Living Pterosaurs in Louisiana

map with Lake Pontchartrain

By cryptozoology author Jonathan D. Whitcomb


For those new to this blog, I need to explain why I call myself a “living pterosaur expert,” a strange title. From 2003 to the present (late 2017), I have spent over 10,000 hours on this narrow branch of cryptozoology: investigating eyewitness reports of apparent non-extinct “pterodactyls.” I don’t know of any other person who has spent over 10,000 hours on this subject, so I suggest that I am a living-pterosaur expert if anyone is.

I have published four nonfiction cryptozoology books on these flying creatures, in nine total editions. My scientific paper on these animals was peer-reviewed and published in a journal of science (“Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific”). In addition, I have received reports from persons on every continent except Antarctica, and most of those were from the eyewitnesses themselves rather than from second-hand or third-hand accounts.


map with Lake Pontchartrain

Lake Pontchartrain, just north of New Orleans


Apparent Pterosaur in Louisiana

Last night, I got a phone call from a Ryan Causey, who had a sighting in 1994 in southern Louisiana. The flying creature was seen late at night as it flew over the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge, which is just north of Metairie. At first, the man got the impression that it was a huge evil black bird, but he eventually came to recognize that he had witnessed a living pterosaur. Bryan found me through one or more of my blog posts or web pages.

The apparent long-tailed ropen flew only about 20 feet above the bridge, as Ryan was standing by his car, which had broken down. The flying creature was only about 200 feet away when the man saw the thing. He estimated the size (probably he was referring to wingspan) as at least 15-20 feet.

When he told me that it had a pointy head, I thought of many other reported sightings of pterosaurs: a horn-like or cone-like head crest is often reported. The overall appearance suggested something like shiny leather.

Email from Ryan Causey:

Jonathan, I see that you do research on this subject. I broke down in a van on the bridge to New Orleans in 1994 when I saw and a enormous creature flying not too far away from me but taking up more than half the size of the interstate. I was facing south and it flew from the west to the east over the bridge. I’d like to tell you little bit more about it I really couldn’t believe my eyes but all these years I know it to be true in my heart . . .

Other Pterosaur Sightings in Louisiana

Three other encounters have been reported to me from Louisiana, over the years: one in Slidell (October of 2013) and another in New Llano (western side of the state). I wrote about the encounter in New Llano in my nonfiction cryptozoology book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition) on page 215. Another sighting was in Louisiana but the eyewitness said nothing about what part of the state. The person did mention “leathery wings” and a “spade/diamond” shape on the tail.


Popularity of this “Live Pterosaur” Blog

Since its first post was published online in 2009, this blog has received over 360,000 visits, most of which were from people in the following countries:

  • United States
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  • European Union
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Pterosaur Sighting in Slidell, Louisiana

Reported directly to the living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb: “On October 10, 2013, I received a phone call from a lady in Slidell, Louisiana. She had seen a flying creature just two hours earlier, a frightening experience, and had received no help from the police or the Wildlife-Fisheries.”


Eyewitness Reports of Living Pterosaurs

Some of the countries in which modern pterosaurs have been reported include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • United States of America
  • Kenya
  • Namibia
  • Sudan
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Cuba
  • England
  • Malasia
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea


Flying Creature

Please be aware that a sighting in the day does not mean that what was observed must be a creature normally out in daylight. It may have been frightened out of sleep during the day. It may be a nocturnal creature that was out on that one day.


Books on living pterosaurs

By the modern pterosaur expert Jonathan David Whitcomb


Apparent pterosaurs in the USA

Sightings in California, Washington (state), Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, Kansas, Texas, and Florida


Books for LDS

These nonfiction cryptozoology books were not written specifically for an LDS audience, but the author is a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: These books can be understood and enjoyed by LDS readers.


Nocturnal “Pterodactyls”

The type with a long tail are called ropen, the name some of the villagers of Umboi, Papua New Guinea, call the nocturnal flying creature of their island.


Living pterosaur expert

Since his expedition in Papua New Guinea in 2004, Whitcomb has received many emails and occasional phone calls from ordinary persons who have seen extraordinary animals: apparent pterosaurs.


More Pterosaurs in Utah

Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur sketch

On August 13, 2015, I received an email from an eyewitness living South of Provo, Utah. It confirms earlier reports of apparent pterosaurs in Utah, especially nocturnal flying creatures that are very large. Here is part of what the new eyewitness reported to me:

Well, last night I was outside in my backyard in Spanish Fork, UT, we were watching the Perseid meteor shower. I brought out a very bright focused beam flashlight to point at stars and satellites for my buddies that were out there with me. After a few minutes, I saw these “birds” . . .

