Religion and Belief in Ropens

Among many of the investigators of reports of modern pterosaurs, over the past two decades, religious belief is important, even critical, in searching for ropens. Yet the eyewitnesses come to us with different religions, almost as if religion had nothing to do with encountering a live “pterodactyl.” That eyewitness perspective dominates in a press release that I had published earlier this week.

Flying dinosaurs – Who believes they’re alive?

When I wrote that press release, I had no intention of putting down the importance of religious belief in those who have searched for living pterosaurs and for the eyewitnesses who have encountered them. Press releases need to be brief, and this one I intended as an introduction to this narrow field of cryptozoology. There was just not room enough to explain the religious side of the investigations.

A person who sees an apparent pterosaur is just as likely to be an atheist as a Bible believing Southern Baptist. A Christian may perhaps be more likely to report their sighting to me, compared with an atheist reporting to me, but I have seen little evidence, over the past eleven years, to suggest this is a major issue. Most eyewitnesses show no sign of holding any extreme position on science and religion.

The press release quotes from the title page of my book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition): “Persons of various faiths, with various levels of education, from various countries and cultures, have seen a living pterosaur. . . .” But the beginning of that release makes it clear that belief or disbelief in those “primitive” flying creatures is the subject of that brief introductory posting, not belief or disbelief in God:

Your belief [in huge featherless flying creatures in Papua New Guinea] 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.

Non-Eyewitnesses of Pterosaurs

This environment differs from the perspectives of eyewitnesses. Somebody hearing about or reading about a sighting of a pterosaur-like flying creature—that person mostly believes or disbelieves based upon culture. If you were raised in a society in which such an animal is always assumed to be impossible living in the present, you reject the report; otherwise you consider it possible.

In my late teens, decades before I became actively involved in cryptozoology, my younger sister was surprised at what her high school friend told her. The other girl declared that she had seen a giant pterodactyl fly up into the mountains, just north of her house in Altadena, California. In my older years, after I had started writing nonfiction books about modern pterosaurs, my sister remembered her friend and told me about the sighting.

I phoned the lady, who still remembered me and my sister. She added a detail about size: The creature was as big as a school bus. The point? If I had overheard that eyewitness reporting the encounter to my sister, in the late 1960’s, I would have dismissed the whole thing, perhaps ascribing it to some mental defect or poor judgment on the part of that girl. I’m just as human as anyone else, relying upon deeply entrenched cultural assumptions. I have changed since my teenaged years, in several ways, including allowing myself to learn by exposure to beliefs in other cultures. Yet we need  to understand and remember how strongly cultural beliefs can pull us, either towards truth or towards error.

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Religion and living pterosaurs

Whitcomb advocates open discussions about various axioms of origin  philosophies in Western societies, as well as open discussions about  interpreting scientific evidences. His purposes include encouraging  average persons to think for themselves.

Nonfiction – Bible of Modern Pterosaurs

As riveting as some fictional tales of dragons, Searching for  Ropens and Finding God is a nonfiction about pterosaurs  with long tails, apparently real animals that live in our modern  world.

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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.

Where Might Ropens Hide?

My associates and I believe that most, if not all, ropens are nocturnal. They are uncommon, if not rare, and are rarely reported in Western countries like the United States, for a living pterosaur contradicts generations of universal-extinction indoctrination. In third world countries where similar flying creatures are known to fly, people have no problem with their existence, unless a ropen steals a family pig.

(By the way, from one experience I had on Umboi Island, during my 2004 expedition in Papua New Guinea, when a native in Gomlongon village shoots off his gun in the air and yells at his neighbor, it’s not because the ropen is accused of stealing a family pig.)

So where might a ropen hide in daylight? On Umboi Island, some natives say that the ropen (or ropens) lives in a cave. Yet a deep cave in a cliff is not necessarily essential for a sleepy ropen who needs a safe bedroom for daylight napping. For a small ropen, why not a hole in a rock, just a modest little cavity?

Rock formation in Neffs Canyon, Utah

Rock formation in Neffs Canyon, Utah

Caves in the United States

In the 48 contiguous states, according to one source, we have about 45,000 known caves; a Fox News report says, “55,500-plus.” Keep in mind, these are the officially discovered caves in the 48 states.

