Another Ropen Sighting in Ohio

Perosaur Sketch by Eskin Kuhn

By the living-pterosaur expert and cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb

Over the past thirteen years, I have received many reports from eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs in the United States, including states of the Midwest, although more commonly they use one of the following words or phrases:

  • Dragon
  • Pterodactyl
  • Prehistoric bird
  • Flying dinosaur
  • Big bat with a long tail
  • Big bird with no feathers

I’m not as interested in what an eyewitness calls the flying creature as I am in how it’s described. Recently I got an email from an eyewitness in Ohio.

Ropen Sighting in Gahanna, Ohio

A man (who has two college degrees in biology) and his son together had a sighting in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. The following is part of the man’s email report to me, with minor spelling and punctuation corrections:

I just want to report a sighting of a pterodactyl-looking animal. My sighting took place last night, 12/19/2016. . . . I would think of myself as someone who knows a little something of the animal kingdom. However, as of last night I realize I don’t know anything. I saw what appeared to be a gray-skinned pterodactyl [clearly] . . . [It] dive bombed my car. My son and I were in the car and we both saw the same thing . . .

It almost hit my front windshield… we got an amazing and privileged look at this…whatever it is…we couldn’t have been more that 6 or 7 feet from it. . . . As far as the tail goes, I did not see a tail but my son said he did as the creature whipped it around…he said it had sharp projections on the tip…but it was moving so fast he said he just got a glimpse of it . . .

I will just keep writing as this was just so amazing that I just want to talk and talk about it….at least to someone that might believe us. . . . Just looked up Ropen…yes some of the encounters relate [to] the very triangular nature of the wings [also] we never saw it move the wings at all…just glide…like all of the encounters…I am not going to look anything more up as I don’t want to be biased in any way when we talk.

We were able to talk for some time by phone. I learned that the sighting was at 6:45 p.m., and the car had its headlight high beams on. The man, who is a biologist, noticed that the skin was grayish, with a texture that reminded him, to some extent, of elephant skin: thick and rough. He believes that if the creature had not been flying, the skin could have been seen as wrinkled, although the act of flying may have kept the skin tighter.

Pterosaur Sighting in Context With Others

This encounter with an apparent ropen near Columbus, Ohio, needs to be taken in context of many other reported sightings in the Midwest, as well as those in the states of Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York.

In addition, we need to consider the possibility that what was seen by this biologist and his teenaged son, late in 2016, may be related to the “Gitmo Pterosaur” of eastern Cuba. Perhaps it is the same species.


Perosaur Sketch by Eskin Kuhn

Sketch of the two “pterodactyls” seen by Eskin Kuhn at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba



Ropen Sighting in Ohio in Late 2016

Last month I got an email from a man who lives in Gahanna, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. He and his teenaged son were driving near their home at 6:45 p.m. on December 19, 2016, when a large creature flew over their car . . .

Pterosaur Sightings in Ohio, Kansas, and Missouri

Eyewitness accounts of apparent “pterodactyls” in America, including sightings of large ropens . . . Jonathan Whitcomb, before and after writing the first edition of Searching for Ropens, received emails from  many witnesses of similar flying creatures in America. Those many eyewitness reports prompted him to write  a new nonfiction book: Live Pterosaurs in America.

Ropen Sighting in New Guinea

Hennessy said, “It was black or dark brown.  I had never seen anything like it before. . . . I recall seeing this creature with a longish narrow tail . . . the head was disproportionately large compared to the body . . .”

Ropen or Pterodactyl in North America

I am one of six Americans who have traveled to Papua New Guinea, since mid-2004, to search for modern pterosaurs, what many Americans call “pterodactyls.”


Recent Pterosaur Sighting Reports in the United States of America

Mansfield, Ohio, pterosaur sighting - eyewitness's sketch

You don’t need to go on an expedition to Papua New Guinea to see a modern pterosaur including a long-tailed featherless ropen. For generations, Americans have been encountering these shocking flying creatures, and the sightings continue. The following are a few of the recently reported encounters with pterosaurs in the USA. As has been usual, not all of the reports are of recent sightings; they’re just recently reported.

At least some of these sighting reports have been slightly edited for spelling, punctuation, etc., and at least most of them are here given only in part.

