Flying creatures observed in the state of Georgia, according to the reports I have received from eyewitnesses, resemble apparent pterosaurs of other states and indeed of other countries. But what about credibility? Why should the general public, including common citizens of Georgia, believe that those eyewitnesses observed actual pterosaurs, not in faraway Papua New Guinea but in their own state? I’ll tell you why I believe them.
I have received eyewitness reports from around the world, probably more direct-eyewitness reports of apparent pterosaurs worldwide than any other cryptozoologist has received. Since the fall of 2003, most of those reports have been through email (with most of the exceptions being from my expedition on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, late in 2004). I have found those many sighting reports adequate to make up much of the content of the three nonfiction books that I have written over those nine years. In other words, we have plenty of eyewitnesses.
Overall Credibility and Hoax Elimination
Because of the great number of sightings worldwide, we now have compiled statistics from 128 accounts. Those 128 reports I chose because they showed signs of general credibility, meaning each one was more likely than not from an observation of an actual living pterosaur. Some of the data compiled were in the following categories:
- tail length
- head crest
- tail flange
- number of witnesses
- day or night
- closeness of the creature
- flying height
- wing flapping or gliding
- overall color of flying creature
- location of sighting
Three factors make it obvious that no combination of hoaxes played any significant part in the reports:
- Certainty of featherlessness
- Long tails
- Wingspan estimates
With 75% of those sightings being in the United States, I found it easy to see that hoaxes were practically eliminated as a reasonable explanation for sightings of pterosaurs. Long tails dominate reports from Americans, which is the opposite of common ideas about those flying creatures, for “basal” pterosaurs (Rhamphorhynchoids, the long-tailed type) are seldom seen in film or on television. But long tails far outnumber no-long-tail descriptions from eyewitnesses in the United States.
Also, eyewitnesses who are certain about the lack of feathers are outnumbered by eyewitnesses who think something like “probably no feathers,” outnumbered 25% to 21%. Why would any hoaxer leave any doubt? Why would he allow for the possibility, in other’s minds, that it was a misidentified bird? When asked any question related to certainty of featherlessness, the hoaxer would leave no doubt. But real eyewitnesses sometimes realize that their powers of perception are imperfect, so they admit that it was only probably no feathers.
Many of the eyewitness accounts involve numeric estimates of wingspan. Those wingspan estimates in the range of 8-16 feet account for 35% of those sightings in which wingspan was estimated. If many hoaxes were involved, there would be hardly any hoaxers that would give a wingspan estimate in that range of 8-16 feet. It’s too small to be convincing and too big to correlate with common assumptions about long-tailed pterosaurs.
Credibility of Eyewitnesses in Georgia
The eyewitness reports that I have received from Georgia appear similar to reports from other parts of the United States. Regarding honesty credibility, I found several factors that suggest individual eyewitnesses were telling me the truth about what they experienced. I cannot reveal specific methods I use to assess individual honesty-credibility, however, because it would make it much easier for some future hoaxer to fool me with a hoax.
. . . it leapt out from the woods, I saw it from below, and the tail was very long with a shape on the end . . .
Reports of living “pterodactyls” in Georgia, during the past seven years, probably relate to sightings of some flying creatures in South Carolina and Florida . . .
Sandra Paradise recently gave me permission to use her real name in connection with her sightings near Winder, Georgia. She had previously been anonymous and called “PS” in my cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America [third edition].
Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition) by Jonathan David Whitcomb
For the second edition, part of an Amazon review by “stevie:”
“This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This book has been on my shelf for almost a year now. I pick it up every now and then and a part of me becomes more impressed by the book every time. . . . I highly recommend this. . . . Whitcomb painstakingly reviews every account for credibility and reason. This man is not a crank. He tries to weed out would be hoaxes and miss-identification. This is not a guy looking to create evidence to confirm his own beliefs. 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 there and this book is somewhat of a sequel if you will. After Whitcomb traveled to New Guinea, he started to collect more stories from North America concerning the pterosaur like creature; probably as a response to the new guinea book. Now, if the creature exists, it could be more close to home than currently imagined.”