Nov 292014
 
Fourth edition of this nonfiction cryptozoology book

The apparent Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur called ropen is a cryptid, and that means we are dealing with cryptozoology. Scientific methods may be used in researching and searching in cryptozoology, yet a cryptid, by definition, is not an animal being studied in a laboratory, by a science professor; it is a creature known more from eyewitness testimony.

One paleontologist, Dr. Donald Prothero, has gone far astray from scientific methods in his post about “fake” pterosaurs. It’s devoted to attacks against me, Jonathan Whitcomb, as he mentions my religious beliefs and proclaims my dishonesty, in spite of my explanations for my use of two pen names in a minority of my writings.

The question now is this: Is it better for a scientist to use non-scientific methods to ridicule, through bulverism, someone he disagrees with or for a cryptozoologist to use scientific methods to examine the credibility of the existence of the cryptid called ropen? I choose the latter.

I now respond to Dr. Prothero by quoting from my Searching for Ropens and Finding God (4th edition).

The paleontologists are rare who take notice of my associates and me, at least through mid-2014. When one has commented on what we declare about modern pterosaurs, it’s usually with a word like “extinction” but in a difference sense: the demise of all species of pterosaurs. Am I slicing quarks? I know of nobody who denies that many pterosaurs may have lived without leaving any fossil. Beware of the fog around two meanings of a word. Even if all species of pterosaurs known from fossils had become extinct long ago, we live in the real world of the present, a world in which people report encountering living pterosaurs. [page 293]

Mr. Collini and Mr. Cuvier [two centuries ago] assumed the strange creature that left fossil evidence of its existence was extinct. What else could they think? They knew nothing of anything like that in the modern world. Now look at the key word: assumed.

Almost all biologists, from then until now, have assumed all species of pterosaurs became extinct, for those humans apparently knew nothing of anything like them in the modern world. Paleontologists are even more rare than eyewitnesses of ropens, and if one fossil expert saw one dragon fly overhead, how could the encounter be reported? That eyewitness would probably say nothing.

Gradual accumulations of new fossil species were too gradual to alert anyone. Alert them to what? Simple probability. If we were to dig into a cliff, looking for fossils, what might we find? Quite likely we would uncover a fossil of something quite similar to a modern organism, for those are common. If paleontologists had examined objectively the axiom of pterosaur extinction, over the past 200 years, they would have noticed what few have considered: As each new pterosaur genus was uncovered, by fossil discoveries, the probability of a modern version increased. Experts now have dozens of those genera to consider, yet how few paleontologists have examined the universal-pterosaur-extinction axiom itself! [page 295]

Science and mathematics

Statistical analysis proves that hoaxes could not have played a major part in the 128 sighting reports that I researched by the end of 2012. This is in simple math, easy for most adults to understand. I don’t know why Dr. Prothero mentioned nothing about statistics in eyewitness testimonies, but if he had, it would have reflected badly on his case for trying to persuade people to dismiss from their minds the possibility of any modern pterosaur. How much easier to use bulverism to convince followers that I, Jonathan Whitcomb, have been dishonest! Please note, I am not accusing Dr. Prothero of dishonesty; I am replying to his accusations of deceit.

Of course my use of math in that situation relates to the lack of hoaxes, not misidentification possibilities. But if many eyewitnesses have been telling the truth, what about the possibility that I too have been honest? And what if the ropen really is real?

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“Sock Puppets” and Jonathan Whitcomb

Both statements in each post are false, yet some of my proper use of two pseudonyms may resemble improper usage, so this needs to be explained in detail. . . . To publicize details about the encounters with apparent pterosaurs, I needed some way to emphasize those reports without my name getting in the way. [a perfectly valid reason to use a pen name]

Donald Prothero and “Fake” Pterosaurs

. . . It gives me some hope that Prothero was making an honest mistake, when he included that link; nevertheless, his post appears sure to lead his readers astray from the truth, not only about my motivations but about investigations of living-pterosaur sighting reports in general. I must respond.

Evidence for a Living Pterosaur

I continue to receive eyewitness reports of apparent living pterosaurs, as I have for the past eleven years. The following are some of the more recent emails: West Virginia (Oct of 2014) . . . Minnesota (Nov of 2014) [note: this post was written on Nov 29, 2014]

Cryptomundo and Jonathan Whitcomb

Did you know that the living-pterosaurs investigations that started in the mid-1990’s were in Papua New Guinea? Some reports were of large flying creatures that were covered with hair. The Woetzel-Guessman expedition of 2004 (a few weeks after my own expedition) involved detailed questionnaires, the main one being two pages long. There was also a silhouette page: 34 images of birds, bats, and pterosaurs.

