Apparent Civil War Pterodactyl Photo

 North America, Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Apparent Civil War Pterodactyl Photo
Feb 022017
 

By modern-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

Have you ever checked out two books from a library, finding one fascinating but the other boring? When the due date approaches, which one will you remember to return to the library?

The following photograph has been around for a long time. It may be the image that caught my attention around 1968, while I was browsing the shelves of a public library in Pasadena, California. Other persons seem to remember this “pterodactyl” photo from about that time. Perhaps it was in one of the old “Believe it or not” books, or something similar, from the mid-20th-century.

old photograph declared genuine

Figure-1: Apparent Civil-War Photograph of a Modern Pterosaur (Ptp)

Unfortunately, the two-books story is only symbolic. I do not have the old library book gathering dust on my book shelf and waiting for someone to open it and gaze at the above image. But the photo itself has been sitting around for a long time, visible online but not recognized for what it is: evidence for a modern pterosaur. It is now labeled “Ptp.”

The point is this: The accumulating fine is a delayed confirmation that people all over the world have not been crazy for seeing large featherless non-bat flying creatures overhead. Eyewitnesses in Western countries have mostly kept quiet, not wanting to be labeled “crazy” or “foolish.” It’s time to stop that accumulating penalty and take that image off the shelf.

Don’t confuse the Ptp Civil War photograph with the Freakylinks-TV-show hoax photo. That television series, on the Fox Network, aired from 2000 to 2001, and Civil-War reenactors were used to create an imitation of what is now called “Ptp.” Notice the difference in Figure-2:

confusion from similar photos of a flying creature

Figure-2: Hoax reenactment on the left and the original on the right (click)

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Evidence for Authenticity

Both photos have some origin in photographic recording. The Freakylinks hoax was staged with real men who were not really Civil War soldiers, and the photo was manipulated to look old, possibly through Photoshop. The other photograph, now declared to have a genuine image of a modern pterosaur—that one shows evidence of authenticity in more than one way. Detailed image-analysis by the physicist Clifford Paiva confirms my own examination: A recently-deceased modern pterosaur was indeed photographed.

Much has already been written, early in 2017, on this. Let’s take a look at two clues on the ground in front of the apparent Pteranodon. These would not be expected from a Photoshop hoax creation of a pterosaur model (digital, inside a computer) or from a physical model. They could be expected, however, if a real animal had been photographed.

What would we expect if a large animal had been shot dead by Civil War soldiers? Would the creature likely have fallen to the ground in a perfect location to be photographed: perfectly visible in a clearing? No, it would probably fall dead in a poor location. When the photographer arrived, however, he would ask the soldiers to drag the carcass into a nearby clearing, out from under the bushes or other hindrances to photography. Would not the dragging leave a mark on the ground? Quite possibly, if not quite likely.

Now click on the Figure-1 image. Notice the drag mark on the ground: from the lower right to near the end of the beak of the dead flying creature. Now look at the ground just in front of the wing on our right. Below the second soldier from the right is a broken-down little tree; it’s just in front of the wing.

Now combine those two pieces of evidence. To be properly photographed, a large animal would need to be dragged out into a clearing where it could be seen clearly and have sufficient light. Before getting to that final resting place, however, the small tree would have been broken down and leveled to the ground. It looks small enough that the sapling could have been stepped on to do that.

Notice that those two clues make much less sense if the soldiers had spent a lot of time constructing a physical model. In that case, the construction would have taken place in the clearing, with no need to drag the model anywhere. And that tiny tree would have been no real problem, hardly big enough to obscure the view of the model.

No consider the placement of the soldiers in Figure-1 (Ptp photo). Where would the photographer have asked the soldiers to stand? If it was a real animal, he’d want the men standing behind the body of the monster. If it was only a constructed model, however, they would have all agreed to stand in front of the fake dragon, especially placed for hiding the greatest weaknesses in their creation.

“What Happened to Pterosaurs?”

The following is taken from an old page I had published online many years ago: “A Weakness in Western Mentality.” I was afraid that it had become extinct when my web host discontinued service, but fortunately it was preserved. Here is part of it, partly revised:

It seems we have a conflict  between reports of eyewitness encounters  and  “accepted”  scientific ideas about pterosaur extinction. That needs careful evaluation. It’s unwise to summarily dismiss foreign testimonies simply because they seem to contradict popular assumptions of many Western scientists.

Accepting universal pterosaur-extinction blindly, without leaving open any door for objective investigation, is not scientific but smells of dogmatism. Such skepticism is not worthy to be associated with the word “science” unless there is some solid evidence for the extinction of ALL species of pterosaurs. There is no such evidence.

On the other hand, holding a skeptical eye to claims of pterosaur extinction is valid if there is a reasonable number of eyewitnesses of pterosaur-like creatures living alongside humans. The most recent estimate of eyewitness numbers is as follows (paraphrased from the fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God):

Of the billions of persons now living, the number of those who have had some kind of encounter with a modern living pterosaur is quite possibly between 7-million and 128-million.

Conclusion

When taken in the context of countless eyewitness accounts of modern pterosaurs, the Ptp photograph must be examined with an open mind. Details in the image suggest a real animal was photographed. The resemblance of that winged creature to a Pteranodon is not evidence of a fraud but evidence that eyewitnesses around the world are telling the truth.

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Pterosaur in a Photograph

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. . . . Ptp photograph, now declared to have a genuine image of a modern pterosaur

Ptp – Civil War Pterosaur Photograph

The photograph now called “Ptp” has been around for a long time, possibly in one or more books in the mid-20th century, according to a number of persons who report remembering it.

