Let’s consider the kinds of comments made by skeptics of the photograph we now call “Ptp,” with answers taken from the upcoming cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs.
Criticism: It’s obviously a fake, probably made with Photoshop.
Answer from page 100, from Tom Payne, who remembers the Ptp photo from a book he saw in the 1970’s:
I have a degree in Computer Science. I can tell you that technology [Photoshop] wasn’t available to modify a photo like this before about 1980.
Criticism: The soldier on the far left has missing fingers, showing evidence of a Photoshop hoax.
Answer from page 80 (caption under Figure-11):
The apparently missing fingers and thumb of this soldier can be explained without any reference to a hoax using Photoshop. In fact, such digital image manipulation makes no sense, if the purpose had been to make an image that looked like men standing near a recently killed pterosaur.
Answer from page 81:
But how could digital manipulation cause those fingers to disappear? How else except in pasting a rifle-image onto an image of a soldier holding his arm to one side? . . . Why would any hoaxer search for some old Civil War photo that might have a soldier holding out his arm as if holding a rifle but without the rifle? Why would any American Civil War soldier stand for a photograph while holding out his arm as if holding onto his rifle but without the rifle? How could any soldier in military history be so foolish as to hold out his arm, as if holding his rifle, when he had forgotten to bring the rifle for the photograph?
Criticism: This photo is a hoax, made for a television show.
Answer from page 73:
. . . we need to be clear about another photograph. A hoax was created, around the year 2000, apparently made in imitation of what we now call Ptp. Beware of falling into the trap that others have: confusing the two.
The photograph called “Ptp” (not to be confused with a recent photo made for a TV show)
What may appear, on the surface, to be damning evidence that Ptp is a hoax is, in reality, easily answered. Not only does the apparent evidence for a fraud fall apart, under close examination, but we actually have direct and indirect evidence that this old photograph, with apparent Civil War soldiers, actually comes from that period of history, and those men are probably actual American soldiers.
Glen Kuban, a critic of living-pterosaur investigators for years, made a mistake regarding Ptp in his long online publication “Living Pterodactyls.” (He also made many other errors in that page, so it will not here be linked to.) [He confused two different photos.]
The nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs should be published well before the end of April, 2017. The front cover gives no hint that it supports a Biblical Old Testament point of view, but the back cover clearly does . . .
This is not about the hoax-photograph, with Civil War reenactors, done for the Freakylinks TV series that was on the Fox Network from 2000-2001. . . . The photograph we’re examining here is called “Ptp” and has been around much longer. It was surely used, by the producers of Freakylinks, as a model for their crude imitation.
The ultimate shocking nonfiction [book]: Scientific validation for the old photograph that was neglected for decades. This has now been declared to have a genuine photographic image of an extant pterosaur, with layers of evidence for authenticity.
A skeptic may assume, consciously or not, that he or she is objective while ridiculing me, but I am the expert here. Along with all the skeptics, I am human. Yet I have spent over 10,000 hours, in the course of over thirteen years, investigating this controversial subject, with eyewitness reports coming to me from five continents, mostly in emails but with some significant phone conversations and face-to-face interviews.
The nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs should be published well before the end of April, 2017. The front cover gives no hint that it supports a Biblical Old Testament point of view, but the back cover clearly does:
A scientific discovery in harmony with the Flood of Noah in the book of Genesis, in support of the Bible
In addition, the copyright page says, “A scientific discovery in harmony with the Bible.” And one paragraph in the introduction of the book makes it clear:
Many of those who’ve searched for extant pterosaurs, and interviewed eyewitnesses, believe in the Bible, and that includes belief in the literal Flood as recorded in Genesis. We see modern species of pterosaurs as being in perfect harmony with the Flood of Noah. Until the announcement on January 14, 2017, our evidences for non-extinct pterosaurs was mostly in testimonies of eyewitnesses. Now we have a photograph to back up sighting reports and support belief in the Flood.
After that, however, only three other pages in the book mention either the Bible or the Flood of Noah. So if you’re looking for a new book about Biblical Creation in general, this might not satisfy you. What about the greatest scientific discovery of recent decades, one that supports the literal Flood of Genesis? That’s another story, and it’s in this nonfiction book.
Modern Pterosaurs, Human encounters with living “pterodactyls”
Evolution and Religion
A big problem with many statements about evolution is that the word is used as if it were precise when, in reality, it has more than one meaning, regarding biology, and many of those who use the word are unaware of the distinctions.
Compare it to the following statement:
Taking a bath can be safer than a shower when a thunderstorm is approaching. Why? During the storm, a bath inside your home gives you more privacy than taking advantage of that shower.
Can a discussion about evolution really be that ludicrous? Precisely. Take three major ideas about biological evolution:
- Inherent genetic diversity
- Mutational changes in bacteria
- Common ancestry (Darwin)
How can evidence for one of those three support belief in another one? Those three concepts are separate, with the first two giving no real credibility to the third.
Several paragraphs in the book explain the “Evolutionary Boundary” experiment that proves that Darwin’s natural selection actually prevents any of the changes he imagined. In other words, real natural selection makes universal common ancestry impossible. Explaining that in detail, however, would take a book in itself.
