Pterosaur Sighting in England

countryside - Shropshire, England

By nonfiction author Jonathan D. Whitcomb

Living-pterosaur (LP) cryptozoology involves interviewing eyewitnesses of unusual flying creatures, analyzing details in those reports, and comparing various accounts. Sometimes a number of sightings occur in the same general area. Let’s look at the British Isles, an area mostly neglected in my previous writings about these wonderful flying creatures that are not extinct. In particular, we have many reports of dragons in England, earlier in history, and some of those accounts may have involved flying creatures that have been reported in recent generations.

Please be aware that one explanation that people may suggest is that ropens or non-ropen modern pterosaurs have flown from Africa to the British Isles. I now have not nearly enough knowledge to say anything about that potential connection between Africa and western Europe, so let’s put that aside for now.

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Pterosaur Sightings in Western England in September of 2017

Whitchurch, the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire, England, has a population of about 10,000 and is only two miles from the border with Wales. On September 27, 2017, I received an email from a lady who wishes to be anonymous but whose experience needs to be shared with the world. In one of the emails I sent her, I mentioned the possibility that some of the larger living pterosaurs may be dangerous to people.

Here is part of her account (slightly edited for punctuation, spelling, etc):

. . . I am in the best of health mentally. I do not take any form of narcotics nor prescription pills, and I do not drink. I am a God fearing women. . . . Two weeks ago around 9 a.m. . . . I went into the garden . . . we live near a wildlife reserve which has an abundance of birds and wildlife, including eagles and hawks, heron, geese, swans, etc. It’s usual for them to fly overhead, and I see them flying; you hear their calls and get familiar with sounds.

Well, on this particular morning I heard a very strange screech; I say strange as I had never heard it before, and it was very loud, almost resounding. I could hear it getting closer across the way from behind the trees. I was curious as to what the sound was, but nothing prepared me for what I actually saw.

I saw two pterodactyls, side by side, flying past the tree. Now at first I had to check myself, because the first thing I thought was “those are blooooody big birds, that’s no lie.” But what struck me was that it had a giant size beak and the wings had no feathers.

. . . this was huge and flew directly past [some crows, revealing size], so due to its size I could see it clearly although it went past fast due to the size of the clearing between the tree and the houses. It was grey in colour, both of them as far as I could tell.

I have [researched] every bird in England and even foreign birds that look similar, in case any had escaped, but the one thing is the sound. None of the birds sound like what I heard. I took a whole day pondering and wondering what it is I actually saw . . .

I thought perhaps it was a toy, yes they have some good toys, but they still look plastic and two dimensional unless at a great distance, even the ones that flap their wings. It didn’t flap its wings up and down like a toy. It was a very fluid motion even coming across in a down to side ways sweep. After a day of research I kept the information to myself except [for] my husband, who remained skeptical but listened very nicely.

I may also add that it did not have [that I noticed] a lump on it head. So that is my story, however last weekend two of my children were playing in the garden . . . around 10 a.m. [and] my son of 13 years came running in to me saying he saw a giant big brown bird with giant wings.

He did have a look of fright or concern on his face, so I knew he wasn’t trying to pull my leg or was exaggerating. My younger daughter, who is nine, was with him and she said she didn’t see it, as she was playing by the trees, but she heard its sound. I asked her the sound (she happens to be a very good mimic when it comes to animals), and she made the sound that I had heard.

[For] the screech sound, the only thing that has come close is on Youtube: a pterodactyl sound clip. I went through pictures of birds with my son; he said it was bigger than the eagles which usually fly around the area. He said it was brown with very long wings. I asked him [if] it have feathers; he said he doesn’t know, he only saw it for a moment. So . . . [I] showed him a [picture of a] pterodactyl and he said, “Yes, that’s what it looked like.”

What I saw had no feathers and its wings were almost bat shaped. I had hoped someone else had seen it or it may have been reported, but as to date no one has. I have done much research online and the largest heron here still does not compare to what I saw: The legs are not long enough and the beak is not as big and the feathers are a major factor here.

I cannot explain what I saw. It was something like out of a movie but it was so quick I still disbelieve what I saw, and at the same time I know what I have seen. I do not know how something like that flying around was not seen by anyone else, as it was low flying, or how it could hide, but what I have told you is true.

Kind Regards . . .

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old landscape painting of large tree in Shropshire, England

“Bridgenorth, Shropshire” by Paul Sandby (1731-1809)

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I replied:

Thank you

I was fortunate to be able to pass through your area of England in 1972 and still hope to return some day.

I know it can be a shock to see this kind of flying creature: We’re taught from early childhood that all of them became extinct long ago. My associates and I hope that these animals will be acknowledged by Western science before long. My own research has been ongoing for most of the past 13 years. We have an expedition ready to start in Papua New Guinea, where these flying creatures are best known and most commonly acknowledged. I will not be able to go along myself but I am grateful that I’ve been able to do just a little bit in supporting it this year.

