I want to be objective about this photo that appears to have come from around the time of the American Civil War, and it looks like it has a dead Pteranodon on the ground. If I’ve missed something important, please contact me.

The official name for the photograph is Ptp, but it’s also known as the “Civil War pterodactyl photo.” A rumor includes a reference to Vicksburg, Mississippi, a city I once lived in, and a word for the animal: “monster.”

Don’t confuse it with the Haxan Films fake photo, which was contrived to look like Ptp but is a manipulated image from about the year 2000. Even just a casual glance at the two photos, side-by-side, reveals those are completely different in origin, meaning that one of them was not manipulated to create the other. They are related, however, for the Haxan hoax was made with Ptp as its model, and that has caused confusion, for people don’t always get the opportunity to see the two photos together. Many persons probably assume there’s only one photo, if they know anything about it.

The original Civil War pterosaur photo

People seem to remember Ptp from one or more books, from around the 1950’s or 1960’s, perhaps the 1970’s. At any rate, it seems to have existed from before Photoshop existed. Tom Payne, something of an expert on canoes, told me that he remembers this photo from before the existence of Photoshop. He also told me that the apparent wings of the animal are not halves of a canoe.

Jonathan Whitcomb and Clifford Paiva declared that this is a genuine image of a modern pterosaur

That’s when I fell out of the canoe conjecture. For years, perhaps decades, I had a feeling that those wings looked like some kind of canoe. In 2013, I looked deeper, testing to see if the canoe idea would hold water. I found it difficult to keep my balance in that kind of apparent boat, for no canoe in North America seemed like what I saw in that photo. The canoe expert Tom Payne, early in 2017, knocked me completely out of that boat idea.

Then I saw the astonishing conclusion: If this is not a photo of men standing around a model “pterodacyl,” what else could this be than a Civil War pterosaur photo? That’s when I phoned my friend in California, the physicist Cliff Paiva. He confirmed to me his findings: This is a genuine image with a real animal.

Paiva suggested I write a small book on our evidences of authenticity in the photo. I then wrote Modern Pterosaurs. I really have tried to be objective, but the skeptical criticisms of Ptp have completely failed to explain away this photo. Whether a monster or a pterosaur, the animal is real.


Copyright 2017 Jonathan D. Whitcomb


Civil War pterosaur photo

It’s possible for two similar photos to both be fake. But when one of them was made to closely imitate the older one, it is at least a little suspicious. A counterfeit bill is most likely to be made in imitation of a genuine bill, not another counterfeit. We don’t have an exact correlation between that and the two Civil War pterosaur photos, but there’s enough of a relationship to now deserve our attention.

Dinosaur and Pterosaur Extinction

Consider the following direct evidence for the authenticity of the “pterodactyl photograph” and its significance. Earlier this year (2017), the physicist Cliff Paiva and I independently examined belt buckles on those soldiers in Ptp. We both came to the same conclusion: The soldier that appears to be standing in front of the animal is indeed closer to the camera than the other soldiers.

Pterosaur Photo

About the book Modern Pterosaurs


Nonfiction book in harmony with the Biblical Flood of Noah

Purchase your own copy of Modern Pterosaurs


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“Objective Ministries” site is a hoax

On April 27, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

For many years a web site has proclaimed ongoing plans to explore Africa with the hope of capturing living pterosaurs. I tried to communicate with the person who seemed to be in charge of the “Objective Ministries” project but never received any response. It eventually became apparent that no progress was being made. I eventually concluded that the whole site is a hoax. This seems to be confirmed.

There seems to be no professor named “Richard Paley.” Even “Fellowship University” is nonexistent. Although parts of at least some of the pages refer to real persons and at least one real expedition (by the real person Carl Baugh), “Objective Ministries” is a huge joke, with no actual plans for any expedition.

Why would anyone take so much time to write and publish such a hoax? It seems that somebody took great pleasure in ridiculing religious leaders and those labeled “creationists.” How could such an elaborate hoax have been created by someone who believes similarly to creationists? The only explanation that I know of is that the person responsible has no respect for creationism. In other words, this site is not at all creationist, for it mocks rather than promotes the ideals of those it seems to portray.

This is not to be confused with my own site: www.objectiveness.com, which is serious.

See also Objectiveness in the investigations

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Jacob Kepas of Papua New Guinea, Baptist minister, explorer, and cryptozoologistLate in 2006, Pastor Jacob Kepas was interviewed by Paul Nation, in a hut in Tawa Village, deep in the mountainous interior of the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Kepas had recently climbed up a hill adjacent to a cliff where some of the nocturnal flying creatures sleep during the day. He was accompanied by a local villager who confirmed that what was on that cliff was indeed an indava, the creature that glows at night.

During the videotaped interview, Kepas and his guide described how they had observed the sleeping winged creature. They had tried to videotape it from the hill they had climbed, but the resulting footage was poor, perhaps from a combination of inexperience of the camera operators and the distance involved (Kepas was observing it through binoculars). But even with binoculars, Kepas had been uncertain that it was the creature that they sought until his guide climbed up higher for a better view, confirming that it was an indava.

But that was not the first time that Kepas had observed a strange flying creature. When he was a boy, in another area of the mainland of Papua New Guinea, he had seen a seklo-bali as the glowing creature had flown overhead. Researchers believe that the seklo-bali, ropen, and indava may be closely related or even the same species of bioluminescent flying creature, apparently living pterosaurs.

Regarding the objectiveness of Kepas, in his 2006 sighting of what was identified as an indava, consider this: Kepas himself voiced his uncertainty that what he was observing was the creature that they had sought; the distance and viewing angle made identification difficult. After the other man had climbed higher, obtaining a better viewing angle, it was confirmed to be an indava. This confirms that Kepas is capable of objectiveness in his observations, for he did not force a conclusion when the conditions were inadequate for certainty.

In this 2006 expedition, Nation and Kepas were flown into the remote mountainous area by missionary pilot Jim Blume, who has been a great help, for many years, in living-pterosaur investigations.

See also “Fight With a Kor in Northern Papua New Guinea”

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Objectiveness in the investigations

On April 15, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

How easy it is to snatch at anything that seems to support ones view! Galileo snatched hold of a tidal hypothesis that he hoped would be evidence for the Copernican model (sun-centered solar system); it was wrong. More recently, one living-pterosaur investigator tried to shore up the story of what I call the “Tunnel Pterodactyl.” It now seems obvious that signs of a hoax outweigh anything that may be said in favor of that story. But tunnel vision can be seen in the investigations and research of scientists and cryptozoologists of all fields and philosophies. Galileo’s mistake about tides does not mean that the sun revolves around the earth.

I recently came to the conclusion that the Naga Fireballs of the Mekong River (Southeast Asia) are probably the bioluminescent glow of large insects. I briefly researched a few reports of these glowing orbs with hope that they may be related to the kor of Northern Papua New Guinea or the ropen of Umboi Island. It now appears to be no close connection except that there is another not-yet-classified bioluminescent creature, a cryptid awaiting to graduate from cryptozoology into zoology.

Maintaining the quality of objectiveness in our investigations requires constant vigilance, regardless of how deeply we believe in the foundation of our work.

See also Objectiveness in Cheesman Sightings

Strange Flying Creatures and Bulverism

Objective Ministries” seems to be a parody, and there is no such organization: “objectiveministries”