Aug 232012
 

Yesterday, I watched a documentary on television—I think it was by National Geographic—about a young man who explored, at least briefly, in central Africa to investigate reports of the Mokele Mbembe. He admitted that there may be an unknown creature in the dense remote jungle, but I noticed a problem at the end.

sketch of a Diplodocus, a sauropod dinosaur

We all understand the concept of misidentification. How easy to imagine that an eyewitness has seen something commonplace under unusual conditions! What’s the problem when a scientist or non-scientific skeptic suggests a sighting of something strange was just something normal? The skeptic usually just let’s the subject drop, without any attempt to test the misidentification conjecture.

In the documentary I saw, the explorer suggested to the camera that natives had seen elephants that were swimming with little showing except their trunks and the tops of their bodies. We the audience were shown how hiding the bottom part of an elephant photo can appear strange, but wait . . . Why did the explorer not show that trick to the native eyewitnesses? Why did he assume that they knew what an elephant looks like in the forest but not what it looks like in deep water? How careless! (Or how shrewd!) The simple direct testing of that hypothesis would have been so easy, but then it probably would have resulted in the destruction of the agenda of National Geographic in that documentary.

Scott Norman, Pterosaur Eyewitness

The late Scott Norman searched for the Mokele Mbembe in Africa, many years ago; but I remember him best as a kind hearted man who humbly reported his sighting of a large flying creature that he encountered one night in 2007.

Silent, with stars for a background, the dark creature flew twenty feet high, over a shed only twenty feet from Scott . . . there was no mistaking it: . . . a head three to four feet long, and a two-foot-long head-crest that reminded him of a Pteranodon. . . . [Wings] more bat-like than bird-like.

Apr 282011
 

According to Wikipedia, the kongamato “is a reported pterodactyl-like creature said to have been seen by natives and explorers in the Mwinilunga district’s Jiundu swamps of Western Zambia, Angola and Congo.” Actually, pterosaurs are also reported in other parts of Africa, and some of those sightings may be of a flying creature similar to the kongamato.

I once interviewed, by email, a young man who had been startled one night, in his village in Sudan, Africa, by an apparent pterosaur. (See “Modern Pterosaurs in Africa,” below.) It was the first time that I had a direct communication with an African eyewitness of a pterosaur-like cryptid on that continent, although I had previously had an indirect connection through a man in Liberia. The point? Pterosaurs may be living in many parts of Africa, not just in the Jiundu swamps.

About one year before my 2004 expedition on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, (I wanted to videotape a ropen) I noticed that reports of pterosaur-like flying creatures in that part of the southwest Pacific included accounts of grave robbery. How fascinating! The kongamato of Africa, in at least one report, was also said to rob graves. It appeared to be too much for a coincidence.

Stingray and Kongamato

He believes a large stingray could overturn a boat (“Kongamato” means overturner of boats), declaring that a pterosaur would never have enough mass to overturn a boat. I find a number of serious problems with that pterosaur-impossible assumption, although there may have been some instances of large stingrays being labeled “Kongamato.” The point is twofold: His dismissal of the pterosaur possibility is flawed and the dependence on the label “Kongamato” can cause problems as well as solve them.

Modern Pterosaurs in Africa

  Pterodactyl in Sudan

Early one night in 1988, the boy noticed something on the roof of a nearby hut. Lit up by the patio light, perched on the edge of the roof, the creature appeared to be four-to-five feet tall, olive brown, and leathery (no feathers). A “long bone looking thing” stuck out the back of its head, and its long tail [like] that of a lion.

Intelligent Marfa Lights

These are America ghost lights, not directly related to pterosaur sightings in Africa. But they indirectly relate to sightings of pterosaurs in the United States and to reported glowing pterosaurs in North America.

Four sighting stories in HML may be related. Each involves a light witnessed by the driver of a car that seems to be chased by the light. These are obviously real persons, with names, including “Bunnell.” He offers “Fata Morgana” as a possible explanation but admits his own sighting (one of those four) does not fit that type of mirage phenomenon very well. But another of those four sightings seems to defy the Fata Morgana explanation.

Dec 042010
 

Dinoplaza, a new blog about reports of dinosaurs alongside humans, has recently been started by Peter Theiss, a child cryptozoologist in the southeast United States. The site deserves a few brief excerpts.

Nessie Lives

Richard Preston, a landscape gardener, has been the latest person to spot a mysterious shape that might be the Loch Ness monster and capture a series of images on camera.

Best Photographic Evidence of Nessie, Ogopogo, and Champ

I think the best photographic evidence of Nessie is the 1975 underwater photo of Nessie, taken by Robert Rines.  The photo shows, quite clearly, indeed, a plesiosaur-like creature . . . flippers, a long neck, and a big head . . .

Living Dinosaur Roar

In 1981, American engineer Herman Regusters led his own expedition in search of Mokele-mbembe [Central Africa].  He returned with a sound recording of a “low windy roar [that] increased to a deep throated trumpeting growl”, which Herman Regusters believed to be the Mokele-mbembe’s call.

Please note that this child cryptozoologist is the same Peter Theiss mentioned in the newly published second edition of my nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America. He contributed a valuable eyewitness sighting interview report regarding what we believe was a pterosaur flying over an area of St. Louis.