So how many undiscovered cave entrances may there be? To the point, how many cave entrances, in the Unites States, may be available to a ropen but be unknown to any human? Probably countless thousands. Those entrances may greatly exceed the number of ropens flying at night over the vast stretches of land of our country.

entrance to a caveA cave probably better known to humans than to ropens

Prime Real Estate Caves for the Ropen

It need not have dozens of rooms or running water or the most fashionable stalactite vaulted ceiling, as long as the doorway is hidden from the neighbors. Ropens can fold up their wings, remember that, and not all of those featherless flying creatures are gigantic. A small hideaway room on the side of a cliff is better than being homeless.

Getting to the point, countless hiding places exist, in the USA, places where a wild animal can hide with no fear of any human interference, and this abundance refutes the careless statement of one skeptic who felt sure that no large flying creature could exist in the eastern United States without becoming officially discovered by scientists. His question was some like this: “Where could the creatures nest?” Maybe that skeptic has lived his whole life cramped up in a city apartment, I don’t know. In reality the potential nesting spots across North American, spots humans hardly ever find and would not recognize if they did—those potential spots could number in the billions, if ropens were very careful about concealing nests and they were built both inside and outside caves.

Reporting a Dragon you Found in a Cave

Now for the lighter side of these flying creatures.

So who do you call when you find a dragon sleeping in a cave you’ve explored? Forget about the fire department. And after my own experience with the Lakewood, California, sheriff’s office . . . well, forget about calling the police. In fact, there’s hardly anybody you can call except me.

Now for the next problem. When do you report the encounter? If it’s the worst possible timing, wait at least one day to report the dragon in the cave, at least until April 2nd. The next worst timing is right after a particular kind of movie comes out, and I’m thinking about The Desolation of Smaug. . . . Actually there is no best time to report a dragon that you discovered in a cave.

If you’ve seen the Disney film Pete’s Dragon, you know not to take your friend back to the cave after the two of you have been drinking. But then there’s another problem: convincing people that the two of you had not been drinking.

So if you live in the United States, how do you report your encounter with a dragon in a cave? Most important, try using the word ropen, rather than dragon. And if at all possible, try watching the cave entrance until the flying creature exists or enters it, for then you can report that you saw it in a particular location, perhaps letting somebody else tie that location to the cave entrance. The best option is easier: Contact me.

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Dragons and Pterosaurs

Before the ship arrived on Umboi (Siassi), Luke and I met an old sailor who knew something about what we were seeking. “You want to catch Wawanar?” he asked. I assured him that we only wanted to get a “photo” of the flying animal. The old man told us that the dragon Wawanar is said to own the land and the sea; nobody can catch Wawanar.

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Fourth Edition of Ropen Book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God is about to be published in its fourth edition, expanded and improved. Let’s take a different approach this time, with an image of one page of the index and with a few quotations from some pages referenced.

index from nonfiction book on modern pterosaurs

Congo, Africa

“I have been reading some of your recent updates about ropens eating bats. That brought to mind a story I heard earlier this year by someone in my organization who served as a missionary in the Congo for some time.

“He has lived and worked in some very remote areas, 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. He himself may have had a brief encounter with one. . . .”

Crestview, Florida

Florida also has a brave eyewitness who reported his sighting on a blog and has revealed his real name: Professor Steven Watters.

“Today, I was blessed with a sight that will never be forgotten. It was 11:45 a.m. . . . solid grey dim overcast- about 60 degrees out—Wednesday November 14 2012—Crestview, Florida.

“. . . with back door open . . . a huge Rhamphorhynchus-like flying entity blatantly grabbed my attention. It was flying west to northeast close enough it could’ve been shot down. I . . . ran to the door and about turned white and lost my breath in disbelief. Had an estimated wingspan of 8-12 feet and a tail as long as its torso with a large bulb or lump at the tail very diamond shaped, no feathers and all colored the same whitish-grey color with a pointed beak. . . .”

Cruise Ships, sightings from

“. . . My daughter and I were on a cruise, May 2010, and encountered a very real sighting of two fluorescent birds. We were somewhere between Cuba and Haiti. The sighting occurred around 2 a.m. To the best of our knowledge, no one else witnessed this. . . .

I replied, “Thank you . . .I would be delighted to know more about your sighting of two possible ropens in the Caribbean, earlier this year . . .”

“The sighting was on the second day of our cruise. We left Miami . . . 2009 [maybe she meant March 14th, which was a Saturday] on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas. We sailed for 2 days before our first stop in Haiti.

