Feb 162011

In the second edition of my nonfiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America, on pages 61-62, I wrote about sightings of living pterosaurs in the state of New Mexico; but I don’t recall mentioning any details online. Having written more, online, about sightings in eastern Texas and in other Southern states (Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina in particular), it seems timely to now mention New Mexico, just west of Texas. How does all this relate to Marfa Lights? Since reports of living pterosaurs come from north, east, and southeast (Cuba) of southwest Texas, we could use a view to the west of Texas; if sightings of live pterosaur come from almost everywhere surrounding Marfa, Texas, why could not pterosaurs fly at night in that isolated area? Consider the words of the anonymous eyewitness I call “RA.,” of New Mexico.

. . . my name is [RA] . . . Fourteen years ago, in [Socorro], N.M., me and a close friend, who now has a masters in biology, were hiking during the midday sun at [a] box canyon and something blocked the sun for a moment. We both looked up to see what did that and saw a large flying animal.

It had a 20-30 foot wingspan and was about the same length long. It had a long tail with [a] seeming spike at the end. Its head was very pterodactyl shape with a fluted back pointy head.

After about fourteen years, this eyewitness saw a local news television broadcast about sightings of similar flying creatures in New Mexico. That sparked his memory and he got in touch with me. The important point here is that this almost completes the picture of pterosaur sightings surrounding southwest Texas (I don’t yet have direct contact with any eyewitness just south of Texas, in Mexico). Perhaps the reasons I have not yet received eyewitness sighting reports from Marfa is two-fold: Few humans live in that remote part of Texas, and few residents of Marfa would consider getting in touch with me even after seeing a living pterosaur.

Why would residents of Marfa (those local persons who had seen a living pterosaur) want to publicize the astonishing idea that modern pterosaurs fly over that land on some nights? Think about it. Which residents would be most likely to be close enough to get a clear enough view to realize a brightly glowing flying light is a pterosaur? A rancher, of course: a land owner. Who would want droves of spectators to crash down their fences and scare their cattle? Aren’t drug smugglers from Mexico enough trouble for land owners?

And the residents who could benefit from more tourists are those living in the town of Marfa itself, not those who live where the lights actually fly. Those who live in that town are much too far away to see the forms and features of what creates the lights. I believe all of that explains why I have not yet received a sighting report from this remote area of southwest Texas.

Dec 222010

Some critics proclaim the extinction of mystery in the interpretation of Marfa Lights. Car headlights they believe are the only strange lights people are seeing in southwest Texas. Years ago, some college physics students watched car headlights near Marfa; they watched for two nights. But they did not actually proclaim that their findings eliminated any possibility of the existence of any strange lights other than night mirages of car headlights. Their experiment proved little except that some car headlights near Marfa can appear mysterious and those car headlights appear often on that highway at night.

The problem lies with the careless blog writer who neglects clear thinking or careful research, who prefers a quick opportunity for sarcasm. Perhaps this might apply to the writer who ridiculed the hypothesis of bioluminescent flying predators being responsible for the Marfa Lights (Dec 7, 2010, HoustonPress blog):

You may have thought that the mystery of the Marfa Lights had been pretty much settled with scientific research showing that the eerie illuminations are just far-off car headlights bouncing off thermal layers.


Now comes a creationist scientist who has a new book that shows the lights are….big birds? [The blog writer later ridicules the pterosaur connection.]

That blog writer may have been careless in researching the scientific studies done on Marfa Lights . . . Well, “may have been careless” is mild, for one of the two scientific pages referred to is a scientific study written up by scientists that include James Bunnell, and Mr. Bunnell (when one reads much of his writings on the lights that are truly mysterious) is clear on this: Some strange lights near Marfa are not at all like car headlights. But that writer of sarcasm displayed sophisticated political awareness, apparently trying to persuade the readers to avoid a deep investigation and simply dismiss, with contempt, the report of the possibility of bioluminescent flying predators.

Science thrives on detailed examinations and open discussions from those with differing opinions. Science does not thrive, however, on careless attacks of sarcasm. A chemistry experiment may need hydrochloric acid as a measured ingredient, but no experiment is likely to benefit from a careless sarcastic blog writer who, out of distain for the professor’s philosophy, purposefully vomites on the lab equipment.

Pterosaurs Possible in Marfa, Texas

 North America, Pterosaurs  Comments Off on Pterosaurs Possible in Marfa, Texas
Dec 092010

A recent press release about the ghost lights of Marfa, Texas, has an interesting final word: The last paragraph, in the last sentence, ends with the word “pterosaur.” Most of the press release uses the phrase “flying predator,” with only indirect reference to the possibility of a group (flock?) of pterosaurs in southwest Texas. That last word is the clincher. It reveals that this animal, or hypothetical animal, is a cryptid, possibily related to the ropen of Papua New Guinea.

One blog mentioning this news is Modern Pterosaur.

