting that I had seen nothing that could be interpreted as a living pterosaur. The nocturnal ropen had kept out of my sight. A liar would have reported a sighting of a glowing pterosaur, making it appear like his expedition had been a success. I was honest and told the truth.

For some reason, Dr. Prothero says nothing about the fact that I had been on Umboi Island, looking for the ropen. Why did he say nothing about that? Is it because any mention of that expedition could have defeated his purpose in how he wanted to portray me? Since I was obviously being honest about my 2004 expedition, why not consider the possibility that I have been honest in my online publications since then?

Conclusions on sock puppets and pseudonyms

Did I make a mistake in using those two pen names. From the narrow point of view of the moment, it certainly looks like I should never have used any name except Jonathan Whitcomb, yet time will tell the whole story. I am content to see how history will play out.

The critical point, however seems to have been entirely overlooked by Donald Prothero: Eyewitness-testimony details prove the case for modern living pterosaurs, and his post “Fake Pterosaurs and Sock Puppets” does not even mention the word eyewitness. Who really has something to hide, Dr. Prothero?




Dr. Prothero and modern pterosaurs

My blog posts and web pages outnumber those of anyone else on the subject of modern “pterodactyls” or primitive flying creatures that have been assumed to have been long extinct; that need not suggest that I have been dishonest. Skeptics include at least three of the best-known paleontologists in the world; that need not suggest my investigation over the past eleven years has been in vain. Look at some details.

Hoax Criticism and Pterosaur Wingspans

Estimated pterosaur wingspans, analyzed in recent statistics of eyewitness reports, show what would be expected of a variety of pterosaur species of different sizes, observed under various conditions by eyewitnesses having various abilities in estimating sizes. In other words, the sighting reports support the honesty of eyewitnesses, in general.


4th edition of Whitcomb's "Searching for Ropens and Finding God"

Nonfiction, 360 pages, worldwide sightings of modern pterosaurs


Cover of the third edition of "Live Pterosaurs in America" by Whitcomb

Pure cryptozoology, 154 pages, live pterosaurs in the USA


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