“. . . around 1 or 2 A.M. my daughter and I returned to our cabin. She went out on the balcony and called me out about 15 minutes later to see something weird. The minute I stepped onto the balcony, I knew exactly what she wanted me to see.

“Off in the distance were two, very, very large, pink/orange fluorescent birds flying behind each other. They looked like the flying dinosaurs, I forget what they are called. They would fly towards the ship, then back out to sea, then fly together in tandem then make a sharp right, away from the ship and disappear into the night. Then they would return. . . .”

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Look Overhead, not Underfoot

A skeptic may look down on those of us who publicize reports of apparent modern pterosaurs, yet where is the explanation for universal extinction of all species of those flying creatures? Consider the following, quoting from three nonfiction books on these extraordinary flying creatures . . .

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“I saw a Prehistoric Bird”

Eyewitnesses use various words and phrases for the featherless flying creatures observed. Consider the following list:

  • prehistoric bird
  • dinosaur bird
  • flying dinosaur
  • dragon
  • pterodactyl
  • flying creature

In Papua New Guinea, we also encounter various names:

  • ropen
  • duwas
  • kundua
  • wawanar
  • indava
  • kor

The following brief excerpts from sighting reports include what words were used for the creatures observed, although none of these use the exact phrase “prehistoric bird.”

California (“Taradactyl”)

I have been haunted for close to 20 years by what I saw in the desert. I have never told anyone due to the fact that I was afraid I would be thought nuts. . . . I caught the sight of it with the corner of my eye and looked up, it was soaring along the side of a plateau not far from us. We knew what it looked like. In fact I remember saying ‘Oh . . . ! That looks just like a Taradactyl.’

England (“dragon”)

The sky was clear and I was watching the stars when something caught my eye. It was a glowing object which seemed to open up to what I thought looked like a dragon. I was too shocked to tell my father as we were waiting for my mother to finish and I never told anyone about this until I met . . . my now husband.

Georgia (“pterydactyl”)

The path it took was up and then swooping down, as if it were dive-bombing  my car. As it crossed my path, in front and slightly above me, I saw it had a head that was curved, like a hammer; the head had a crest on the top that was solid, not feathery at all . . . The tail was long, had a ridge that ran along the underside, and ended in a thick, heart-shaped pad. . . . I called a buddy whom I knew was up . . . at that hour. . . . I flat out told him I’d seen a pterydactyl.

Kentucky (large bird)

Today I opened my back door around 4:30 pm. to smoke a cigarette and I noticed a large bird in the sky flying above me. I thought it seemed strange because I seen a tail with a spade like end also the wing span was a lot larger than any bird I have ever seen around here. The wings did not flutter rapidly each wing stroke was steady and powerful. The bird seemed to have a set destination as well cause it did not waste any time moving through the sky.

Papua New Guinea (prehistoric creature)

The creature I saw one early morning in Bougainville is etched in my memory. . . . I can still hear that slow flapping sound in the stillness of an early tropical morn, on the road from Panguna down to loloho on Bougainville Island in 1971. . . . When I looked up, trying to see what was making this sound, i saw a very unusual creature. Firstly, it was very big . . . It certainly looked prehistoric, in that it did not look like any other bird that I have seen before or since. Why prehistoric? Well, maybe my memory has been influenced by the intervening years, but I recall seeing this creature with a longish narrow tail . . . no feathers in sight . . .

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Pterosaur observed by Eskin Kuhn in Cuba in 1971

Sketch drawn by the eyewitness Eskin Kuhn (Gitmo, Cuba)

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Pterosaur Sightings in the USA

Can we determine whether or not modern pterosaurs migrate in North America? What exactly is migration? The dictionary definition refers to travel from one country or region to another. We think of birds that migrate hundreds of miles. Here’s a catch with pterosaurs—they are not even acknowledged as presently existing, according to standard Western biology. How can a biologist be expected to put a collar on the neck of an animal that is not supposed to exist?

Flying Creature in Georgia

[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. The head was long and ended in a point; wings ended in a point and appeared to be featherless . . .

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Ropen Q & A – Modern Pterosaur

Questions and Answers About the Ropen

I just got an email from a reader of my digital nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea. The man’s questions deserve answers but for everybody, not just this one reader.

Q: In your ebook, the Ropen is almost always described consistently throughout witness testimonies. Are there variations across the region (for example, different behavior, coloration, etc.)?