Ropens and Pterosaurs

Recent and older editions of the nonfiction books Searching for Ropens and Live Pterosaurs in America

Honesty in Ropen Searching

I am shocked that somebody with so much education would make so many mistakes, indeed errors that are facing 180 degrees away from reality. But I do not accuse this man of dishonesty, for I cannot see into his mind or into his heart. Being honest or dishonest is, after all, about one’s intention. Those who search diligently will find the truth.

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non-fiction paperback "Searching for Ropens and Finding God"

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – in its expanded fourth edition

Living-pterosaur nonfiction book

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Jul 212014
 
It flew over a building, apparently near the street of "Noorder IJ - en Zeeweg" near Amsterdam, Holland (Netherlands)

In the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, we read of several sightings of apparent pterosaurs in Europe:

Netherlands (near Amsterdam)

He answered that the creature was 30-40 meters away, and it was 1.5 meters long with a wingspan of two meters. He said, “It was coming out of the city and flying to a big canal,” passing by him from left to right. . . .

Lake District of England

One night in about October of 1996, the man was camping with friends, in a field, . . . between Little Langdale and Coniston. Soon after sunset, . . . the man looked at the moon-lit clouds and noticed a dark shape moving under the cloud cover. . . . at first assuming it was a balloon, he became aware that it was moving against the wind and was “undulating slightly.” . . . As he watched it pass overhead, the shape was obviously not like a balloon, more like a “manta-ray fish but with a short tail.” The undulating motion was then seen to be the flapping of the wings of the huge creature. The wingspan he estimated at thirty-five feet.

Spain, mid-2007

The sighting was in mid-2007: “I hope you are the Jonathan Whitcomb who has been investigating pterodactyl like animals . . . I assure you I am NOT LYING—I’ve got literally no interest in making something like this up. Apart from the two people with me at the time, I haven’t mentioned this to anyone . . .” “. . . last summer, some friends and I drove from England (where I live) to [Benicassim, near Desert de les Palmes]) for a music festival. One night, whilst sitting on the ground by the tents . . . I saw what I at first assumed was an owl gliding over the campsite . . . it passed right over us, probably about 30-40 ft high, and as I watched it, I realised it was definitely no owl I’d ever seen before.” “. . . the colour of suede/sand, looked like the same sort of texture as suede (i.e no feathers), had a long thin tail, and didn’t flap once. I only saw it for a few seconds (as the campsite was lit up, illuminating it from beneath), but it fairly quickly passed into the dark, out of the reach of the light. . . .” I judge that report of the flying creature in Spain highly credible, although not as lofty a credibility as some daylight sighting reports that I have received. This report was probably of a ropen, yet daylight encounters can prove the case.

. It flew over a building, apparently near the street of "Noorder IJ - en Zeeweg" near Amsterdam, Holland (Netherlands) . Spain 1, Netherlands 1

These two countries tied 1-1 in something completely different: modern sightings of apparent pterosaurs. . . . northwest of Amsterdam, Netherlands (Holland) . . . [and] in Spain, perhaps near “los desert del palmas.”

. Sightings of Live Pterosaurs in Europe

Europe has its share [of pterosaur sightings], although I suspect that several things cause fewer eyewitnesses to share their experiences with me. . . . In the Netherlands, about five kilometers northwest of Amsterdam, a number of years ago, on a hot summer afternoon, a featherless creature flew “coming out of the city and flying to a big canal.”

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Two Nonfiction Paperback Books on Modern Pterosaurs:

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small image of cover of nonfiction book "Live Pterosaurs in America" third edition

Live Pterosaurs in America

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pile of nonfiction books: "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - by Jonathan Whitcomb

Searching for Ropens and Finding God

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Jun 032014
 
small farm and surrounding neighborhood in Grantsville, Utah

Pterosaurs sightings have been reported in Washington state, Oregon, California, Arizona, Utah, and in other states. Some are recent reportings of encounters years ago, others are recent observations, all are within the past 30 years. We’ll see what is revealed in the third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America, but let’s first look at what is documented in the new nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God. These two books have only limited overlapping in sightings, by design of the author.