The nonfiction Modern Pterosaurs is in complete harmony with the concept that the Flood of Genesis was a literal worldwide flood, although detailed explanations of exactly how extant pterosaurs are related to it are lacking. Let’s consider that here:
Pterosaurs survived the Flood because they were sheltered on the Ark. Whether many pterosaurs became extinct before the Flood or after it, some of them are still living.
The new book has a photograph of an extant pterosaur, verified by me and by the physicist Clifford Paiva. Like my previous books, however, it does contain eyewitness accounts of these amazing flying creatures.
I was asked about the possibility of religious bias in the thinking of those who believe the eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs. I replied that bias is not restricted to those who are religious. Why should Christians be singled out for potential bias? Any person of any philosophy may well be biased about particular ideas.
On January 14, 2017, the physicist Clifford Paiva, of California, and I (Jonathan Whitcomb) jointly agreed that the image of an apparent pterosaur in this photograph is in fact a valid recording of a modern pterosaur.
The combination of a head crest and a Rhamphorhynchoid tail is uncommon in pterosaur fossils (but not totally absent from all types); yet that combination is common in eyewitness reports in the past 100 years. For some reason, long-tailed ropens (like Rhamphorhynchoids but sometimes much larger than fossils) may account for more than 60% of all modern pterosaurs, perhaps much more.
If you had asked me about this old photograph, of an apparent pterosaur, 25 years ago, I would have said that it’s probably a hoax. How much I have learned in recent years!
A few years ago, I was the guest on a radio or podcast talk show of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. The two hosts were polite and appeared to be fair, even though my declarations about modern pterosaurs surely would have had few believers among the listeners of the broadcast. Ropens would not likely be given much belief from those who would listen to such a radio or podcast broadcast.
One point I remember clearly. I was asked about the possibility of religious bias in the thinking of those who believe the eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs. I replied that bias is not restricted to those who are religious. Why should Christians be singled out for potential bias? Any person of any philosophy may well be biased about particular ideas.
Is it reasonable to assume that someone coming up with a revolutionary idea, not yet proven, must be thinking unclearly? Must a person with a strange-sounding new idea be wrong? Of course not.
Bias Against Albert Einstein
Remember the plight of Albert Einstein soon after the end of World War II. How might we have reacted, if we were citizens of England at that time? Many of our friends and family members could have been dead from the bullets and bombs and poisonous gas from German soldiers. Now some obscure German Jew is telling the world that the great English scientist Isaac Newton was wrong about how the universe behaves? How could Einstein have responded to that bias?
Are Eyewitnesses Biased?
Those who have seen featherless flying creatures that were obviously not bats—those persons live in various countries, come from various backgrounds, believe in various religious or irreligious ideologies, and have grown up in various cultures and family backgrounds. I dare any skeptic to proclaim that all of those eyewitnesses are plagued by bias related to Christian young-earth creation ideas. I have interviewed persons from five continents, and their answers sometimes reveal the obvious: Most of the eyewitnesses did not have any special attraction toward young-earth-creation ideology, when they saw a flying creature that looked like a “dinosaur bird” or “pterodactyl” or “flying dinosaur.”
Yet the descriptions are strikingly similar:
- Long tails on the flying creatures (41%=yes and only 2%=no)
- Lack of feathers (21%=positive on featherlessness and 25%=probably no feathers)
- Tail flange suggesting a Rhamphorhynchoid (28.5% reported a tail flange)
- Long neck (shooting down the Frigate bird conjecture)
- Head crest (24%=head crest seen and only 3.5%=not seen)
- Many sightings are of flying creatures larger than birds
By the way, the great majority of apparent pterosaurs are not the ones commonly portrayed in science fiction movies and television programs. They are not short tailed Pteranodons but long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoids, what my associates and I call ropens.
This video begins with images of farm animals, and the sound is a combination of those farm animals and an orchestration of the old piano piece by Robert Schumman: “The Happy Farmer.”
How often have I encountered the objections of critics who would dismiss the work of creationist living-pterosaur investigators because of assumed bias! The critics assume that belief in the Bible causes bias. Why not look more carefully?
An old online page on the modern long-tailed pterosaur:
According to the recent investigators David Woetzel, Garth Guessman, and Jonathan Whitcomb, over 90% of the sightings of the ropen on Umboi Island are of the “ropen light.” Whitcomb’s book (Searching for Ropens) suggests that most of these sightings are of one giant creature that sleeps in the island interior during the day; at night it feeds on reefs (at least on the northern and southern coasts where the three investigators explored). The two expeditions of 2004 independently interviewed eyewitnesses who reported that the bright glow of the ropen lasts for about five to six seconds.
This island appears ideal for the species and large ropens may claim the interior mountains of some similar islands. The nocturnal creatures may do better when they can sleep in daylight in secure nesting areas on mountains close to the reefs of the coastlines.
Reasons to believe eyewitnesses who claim to have seen a giant ropen and describe it in terms suggesting a pterosaur
Winston Churchill said, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” although he may have borrowed the idea from George Santayana (in The Life of Reason, 1905): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The concept is not restricted to famous events in history. Farmers often learn from experience, and large flying creatures that are said to have attacked domesticated animals in previous centuries might return to attack farm animals in the present. That deserves attention.