A: The reader probably refers to the southwest Pacific, including Australia and Papua New Guinea. Even within that geographic area, how deep is this question! We do not yet have enough eyewitness reports to determine variations of species of the long-tailed featherless flying creatures that we call “ropen.” The Perth creature may be a different species than the ones observed by Duane Hodgkinson (1944) and by Gideon Koro (~1994), based upon the apparent differences in rations between wingspan and length of tail (as well as beak-to-tail-end length), but even that is uncertain; different eyewitnesses have different abilities in estimating sizes, even if they all had the same perspective on the flying creatures. Even the capture of several flying creatures would be only the beginning in answering this broad question.

Q: Is it possible that Ropen present sexual dimorphism (color variation between genders, males possessing larger crests/tail diamonds, etc.)?

A: Another difficult question. This may take many years to answer adequately, for we need many detailed photographs and videos, even after we obtain captures animals.

Q: Have [ropens] ever been observed interacting with other animals?

A: This is easier, at least for those few reports that include observations of potential ropens that are catching (or trying to catch) prey. Yet many of these are in North America rather than in Australia or in Papua New Guinea. Many of those reports suggest at least some ropens in North America hunt birds. See the appendix of the most recent edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God.

Q: Are there accounts of [Ropens] attacking humans?

A: Some areas of the earth have reports of attacks on people, including a valley in British Columbia (Canada) and in Papua New Guinea. I suspect that most of the real attacks have been from rogue ropens, a few creatures that were suffering from something that prevented them from obtaining normal prey.

We should define “attack” here. I leave out those cases in which an apparent pterosaur may have stopped a potential attack after discovering that the intended prey was human. This appears to have been the case with a teenager in Virginia (late 20th century) who encountered a huge flying creature that stopped its predatory dive about twenty feet short of the girl; that was in the dark of night, except for the moon light.

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World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson was interviewed, and videotaped, by Garth Guessman - eyewitness of a ropen

Ropen Eyewitness Interview

In this Youtube video, Garth Guessman interviews the World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson, who witnessed a huge ropen take off into the air in 1944 in New Guinea.

Ropen of Papua New Guinea

“Several Americans have investigated reports of what natives  of Umboi Island call ‘ropen,’ including three pioneers. Jim  Blume, a missionary in Papua New Guinea for decades,  interviewed dozens of native eyewitnesses of pterosaur-like  creatures. . . .”

Rhamphorhynchoid Ropen

Around 1965, Patty Carson saw a similar creature at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She drew a sketch of the featherless long-tailed “dinosaur.” A few years after her sighting, the U.S. Marine Eskin Kuhn saw two “pterodactyls” flying in from the sea at Guantanamo Bay.

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Pterosaurs, “No Evidence,” and Poop in the Freezer

Set aside what critics imagine about my motivations. One critic, a biology professor in Minnesota, insists there is “no evidence,” in my writings, for any living pterosaur. What does he mean? He will not be named here, for I’m responding to his blog post (“There are no living pterosaurs, and ‘ropen’ is a stupid fantasy”), and his approach is faulty. If I were to respond, in one posting, to all his negative comments about my writings, my religion, and my personal motivations, it would be a long posting indeed. And it could reflect more negatively towards that professor than his posting did towards me.

Gitmo Pterosaur sketched by eyewitness Patty Carson

Is this sketch, by the eyewitness Patty Carson, really worthless?

Let’s focus on concepts related to “no evidence,” in two senses:

  1. How does it relate to what other critics say about me and my associates?
  2. Is there evidence for the universal extinction of all species of pterosaurs?

Science, Cryptozoology, and Evidence

How common for critics of modern-pterosaur investigations to fail to comprehend that this is cryptozoology! In my digital book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, it is explained:

Cryptozoology is not a branch of science, at least not in the usual sense; but it can motivate zoologists to conduct field investigations, at least in theory it can motivate them. It is the “study of hidden animals,” and usually relies less on direct scientific examination and more on eyewitness testimony; nevertheless, we can use scientific reasoning and methods within the boundaries of cryptozoology.

The American missionary Thomas Savage, in the 1800’s in Africa, obtained some bones of what we now call a “Western Gorilla,” which prepared for its eventual scientific acknowledgement. Whatever led that missionary to obtain those bones can be called “cryptozoological,” especially if he had been following eyewitness accounts.

If we look only at the first paragraph of the above quotation, does that mean that all nonfiction writings about modern pterosaurs can be dismissed by scientists and professors of biology and paleontology, because cryptozoology is not science? No, this runs much deeper. Some of the books, scientific papers, and web pages on extant pterosaurs contain more scientific reasoning and methods than many of the writings of those professors who criticize those cryptozoologists, much more.

