Do Manta Rays Fly Over Land? No!

I said a lot about Mr. Drinnon’s Manta ray mania last year, including the stingray of Africa. I thought that we were through with that ridiculous proposal. I now see I was wrong about that. But I am sure that the concept is ridiculous. The most publicized accounts of appearances of modern pterosaurs demonstrate that they were nowhere near what fish would appear like when they jump out of water. Not only that, but sightings of those flying creatures are mostly over land, and the few that were over water show clear signs that they could not have been leaping fish.

Before going any further, I wish to acknowledge the concept of jumping Manta rays. Of course they could look shocking to a person in a boat who had never before seen such a fish, below or above the surface of the sea. But Mr. Drinnon misses the critical point, that the overall picture of pterosaur sightings could not have been jumping fishes.

I am of the strictest belief that fruitful scientific investigations require specific observations, not generalizations of imagination. With Manta rays launching themselves into the air, on some occasions, we can expect some surprised spectators. But we should not expect any of those persons to conclude that they had seen a modern pterosaur, regardless of a general similarity in wing shape. After all, when spectators saw the landing of the Space Shuttles, the general similarities of wing shapes did not cause those persons to believe that they had seen a pterosaur or a Manta ray. Overly general ideas should not be emphasized to the extreme.

Perth Sighting

Getting into the Perth sighting of 1997, we have many details. If I remember correctly, Mr. Drinnon mentioned this sighting some time ago, but I am sure he did not properly consider the significance of important details.

The Australian married couple were about half a mile inland, according to the words of the wife. That in itself almost kills any possibility that they had seen a Manta ray in the air. I’ll quote some of her words here.

“Whatever people may think, the fact remains that my husband and I both saw that creature. My husband, being a scientist, took in things from the sighting that I was far too amazed/stunned to take in.”

Now for the words of the husband, who had worked in a scientific field, at least up to the time of their interview.

I watched it as it approached. Soon I was able to determine that it was some sort of flying creature, and my first thought was that it must be some very large bird. I was very new to the area at the time and unfamiliar with the native creatures, so I pointed it out to [my wife], asking if she could see it.

By this time, its progress had brought it closer and while its shape did resemble a bird, I thought by now that from its apparent distance, it must be the largest bird I had ever witnessed. I would estimate that at this time it was about a quarter mile north of us and quite high. [My wife] and I had now stopped to watch it approach. Within a minute or so it had reached our position and was about 250 or 300 feet above us and slightly inland.

It is obvious that this Australian couple had not observed a Manta ray jumping out of the water, regardless of the shape of the creature’s wings.

Other Sightings of Modern Pterosaurs

Examples that repudiate the suggestion of Manta rays are so numerous as to demolish any confidence in that kind of misidentification hypothesis.

Eskin Kuhn, as a United States Marine in 1971, watched two “pterodactyls” fly from the sea, with a graceful flight that he observed for some time. He estimated they were about forty to a hundred feet high. Mr. Drinnon has been struck by some general aspect of wing shape, and given Kuhn’s sketch as if it were evidence for his Manta ray hypothesis. But look at the sketch in light of Mr. Kuhn’s words.

two pterosaurs sketched by eyewitness Eskin Kuhn

What difference does it make that there might be a general wing-shape resemblance to the general shape of a Manta ray? Mr. Kuhn did not see one creature just above the surface of the sea for three seconds. He saw two creatures flying together over land. He did not see one fish fall back into water but two flying creatures fly off together, over land.

I have had enough of this ludicrous hypothesis. If people want to believe Mr. Drinnon’s Manta ray hypothesis, that is their problem.

Jumping Manta ray Fish

In the nonfiction Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, four sightings are given special attention for both high credibility and low possibility of misidentification

Leap of Faith or Leaping Fish?

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.

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Non-fiction ropen bookSearching for Ropens and Finding God

From page 183:

I have not before nor since ever been so petrified in my life. You [know] how in scary movies you always want to yell at the protagonist ‘Run, you idiot! Run!’ because they never do and then they always die? I was frozen with fear just like they show in the movies. I felt incapable of moving my legs.

