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.
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.”
“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.