Testimony from common eyewitnesses—that is often the major part of evidence in cryptozoology, in contrast to standard work in biology and paleontology. But eyewitness experience is not the only evidence gathered by cryptozoologists, and this can prove embarrassing to a some biologists and paleontologists. One example is statistical analysis of data from 128 of the more-credible sighting reports of apparent modern pterosaurs, showing that hoaxes could not have played a major part in the overall reports of those 128 encounters (which sightings were in various parts of the world).

Critics of the modern-pterosaur investigations rarely, if ever, say much about any particular recent sighting report. They generalize about apparent-pterosaur sightings, usually trying to make points from what they imagine, in their minds, about encounters with flying creatures. My associates and I, on the other hand, often examine particular reports—actual encounters—and compare them with other particular reports.

Feces Analysis Under the Microscope

During the past eleven years, I have published many blog posts related to the concept of modern pterosaurs. On thirteen of those blogs, I have written a total of 1,074 posts, and that does not count hundreds of non-blog pages, all on this one subject. This does not prove that those featherless flying creatures live in modern times, but it demonstrates that at least one human takes that idea very seriously.

The biology professor in Minnesota has written one blog post about the lack of “evidence,” in my many online publications, for living pterosaurs. I see only one explanation: He thinks that no reported sighting of a living pterosaur should be considered evidence.

If we look only in that narrow sense, eliminating all eyewitness testimonies of sightings, it appears on the surface that this may be correct. Where are the photos or video footage of a modern pterosaur? But how can any evidence be useful if all of us dismiss all human experience with it? We must believe some kind of eyewitness report, by somebody, even if it is only a scientist collecting data in his laboratory, otherwise “evidence” becomes stale, even a worthless word. The big problem in modern times is this: The imaginations of professors have been exalted far too high when only one kind of interpretation is allowed for a few limited observations in the laboratory and the imagination of one group rules by eliminating opposing points of view.

There must be some value in what common people see outside of laboratories. If it really is worthless for commoners to testify of apparent modern pterosaurs, that implies that professors who proclaim all species of those flying creatures must be extinct—those persons with college degrees—they should be given infinitely more credence than those without the same educational credentials.

What makes an examination by a scientist, of something tangible in a controlled environment, credible evidence? It’s not just the educational degree bestowed upon that scientist, is it? It’s the opportunity for other scientists to repeat that kind of examination, or one like it, right? The quantity of examinations, by specialists—that should increase credibility, even though the quality of detailed records also makes a difference.

How does the professor from Minnesota handle the quantity of my online publications? He refers to it as “busily dropping turds all over the internet.” I say that this professor is at least 99% wrong there, and that requires an explanation.

An eyewitness of a “dragon-pterodactyl” told me, in June of 2012, about her sighting, an encounter in Lakewood, California, within hours of her reporting it to me. Over a period of weeks, I interviewed her and her husband, and I collected feces that were almost directly under where the apparent ropen was said to have been perched. The husband pointed out to me that the dung differed from that of their large family dog, although it was in the same area of the garden.

To be brief, my associate Garth Guessman got in touch with a veterinarian who eventually agreed to examine the feces I had collected. Weeks after the sighting, the veterinarian finished the testing and gave us the results. He examined it using three methods: direct observation, floatation and centrifugation. He looked at two slides from each method for a total of six slides. Well, we need to remember that the feces I collected was almost directly under where the flying creature had been perched but not exactly under it. And the dung from a large family dog does differ from that of a raccoon, and somebody in the family did see a raccoon in the area recently. So it seems that the biology professor in Minnesota was not 100% wrong when he mentioned “dropping turds.” It was just more literal than he thought. Anyway, my wife still is not laughing when reminded of the time we kept raccoon poop in the family freezer for weeks.

Yet we need to look on the sunny side. The creature labeled “dragon-pterodactyl” was not a raccoon. It had a tail that she estimated was about four feet long and a “triangle” at the end of the tail. When she accidentally startled the animal that was perched above her head on a telephone line, the strange thing flew away to the thick canopy of a neighborhood tree: clearly not a raccoon.