Pterosaur Sighting in Edgerton, Wisconsin, in 1996 (reported mid-July, 2016)

When I was about 8 years old, living on a farm in Edgerton, WI, I remember looking up and seeing a large flying creature. Something seemed odd about it and after a second or two I realized it had a long, whippy tail, not at all like a bird. I watched it fly across the sky until it was out of sight and will never forget what I saw. I know it wasn’t any bird I’ve heard of before, that tail was just, wrong. It had a bulb at the end of it . . . [Apparent ropen]

Mansfield, Ohio, area (sighting in late June of 2016)

. . . I was on Stiving Road [probably northwest of Mansfield]. It was [about] 4:10 to 4:20  a.m. The sky was still pretty dark. I saw on the left . . . a creature flying toward the Mansfield Airport area.

Its head shape was like a stick at [approximately] a 45° angle. I could see its body and feet but not its wings because of the side view and to me it looked like a petrasaur [pterosaur].

This was the first time I have ever seen anything like this. . . . Here’s a picture I drew of an [approximation] of what I saw.

Mansfield, Ohio, pterosaur sighting - eyewitness's sketch

Sketch drawn by the eyewitness – note unusual angle of the head/head-crest to the body

I (Jonathan Whitcomb) had a phone conversation with the eyewitness of the above flying creature and found no significant problem with his credibility. He was about 200-250 yards away from the apparent pterosaur. He could say nothing about the presence or absence of a tail.

Near Loganville, Georgia, around mid-June of 2016

Like many sighting reports, this one was sent to Jonathan Whitcomb by email.

[Received early on July 16, 2016] . . . very late about a month ago just outside of Loganville, Georgia. On Centerville/Rosebud Road. . . . we saw this huge bird fly from her side up and away to my side (driver side). It didn’t have any feathers or fur on the wings and you could see the bones in the wings like a bat only this was as large as the hood of my truck. It also appeared to have a tail that was kind of hanging down but slightly curled up as it flew.

. . . My wife said she immediately thought of Jurassic Park. We did not see the head as it was flying away at an angle. Researched a lot of birds on Google but a pterodactyl is the only thing that looks like it. [Possible ropen]

Pterosaur Sighting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in early 1980’s

This report of a daytime sighting comes from a comment on one of my YouTube videos (only slightly edited).

One flew right over our heads and landed in my mom’s field across the creek. . . . He was no more than ten feet directly above us, but I think it was closer to five. [It] feels like I could have jumped and touched him! His wing span was 15-17 feet.

Very distinctive kite point on the end of his cat like tail. No feathers, fur or anything. Skin was like dusty black leather, feet were pulled up, black, long pointed  black nails. I didn’t see the top of his head or his back well before he landed. . . . [Very likely a ropen]

Never really publicly posted my encounter before so I thought I should get the info out there so someone can use it.



Ropen pterosaur sightings

Live Pterosaurs in America and Searching for Ropens and Finding God—those are the two major nonfiction cryptozoology books about non-extinct “pterodactyls” that include the long-tailed ropen.

Eyewitness of a ropen

“Pterodactyl” was the word used for the ropen of Papua New Guinea. The American Duane Hodgkinson, a World War II veteran, gives us the shocking details about the encounter the two soldiers had with the huge flying creature in 1944. This professional-quality YouTube interview was done by the cryptozoology-explorer Garth Guessman and edited by Jonathan Whitcomb.

Frightening Pterosaur Sightings in the USA

California (two)


Rhode Island

South Carolina

Texas (two)


Fear of the flying creature is only one kind of terror with encounters between human and pterosaur in the United States of America. Sometimes the eyewitness is frightened not during but after the sighting and not for fear of the creature itself: It’s fear of personal insanity.

Pterodactyl Sighting

Peter Beach and Milt Marcy, both of the Portland area of Oregon, led an expedition in Papua New Guinea, in March and April of 2015, searching for a living pterosaur that previous American explorers had failed to see clearly. This time Americans did see, in daylight, the form and features of an apparent pterosaur.

Ropen Sightings

“The Big Picture of Modern Pterosaurs”

“Reply to Misidentification Conjectures”

“Rhamphorhynchoid Pterosaurs and Ropens”



Pennsylvania Pterosaurs

forested area around the Susqauehanna River in PA

Does a species of ropen live in Pennsylvania or at least pass through that state on occasion? We need to keep these sighting reports in context, for other eyewitnesses have seen similar featherless flying creatures in surrounding states of the USA, including Ohio and Virginia.

