Don’t get Carried Away with Large Pterodactyls

Ropens in general mostly eat fish, birds, bats, and carrion, to the best of my knowledge. I believe that modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs (AKA ropens) live in a number of species, probably specializing in a variety of uses of bioluminescence and in what each type of ropen eats. Humans are not a common prey for any species of modern “pterodactyl,” but the apparent exceptions now deserve attention.

The investigative journalist David Paulides wrote Missing 411 – Western United States & Canada, a captivating nonfiction that I am now reading. In fact I am compiling data that seems to strongly suggest that some of the strange missing-person cases have no reasonable explanation except for one: A person can get carried away by a large flying creature.

Strange cases of missing persons

Please be aware that these are my own conclusions. In my reading of Mr. Paulides’s book, I have not yet seen anything that even hints that the author believes that any flying creatures were involved. As far as I can tell at present, he may be completely unaware of the large-flying-predator interpretation. And I have no present plans to communicate with him until I have finished compiling and analyzing data from at least one of his books.

The following are my preliminary conclusions:

The disappearances compiled by Paulides are from wilderness areas or their proximity. Why are they strange? Commonplace explanations fall flat. Human predators would not kidnap a person and then drag that person for miles up into a higher elevation, even when a snow storm starts to make such a journey life-threatening to the kidnapper.

What about animal predators like bears and mountain lions? Look at the more-likely of the two: mountain lions (AKA cougars). Some of the found persons (dead and alive) do have scratches, it’s true. But how do you explain the details?

Could you expect a cougar to carry away a human child, far away, miles from the capture location, up to a high mountain ridge, and then remove some of the clothing, have second thoughts about the meal, and leave that human child up on that high mountain ridge? If you can believe that, you may not have a problem believing the mountain lion was only stealing human clothing, for the missing clothing is not found anywhere near where people find the body of that child.

What about Bigfoot kidnappers? That’s sounds much more likely than bears or mountain lions. Yet that makes no sense for the overall cases, which include human bodies often being eaten, but survivors being found in reasonably good condition at other times. Something is carrying humans long distances, over many decades of cases, over much of North America. If a Bigfoot could fly, we might make a good argument that the big fella was responsible, but the overall evidence is that people are being carried away through the air more than over the ground.

Sometimes a survivor is found alive on, or in, bushes such as berry bushes. Those are some of the lucky ones, apparently dropped by the flying creature and landing where the fall was cushioned by the underbrush. So how was the large flying creature careless enough to drop the meal? It grabbed hold of one or both shoes or articles of clothing. That’s why living and dead humans are found with odd clothing and shoes missing. It’s not uncommon for the clothing to be found some distance from the found person and sometimes it’s one or both shoes missing. Take that odd assortment of missing clothing in context: Many cases involve cold weather at higher elevations than where the victims went missing; why would a person wander far uphill onto a mountain in cold weather while shedding clothing? The victim was being carried through the air and fell out of that clothing.

So why don’t newspapers report these flying kidnapping cases? The reports sometimes include a terse mentioning that the victim was disoriented or somehow not thinking clearly when found. Why? Well, I can think of one reason: What would you expect the police or newspaper reporters to record in their official records, if a victim said that they had been carried away by a large pterodactyl? Of course the officials would print nothing about that kind of detail, ascribing it to disorientation or a problem with the victim’s thinking processes. I know I’m speculating about that, but compare the flying-predator idea with the others and see what comes up on top.

Rumors about Jonathan Whitcomb

Recent skeptical online publications have portrayed me, Jonathan Whitcomb, as almost the sole source of information on the ropen and have portrayed me as a deceiver, but an objective examination shoots down that libel about my intentions.

I have probably written much more about the concept of extant modern pterosaurs than anyone else, but I have never been alone. And for eleven years I have continued to declare that I have never myself seen anything like a living pterosaur. In addition, I examined many thousands of photos recorded by my own game camera, hoping to see a ropen, yet I saw nothing like a pterosaur. How is that deceiving people? Believe what you will about large pterodactyls flying overhead, but imagining bad motivations on my part, and then publishing that libel—that is the worst form of bulverism. How much better to listen to the eyewitnesses!

Nation, Guessman, and Woetzel

Three other American explorers have interviewed native eyewitnesses in Papua New Guinea:

  • Paul Nation
  • Garth Guessman
  • David Woetzel

The American cryptozoologist with the most experience exploring in that tropical southwest-Pacific environment, searching for the ropen within the past 14 years, is Paul Nation, followed by Garth Guessman; but that is if we do not include the Baptist missionary James Blume, who has lived in Papua New Guinea for decades. David Woetzel and I have independently published a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science, and both articles are about the possibility of modern pterosaurs.

Eyewitnesses make the case

We declare that many of the eyewitnesses who testify of their encounters with apparent pterosaurs—those ordinary persons appear to have told the truth about extraordinary flying creatures.

Final note

One of the missing-persons cases mentioned in the book by Paulides is of an eight-year-old boy who went missing from around the Devil’s Gate area of Altadena, California, in 1957; he was never found. I know that area well, having hiked through there as a teenager six years later. I also know of other missing-persons stories from that same area (which is north of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena).

The photo below is a neighborhood in Altadena, California. I have interviewed an eyewitness by phone, a lady who lived near here, as a teenager, in the 1960’s. This is just a few miles east of where the eight-year-old disappeared in 1957. The point? The lady I interviewed told me about the flying creature she had seen as it flew up into the foothills above her home Altadena. The wingspan of the “pterodactyl” she compared to the length of a school bus.

Hill Avenue and Altadena Drive, Altadena, California



British Columbia, Canada, Attacks

The ancient Israelites, at the time of Moses, were terrified by the fiery flying serpent that caused many human deaths. Recent investigations suggest the fiery flying serpent of the Old Testament was not actually a snake but a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. Even more recently, “pterodactyl attacks” against humans in Canada have been reported in a nonfiction cryptozoology book, Bird From Hell, by Gerald McIsaac.

Pterodactyl Kills Fisherman

In other areas of Papua New Guinea, large nocturnal flying creatures (reported to glow brightly) have a fearful reputation. It’s not just the reports of the largest ones carrying away a pig or even a human, on occasion; the danger is also in the creature’s secretion, for it can burn human skin.

Human death from attacks

Of course it is possible that aboriginals are superstitious and that all the missing persons, over the decades, who have walked that long highway at night were attacked by human rapists and murderers; that seems possible on the surface. But animalistic humans do not fit all the reported encounters at night in British Columbia, according to the book Bird From Hell.

What about the dead horse mentioned in that book? Much of its body was found by a tree. Of course ordinary non-human predators could be responsible, or so it seems. But why were parts of its body in the top of that tree, with some of the branches broken?

Pterosaurs and Paleontology

Paul Nation has explored in Papua New Guinea at least four times, searching for modern living pterosuars. No other American visitor to these remote tropical areas has explored as many time as Nation has, in this new field of cryptozoology: living-pterosaur investigations.


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  1. Pingback: Vapor or Mist Used in Attacks on Humans?

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