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Modern Pterosaur in Hawaii

The number of reported sightings of modern pterosaurs in the Hawaiian Islands demands that we examine the reports and evaluate the possibility. Certainly nobody who thinks about it carefully will proclaim that if large pterosaurs lived in modern times none of them would be able to fly across an ocean. Butterflies have been reported to have been blown over some stretches of ocean, both Atlantic and Pacific. Some birds migrate over vaste distances across the earth.

I have been privileged to be given an eyewitness report of a sighting in 1970, northeast of Honolulu. I here give part of that report:

Grew up on the windward side of Oahu in Maunawili Valley. The valley I grew up in is a typical triple canopy rain forest with two  mountain ranges, the Koolaus and Olomana mountain surrounding the valley.  I believe I was around 12 years old at the time that I saw a Pterodactyl.

I step out of our house and walked just a short distance in our front yard when I looked up and saw the Pterodactyl flying (gliding) from the direction of the Koolaus towards Olomana.

I would estimate its height at about 100 feet using the tall Cook pine trees growing in my neighbor’s yard as my reference.

It was light brown in color with canvas like skin and absolutely no feathers.  What really caught my attention was its “horn” protruding from the back of its head ( or as Duane Hodgkinson calls “an appendage”).

When it passed across to the right of me I then realized it was a living creature because it began to flap its wings and continued to flap its wings several times at about a two second interval between flaps.

Pterosaur in Hawaii

At first I thought it was something manmade because I thought it might be some type of a remote controlled Pterodactyl glider.  The wing span (again an estimate) seemed to be about 30 (if not more) feet across.  It was light brown in color with canvas like skin and absolutely no feathers. . . . When it passed across to the right of me I then realized it was a living creature because it began to flap its wings

Flying Creatures Like Pterosaurs in Hawaii

This was late in 1999, in what the soldiers called the “Kahuku range,” on the northeast side of Oahu. A bright full moon illuminated the flying creature, which had a long tail about 25% of the ”size of its body,” which I assume refers to the length, which one soldier estimated was 8-10 feet.

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Pterosaur Extinction and Children

The “Pterosaur Eyewitness” blog has just put up a post as follows:

More About the new Cryptozoology Book

This morning, a thirteen-month-old boy was feeling sleepy, so he was put to bed with a children’s educational television show playing on low volume. Just as two other preschoolers (a three-year-old and a two-year old) were about to come into the room, the man on the children’s show displayed a picture of a dinosaur and said, “All dinosaurs are extinct.”

What’s so strange about the above? There’s nothing unusual about it, for it happened in the United States of America. But it is pure indoctrination. “Science” cannot be used as an excuse, for there is no scientific reason to insist that all species of dinosaurs, and by extension pterosaurs, must be extinct. It’s just an assumption that Americans have been indoctrinated into since early childhood.

Why would Americans assume that a preschool education program on television is harmless in teaching little children that all dinosaurs and pterosaurs must be dead? Only if they all were extinct could we justify such indoctrination, and some species are alive.

So why do we believe that all such “ancient” animals are extinct? Why? It is because we adults in developed nations have ourselves been indoctrinated since early childhood. We have been systematically bred to believe in this complete extinction axiom, what Whitcomb calls “universal extinction.”

I was happy to learn recently that the Creation Research Society was conducting work on doing carbon dating of material connected with dinosaur fossils. Far too little has been done in this direction. Those who have been tied down to the extinction axiom have not even dreamed of using carbon dating on dinosaur fossils, for the accepted paradigm has been that such testing would be futile, for carbon dating can only provide dates within thousands or tens of thousands of years into the past. Praise be to the Creation Research Society!

Darren Naish Comments on Pterosaur Fossils

What I would ask is this: “Related to the statement ‘there is no evidence for post-Cretaceous pterosaurs,’ was there any evidence for post-Cretaceous Coelacanths before the discovery of the living Coelacanths?”

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Searching for Ropens and Finding God – true-life eyewitness encounters with pterosaurs

From page 31 of this nonfiction book:

Whatever people may think, the fact remains that my husband and I both saw that creature. My husband, being a scientist, took in things from the sighting that I was far too amazed/stunned to take in. We watched it until it was a dot on the horizon in the distance.