Let’s begin with what my associates and I know. The animals are indeed real and very much non-extinct. One common name that many people use for them in the USA and in many English-speaking nations is “pterodactyl.” The proper word among scientists is “pterosaur,” but let’s not worry about that technicality.

We know, from many years of interviewing eyewitnesses in a number of areas of the world, that these modern species of pterosaurs are real, not from human imagination or hallucination. The two you saw, and the one seen by your son, have probably been seen by other persons in your area, but most people do not report their sightings, at least not to me or to one of my associates.

Since you have cats and children, I need to warn your family that at least some of the larger ones may sometimes be dangerous, although we still have much to learn.

I have a couple of questions:

1) Did any of the ones seen by your family have a long tail?

2) What is the online address (URL address) of the Youtube video that has a “pterodactyl sound clip?”

Thank you very much for reporting your sighting. It has been some time since I’ve gotten a report from your area.

Jonathan Whitcomb

The lady replied:

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for your reply and information regarding pterosaurs.

This is the youtube clip with the sound, there are a number of them on youtube but this one comes closest to what I heard, although only up to four seconds as the second part of the sound I didn’t hear that.

{sound of pterosaur shreek}

As for your question whether or not they had tails, this is my son’s interpretation of what he saw (he is not the best artist): He said it moved very fast like in stealth mode and was chasing one of the eagles or hawks around. He said it was 2-3 times the size of the bird it was chasing. I found a better image online but he said that it didn’t have such a big head crest part and the tail more like what he drew.

As for me, there was something trailing but I thought it was legs, but I didn’t really focus or notice as I was focused on its front, the beak and wings, and the time frame that I saw it was very quick. But to be honest I would say I saw legs rather than a tail. . . . It had very long wings.

My daughter told me yesterday that on the way home from school she was looking out the window and where the sheep were she saw one flying in the sky. My husband did not see it as he was driving. It could be a heat of the moment thing as she is my youngest daughter of nine years, and you know how children can be sometimes, but she said she honestly saw it so thought I would mention it. I asked her to draw what she saw.

I hope that has been of help to you, I shall certainly keep a look out and let you know if I see anything else.

Kind Regards . . .

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living pterosaur seen in England in 2017

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probably 9-yr-old sketched the pterosaur she saw

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countryside - Shropshire, England

Shropshire, England

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Concluding notes from Jonathan Whitcomb

We need to keep an open mind about ancient accounts of flying dragons in England and consider them in light of the more recent sightings of apparent pterosaurs.

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Not extinct but living pterosaurs

How many critics have assumed that eyewitnesses of living pterosaurs must be either mistaken or dishonest! . . . I have interviewed eyewitnesses from many countries, including the United States, England, the Netherlands, Sudan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia. Many of them describe a large flying creature with a long tail.

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Cryptozoology in England

A witness reported a large pterosaur-like creature flying above Nursery woods.

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Pterosaur Sightings in Europe

  • Lake District of England
  • Spain, mid-2007
  • Books on modern pterosaurs

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Living Pterosaurs (monsters?)

(by the cryptozoology author Jonathan David Whitcomb) I’m also grateful to Lon Strickler for allowing me here tp report a few sightings of apparent pterosaurs, but it deserves a brief introduction. This is a strange investigation in a narrow branch of cryptozoology.

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Non-extinct pterodactyl

“The extinction of some species of pterosaurs, out of so many known from fossils, is hardly disputed. The popular textbook declaration that all species became extinct millions of years ago, universal pterosaur extinction—that concept itself is approaching extinction.” Jonathan Whitcomb

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Living-pterosaur books for LDS readers

  • Searching for Ropens and Finding God
  • Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea
  • Live Pterosaurs in America
  • Modern Pterosaurs

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Ropen of Papua New Guinea

Plans for an expedition on Umboi Island, possibly starting before the end of 2017

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Owlman sightings in England

The young witnesses ran back to their father, crying and frightened. They claimed they had seen a large unidentified winged creature . . .

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Extinction ideas and pterosaurs

Western indoctrination into the dogma of universal-extinction of all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs has been so widespread for so many generations that any mention of the possibility of one species surviving to modern times is often met with extreme skepticism or worse.

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Living pterosaurs in Africa

. . . specific sighting reports have similar details, namely this: a large or giant size, a long tail with a Rhamphorhynchoid-like structure at the end, and a lack of feathers.

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Ropen bioluminescence

  • Dragon or Big Bird in Sandy and Draper, Utah
  • Ropen Sightings in the United States
  • Ropen-Pterodactyl in Utah and Arizona?
  • Marfa Pterosaurs? You’re Getting Warmer!