We also need to keep in mind the concept that when one eyewitness reports to me a sighting (of an apparent pterosaur) in a particular area, there were quite likely other eyewitnesses who had similar sightings but never contacted me, for various reasons.

Here are some dates and locations of sightings:

  • 2006 (mid-summer): Southwest Greensburg, PA
  • 2011-June: southern Susquehanna County, PA
  • 2014-June-14: Penn Hills (outside of Pittsburgh)

Encounter Near Pittsburgh (mid-June, 2014)

Today I witnessed a flying creature I’ve never seen in my life. I was riding passenger seat in Penn Hills (outside of Pittsburgh), PA. It was around [noon], very hot during this time. At first glance, I thought it was a hawk because of its bottom claws and wingspan. But the closer we got, the more I could see that it didn’t have feathers. It just [looked] like latex skin, there was a layer of hair but it wasn’t feathers. . . . But the STRANGEST PART had to be the tail; it had like a ball on the end. And the way it flew was like nothing I ever seen . . . like swimming in the air but maintained the same height and speed but it appeared like it was moving in slow motion at the same time.

Sighting near Marietta, Ohio

In June of 2014, I got an email from a lady who had witnessed an apparent pterosaur in a rural area of Ohio:

Several years ago when I was in college I briefly saw what looked like two of them flying close together while I was driving. . . . I thought I was crazy for a minute, like I was seeing things . . . but I don’t know of any birds that look like that that are featherless, that large, and grey. . . . I was happy to be inside my car.

Sighting in Virginia

In May 2005, in Midlothian, Virginia, . . . a giant bird glided down from a tree, no flapping of wings, probably 35 feet across. It looked exactly like a pterodactyl, and I have told very few people about it since it sounds like I have gone crazy. . . . Later at the same time period on Braddock Rd in N.VA there was a sighting also. It was enormous, and I am so glad to find I am not alone in this [kind of] sighting!

Potential for bioluminescent ropen in Pennsylvania

The following is from an email I, Jonathan Whitcomb, received from an eyewitness:

Last Sunday night (December 11, 2011), I was outside and I looked up and saw a moving orange light. At first I thought it was a meteor, but then I looked right at it and saw it wasn’t moving in a straight line. When I looked right at it, I could see it was zigzagging . . . Also, I thought it appeared to have wings that were flapping, although it was so dark I couldn’t tell for sure. If it did have wings, the wings weren’t glowing. The light only lasted about two seconds. . . . quite high up. It appeared to be somewhere near Robinson Lake (near mile marker 208 along I-81 in Pennsylvania).

forested area around the Susqauehanna River in PA

West branch of the Susquehanna River, Clinton County, Pennsylvania



A flying creature in Pennsylvania

I saw something flying from east to west, about 700 feet north of where I was (in our cow pasture, in southern Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania). It looked black, and I couldn’t see any feathers on it, although I couldn’t be sure it didn’t have feathers. . . . I saw a similar-looking flying creature flying over Lenoxville, and that one did seem to have a flange at the end of the tail — at least, there was some kind of bulge at the end of the tail . . .

A Real Pterosaur in Pennsylvania

The wing span appeared to be at least six feet . . . you could clearly make out a long “horn” or “cone” type protrusion coming out of the back of its skull, which was at the end of an elongated neck . . . This “bird” also seemed to have a long tail . . . As it was almost directly over us we all agreed we couldn’t see feathers anywhere and my student Carrie said “It looks like pterodactyl . . .  doesn’t it?”

Universal Pterosaur Extinction, or not

How could Darwin have imagined that small populations of nocturnal pterosaurs are scattered across the planet? They rarely congregate anywhere and appear to humans in daylight only on occasion.

Jonathan Whitcomb—paleontologist or cryptozoologist?

One critical point here, unappreciated by some paleontologists, is that those eyewitnesses come from various countries and have different backgrounds and beliefs, including differing religious beliefs. Why is that critical? Significant similarities in the descriptions include featherless appearances, a cone-like appendage at the back of the head, and a long tail, sometimes described with a “diamond” at tail-end.


Whitcomb's nonfiction "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" 3rd ed.

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – fourth edition, published in October of 2014 – 360 pages – nonfiction – by the American cryptozoologist Jonathan David Whitcomb


Strange Winged Creature in Ohio

Photo by thart2009 - rural scene near Ashland, Ohio

Honesty Credibility

Yesterday I spoke by phone to a man who seemed quite credible to me. In fact we had two phone conversations, and I found nothing in the manner of his speech, or in what he said, that gave any hint of any hoax: I believe him.

