Civil War Soldiers With a Pteranodon

 North America, Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Civil War Soldiers With a Pteranodon
May 112017
Whitcomb's nonfiction book about an old photo of a pterosaur

By the cryptozoology author Jonathan D. Whitcomb

Let me make this clear at the beginning: I do not proclaim that the animal in the Ptp photograph must have been a species of Pteranodon very similar to what has been already discovered, in pterosaur fossils, before 2017. Early in this year, the missile defense physicist Clifford Paiva and I came to an agreement, after a phone conversation, that the animal was a modern pterosaur. Yet we did not make any declaration, then or since, that it must have been extremely similar to some species of Pteranodon that is now known to scientists.

old photograph declared genuine

The photograph being discussed, now called “Ptp”


A vocal critic of living-pterosaur investigations

One skeptic has written a long online article, orchestrated to discourage people from taking living-pterosaur investigations seriously. It mentions the Civil War photograph but emphasizes every possible detail, that the writer could imagine, that could throw it into the most unfavorable light.

I don’t exaggerate when I call it a “long” article, for it contains about 13,000 words (only a small portion of it is about the Ptp photograph). Obviously I won’t be responding to all of it in this little post, but we can look at some of it.

“Giant Pteranodon-like pterosaur” in the photo

Those are his own words, that skeptic who wrote that long online attack against modern-pterosaur research. He may remove that sentence, should he eventually read what I here write, yet the point remains: After many years of writing and rewriting and refining his long online article, those were his own words, “giant Pteranodon-like pterosaur,” and he apparently was not quoting anyone else’s words. In other words, he got the impression that the image resembles that kind of pterosaur, at least in some way.

Not that he supports the idea that the animal shown in the Ptp photograph greatly resembles what is now known, from fossils, about Pteranodons. But he and others get the impression that it is like that kind of pterosaur, so let’s look briefly at his two lists of reasons he gives for how it is NOT like a Pteranodon. (I’ll not go over every item in the list, for Paiva and I are not contending that it must have been a Pteranodon.)

1) It has teeth, but Pteranodons were toothless

Look closely. The beak of that apparent pterosaur does NOT have teeth anything like Rhamphorhynchoid teeth. In fact those are not necessarily “large teeth” in the technical sense, but could very well be an irregular shape of the beak. And why should paleontologists have already discovered fossils of all the species of Pteranodon that ever lived?

2) The beak is the wrong shape

In the real world, beaks of flying creatures come in many different shapes, even in pterosaurs. In fact, it seems that there is no such thing as a wrong shape for a beak.

3) The head is “too small” (in comparison with the rest of the animal)

Perhaps this was a species of Pteranodon that has not yet been discovered, one with a smaller head. Maybe it is different enough that it should be classified as a different species of pterosaur. The point is this: It was a pterosaur. Remember that Paiva and I have agreed with the point made by this skeptical writer: The animal in the photograph gives one the impression that it was a Pteranodon.

I’ll go no further on this subject, for those two lists have little relevance. The animal was an obvious pterosaur.

Civil War soldiers in the photo

The skeptic mentioned missing fingers on the hand of one of the apparent Civil War soldiers. I have written extensively about this elsewhere, and it’s on my Youtube video “Introduction to the Old Photograph Ptp.” The skeptic said that it relates to “modern photo editing.” Nonsense. I’ve worked in animation and have experience with a number of software systems for editing images (including Photoshop). The only imaginable way those missing fingers could have come about through digital image processing, to the best of my knowledge, is ridiculous. It would require finding a photo with a Civil War soldier who had his hand out, as if holding a rifle, when HE HAD NO RIFLE. An image of a rifle would then be pasted onto that image, causing the ends of the man’s fingers to disappear. I feel sure that never happened.

How much better is the following explanation! The man was holding onto the ramrod of the rifle, with his finger tips. Since the ramrod is also not visible in the photo, we can assume it was, from the camera perspective, behind the body of the rifle. In other words, don’t be surprised that those finger tips are unseen.

If one were to look deeply into the origin of accusations of Photoshop manipulation, that person would most likely discover that the person responsible is not any kind of expert on digital image manipulation.



Pterosaur news release

Two American scientists have declared that a photograph, that was previously assumed a hoax made through Photoshop, was not created through any digital image-manipulation trickery.


Civil War pterosaur photo

I had come to recognize witness credibility, as a forensic videographer, and I noticed that almost none of the natives mentioned anything about their superstitions or legends of the ropen. In fact, almost none of them had any clear sighting of the animal, admitting they had seen it only briefly and at a distance . . . with one exception.


The Bible and a photograph of a pterosaur

I just finished writing the nonfiction Modern Pterosaurs, which supports a Biblical timetable regarding the Flood of Noah [although this is not a religious book; it is in the nonfiction-cryptozoology genre].


Photo of a Pteranodon

I’ve recently been communicating, by emails, with a skeptic who has written much to persuade people to disbelieve in modern pterosaurs. Here’s part of what I told him in reply to a couple of his questions . . .





Whitcomb's nonfiction book about an old photo of a pterosaur

Cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs

This new nonfiction book is subtitled “Human encounters with living pterodactyls.”



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)


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.


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.



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.