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Strange Flying Creature

Bioluminescence in Pennsylvania: A Strange Flying Creature Glowing

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a lady who was a passenger in a car one night; both driver and passenger saw a glowing creature as the strange thing flew by. Afterwards she did some research and told me, “I have found that a pterosaur is identical to what we saw.” She has not yet told me any details about her research nor what image she may have seen that looked like what was encountered; but it is sufficient to consider that it was a possible American ropen. The sighting was in Pennsylvania, and I believe it involved bioluminescence.

She also mentioned that the flying creature “was not too terribly high off the ground” and that it was “quite large and seemed to be lit or glowing. . . . It was one of the strangest things I have ever seen.” She is one of the few eyewitnesses who have reported both a form of an apparent living pterosaur and a glow coming from the creature: strange indeed.

Demon Flyer

That brings up the idea that “ropen” comes from two native words. A brief reflection makes that appear unlikely, for how could such a short word come from two words that mean “demon” and “flyer?” No, it is much more likely that the original meaning of the word was something like ”flyer.”

Strange Flying Creatures and Bulverism

“Bulverism” C. S. Lewis labeled the slick ploy of avoiding reasoning on a subject by pointing out the reason ones opponent is so silly. Do some criticisms of living-pterosaur investigations qualify as bulverism? I believe so.

Let us not make the mistake of some critics. When eyewitnesses report something strange, and the reports have similarities, we need not reject all the reports simply because they appear strange. In this wonderful world in which we live, some creatures appear strange, including some creatures that fly.

Combining “Strange” and “Like a Pterosaur”

If at least some modern pterosaurs have bioluminescence, why do we have so few sighting reports of glowing pterosaurs? Simply combine the two: uncommon modern pterosaurs and brief bioluminescent flashes. When two things are uncommon, the probability of observing both of them together is more rare. But there is more going on hear than just multiplying two improbabilities together. In our Western society, what would happen if somebody reported seeing a glowing pterodactyl? It would sound much too weird, like a fire breathing dragon or like a . . . well . . . a glowing pterodactyl. In Western countries like the United States, we would not expect many eyewitnesses to report a luminous pterosaur to a newspaper, and few newpapers would print that kind of thing; but if a nonfiction author wrote books about that kind of thing, then a few eyewitnesses would send him their reports. That is what has happened to me, since I started writing my books. And I pay attention.

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7 comments on “Strange Flying Creature

  1. There are RC Gliders that are designed to look like Pterasaurs or a Pteradactyl to be exact

  2. I would like more detail on this report as well – location, time, etc. These stories are useless without them. An investigation of what she may have seen should come first, since there are many possible explanations. To assume that it is a ropen or pterosaur is ridiculous. I feel that completely unfounded speculation is irresponsible.

  3. Thank you, S. Hill, for your comment.

    This is one of many recent sightings I am now investigating. When I said, “it is sufficient to consider that it was a possible American ropen,” I did not think anyone would take that to mean that I was insinuating that it MUST have been a ropen or pterosaur. After all, this is a blog with recent news, not a repository of scientific papers that have been peer-reviewed and analyzed for months (although I have written, not many years ago, a scientific paper that was published).

    By the way, although the location and time are good to know, for a number of reasons, they are not the most important data and certainly the lack of precision in location and time does not make a sighting of an apparent pterosaur “useless.”

  4. Thank you, Bottom Feeder

    Mechanical gliders and remote-controlled planes shaped like pterosaurs (called “pterodactyls”)—those are good to keep in mind with some sightings. But they do not explain the critical encounters that have given high credibility to the existence of modern living pterosaurs.

    Many examples could be given: the 1944 “pterodactyl” seen by two American soldiers in a jungle clearing in a remote area of New Guinea: The tail was “at least” ten or fifteen feet long and a wingspan similar to that of a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane. We could also consider the Southern California sighting of an apparent ropen that flew at low altitude from a marsh to over a road, and was seen to be as long (30 feet) as the road was wide; that was no mechanical model that flew into the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Orange County.

    In addition, any sighting in which an apparent pterosaur caught a duck or other animal and flew off with the meal in its mouth—that would not be a mechanical pterodactyl.

    Also the sightings of a giant pterosaur that was flapping its wings very slowly and was flying very gracefully, dipping down to just above a road with car traffic and then climbing up without increasing the rate or apparent method of wing beating, and without making any sound—that is unlikely to be mechanical, to say the least.

    We also need to consider who flies their mechanical radio-controlled pterodactyls at night at low altitude: I would guess pretty few, if any, plane-model enthusiasts.

    Of course, we could mention the ropen that flies down to a reef in Papua New Guinea, while glowing, then flies back up to a remote jungle mountain: obviously no mechanical pterodactyl.

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  6. Additional reply to Bottom Feeder: (an example of a non-mechanical pterosaur)

    To quote from another post on this blog:

    (Another sighting in Pennsylvania)

    ” . . . it had its talons or feet jutted out and forward. It flew over top us and landed in the water behind the school. . . . We could here it splashing around, and Carrie ran around the building to see it. There are always ducks in that water as well as rats and other things. When she came back in like three minutes she said it had taken off, Carrie said it was in the water splashing and eating or grabbing something in its mouth.”

  7. Pingback: Another Pterosaur Sighting in Pennsylvania | Modern Pterosaur