Civil War Pterodactyl Photo (Ptp) vs Reenactment Hoax

By an expert on modern pterosaurs, Jonathan Whitcomb

Last month, at our local Walmart, a young couple ahead of me in the line handed the cashier a fifty-dollar bill. She looked at the bill and handed it back, declaring it was counterfeit. I think this was the first time I had seen that particular cashier at Walmart, and apparently it would be the last time I would see her as a cashier at Walmart.

The next person in line seemed to have good money, then it was my turn. Apparently my twenty-dollar bill was phony, at least according to that cashier. I tried to reason with her, but it was useless.

Later at my bank, the manager told me my twenty-dollar bill was fine. I returned to Walmart and relayed that message to the manager there. I told that lady how unlikely it would be for two persons to stand in the same line, one with a counterfeit fifty-dollar bill and the other with a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. Perhaps a more important point is this: a money expert verified that my twenty-dollar bill was genuine.

The case of the two Civil War pterodactyl photographs

It’s possible for two similar photos to both be fake. But when one of them was made to closely imitate the older one, it is at least a little suspicious. A counterfeit bill is most likely to be made in imitation of a genuine bill, not another counterfeit. We don’t have an exact correlation between that and the two Civil War pterosaur photos, but there’s enough of a relationship to now deserve our attention.

genuine image of a modern pterosaur in on the left; hoax-photo is on the right

Figure-1: Comparison of the two photographs: The one on the right is a hoax (Freakylinks television show)

Click on Figure-1 (maybe clicking a second time for maximum magnification). Someone looking for evidence of Civil War reenactment may have little difficulty noticing one or more problems with the photo on the right. That’s a hoax-photo, made to promote the Freakylinks TV series that aired on the Fox Network from 2000-2001. The photo on the left, however, is older, apparently seen by many readers of a book in the mid-20th century. With that knowledge, it’s easy to see that the Freakylinks hoax was made to imitate the older photograph.

Photoshop NOT!

The Freakylinks photo-hoax started with a reenactment by men dressed like Civil War soldiers. They were photographed standing over a poor imitation of the original apparent Pteranodon in the older photograph. The photo with the fake soldiers was then processed with Photoshop or a similar image processing program. It was made to look very old.

That does not prove that the older (Ptp) photograph is genuine or that the producers of Freakylinks (Haxan Films) were involved in a conspiracy, as some persons may have suggested. But some persons have declared that they remember the Ptp photo in a book around the 1960’s. That was many years before Photoshop was developed.

In addition, a scientist (Clifford Paiva, a physicist) has found a number of evidences for the authenticity of the image of the apparent Pteranodon in the older Ptp photo. These include consistent shadows under the boot of the soldier who stands in front of the animal, shadowing consistent with those found on and under the animal. In other words, no Photoshop manipulation was involved in pasting that soldier onto an image of an apparent modern pterosaur.

On the surface, it seems unlikely that both of these “pterodactyl” “Civil War” photos are phony, but a more important point is this: A scientist has verified that the image of that animal in the Ptp photograph is genuine.

Paiva analyzed the photograph, finding evidence that Photoshop was not used

Figure-2: A scientist found evidence that Photoshop was NOT used in Ptp


Skeptics avoid the animal

I have found a common type of comment from skeptics. They avoid the image of the animal and point to details in the images of the soldiers. One skeptic proclaimed that Photoshop was used because of things like missing fingers on one soldier. It seems that skeptic was completely ignorant of the possibility that the soldier was holding onto the ram-rod, which was also not visible in the photograph. But even if that explanation is incorrect, why would anyone want to use Photoshop to paste an image of a rifle onto a photo that included a soldier holding his arm out as if holding a rifle? That’s ridiculous and nothing like real evidence for any hoaxing of the image of the apparent Pteranodon.

The main point of Ptp is the flying creature. That is the point. A scientist has found that the head, neck, and shoulder of that animal closely correlates with what we would expect of a modern Pteranodon or a similar species of pterosaur.


The pterosaur-image in the Ptp photo has enough evidence of authenticity to justify closer examinations. But critics appear to be so biased in favor of universal extinctions of all species of pterosaurs that they will not look where they should: at the image of the apparent pterosaur itself.


Copyright 2017 Jonathan D. Whitcomb


Civil War Photo

Now we delve into a little-known realm of cryptozoology: investigations into sightings of apparent pterosaurs, meaning living flying creatures that appear to be “pterodactyls.” . . . Some persons appear to remember this image from the middle of the 20th century, at least before 1980. That makes it less likely that the apparent pterosaur shown in the photograph came from some kind of digital manipulation using Photoshop.

Civil War Pterodactyl Photo

I wrote about this old photograph here on Modern Pterosaur four years ago. I’ve learned much more about this “Pteranodon photograph,” however, in recent days, especially from communicating with Clifford Paiva, a missile defense physicist.

Sightings of Pterosaurs in the United States

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas

Skeptical Responses to Civil War Pteranodon Photo

The dead flying creature seen in the “Pteranodon photograph,” (Ptp) although it may be called a “pterodactyl” by some Americans and a “ropen” by others, could be a pterodactyloid pterosaur . . .


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  1. Pingback: Real “Dinosaur” in a Civil War Photograph | Dinosaur Birds – For Media

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