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State of Washington

I got an email from another eyewitness in October of 2012: “. . . It flew over me, and my home on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State, just yesterday. Seriously, it flew low, made no noise, and cast a shadow as if it were a small aircraft. It freaked me out . . .” He got the impression it may have been featherless but he’s not sure. He also said, “At first I thought pelican, but I know pelicans and this was much larger with less head weight, much larger wings, somewhat short considering the wing span, greyish in color . . . freaky.” [from page 232 of the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (third edition)]

State of Oregon

In May of 2010, a man and his wife were driving, at mid-day, on the I-84, by the Columbia Gorge in Oregon, when something flew across the highway. The man reported, “It was pretty good size and the thing that really stood out was that it had a long tail and unusually shaped wings, different from a bird because they seemed to be more curved.” [also from page 232]

State of Arizona

A lady was collecting rocks with her son, near Tucson, Arizona, in about late 2011, when they found something most unexpected. . . . Whatever it was, it acted like a baby, notwithstanding the wingspan appeared to be six to eight feet “at least.” The poor thing was in panic, hardly able to stand upright while flapping its wings at the two humans who were only about fifteen feet away. The lady told me, “It was almost toppling over onto its face.”

. . . the top of its head had a “knot protruding” . . . the arms “grew into the wings.” The beak was narrow, with no teeth. But they had no time to wait for teeth to grow. . . . [They] left the area when they thought of the mother of the eight-foot-wingspan baby. . . .

Now let’s turn to the book Live Pterosaurs in America (3rd edition).

Desert Sighting in California

“I have been haunted for close to twenty years by what I saw in the desert. . . .

  • Q: What desert was this?
  • The [Anza-Borrego] State Park.
  • Q: What time of year was it?
  • To the best of my recollection it was in the spring
  • Q: How well did you see the form or shape of the creature?
  • Well enough to remember some details and to never forget what I saw. We were sitting in the late afternoon shade of a ridge, on lawn chairs, enjoying the solitude and peace and quiet of the desert when it passed over. 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 ‘. . . that looks just like a Taradactyl!’ . . . What I saw was large and very much alive. . . . Its skin, I say skin because there were no feathers, . . . looked like dull leather sort of dusty looking. It seemed to soar like a large raptor. The back of the head was pointed.

San Fernando Valley, California

. . . my girlfriend and I saw a creature last night (9/21/2009) . . . [It] baffled us. It was a very large, winged creature that was gliding maybe 100 yards above us. We stared at the creature in disbelief because it was so strange . . . it didn’t look like a bird really. . . . my girlfriend has 20-20 vision and she told a few minutes later that it had lights on it. That didn’t strike me as right so I asked her if she was sure and she said they weren’t lights exactly, but that the wings had a glow or reflection. . . . I begin my search for “flying creature” on Google. One link led to another and eventually I discovered something known as a Ropen. That was it! The description matched exactly what we saw, down to the glow. [Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition, by Jonathan Whitcomb]

Not all sightings of apparent pterosaurs in the United States are reported in the two books, although over two hundred of the pages document American “pterodactyl” sightings. Consider the following Utah sighting.

Grantsville, Utah

small farm and surrounding neighborhood in Grantsville, Utah

South of the Great Salt Lake—there’s where we find Grantsville

When I was 14 years old, I lived in Grantsville . . . There was a small play ground . . . One night, my brother Dallin [and] step brother Jonathon and I were sitting on top of a small exercising trampoline . . . We had a blanket wrapped around us as we starred up at the night sky pondering many things that 13 and 14 year old kids ponder. There was a small farm next to our apartment complex . . .

. . . Dallin suddenly noticed something and started yelling . . . a giant bird . . . At [about that] time, the animals in the farm next to us started going berserk. . . . Jonathon . . . started staring up at the sky and yelling similar [things]. . . . I was slightly reluctant [thinking it could be a joke] as I began sliding down the slide to see what all of this was about.

. . . Suddenly as I looked up at the night sky, the farm animals started up again and then I saw it. . . . A beautiful phoenix soaring above me in the night sky and soon after disappearing as if into thin air. I was awestruck. I began to wonder what type of animal this was. But within minutes higher up in the sky I saw it again and appeared soaring above us and then vanished again. I had a very scientific mind for my age at the time and soon developed a theory that this creature was a bioluminescent and nocturnal bird that would “disappear” using the same effect that happens to our eyes when we are in a bright room and suddenly the lights go out. There is a space of time where we can see nothing. I decided it used this to help it hunt. I did not even hear about ropens until nearly a decade after.