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Eyewitnesses of living pterosaurs

With each passing year, it becomes more obvious why many eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs are credible and that the flying creatures observed are indeed modern pterosaurs. Many of the sightings are of obvious ropens, in other words modern Rhamphorhynchoids.

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“The Bible of Modern Pterosaurs”

pre-publication version of the front cover of this nonfiction book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God was published on April 18th, the third edition of the book that I started writing, in its first edition, in 2005. It’s the fruit of thousands of hours of research and writing, but why should it be labeled “the Bible of modern pterosaurs?” At 9×6 inches, with 353 printed pages, it covers eyewitness sightings from around the world, including Europe, Africa, North America, and the southwest Pacific (including Australia and Papua New Guinea). New chapters were added to the second edition, including Chapter 21: “Pterosaurs in the USA,” which chapter by itself is 100 pages. Judge the quality of the book for yourself, but it’s much bigger than anything else I’ve written.

Herodotus, known as the “father of history,” is reported to have said, “wings are not feathered, but resemble very closely those of the bat,” when he referred to the “winged serpents” known in Egypt and Arabia in his time; yet no mention is made of Herodotus in Searching for Ropens and Finding God, for that historian lived twenty-four centuries ago, and my book really is about modern pterosaurs.

The fiery flying serpent flies through but a few paragraphs, for although Moses lived many centuries ago, featherless long-tailed winged creatures are tied to the real Bible in my “Bible of modern pterosaurs.” Yet many pages promoting disbelief in the General Theory of Evolution were removed from earlier editions of my book. I have assumed that readers of this third edition will already believe in God, with little need for me to provide additional evidences for literal interpretations of the Old Testament, so this book is filled much more with astonishing eyewitness encounters.

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"Searching for Ropens and Finding God" back cover

Searching for Ropens and Finding God (back cover)

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Quoting from page 179 of the book (sighting in Maryland):

On September 15, 2013, I received an email just one hour after the sighting:

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“This may not seem strange to you but it was certainly the first time I have had a sighting of a pterodactyl. It was around 12:30 p.m., sunny skies, cooler temperatures (75 degrees). It was extremely large (way too large to be considered an eagle and there were no feathers). The head was certainly noticeable and the large wing span and tail. The skin was grey (?) in color and wrinkled. Flying alone.

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“Not sure if you are still keeping tract of them but one was spotted in Maryland today, 9/15/2013. Super amazing. . . . I will never forget it.”

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

The fourth edition of this nonfiction paperback on modern pterosaurs is being published around the first week of November, 2014. This supersedes the third edition, with a few new sighting reports and many minor revisions and corrections. Purchase the newer edition, for it’s at the same price.

pre-publication version of the front cover of this nonfiction book

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Ropen (sighting in Africa, quoting from Searching for Ropens and Finding God)

“It was very large, about 4 or 5 feet in height. It . . . [had] no feathers. It was leathery looking.  It had a large long, wide beak and the classic appendage (the long bone looking thing sticking  out the back of its head). . . . It had really large black claws and its tail looked like a lion’s tail  . . . very long and had a bushy or hairy tip” . . .

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Pterosaur Eyewitness Reliability

village huts in Sudan, Africa

I’ve not yet seen with my own eyes a living pterosaur. I explored a remote island in Papua New Guinea in 2004 but failed to see the ropen. I walked through a wildlife reserve in Orange County, California, in 2008, but failed to see the ropen-like flying creature. I set up a game camera in Lakewood, California, in mid-2012, but after examining 9,823 photographs I have failed to see any image of a living pterosaur. So why do I believe that they exist? It’s the eyewitness reports.

What do the following descriptions have in common (quoting eyewitnesses)?

  1. no feathers / tail it was very long & had a bushy or hairy tip / long bone looking thing sticking out the back of its head
  2. the same sort of texture as suede (i.e no feathers) / had a long thin tail
  3. They don’t have any feathers / tails about 3 to 4 meters long / LONG NECK
  4. no feathers / [tail length] 7 meters / diamond [on tail]
  5. no feathers in sight / longish narrow tail / [out the back of the head] It was like a horn
  6. did not appear to have any feathers / a long, skinny, pointed tail / diamond shape at the tip [of the tail]
  7. he had no feathers
  8. the head had a crest . . . solid, not feathery at all / tail was very long / [tail] ended in a thick, heart-shaped pad

Featherlessness and a long tail—these are reported from around the world. Sometimes an eyewitness will also report a head crest, sometimes a long neck, sometimes a structure at the end of the tail (“diamond”). For the above, here are the eyewitness report locations:

  1. Sudan, Africa – July of 1988 – from a native
  2. Spain – summer of 2007 – from a man from England
  3. city of Pagbilao, Quezon Province, Philippines – around 1994 – from a native
  4. Lake Pung, Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea – about 1994 – from natives
  5. Bougainville Island, (Papua) New Guinea – 1971 – from an Australian
  6. Brampton, Ontario, Canada – 2004 – from a Canadian
  7. Zaandam, Holland (Netherlands) – from a Dutch man
  8. Near Winder, Georgia, USA – 2008 – from a Georgian lady

Many other eyewitness reports we could examine, with flying-creature descriptions that clearly tie in with the above sightings. I once interviewed an attorney who had witnessed a giant featherless flying creature with a tail about fifteen feet long. Last week I received an email from a U. S. marine stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; he saw a large flying creature with a “cone protruding from behind its head” and a “very long tail” that had “a diamond shape at the end.” That sighting was on January 2, 2013.

