Pterosaur Bioluminescence and “Red Herrings”

Recently, a cryptozoologist critical to the possibility of a live pterosaur dismissed all potential sightings of bioluminescent pterosaurs as marsh gas or “spook lights.” He referred to all potential sightings of bioluminescent pterosaurs as “red herrings.” It was actually only a brief aside on a blog post titled “Ropens, Pterosaurian Sightings And Manta Rays,” but that critic seems to have neglected the necessary research, for the case for glowing pterosaurs, living in this modern age, actually appears significant.

I found a serious problem with the reasoning of that critic. What if it is true that “‘Spook lights’ otherwise occur world-wide without any connection to supposed pterosaurian sightings?” Does that really mean that we should dismiss all eyewitness accounts of apparent bioluminescent pterosaurs? That is what the critic believes. But when somebody, many years ago, decided to name a particular Ford automobile a “Mustang,” did that make all Mustang horses extinct? Perhaps that comparison is too imprecise, so I’ll take this one step at a time and be more precise.

During my 2004 expedition on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, I interviewed many eyewitnesses. Most of them did not see any clear form of the flying creature they call “ropen,” for the flying light is what most natives see on some nights. If that were all that ever happened with ropen investigations in Papua New Guinea, I might understand how the critic could dismiss those glowing objects as being irrelevant to sightings of apparent pterosaurs. But I also interviewed Jonah Jim, and he witnessed, one night, a giant flying creature that was glowing as it flew nearly over his head, and that eyewitness gave me a number of details.

What if there were some problem with that interview or with that eyewitness? Well, there is much more. A few weeks after I returned from my expedition, two other American cryptozoologists followed me to Umboi Island. They interviewed other eyewitnesses, many of whom had seen only the flying light. But Garth Guessman, of California, and David Woetzel, of New Hampshire, also interviewed native eyewitnesses, including Jonathan Ragu, who had seen the form of the flying creature.

In my book Searching for Ropens, I included details of this interview the Americans had with Ragu.

It flew away from the northwest coast of Umboi Island, heading toward Tolokiwa Island (northwest of Umboi). Glowing brightly red and white from the head and trailing edges of the wings, it flew fast, at tree-top level. . . . From thirty-four silhouettes of bats, birds, and pterosaurs, Ragu chose the Sordes pilosus, a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

But that was not the end of interviews of native eyewitnesses of glowing pterosaurs. A few days later, Guessman and Woetzel hiked south, to the part of Umboi Island where I had been interviewing natives a few weeks earlier. They interviewed the same Jonah Jim that I had, only this time the thirty-four silhouettes of bats, birds and pterosaurs were included in the questioning. That native chose the same image as had been chosen by Jonathan Ragu: the Sordes pilosus.

There are other sightings of “glowing” pterosaurs in other areas of the world, but this should suffice for now. It seems that the critic has not read my book. But how deeply has he investigated, with online searches, the concept of modern bioluminescent pterosaurs? It appears that this critic has been too vague and too consistently vague regarding critical aspects of critical eyewitness testimonies. I don’t say that all “red herrings” are extinct; I do suggest that some species of pterosaurs are still alive.

Lucy Evelyn Cheesman sighting

Evelyn Cheesman, a British entomologist (1881-1969) known for her many years of collecting-expeditions in the South Pacific, was the first woman to be hired as a curator at Regent’s Park Zoo, in London.

Cheesman became puzzled, in the early 1930’s, by lights on a ridge near Mondo, New Guinea (the area is now part of what is called the “mainland” of Papua New Guinea). In her book, The Two Roads of Papua, she said that the flash lasted “about four or five seconds, but that flash had been a little distance away from the first. Flashes continued at intervals. . . . a most intriguing mystery; because by no possibility could there be human beings out there using flash-lamps at intervals . . .”

Two Glowing Pterosaurs in the Caribbean

On about the second day of their cruise, between about 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m., her daughter called her to come out to the balcony . . . “The minute I stepped onto the balcony, I knew exactly what she wanted me to see. Off in the distance were two very, very large, pink/orange flourescent birds flying behind each other. They looked like the flying dinosaurs, I forget what they are called. They would fly towards the ship, then back out to sea . . .”

Seklo-Bali Seen by Jacob Kepas

[From the book Searching for Ropens, 2nd ed] “Guessman interviewed Pastor Jacob Kepas, who was twelve years old when he saw what we believe was a ropen. One night, he heard a “whoosh” of wind and ran outside to see the [glowing] seklo-bali that had just flown over his village (on the mainland). The boy caught only a brief glimpse of the back of the wings and tail . . .”

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