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Weird Bioluminescence

Today I’d like to write about the significance of bioluminescence in sightings of modern pterosaurs, especially in sightings within the United States. To start, we have something interesting written by a British writer, Chris Jensen Romer, a prolific blog writer who wrote a book review on the third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America.

A Whole New Level of Weirdness: Book Review

I still have not really made much of a case for why I found the book engaging, but the answer is that Whitcomb surprised me. A number of the sightings suggest bioluminescence. I really did not expect that. Glow in the dark pterosaurs in the USA? It just gets weirder.

For those with no believe in modern pterosaurs it really is weird to add “glow in the dark” to the weirdness of non-extinction. What next? But this is not really new. People in old times used to report “fire-breathing” dragons, some of which were flying creatures. Just change fire-breathing to bioluminescence and you have something weird but not as weird as “fire-breathing dragons.”

Bioluminescence itself is not so weird, for many creatures of the oceans have it. The deeper parts of the oceans have glowing creatures so weird as to make bioluminescent pterosaurs almost tame by comparison.

When somebody doubts and is put off by reports of large glowing creatures that fly, they should look at the testimonies of eyewitnesses and become acquainted with concepts of credibility and with the amazing living organisms we already know to exist in this big world. They should ask, “What do these reports have in common,” for that may lead to a more open approach to something that seems to contradict our cultural belief, or at least to what we have been trained to believe.

Western Bias Against Modern Pterosaurs

This is the “normal” perspective in developed countries like the USA, where dinosaur extinction and pterosaur extinction is taught as if scientific fact. But as readers, and in this case a blog writer, become exposed to the idea of non-extinction of pterosaurs, some of them start to consider that possibility, even though it runs counter to their cultural beliefs.

Marfa Lights Intelligence

we cannot disprove or even discredit the bioluminescent-predator explanation of Marfa Lights by examining pterosaur fossils.

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Giant Bat or What?

Flying Creature With no Feathers

Sometimes a person will refer to the flying fox as a “giant bat.” That type has many species, generally being fruit eaters, but it is the largest known bat, in general.

giant bat called "flying fox"

At other times, somebody will see a giant flying creature that has no feathers but is not a fruit bat. When it has a long tail, then of course it is not a flying fox, for that kind of bat has almost no tail.

But what is it that people see when the say “giant bat” but they include a long tail in their description? We need to look into what it was that reminded an eyewitness of a bat. I believe many instances are from the featherless aspect of the flying creatures. We are so much accustomed to thinking of large flying creatures as birds, unless there are no feathers; then we think “bat.”

Now Think “Pterosaur”

Eskin Kuhn was a talented artist when he observed two flying creatures in Cuba in 1971. He was a United States Marine, stationed at the military base at Guantanamo, also called “Gitmo.” Within minutes of his astonishing sighting, he sketched those two creatures and we now have the benefit of seeing approximately what he had seen:

two pterosaurs sketched by eyewitness Eskin Kuhn

Those long tails make it obvious that those two flying creatures were not some species of giant bat. They look much more like Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs.

A few years earlier, in 1965 or so, at that same military base in Cuba, a child saw the same kind of flying creature. This one also had a long tail and no feathers:

Gitmo Pterosaur sketched by eyewitness Patty Carson

This sketch by the eyewitness Patty Carson is obviously not from an observation of a fruit bat. Although not in the sketch, the creature had a long tail, like the tails on the two flying creatures seen by Eskin Kuhn, in that same part of Cuba.

To put it in a nutshell, some sightings of giant flying creatures are from encounters with long-tailed pterosaurs, even if eyewitnesses mention the words “giant bat.”

Giant Fruit Bat

Flying Foxes sleep hanging upside down during daylight hours, sometimes on branches crowded with dozens of cousins and neighbors, chattering at each other.

Do Pterosaurs Eat Bats?

Pterosaurs sightings are often around where bats are seen at night. Eskin Kuhn has mentioned finding many bats in caves at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

How Big do Pterosaurs Get?

The “Perth Creature” seen by an Australian couple in 1997 may have had a wingspan as great as fifty feet. The minimum size that they thought it could have been was thirty feet in wingspan.