The concept of nocturnal bioluminescent flying predators has gained ground with some American bloggers. The national press release earlier this week (“Unmasking a Flying Predator in Texas“) brought out the comments, some negative, some positive. (from Norman Huntington, administrator of the blog)

Another blog is Frann’s Plan.

I’d read about ropens in the past, but didn’t think they could live in the desert. I hope they [stay] over near Marfa. . . . As long as they graze on bat-sized creatures I’ll be happy. The bioluminescence is very cool, I hope to see these guys one day. (from “The Desert Rose” a blogger)

From my original press release:

Although Whitcomb admits that Marfa Lights may come from an unknown bioluminescent bird or bat, he says, “It is more likely than not from a creature similar to the ropen of Papua New Guinea, and my associates and I are sure about the ropen: It is a pterosaur.”

See also Marfa Lights – Sarcasm or Soaring Predators?

Nov 082010

Some would call it “pterodactyl,” some would call it “a big bird,” some would call it “flying dinosaur.” But descriptions, including “featherless” and “long-tailed” suggest what people see is a pterosaur, regardless of textbook declarations about extinction. Some critic might say, “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.” Of course that makes sense. Search history and discover the total lack of evidence for universal extinction of all types and species of pterosaurs. Evidence for living pterosaurs, however, jumps out at us from all periods of human history, whether the eyewitnesses used the word “dragon” (in old times) or “pterosaur” (in recent times); eyewitnesses of living pterosaurs make the case, and part of that case is in Texas.

Marfa Lights in Texas

It has been suggested that the mysterious flying “Marfa Lights” in southwest Texas are from bioluminescent flying predators that are hunting the Big Brown Bat. Some of the lights may be just that, although there are other creatures that could also be prey for large nocturnal flying creatures, including snakes. Nevertheless, there are a number of factors that make the bat-hunting hypothesis appear promising.

Large Nocturnal Flyer in San Antonio, Texas

Around 1986, in northwest San Antonio, two young eyewitnesses were disturbed by a strange flying creature that appeared to be entirely out of place.

“. . . something [was] flying around across the road . . . just above the phone lines. It would go one direction, turn, and swoop back. The shape was wrong for any large bird of the area, and the size was much too large to be any bat . . .” [from the cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America]

Sep 232010

Around the end of 2004, I received an email from an eyewitness in Arkansas. More details are available in my book Live Pterosaurs in America, but I include many of the details here, for those who live in the Texarkana, Arkansas, area and have seen a similar flying creature but have not yet read my book.

It was probably 1982 [in Texarkana, Arkansas]. It was getting dark but there was plenty of light in the sky when we saw what we believe to be a pterodactyle [pterosaur AKA “pteodactyl”]. The wingspan seemed to be about 25’ to 30’ ft wide. It was probably about 70’ to 80’ off the ground, flying over a large tree in front of the house. . . . The incident was very brief but nontheless was an awesome sight to see. If someone would have told me that they had seen a creature like that, I doubt I would have believed the story until I saw it for myself. . . . [from the cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America]

The meaning of this sighting of an apparent living pterosaur (and a giant one at that) is better understood in context of many sightings of similar flying creatures in the United States, over the past few decades. Here are excerpts from a few online sources:

Texas Flying Creature (actually two apparent pterosaurs in two parts of Texas)

I was about 11-12 yrs old . . . In the open backyard next door was what looked like a 9 or 10 ft tall man . . . then the man turned and I realized that this man didn’t have a face like a man at all! . . . I watched what looked like disgusting black leathery . . . bat-like wings . . .

Ropens — Sightings in the United States

 . . . a teenager riding his bicycle on a dirt road in Washington State, years ago . . . stopped when he saw, by the side of the road, the two huge flying creatures with wings that had no feathers but looked like “black rubber.” The wingspan . . . twenty feet.

Pterosaur near Swamp in South Carolina

The pterosaur was “gliding” but it flapped its wings slowly once or twice. The wingspan was about twelve to twenty feet. . . . The huge featherless creature swooped down over the highway, maybe only “twenty feet” high and only “twenty five” feet in front of the car. (Highway 20, South Carolina) [The car was driven by Susan Wooten.]

May 132010

From the blog Modern Pterosaur

sketch of the head of the pterosaur seen by Tullock” . . . The eyewitness was only eight years old when he had this close encounter, which would make this sighting around 1995 (northeast Texas). . . .”

I saw a featherless flying animal with a wingspan of about 4 1/2 to 5 feet and a long tail with a diamond-type shape at the tip of it. No hair or feathers anywhere, just leathery reptile-type skin. I have a well established knowledge of animals, especially reptiles, so I can easily tell what animal something is and what it isn’t. The animal had bumps down its back, feet with longish toes, and long black claws, like an Oprey has for grasping fish. It had a long mouth/beak full of long sharp teeth that somewhat protruded from the mouth like a crocodile’s do when closed. . . .

See also “Northeast Texas Pterosaur” on the blog Live Pterosaurs in America