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The spiritual/cryptozoology non-fiction book "Searching for Ropens and Finding God," by Jonathan David Whitcomb

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – spiritual true-life adventure

 Excerpts from Title Page:

This flies high above a common true-life adventure, revealing the early stages of what may become the most unsettling scientific discovery since Copernicus and Galileo. It soars above disputes about religion, revealing why an official discovery of an extraordinary animal was delayed for so long. . . . Three American Christians—one middle-aged LDS-Mormon high priest and two younger Protestant Young Earth Creationists—explored parts of Umboi Island in two separate expeditions in 2004, interviewing native eyewitnesses of the elusive ropen. They returned home even more convinced that long-tailed pterosaurs live, even thrive, in Papua New Guinea.

Excerpts from Introduction

Expect answers in this book: why my associates and I traveled to a remote tropical island to search for living pterosaurs and why so few professors have given us any hope that they still live. . . . 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.

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Aug 222012
 

My newest book is about to be published in the next few weeks: Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea. This low-cost ebook gives detailed eyewitness accounts of the strange flying creatures seen in the Southwest Pacific, with explanations for why these sightings are absent from news headlines. Samples:

Introduction

I have found, after many years of questioning eyewitnesses, that some accounts cannot be dismissed as misidentified birds or bats or as hoaxes. Keep the door open to discovering something for yourself; I expect you’ll discover something important before the last chapter.

Chapter One: How can Pterosaurs be Alive?

Dragon stories abound in many human cultures, and before the late nineteenth century “dragon” would have been what an eyewitness might have called a living pterosaur. I suggest that some legends of flying dragons are less than 100% fictional, but this book examines more recent reports, not old legends. Nevertheless, part of the problem resides in the old English word “dragon.”

Chapter Three: The Bougainville Creature

Did you notice the word absent from Hennessy’s account but obvious in Hodgkinson’s? In all my email correspondence with Hennessy, he never said “pterodactyl” (or “pterosaur”). Nevertheless, he was clear about the description and clear about his impression of the flying creature: “prehistoric.”

Chapter Five: Another Expedition on Umboi Island

Before leaving Kampalap, they learned about the ropen’s behavior on that northeast coast. It glows until it alights on a tree on a promontory north of the village; when it lands on the tree, the light goes out. Later the ropen flies to the nearby reef to feed.

Chapter Eight: Expedition of 2006

Paul Nation and Jacob Kepas were flown into the remote mountainous area by the plane pilot Jim Blume, the same missionary who assisted the 1990 expeditions and the second 2004 expedition. . . . Blume had to make two flights, for the two passengers and their luggage, but he himself did not stay long in Tawa.

“I [Paul Nation] was able to watch the two [lights] on the mountain range . . . at this little saddle. . . . [the lower left light] appeared first. About a minute or so later, the higher one . . . appeared, and the first one disappeared. . . . the second one . . . took up and over [flew over] . . . the back side [of the ridge]. . . .”

To make this book available to as many readers as possible, and to preserve trees, it is being published as an e-book. Please contribute to the preservation of the enviroment and the propogation of knowledge by purchasing your own copy in electronic format (it might never be released in paper-book format).

Book About Pterosaurs in Australia

Some of the sightings mentioned in this book had not been published in any book before, to the best of my knowledge; they are first-hand accounts given to me over several years.

Pterosaur Extinction (or not)

In brief, Mr. Kuban draws attention to the weakest reasons for believing  in modern pterosaurs, the weak reports; he also points out  flaws or just possible flaws  in some of the words and reasoning of those who promote the concept of living pterosaurs. . . . But consider two critical points that he ignores: the strongest eyewitness-testimony accounts and the philosophical foundations of the conflict.

Jul 272012
 

It’s difficult to compile a list of books by sales ranking on Amazon, when “cryptozoology” is the search word used on that book-seller site. Some obvious cryptozoology books do not have that word in their title or subtitle, so they are probably left out of the search results. The following are paperback and hardback, from top to bottom by sales ranking, the apparent top twenty on the evening of July 27, 2012, although it is very possible that important books may have been missed.