There were two or three circling around. I shined the flashlight on them and saw what was unmistakably the shape of bat wings. I know in Utah we don’t have bats that big . . . The largest bat in Utah supposedly has a 17″ [inch] wingspan. This flying animal was undoubtedly 7-10 foot wingspan.

My two friends that were out there with me confirmed the same thing. They said it had bat shape wings and that it looked huge. It was hard to judge the actual size with a backdrop of the night sky, but it looked to be flying 150-200′ overhead [150 to 200 feet high].

The beam of my flashlight barely illuminated it, but it was enough to see a greyish brown flying animal that looked similar to a bat. Very concerning. We found your site after researching it and we believe we’ve sighted a Pterosaur!

More About the August 12th Sighting in Spanish Fork

The flashlight used by the eyewitness was a Streamlight Stinger DS LED, and it has a 310-meter beam distance, at the highest setting, with a rating of “350 lumens; 24,000 candela peak beam intensity.” I believe that explains why the flying creatures (possible ropens) were seen overhead, for they came within minutes or so of when the beam was first pointed up into the sky that night. They may have been attracted to the light.

It was not the first time that this particular eyewitness had encountered those flying creatures. On August 8, 2015, in Salem, Utah, (just south of Spanish Fork) he saw something similar, during a large commercial fireworks display, about a quarter of a mile from where the possible-ropens were seen. Both sightings were at about 10:30 p.m.

At the first sighting, the man did not appreciate what he had seen and dismissed it. During the second sighting (four days later), he saw more, for he had the use of the high-powered flashlight.

The eyewitness also reported to me the following, concerning the second sighting:

The wings had the characteristics of bones, how you can see the skeletal structure and skin stretched in between. It looked a lot like a bat, but there is no doubt in my mind that it was MASSIVE. I’ve never seen a flying creature that big in Utah before.

He did not notice the presence or absence of a tail, which is common with sightings at night. He also told me the following about the possibility of bioluminescence:

I’ll admit, I learned about the apparent bio luminescence after the sighting by reading on your site and others, but now that I know that, it makes total sense why they looked ghostly . . .

Comparison With the Grantsville, Utah, Sighting

Two eyewitnesses of the night-time sighting in Grantsville, UT, years ago, saw more clearly that the huge flying creature had something like bioluminescence, a glow that the animal appeared to turn off and on. The farm animals became very alarmed at the appearance of that very large flying creature.

Like the sighting in Spanish Fork, there were multiple eyewitnesses.

Ropen Bioluminescence

The following is from the fourth edition of my nonfiction cryptozoology book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (Chapter 22: Fly by the Light):

Do all nocturnal pterosaurs glow like the ropen of Papua New Guinea? Not necessarily. Do all bioluminescent pterosaurs glow for less than seven seconds at a time? Not according to some witnesses of the indava.

We could have a number of species of large glowing flying creatures in this world, some of which are modern pterosaurs, including ropens. The eyewitness in southeast Texas has probably seen a species of ropen, for I have not yet found anything suggesting any bat has bioluminescence, and many daylight sightings in the southern USA convince me we have ropens.

Report Your Sighting

Please CONTACT me, if you have seen something similar, in Utah or anywhere else. Thank you.



Religion and Belief in Modern Pterosaurs

. . . your religion has nothing to do with whether or not you will see an apparent pterosaur, however it relates closely to whether or not you will go on an expedition in search of those creatures.

Pterosaur Sightings Reported in Utah

Sightings of apparent pterosaurs have often been reported in California. We also have reports from Oregon and Arizona and the middle states of America. What about Utah? Consider the following, part of a sighting report . . .

Ropen Pterosaur

Image of the “Gitmo Pterosaur” of Cuba

Long-tailed Ropen

What comes to mind when you read “dinosaur?” Probably “extinct” or “extinction.” What about the word “ropen?” . . . Live pterosaurs! But it gets even stranger. . . . [Americans] began searching for them in the United States. . . . “the neck about 1-2 feet in length, the head was about four feet in length, and the head . . . has a crest that was about 2 feet in length.”

Big Flying Creature in Utah

Three children, including Devon Roberts and his brother Dallin, saw something huge flying overhead, at about 11 p.m., [in Grantsville, Utah] around the fall of 2001, something very unlike any bird.

Bioluminescent Ropen

What do the flying lights of Umboi Island, Tawa Village, and Salamaua have in common?

Pterosaur Sighting Data for the United States

. . . from the compilations leading up to the end of 2012, for the forty-eight contiguous states of the USA, for the more credible reports.