Scientific Papers on the Universal Extinction of Pterosaurs

Over the past 200 years, how many peer-reviewed papers have been published in scientific journals, on the universal extinction of all species of pterosaurs? Well, let me take a guess: in the neighborhood of zero. (If you know of one, however, please let me know.) Why do so many Americans and so many citizens of other Western countries believe that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs have been extinct for millions of years? It’s because that idea has been drilled into us since childhood, from countless directions, and all this for generations. Westerners have assumed all species of pterosaurs became extinct long ago and this assumption had its birth at about the time when George Washington was the President of the United States of America.

The professor in Minnesota emphasizes the lack of photos of a modern pterosaur. I emphasize the lack of photos of an extinction of even one species of that general type of flying creature and those species were, at one time, very numerous. I repeat what I wrote in Searching for Ropens and Finding God: “Trust one eyewitness of a plane crash over the imaginations of a hundred professors who’ve agreed how that kind of plane should fly.”

Let’s be open to common human experience, for gaining a firm understanding of human experience was at the heart of the birth of modern Western science centuries ago.

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Nocturnal Ropen in California

On June 19, 2012, over a storm drain in Lakewood, California, in clear daylight at about noon, a long-tailed featherless creature sat on a telephone line . . .

Horizontal Tail Vane of a Ropen Pterosaur

I brought up the subject of tail-vane orientation, and she was positive that it was held horizontally. This is an obscure subject, yet she quickly answered my questions about that detail. It seems unlikely to me that she had read anything online about any pterosaur eyewitness describing how the tail “diamond” or flange was oriented.

Pterosaurs in Lakewood and Griffith Park, California

I recently learned of a confirming eyewitness for that same backyard in Lakewood. A close relative told another family member that she had also seen a large strange flying creature in that same backyard, but two years earlier, in 2010. She had said nothing to anybody, for it would have sounded too strange. She spoke up when she learned about the sighting of June 19, 2012.

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Book About Ropens

Book by Whitcomb: Searching for Ropens and Finding God

This book says very little about “finding God,” but boy it says a lot about “searching for ropens.” It’s 354 pages long, yes that’s a long book. Don’t bother even opening it, if you get your hands on a copy, unless you want to spend a lot of time reading. Once you get started, it’s really hard to put it down, and I’m just passing along what other people have said about this third edition and previous editions. I almost forgot to mention the name of the book, Searching for Ropens and Finding God.

The author, Jonathan Whitcomb, is a devout Mormon and makes no effort to cover up that fact. Yet he says more about Baptists than about Mormons, and that’s because so many Baptists have been searching for the ropens. Even so, the book is not about churches. It’s about men who have braved the steamy jungles of Papua New Guinea to get a photo or a bit of video of a ropen. The religious motivations are mentioned but not put on a pedestal. You’ll find a few pages about faith in God, but you’ll find many chapters about the ropens and about the people who see modern pterosaurs, and those eyewitnesses almost never say anything about religion. This is mostly cryptozoology.

Here is the title page:

Near the front of the book is the Title Page

I’ll tell you what I like best about the title page. “Working with people of other faiths” and “it soars above disputes about religion.” You won’t find much about Muslims, Jews, or Hindus in this book. It’s about Christians of different denominations who work together to find a modern pterosaur. I also like the part at the end: “Speculation that religious bias of investigators has played a big part in sighting reports of apparent pterosaurs—that conjecture has been shot down.”

I don’t mean that there’s hardly anything about religion. You’ll find some pages about that. But the meat of the book is searching in Papua New Guinea and in other countries, searching for pterosaurs.

Here is the first page of the Introduction:

First page of the Introduction to the book

I like this part about helping people avoid suicide:

After reading this book, if one person finds a reason to live and abandons thoughts of suicide, what a reward for all of us involved! This is not a textbook for preventing suicide, yet I suggest each of us can find ways to bring meaning into the lives of persons around us, motivating all of us to keep living and learning.

The book doesn’t say exactly, in so many words, how to help anybody avoid suicide. It’s not in the words exactly, but these men have endured years of ridicule and disappointment, yet they keep living and trying. It’s in their examples, never giving up hope or becoming despondent. The author suffers more failure than anybody else, if you read the book to the end. But he too keeps on going, like everything has to turn out right in the end. I guess readers can follow that example and keep moving forward in their own lives, in whatever they are doing.

New Pterosaur Book on Ropens

My first exposure to a remote tropical island with a giant reptile—when my younger sister Cindy and I were infants—came from Mommy reading Peter Pan. When I was four, the new sister was born, not to the name chosen by Cindy and me, “Captain Hook,” but to a name chosen by compromising parents: “Wendy.”