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More About the New Pterosaur Book

The new book is strictly in digital format and not available in traditional print form. Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea is shorter than the previous books by Whitcomb, about 76 pages, according to Amazon. Still, this is much longer than an article.

Is this new book a “bestseller?” From my experience looking through Amazon, Whitcomb’s new book is not a bestseller in the usual sense, at least not yet. Like many books sold online, the rankings change from hour to hour and day to day. On September 28th, this new book on modern pterosaurs was ranked number one among Kindle e-books that were classified in cryptozoology, after eliminating all the fictions and general paranormal ones.

Although much in the new book is similar to some of the eyewitness accounts in the older Searching for Ropens, other sightings are new and quite interesting to compare. I would say that in the new book sightings in Papua New Guinea outnumber those in Australia, but Whitcomb is calling for new Australian eyewitnesses to come forward, and this is important. When a few reports are published, then other people should be encouraged to also come forward. It has a cumulative effect.

Pterosaur Book is Bestseller in its Genre

Yesterday afternoon I searched on Amazon for the best-selling Kindle ebooks in the genre of nonfiction cryptozoology. I eliminated, one by one, the fictions and the paranormal books in which cryptozoology played only a limited role.

New Electronic Book on Pterosaurs in Australia and in PNG

Common Ground: Regarding Papua New Guinea, the new e-book has some of the same sightings as SFR, although there are a few added details here and there. The new sighting off the coast of Umboi Island is an exception, for it is absent from the older SFR. Both books have a chapter devoted to the Perth sighting of 1994.

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Possible Pterosaurs in Southern California Storm Drains

I don’t mean to limit this to the underground drainage lines that take rain water quickly to the ocean. I also include the rivers and open storm channels that run through some areas of Southern California. Apparently at least a few flying creatures that may be ropens or related to the ropen are seen flying nearby.

The ropen is a large featherless flying creature with a long tail and is usually associated with Umboi Island in Papua New Guinea or at least with that tropical country in general. But descriptions from Americans, and Californians in particular, often connect with descriptions in Papua New Guinea and in Australia. This creature does not seem to be confined to one part of the globe, and why should it? Giant wings make it easy for the ropen to reach distant lands across the earth.

So where should we expect to find a ropen if one were to arrive in California, a ropen whose ancestry originated in tropical island environments in the southwest Pacific? Why not areas where there is water? Storm drain channels, such as are found in Southern California, could be ideal, should nocturnal ropens try keep away from human attention. They may fly through the channels at night, searching for rats and possums and other easy prey.

Ropens Near Storm Channels in Southern California

Another lady eyewitness saw what she called a “pterodactyl” near the traffic circle in Long Beach, just east of Signal Hill. This traffic circle is very near the beginning of another storm channel, the one that goes through California State University Long Beach.

Los Angeles County’s Modern Pterosaurs

So what would keep individual creatures from venturing out? What would keep them from spreading out across the planet over a period of a thousand years?

Umboi Island Ropen

“He acknowledged that he had been interviewed before. I had studied his previous video-recorded testimony and noticed that he was much more at ease than he appeared to be years earlier. It should be noted that the previous interview may have taken place soon after the sighting itself took place, so he may have been nervous being interviewed on camera.

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New Electronic Book on Pterosaurs in Australia and in PNG

I’ll compare this new e-book, Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, with the print book Searching for Ropens. Both of them have details on pterosaur sightings in Papua New Guinea. Both are written by Jonathan Whitcomb.

  1. General Genre: SFR, at least in the first edition, is cross genre: cryptozoology and Christian believes on the Bible. LPAPNG is strictly cryptozoology, with only a brief mention of creationist explorers.
  2. Length: SFR is longer, with details on expedition experiences. LPAPNG gives the essentials about expeditions, but gives details on the eyewitness accounts.
  3. Common Ground: Regarding Papua New Guinea, the new e-book has some of the same sightings as SFR, although there are a few added details here and there. The new sighting off the coast of Umboi Island is an exception, for it is absent from the older SFR. Both books have a chapter devoted to the Perth sighting of 1994.
  4. Nit Picking: The covers of e-books are not physical, simply digital images. The new book, LPAPNG, has a “cover” with the same eyewitness sketches as another book by Whitcomb, namely Live Pterosaurs in America. This might leave an impression that those drawings of pterosaurs are based purely on ropens in Papua New Guinea and in Australia, but not so. They are from eyewitnesses in Cuba, decades ago. Purists might disapprove of that.
  5. Misc: The new e-book does have some new ideas, although not many of them are completely absent from SFR. An exception is the explanation of why modern pterosaurs are seen in daylight when they are nocturnal. The new book gives details and plausible conjectures about pterosaurs being disturbed and awakened in the day, causing them to fly up into the air.