An Apparent Modern Pterosaur

The ropen is a long-tailed flying cryptid described as pterosaur-like and reported by  eyewitnesses around the world, especially in North America and in the southwest Pacific.

Nocturnal Ropen

Could living pterosaurs still fly through the skies? An investigation in the realm of cryptozoology.


A Glowing Ropen in New Mexico

eyepiece view of ropen in New Mexico in Sep-2014

Flying in the face of the Wikipedia deletion of “ropen” last month, an apparent bioluminescent pterosaur flew into the eyepiece view of the telescope of Michael Slack of southeastern New Mexico. Apparently, self-appointed Wikipedia editors and judges failed to exterminate the ropen itself. It was flying along quite well, and glowing, on the night of September 1, 2014, just days after the “ropen” page on Wikipedia was removed, supposedly because of a lack of input from supporters of traditional points of view. That has not deterred actual ropens.

The moon had already gone behind the trees, by the middle of that night a week ago Monday, so Mr. Slack and his buddy searched the sky for the Andromeda Nebula. This required using a low-magnification eyepiece, fortunately, to locate that galaxy, allowing the amateur astronomer to see the flying creature sweep through the field of view.


Sep 1st, 2014, ropen sighting area

Area of the sky where the creature was seen in New Mexico

I asked the eyewitness, “Did you notice a tail?” He replied:

I thought I noticed “something” trailing not far behind this ‘thing’ although my friend says he did not notice anything. Was there something that attached the trailing ‘thing’ to the main body? No. In my estimation there was about 10′ [feet] between the main body and the little something that trailed it. So to say that I noticed a tail…no sir I can not, in so far as I did not see anything that connected the little glowing “bit” that trailed and followed the main body.

That seems to me to have been a sighting of a bioluminescent glowing ropen, with the end of the tail glowing but the main length of the tail not visible in the dark of night. When there is no glow at all, people often do not see, at night, any tail.


eyepiece view of ropen in New Mexico in Sep-2014

Sketch by eyewitness Michael Slack: the view through the telescope

Others have reported sightings of huge pterosaurs in New Mexico. From the nonfiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), we read:

“Hello, my name is [RA] and I live in central N.M.. Fourteen years ago, in [Socorro], N.M., me and a close friend, who now has a masters in biology, were hiking during the midday sun at [a] box canyon and something blocked the sun for a moment. We both looked up to see what did that and saw a large flying animal. It had a 20-30 foot wingspan and was about the same length long. It had a long tail with [a] seeming spike at the end. Its head was very pterodactyl shape with a fluted back pointy head. It glided at about 700 feet in a westward direction. . . .”



El Ropen de Papúa Nueva Guinea

En 2004, viajé de los Estados Unidos a Papúa Nueva Guinea. Encontré a un intérprete en la ciudad de Lae. Mí y mi intérprete viajó, por buque, a la Isla de Umboi. Más tarde, encontramos muchos nativos que habían visto el ropen.

Credibility of ropen eyewitnesses

I interviewed him  in front of the villagers who knew him. After I asked  him the length of the tail of the ropen, he looked away  as if to imagine the tail on the ground. He looked back  and forth at the ground for a few moments and then  he looked back at me and answered emphatically,  “sefan meetuh” (seven meters). He was surely doing  this to get a feel for both what the tail would have  looked like if it were stretched out on the ground,  and to then to estimate the length.

Ropen seen during World War II

Duane Hodgkinson was interviewed, in 2005, near Livingston, Montana. He described the huge “pterodactyl” that he saw fly up from a jungle clearing in New Guinea, in clear daylight. He and his army buddy watched it fly off above the trees, but it soon returned, flying above that clearing but in the opposite direction.


Marfa Lights and Sightings of Living Pterosaurs

Green mountain in the area of Marfa in southwest Texas

The following is taken from an email sent by Jonathan Whitcomb to one of the supporters of the living-pterosaur investigations.

You have given me much to think about and I have much to say. For now, I’d like to go into Marfa Lights research by James Bunnell and also sightings of nocturnal pterosaurs and limitations on what we can learn from them.

Yes, Bunnell assumed that CE-II and CE-III types of Marfa Lights are caused by non-living things, when he wrote the first edition of Hunting Marfa Lights. (He might some day write an expanded second edition.) But the data that led him to define those two types were from observations and comparisons between sightings. I see little chance of any major problem in his creating those two definitions: stationary blinking lights and moving ones.