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"Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - front cover - non-fiction book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God—The perfect gift for a loved one or for yourself

You deserve a break from the ordinary routine. Treat yourself to an extraordinary true-life adventure about encounters with flying creatures that most Americans thought became extinct long ago. Find out for yourself what may fly over our heads at night.

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Recent Pterosaur Sightings

At the back of the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, in the appendix is mentioned a sighting in the Pacific during World War II. This is not recent news, of course, but it just recently came up. Nobody was talking about it before, at least as far as I know.

black and white image of an American World War II light cruiser ship

Near Wake Island in the Pacific

The report comes from a nephew of a World War II veteran, but this is not Duane Hodgkinson. It was a sailor who saw a weird flying creature, and he was not alone.

The wingspan was around 30 feet, according to the sailor. The ship was doing target practice at an island in the Pacific. It looked like their ship was found by a Japanese plane, but the men came to realize that it was a flying creature, after it flapped its wings.

It came at the ship, like a Japanese plane would do, and crashed into them. The uncle told his nephew how he had been chosen to kill and dispose of the beast. He clubbed it until they were sure it was dead, for the officer in charge told them it was just a bat.

It had a long neck and very tough hair on its wings, but other parts of the body were covered with soft hair. The beak was like an elongated parrot beak. It was interesting to me that the nephew is a biologist. The uncle asked him what kind of animal it was and was surprised that his biologist-nephew did not know.

Hawaii

Another sighting in the Pacific really was recent, around the beginning of January, 2014. The eyewitness reported this:

We live in South Kona . . . About a month ago me, some friends and my girl friend were driving south on Mamalahoa By-Pass Rd. . . . [three of us] all saw a big fleshy colored, featherless bird like creature. . . . [We] saw a long head, and its mouth with sharp teeth opening and closing, then its wings opened with a wingspan of about 10-15 feet.

Recent Sighting Reports

What people have seen in California, North Carolina, Canada, Spain, and New Zealand

Is the Ropen out of Order?

If those flying dragons over Los Angeles were not enough, we now have another problem with modern pterodactyls. The ropen, which was supposed to keep out of sight in remote jungles of Papua New Guinea, has popped up in a new book: Searching for Ropens and Finding God.

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Sightings of Pterosaurs in and Around Kentucky

In the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, it says:

“I live in Lamero, Kentucky. Its a small, rural area . . . I have a friend who lives near Renfro Valley, which is about twelve miles north of me. Its a wooded area as well, with . . . several caves. And I’m talking a lot of caves, lol. This county is seriously like swiss cheese . . . Last July, I was visiting my friend at his home. It was just a little after sunset, so it was still daylight outside. . . . We were outside, sitting on his deck . . . My friend shouted . . . ‘what in the blue h*** is that?’ Approaching us from the east . . . were two very large animals. . . .”

“They didn’t flap their wings very much, about once every second or two, definitely not as fast as a common bird flaps their wings. They . . . had every characteristic of a pterodactyl, from head to tail. I’d say they were roughly 15+ feet long and were flying at least 40 mph, but these are just rough estimates.”

Why shouldn’t Kentucky have accounts of modern pterosaurs? States all around Kentucky have had their own accounts. The forests give modern pterosaurs many places to hide, too.

Kentucky wilderness forest wilderness forest in Kentucky

To the northeast of Kentucky is Ohio, where a man saw a pterosaur with a long tail, in fact he saw it in two different years, both times in the hottest time of the year. He called them, “huge . . . about 4.5 ft. tail, 10 ft. from head to end of tail. long skinny tail with a spade.”

To the east of Kentucky is Virginia and the book has a long account of some kind of gigantic creature that was flying over a pond at night years ago. The book says:

“I was seventeen at the time of this encounter. It was very late at night. . . . I’d place the time to be somewhere between ten and midnight. . . . at a local reservoir where there was a tree with boards nailed into it for a ladder and a plank for a diving board. . . . all I saw was its silhouette. I could see it was big even before it was close. It seemed like it crossed a great distance with only a few flaps of its wings and mostly glided but it came very fast. . . .”

“I just stood there, facing it until it literally got about 20 to 30 feet away and it ‘stopped’ and hovered mid-air. The wings were somewhere between 15 and 20 feet wide . . . The wings were bat shaped without feathers . . .”