These kinds of descriptions can be found in accounts from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Papua New Guinea, although not every eyewitness has noticed every one of the following details:

  • lack of feathers
  • long tail
  • structure at the end of the tail
  • head crest
  • long neck

But many eyewitness report two or three of the above, especially featherless appearance and long tail.

Eyewitnesses from various countries, of various cultures, with various languages—those common persons have encountered uncommon flying creatures, but significant details in descriptions are commonly repeated: long tail, head crest, structure at tail end, no feathers. Those differences in the eyewitnesses, when added to similarities in descriptions, equal an actual creature, a real flying creature, not extinct but living in our modern world of diversified humans.

Why Doubt Pterosaur Extinction?

Is the pterosaur-extinction idea a modern concept? No. It’s an old assumption, originating about two centuries ago, and it deserves to be buried alongside the long-held assumption (long ago dismissed) that the sun revolves around the earth.

The first pterosaur fossil discovery, in 1784 (four years before George Washington was elected president), was decades before Charles Darwin began writing about evolution. Where did those early fossil researchers get the idea of pterosaur extinction? It was just an assumption, originating from a few researchers who were ignorant of extant nocturnal pterosaurs. That leaves a world of room for us to doubt the universal extinction of all species of pterosaurs.

For those who still think extant pterosaurs are hard to believe, they should try explaining human mentality to an animal. The less intelligent animals live by instinct and to some extent by experience; the most intelligent animals learn more from experience and from following parents who have experiences the younger ones have not yet had. I know that human imagination is important, but some humans would be much better off following the examples of intelligent animals, for imagining ancient extinctions is far less reliable than listening to eyewitnesses of living creatures.

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village huts in Sudan, Africa

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Clear Thinking

“Trust one eyewitness of a plane crash over the imaginations of a hundred professors who’ve agreed how that plane should fly.”

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Bulverism and Extant Pterosaurs

C. S. Lewis, in the mid-20th Century, noticed an unfortunate trend becoming popular . . . bulverism

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Lighting the Flying Creature of the Night

This is not to illuminate the bioluminescent pterosaur of Marfa, Texas, or of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea. Indeed, that kind of glow actually hides the form and features of the flying creature that produces the light. Setting aside bioluminescence, we now consider why some night sightings have contributed to the credibility of the live-pterosaur investigations.

I recall part of a comment from a critic, some years ago, ridiculing the credibility of eyewitnesses who “misidentify” birds or bats at night. But he was only tossing out a generalization, assuming that all reported sightings (those encounters that serious invesigators publicize) all fit neatly into his mental image of a dark landscape where people imagine that birds and bats are pterosaurs. Science thrives on details of human experience, so let’s examine particular sightings.

Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaur in Sudan, Africa

In this sighting, the eyewitness could see details, for the flying creature was close and it was lit by a nearby porch light.

The boy was walking from one mud-brick hut to another, one night in 1988, carrying a tray of food for family members. . . . The boy froze as the creature stretched its wings and hopped right over his head, causing him to drop the metal tray of dishes.

Driving Near Kenton, Ohio

In the third edition of my book Live Pterosaurs in America, I mentioned a sighting near Kenton, Ohio.

At 11:15 p.m., she was driving near Kenton, Ohio, on Route 309. With clear sky and a still-full moon, the landscape was brightly lit. A creature swooped down—an obvious “pterodactyl”—gliding gracefully over the hood of her car. She watched it fly into some dense underbrush of trees. . . . “I could see almost the bones in its wings but I did NOT see feathers at all. None. . . . it was bright out . . . because of the full moon being high in the sky.”

Nocturnal Pterosaurs in San Diego

In this sighting in San Diego, California, the two flying creatures (witnessed by two men) were probably lit from both top and bottom: from the moon and from the city lights (although the eyewitness who reported the encounter to me mentioned only the lighting from the moon).

From the west came this dark object in the sky. It was right over us about, I say, 40 yards [high]. As it got closer we both yelled, “What the hell is that?” It looked like a huge bird. It was gliding . . . I began yelling at it . . .

That was a large flying creature at low altitude, perhaps coming within 140 feet of the eyewitnesses. The lighting was adequate for the two eyewitnesses to see the details that were later given to me.