  1. Looking for Bigfoot, by Bonnie Worth
  2. Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter, by Josh Gates
  3. Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, by Jeff Meldrum
  4. Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures, by Kelly Milner Halls and others
  5. DK Readers: Beastly Tales, by Malcolm Yorke and Lee Davis
  6. Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), by Jonathan Whitcomb
  7. Biblical Cryptozoology Revealed Cryptids of The Bible, by Dale Stuckwish
  8. Cryptozoology A to Z, by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark
  9. Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, by Loren Coleman and others
  10. Real Monsters, Gruesome Critters, and Beasts from the Darkside, by Brad Steiger
  11. Bigfoot Observer’s Field Manual, by Robert W. Morgan
  12. The Beasts that Hide from Man, by Karl Shuker
  13. Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, by Loren Coleman
  14. The Michigan Dogman, by Linda S. Godfrey
  15. Bigfoot! – The True Story of Apes in America, by Loren Coleman
  16. Claw, Jaws, and Dinosaurs, by Kent Hovind, William Gibbons, and others
  17. Hunting the American Werewolf, by Linda S. Godfrey
  18. Monsters of Texas, by Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern
  19. In Search of Sasquatch, by Kelly Milner Halls
  20. Monsters of West Virginia: Mysterious Creatures, by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

Books on the Loch Ness creature seem to have less selling depth than they once did. Bigfoot is still strong. The old standard Cryptozoology A to Z is no longer number one in this genre, although it was on the top for years.

Popular Cryptozoology Books

Leaving aside fictions and e-books (including Kindle) here’s a listing of many cryptozoology books that are best selling on Amazon

Three Author “Eyewitnesses”

The three authors, from British Columbia in Canada, Texas, and California, have each written at least one edition of a nonfiction book that primarily deals with sightings of possible pterosaurs in North America.

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Live Pterosaurs in America - front cover of nonfiction book, third edition

Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), cryptozoology, nonfiction

The second paragraph of the introduction of the book:

This book might discomfort, even offend, a few readers; please consider the feelings of those who have revealed to us their encounters with what seem to be live pterosaurs, for some of them have suffered more than discomfort. I intend to comfort those innocent victims who have been ridiculed or ostracized because of a cultural weakness, for each has seen something unaccepted by their society. Each eyewitness deserves listeners who will open their minds, really listen. Consider their experiences.

From Page 70:

The cryptozoologists were not disappointed, with many sightings of the flying lights and a few sightings of the forms of large flying creatures that were unlike bats. One of them flew close enough that one man almost fell over. The men stayed only a few nights, but the investigation continued into 2008, with a number of visits to this location.

From Page 71 (another expedition in North America):

Late in 2007, I received an email from Peter Beach, a biology professor. He had gone on two expeditions into Africa (searching for the Mokele-mbembe cryptid), before becoming involved in living-pterosaur research.

“I went on a short trip to the Yakima River this summer . . . because there was a [sighting]. We were unable to get a picture but we saw many . . . flashing lights. I would have assumed that [they] were fireflies but we [don’t] have them in Washington. One of the flashes took off from a big tree overhanging the river and made a kind of flashing coma turn. Many flashes were parallel to the river. The river at that point [has] a crook . . . and there were many fish . . . Prime hunting grounds for fish-eating birds. Only these things fish at night with bioluminescence.”

Feb 222012
 

The pterodactyls did not attack me (Jonathan Whitcomb). It was just a few commentators on a cryptozoology.com forum thread who initiated the attack. But it was a rather vicious attack, with one of the assailants using the name “ape man.” The question may appear simple on the surface: Am I (Jonathan Whitcomb) a “pterodactyl” expert? Without somebody making that assumption and titling the forum thread with that phrase, I would not have been attacked; but I survived and hold no grudges. I  hold onto hope that the commentator was wrong who said that I make “Don Quixote look like a paradigm of sanity.”

Pterodactyl Expert

So what does all this boil down to? If all pterosaurs (AKA pterodactyls) are extinct, nobody whose experiences are confined to eyewitnesses can be an expert, even if he writes books on the subject, like Whitcomb has done. But if even just one of the eyewitnesses has actually seen a modern pterosaur, then Whitcomb is an expert, having interviewed perhaps more eyewitnesses than any other cryptozoologist. Of course with all that said, the existence of modern pterosaurs does not necessarily mean that all of his ideas are correct.

Attack the Interviewer or Attack Ignorance?

I suggest that we all examine the eyewitness reports rather than attack those who interview eyewitnesses. I suggest people avoid attacking investigators even when I myself am not the victim of the attacks. :)

Live Pterosaurs in America - front cover of nonfiction book, third edition

Nonfiction cryptozoology book on reports of apparent pterosaurs flying in the United States of America (whether or not the author, Jonathan Whitc0mb, is a “pterodactyl expert,” let each reader decide)