Other aspects of his research, in contrast, have surely been influenced by his basic assumption about non-living causes. For example, he dismissed at least two sightings in which lights seemed to have chased automobiles; I believe he would have accepted those sightings as valid encounters with flying lights that actually followed cars, if he did not follow that non-living axiom.


Green mountain in the area of Marfa in southwest Texas

Mountain near Marfa, Texas

Now let’s turn to sightings of apparent pterosaurs.

I believe that you have found some valid points regarding patterns. The path you would probably be taking, however, would be a much longer road than you have expected; it’s probably more complex than you have considered.

The sighting reports I have accumulated over the past ten years clearly demonstrate the credibility of the live-pterosaur concept. But they have much less value in predicting where future sightings will occur or where any pterosaur may be nesting, if that is the word. Here is why:

Sighting locations are scattered around the world. My specialty is in world-wide sightings of apparent pterosaurs. If I had the funds and could have spent the past nine years searching on Umboi Island, with no family ties in the USA, I would probably have significant photographic and video evidence, by now, of a living Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur on Umboi. As it is, I have written several books, over a thousand web pages and blog posts, and a scientific paper. Because of that, I have received many eyewitness reports; but the scattering, across much of the planet, is significant.

Only a small fraction of the human sightings of living pterosaurs is reported directly to any cryptozoologist or paranormal investigator, and those sightings are only a small sampling of all the places and times of flight for those creatures. We have too little data.

Let’s get as specific as we can. Even if each pterosaur could be seen at least once a year, for 20 seconds, what would we have? If all those sightings were reported we would have only have 1/10,000th of a percent of the flying times of those creatures.

All we know from any particular sighting is that for an extremely tiny part of the creature’s life, it was at a particular place at a particular time. Perhaps it has a secret hiding location 300 feet away and always lives around there. Perhaps it sleeps one mile away and flies around that neighborhood during that time of year. Perhaps it is passing through from an original nesting area 3,000 miles away and will never return.

But there’s another problem with trying to predict seasonal habits. Most modern pterosaurs are nocturnal. The daylight sightings teach us the most about their appearance, but they can be misleading if we try to stretch the information beyond reason. Consider the following:

A pterosaur was seen by three eyewitnesses early in a morning that must have been cold, for it was in winter in northern Minnesota. How can we come to any reasonable conclusion about seasonal appearances when this could have been a displaced individual, desperately trying to survive in a season and place in which it usually does not live? Did it sleep through the migration alarm clock or was it forced to come out of hibernation early?

Another pterosaur was seen in milder weather but it was right after a major storm had passed through the Winder, Georgia, area. Was it always living there, flying around only at night but disturbed enough to fly in the daylight after being displaced from its nest? A different individual of the same species was seen only days later, also in morning daylight, but in a slightly different location; but how can that tell us anything about seasonal migrations or seasonal behaviors? Maybe this is a displaced pair that is searching far afield for a place to raise young.

The point is this: The best sightings are almost always in daylight, but those probably have the least value in revealing where and when the nocturnal creatures normally fly. And where do they usually sleep in daylight?

Of course we have exceptions, like with the persons who were throwing rocks over the top of a cliff just before a large pterosaur flew out from somewhere below them: There may have been a nest in a cave. That sighting in Arkansas was decades ago, however, and that cliff is probably now part of private property where new condominiums thrive, at least it appears to be so from recent satellite images.

In other words, most sightings probably relate to how the creatures DO NOT normally behave. That’s the rub.

Getting back to Marfa Lights, data from Bunnell can tell us much, but without more eyewitnesses in this part of Texas, reports of apparent pterosaurs, what can be really helpful? Without those pterosaur flyovers that are seen by humans, it could take decades of detailed observations for even a few persons to come to any certain and accurate conclusion about CE-II’s and CE-III’s.

I don’t mean to imply that your reasoning is generally faulty, not at all. In fact, the solution to these problems you yourself just gave me:

“You’ve opened a door for people who have seen these creatures to share their experiences. By opening up they encourage others to open up, which opens the door for all of us to accept the reality . . . That, in turn, loosens – ever so gradually – the death grip of this stifling dogma cloaked in the august robes of ‘science.’ . . .”

Thank you very much for your support. Your words of encouragement help keep the investigation vigorous.

Jonathan Whitcomb



non-fiction 360-page paperback "Searching for Ropens and Finding God"


Searching for Ropens and Finding God – fourth edition, published October 31, 2014; nonfiction about modern pterosaurs – More than twice as many pages as the competing cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition), this newer book has a 100-page chapter on sightings in the United States of America. Don’t miss these extraordinary but true adventures, with encounters reported from around the world.