Don’t get Strung Along by the Smithsonian

Science writer Brian Switek, in an August, 2010, post for the online Smithsonian Magazine, titled his remarks “Don’t Get Strung Along by the Ropen Myth.” . . . [but that post has serious problems] Switek seems to have entirely failed to comprehend what is entailed here.

Civil War Pterosaur Photo

Pteranodon is a genus of pterosaurs that included some of the largest known flying reptiles. . . . For over 200 years, people in these areas of the United States have reported enormous birds.

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Why Believe Pterosaur Eyewitnesses?

 Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Why Believe Pterosaur Eyewitnesses?
Jan 112013
 

When an eyewitness sees a “pterodactyl” flying over a highway in Georgia or taking off from a cliff over a river in Arkansas, why believe the eyewitness? After all, it seems extinction proclamations are everywhere, regarding dinosaurs or “primitive” creatures associated with the dinosaur era. Why not just assume a pterosaur sighting was just a mistake? The descriptions given by American eyewitnesses are too close to those given by eyewitnesses in other parts of the planet, not in the wording or in all the details, but just too close to be from any kind of mistake.

Long tails and lack of feathers are two of the more common descriptions, in eyewitness reports from around the world. And we have just enough other common descriptions* to make it obvious: People from a wide range of countries and continents are observing the same basic kind of flying creature. By far the best explanation is that witnesses are observing real creatures.

* Consider these: Rhamphorhynchoid-like tail flange and head crest (not a common combination in pterosaur fossils but not entirely unknown, either).

Quoting from a Cryptozoology book

From the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea:

I partially agree with the general concept of extinctions, but without committing myself to any time frame. Most species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs appear to have been extinct for some time; nevertheless, after many years of investigations, my associates and I assert that at least two species of pterosaurs live in the southwest Pacific. . . .

The first discovery of a pterosaur fossil by a Western scientist, in 1784, was decades before Charles Darwin began writing about his ideas on extinctions and evolution. Before Darwin, Western scientists had assumed that all species of pterosaurs were extinct for a simple reason: Those who discovered the fossils had no experience with any similar animal that was living. Also important, probably no scientist at that time had considered that a few species of pterosaurs might still be alive, rarely seen because they’re both uncommon and nocturnal. . . .

Darwin emphasized extinctions. In time, the concept of many extinctions in the distant past was accepted by many scientists. That created an atmosphere unfriendly to any eyewitness account of a live pterosaur, to put it mildly. . . .

How hard it is for many Westerners to abandon the idea that all pterosaurs are long extinct! The word “science” has been tied to both men who walk on the moon and to declarations that all dinosaurs and pterosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. How shocking to encounter a cryptozoologist who is cutting down a longstanding tradition about pterosaur extinction!

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Credibility of Georgia Pterosaur Eyewitnesses

Flying creatures observed in the state of Georgia, according to the reports I have received from eyewitnesses, resemble apparent pterosaurs of other states . . .

Live Pterosaur in Georgia?

Reports of living “pterodactyls” in Georgia, during the past seven years, probably relate to sightings of some flying creatures in South Carolina and Florida . . .

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Third edition of the cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America

Live Pterosaurs in America by Jonathan David Whitcomb (third expanded edition)

On Amazon, a reviewer of the second edition wrote the following (by “stevie” quoted in part):

This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. . . .  I remember stumbling on this subject (cryptozoology, living dinosaurs, extinct animals) in recent years. I always find myself fascinated by the subject . . .

I couldn’t get enough and their are so few books on the subject. I highly recommend this. . . . Whitcomb painstakingly reviews every account for credibility and reason. This man is not a crank. . . .

On top of this, I have great respect for a guy who follows his dreams so passionately. He has traveled to Papua New Guinea to search for the creature . . .  After Whitcomb traveled to New Guinea, he started to collect more stories from North America concerning the pterosaur like creature . . .

If you are interested in reading about this subject, this is definitely the book to get . . . this author has really done a lot of work researching this issue. . . . I do believe the author tried hard to deliver these stories and was very good at it. This is well written and very hard to put down.  [Five stars; “Oddly fascinating”]

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Eyewitness credibility

 Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Eyewitness credibility
Feb 182010
 

What is credibility? In regard to eyewitness accounts of cryptids, this gets complicated, for eyewitness-credibility and description-of-cryptid credibility often become intertwined. Let’s get them separated.

Consider how a witness speaks and acts under questioning, if you’re serving on a court jury; the witness might seem believable. Now consider an eyewitness of a cryptid that you feel sure could not exist; do you look for anything that might indicate the person is telling a lie or misidentifying a non-cryptid? It is hard, sometimes, to be objective, when our feelings or basic beliefs appear to be threatened by the testimony of what has appeared to another person. We are all human, regardless of what the cryptid is.

How rare the evaluator who can separate the eyewitness-credibility from the description-of-cryptid credibility! If we feel that a large hairy ape should not be living in North America, we might notice little mannerisms or hesitancies in the testimony of a Big Foot eyewitness. If we feel that all species of pterosaurs should be extinct, we might question the religious motivations of the eyewitness of an apparent Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur (most of those interviewers are creationists). We would do well to avoid rushing to a convenient conclusion, keeping an open mind to discovery, even when it means changing an old, deep-seated assumption.

See Hennessy 1971 Pterosaur Sighting (Brian Hennessy is a professional psychologist who saw one)