But the long hand-written letter I had just received from him—that’s the best evidence for his honesty. Let’s consider parts of it. (I did a little editing to correct English errors.)

Encounter With a Winged Creature in Ashland

My name is James M. Boice/Jim. I was looking [probably online searching] for a flying creature that is nocturnal, hoping maybe someone reported it. . . . I saw your article on pterodactyl.

I’ll tell you ahead of time: I didn’t see it. But you should hear me out anyway.

I got out of the U.S.M.C. in 1977 . . . lived several places in Ashland, Ohio, and I’d say around the early 80’s I was living on Ohio Street in Ashland. . . . I lived [in] the second house on the left on Ohio St., by the railroad tracks off Cottage Street.

It was at night. My wife was on the couch in the living room. I was sitting in the dining room reading . . . she had fallen asleep. . . . I heard a sound outside, like screaming. I heard . . . as if a cord cutting through the air, also the sound of a dog fighting with a cat, all these sounds at once.

I stood up and tried to look out the window but it was dark out and I couldn’t see . . . the sound stopped and I didn’t have lights out back. So then I sat back down but not for long . . . it started again. This time it made click clock sounds and loud banging, as it seemed to climb up the side of my house.

I stood up while hearing this again and listened. It went up two stories then up on the tin roof, which was approximately a 45 degree angle. Pounded very loud in fact. . . .

It then started down the way it had come up. When it got to the ground, it was right [off] the window in front of me and started to go left slowly and occasionally [would] bump the side of the house hard.

As it reached the tree out back, it started to make flapping sounds, as if flying very slowly, and you could hear the sounds of its wings, shh, shh, around one flap every three seconds. . . . I shut the door so it wouldn’t get in.

It flew towards the front of the house, then to the left, then to the right, then across the tracks. Then I opened the door and listened. I thought, at the time, it had a bat-like sound.

. . . I think it was trying to carry my dog away. It was a medium-sized dog . . . the next day, . . . [the dog] didn’t appear to be harmed.

[Getting back to the sounds of that night] While I was out in the backyard, I looked at the back of the house where I believe it was, and there were no scratches on the house but there was one [on] the [two] antennas. I think it went up that.

It [the antenna] had zig zag metal pieces in it. . . . [the creature] probably had claws on its front wings, as without them it would have to fly while climbing. . . .

I checked all kinds of birds, owls, etc, and they don’t fit . . . [they don’t have claws on their wings]. . . .

[Much more was written in the letter by Mr. Boice.]

It’s hard to imagine any person trying to make a convincing hoax by sending me many pages of hand-written descriptions like the above account. It’s easier to believe that he heard the sounds that he said that he heard—much easier. That’s what I call ” high honesty credibility.”

As is often the case, however, high honesty credibility may coincide with a higher potential for misidentification. Although it seems unlikely that any classified bird was involved in this encounter in Ashland, Ohio, we have no sighting or clear evidence that the creature involved was a species of pterosaur. It may have been some other kind of winged cryptid. . . . still . . .

Photo by thart2009 - rural scene near Ashland, Ohio

Near Ashland, Ohio


Scientific Analysis of Memory Credibility

Eyewitnesses of crimes can misidentify suspects. This is not at all to say that all eyewitnesses are always unreliable. Human memory in general is often flawed; the main weakness in reliability, however, is in details in which the person was not focused and was not emotionally attached at the time.

Ohio Pterosaur Sightings

Him and a bunch of guys about 17 years old were looking around an old barn one night and they saw a large, featherless bird. He said it was standing like a bird would but was about 6 feet four inches tall. Its skin appeared like leather.

Nocturnal Pterosaur Sighting

Reports of living pterosaurs – sightings in South Carolina and sightings of the bioluminescent ropen in Papua New Guinea


cover of "Live Pterosaurs in America" - third edition - by American Jonathan David Whitcomb

Third edition of the non-fiction book Live Pterosaurs in America

From a reader of this cryptozoology book:

I may be a sceptic at heart, but I have no simple answers to what people are experiencing. The thirty-five cases Whitcomb gives may be the tip of the iceberg . . . I just hope they are real.

From another reader:

Mr. Whitcomb does a thorough job questioning indoctrination and the close-mindedness of the Western world. Reading so many eye-witness reports of people who have seen living pterosaurs in America was mind-opening, to say the least.