From the book Dark Highway
Much of the paranormal book Dark Highway, by Dan Kenyon, seems to be about UFOs and ghosts, although lake monsters and Bigfoot have been thrown in. The subtitle is “Utah’s Strange Tales,” and some of the stories are indeed strange.
Here is the contents page:
Table of Contents in the paranormal book Dark Highway
The chapter on dragons appears, at first glance, to be more about monsters that swim than monsters that fly. Chapter five, however, is about cryptids, and here is where a dragon flies into view.
On page 48, it tells of a large black figure sitting on a rock, witnessed by a father and son who had been watching for deer. (The sighting was reportedly in the “Mahogany area” of Utah, wherever that may be.) But what was supposed to have been a black bear suddenly stretched out a pair of wings and flew up into the air. The man estimated the wingspan: around fourteen feet. When the creature was on the ground, it appeared to have been four to five feet tall. Nothing was mentioned about any tail, but the dark color and big wingspan bring to mind the ropen.
Yet a full reading of the fourth chapter of the book reveals a sighting that is far more astonishing, so shocking that many readers may dismiss the report as a complete fabrication. I believe the author got the story from an old newspaper article, so let’s look at a small part of that:
Half Bird and Half Reptile Carries Away Live Horses
A terrible, nameless, unclassified creature of the animal world is exciting the curiosity, wonder, and fear of occasional visitors to Stansbury Island, in the southern portion of Great Salt Lake.
This monster, for it can be called nothing else, has lately, is it said, been seen by several persons, but the best account [of] its characteristics and movements is given by Martin Gilbert and John Barry, two hunters who this week returned from an expedition over the island, in the course of which they studied the habits of this hitherto unheard-of-creature for three days.
. . . In size it is simply tremendous . . .
Its wings were bat-like . . .
. . . we saw that it carried in its great jaws a large horse . . . badly crushed and mangled. . . .
From a newspaper article in the Pittsburgh Press, September 3, 1903
I’m not suggesting that this old newspaper story is an accurate account, but in light of a more recent sighting of a flying creature, a few miles south of this island, perhaps the old story did not come entirely from an imaginative invention in the mind of a bored newspaper professional. It now seems that the old tale may have originated from a real encounter with a flying creature in this area of Utah. Whether or not it is the same species as the animal seen in the “Mahogany area” of Utah is a matter of speculation, but something strange has been flying over this area south of the Great Salt Lake.
A large hill on Stansbury Island, Great Salt Lake, Utah (Flickr photo courtesy of Andrey Zharkikh)
Sighting Eight Miles South of Stansbury Island, Utah
Almost a century after the above extraordinary report, three boys were playing in a yard one night, in the farming community of Grantsville, Utah, about eight miles from the southern end of Stansbury Island. At around 10:30-11:30 p.m., the nearby farm animals became greatly disturbed, making alarming sounds, as if they were in danger.
That was about the time that 12-year-old Dallin Roberts saw something very strange in the sky. At first, he could not understand what he was observing. He soon realized that it was a flying creature. Two things struck him as very odd, however: the enormous size and the glowing body of the flying animal.
The other two boys soon got a look at the flying creature, and all three of the boys were astonished. The light coming from the flying creature did not always remain on. I turned off for a short while, but it soon turned on again, revealing that the creature had flown up much higher into the night sky, while the light had been off. It was a dark night, so the boys could not see the strange creature except when it was glowing.
I recently got a question from a member of a Facebook group: “Living Pterosaurs of the World.” It was in response to a Youtube video of two interviews I had with eyewitnesses last year. These two young men testified that the local farm animals went “crazy” with fright, making a lot of noise, when a very large glowing flying creature flew overhead one night.
Do pterosaurs still live? In the 21st Century? Don’t rush to any conclusion; get the facts, then judge credibility. . . . Soon after interviewing Gideon [a native eyewitness on Umboi Island in Papua New Guinea], I learned that two of the other witnesses were present with us. Wesley is a brother to Gideon and answered my questions without hesitating. . . . We also need to realize that the islander-eyewitnesses who answered our questions, did not repeat the legends of the ropen. They simply answer our questions as to what they saw.
What could be worse than any nightmare? In the dead of night, you are awakened by what you fear most, glaring down at you. . . . Race out of your bedroom; it’s after you. Race out the front door; it follows. Search for a place to hide; it’s too late. You are exposed, surrounded by many monsters ready to feast. You have fallen into their trap. Your family is scattered, chased across the freezing countryside. You are alone. You are Eptesicus fuscus, a Big Brown Bat.
From the cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America (Acknowledgements section) Whitcomb says: “To the eyewitnesses who’ve bravely come forward, telling us of apparent living pterosaurs, I dedicate this book. They deserve to be heard.”
So who do you call? I hope you’ll contact me, Jonathan Whitcomb. As far as I know, I am the only person on earth who has devoted anything like a full-time effort, over years, to interview eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs or ropens, promoting the idea that these flying creatures are not extinct but very much alive.