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Supporting the Bible, yet respecting beliefs of those of various religions, "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" can appeal to many

Searching for Ropens and Finding God (nonfiction cross-genre)

From page 78 of the book:

Gideon immediately chose the drawing with the streamlined head. I concealed my delight as we continued our conversation. I asked if any book at school had a picture of a ropen. He thought for a second and then said, “No.” Had he been dishonestly trying to convince me of a non-existent creature, he would have supported his earlier answer describing the mouth. The resolute, immediate choice of a less-crocodilian-like head was evidence he had seen something—even, perhaps, a living pterosaur.

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Pterosaurs and Woodpeckers in Cuba

Dale A. Drinnon used to attribute pterosaur sightings to Manta rays jumping out of the water. Perhaps he later came to realize that most sightings are not over water. More recently, he has thrown up woodpeckers, including extinct ones at that, as a plausible explanation. In April of 2012, he suggested such birds as the cause of two sightings in Cuba many years ago. His post is titled “Cuban Pterosaurs?”

sketch of pterosaur seen by Patty Carson in Cuba in 1965

Sketch by the eyewitness Patty Carson: 1965 sighting in Cuba

Drinnon said:

The mixed-trait Pterosaurs do not exist in Paleontology but they DO occur commonly in popular cartoons such as The Flintstones in the 1960s. Therefore the asumption [sic] that such creatures ever existed as such in real life is born in a pre-conceived notion out of such representations as the Flintstones cartoon and born out of ignorance.

To the best of my memory, most of the flying things in the old Flintstones cartoons were feathered birds, not pterosaurs, so that reference is irrelevant, even if Drinnon did show some reason that eyewitnesses were influenced by cartoons from the 1960’s. He does not, however, show any evidence for any such influence.

Drinnon mentions “ignorance,” as if that explains something about what eyewitnesses describe. But that critic does not openly say anything about any hoax. I say that Drinnon himself is not as knowledgeable as he needs to be on the subject of pterosaur fossils. He should have done more research before making the statements he made.

He said, “Basically Pterosaurs came in two large groups,” but he went on to generalize that all of one group had head crests and all of the other group had long tails. He thinks that there is no mixture of those traits in any of the fossils. That is wrong. There were at least a small number of basal pterosaurs that had head crests, and basal pterosaurs are the ones that had long tails.

Drinnon also may be ignorant of recent discoveries in paleontology, in particular regarding head crests in some pterosaurs. At least some of those head crests grew as the creatures aged, meaning larger pterosaurs had head crests that might not have been noticeable in smaller ones of the same species. Drinnon does not take that into consideration regarding modern sightings.

He also seems to be under the assumption that no pterosaur could ever have existed unless it closely resembled a fossil that somebody has discovered up until the present. That kind of thinking would result in a future pterosaur fossil being rejected as a hoax just because of its being different from any previously known fossil.

two pterosaurs sketched by eyewitness Eskin Kuhn

Sketch by eyewitness Eskin C. Kuhn: 1971 sighting in Cuba

Drinnon says that the above sketch by Mr. Kuhn came from an encounter with two ivory-billed woodpeckers. Drinnon says that Kuhn was “startled and the sighting was brief.” Where does the critic get those ideas about the eyewitness being startled and the sighting being brief? The critic probably knows nothing about the Whitcomb-Kuhn interview in which the eyewitness said the following:

I really tried to “cram” my study at that time, focusing on details as well as taking in the overall form and motion of the pair in flight. I tried to memorize the details that would enable me to commit them to paper in a sketch so as to accurately define the creature. Some of the things that I focused on were the bony vertebrae of the back that were clearly defined . . .

That does not sound at all like a brief sighting or a misunderstanding that came from being startled. In fact, I don’t recall anything in Kuhn’s writings that he was startled at any time during the sighting of the two “pterodactyls.” Like most eyewitnesses, he was surprised at the details that he saw, but that is the opposite of what Drinnon talks about. Kuhn was surprised by the strange features of what he saw, he was not imagining things because of a surprise. Drinnon turns things upside down with his faulty reasoning.

Perching Pterosaur, not Woodpecker

Dale A. Drinnon has another explanation for pterosaur sightings in Southern California. He now says it’s a woodpecker.

Two Pterosaur Sightings in Cuba

A lady living in California, has come forward, supporting the U.S. Marine’s testimony with her own sighting report. Patty Carson observed a single pterosaur, about six years before the sighting by Kuhn.

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