To be fair to the new book, I don’t mean to imply that those who have read the older SFR will gave little new from the new book. LPAPNG has a number of Australian sightings that are not found at all in SFR, for they are newly reported accounts, and straight from the mouths of eyewitnesses in Australia.

I guess I could also have compared the new book with the paperback Live Pterosaurs in America. They seem to be about the same length, but its hard to compare page numbers with digital space or with word counts. E-books have no page numbers.

For more information see “New Cryptozoology Book: Live Pterosaurs in Australia,” which I quote:

In modern eyewitness reports, long-tailed pterosaurs outnumber short-tails, at least four-to-one. Standard models of extinction make this ratio appear strange, for the long-tailed variety were thought to have dwindled before the short-tailed pterosaurs became dominant, at least that’s the theory.

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Is the Ropen a Myth?

What is a myth? I think of it as an old fiction. But two ingredients there seem to be in what makes something a myth.

  1. It is very old or an old story
  2. It is restricted to a particular part of the world

People from all over the world, in recent years, see flying creatures that are too much like pterosaurs. That goes against both of the above points.

Here are some examples:

  • 2011: Two men in San Diego, California, see two huge flying creatures
  • 2012: A woman in Lakewood, California, sees a large dragon-pterodactyl
  • 2010: A married couple from Oregon see a ropen around the Columbia River
  • 2009: Student of a university in Papua New Guinea sees the ropen of Umboi Island at a close distance in the daytime
  • 2012: A woman in Connecticut, at dusk, saw a “giant flying creature” that looked like the “rath from Lord of the Rings”
  • 2012: A woman in Brooklyn, New York, in mid-summer at about 6:30 p.m., saw a creature that reminded her of a dragon. It had “a strange shaped head like the pterodactyl pictures”

The Ropen of Columbia River Gorge

We were talking to each other when all of a sudden coming left to right across the highway about 100 yards (give or take) in front of us came the most odd looking thing I have ever seen flying.  My wife and I both immediately said “what was that?” . . . it came swooping over the trees on the left side of the highway.

Smithsonian Proclaims Ropen Myth

Brian Switek made some serious errors of judgment in his “Don’t Get Strung Along by the Ropen Myth.” It was the August 16, 2010, posting on the Smithsonian Magazine, online publication.

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Ropen Still Lives on Umboi Island

Since the 1990’s, when Young Earth Creationists first began exploring Umboi Island, the ropen had been elusive, usually refusing even a distant view of its pterosaurian qualities. In the 2002 expedition by Paul Nation and his son Nathanael, there was no sighting. But each of the two expeditions of 2004 resulted in a sighting, although both were at a distance and only involved the flying light. No pterosaur features were observed.

No American-led expedition on Umboi Island has there been since 2004, but in 2009 a native of Tarawe Village was a student at a university on the mainland. During one of his trips between the city of Lae and Umboi Island, he and several others saw the ropen on the south coast of the island, although only its tail was above the surface of the water when they passed by in the banana boat. The ropen still lives there.

crypotozoologist Paul Nation crosses a river in Papua New Guinea in 2002

Ropen Close to Bunsil Station

I saw that its tail is about 6-7 meters long [about twenty feet long] with sharp diamond shape. It was an awesome scenerio.

Pterosaurs Still Living

It was around 1994 when the seven “boys” (probably in their early teens) climbed up to Lake Pung. Soon after they had arrived, the ropen flew down to just above the surface of the crater lake.

Nocturnal Ropen in California

She looked up to see a strange winged creature that immediately flew off, startled by the human who had suddenly come out from under the nearby gazebo.

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