What Flies Along Storm Channels?

If your backyard borders the San Gabriel River, you might want to put your Chihuahua indoors before the sun sets, if a recent eyewitness report from Lakewood, California, is true. Something predatory may be flying along storm channels in Southern California, and we’re not talking about a hawk or an owl. Strange to tell, but it seems to be a flying cryptid, as in “cryptozoology.”

First, the more recent sighting, on June 19, 2012, was in Lakewood, California, at about noon, in a backyard that borders a storm channel that is about twenty feet wide. A lady was irritated at the constant barking of her dog, and walked out to see the reason. On the phone line near the edge of the channel, about twenty feet from her head, was a strange winged creature that caused the lady to think “dragon pterodactyl.”

Fighting the urge to run away into her house, the terrified woman was just curious enough to stare at the long-tailed featherless flying creature. The “dragon-pterodactyl” was more frightened than curious from the encounter and flew away into the canopy of a nearby tree. The woman and her husband immediately jumped into their car and drove around looking for the featherless flier, but with no success. They did succeed to finding information online: The creature is called “ropen.”

The woman estimated the wingspan at about six feet, perhaps more, and the tail length at about four feet. The end of the tail had a “triangle” that suggests a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur flange, but the woman simply related it to a “dragon” tail-end.


storm canal south of where an eyewitness in Lakewood, California, saw a ropen

Storm channel that runs through a park in Long Beach and is connected to the storm drain over which an apparent ropen was seen perching on a phone line, on  June 19, 2012

This storm channel empties into a bay in southeast Long Beach, seventeen miles from where another storm channel empties. That other one runs very near where a giant ropen was reported flying in daylight, in 2007, near the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, in Orange County. That ropen was much larger, with an estimated length of thirty feet. In that part of California, perhaps you should put your Great Dane indoors at night. Ropens are said to be nocturnal predators.

Lakewood, California, has a Flying Predator

The lady’s husband told me that he had noticed an absence of possums in the past twelve months; they used to run along the phone lines often, but they seem to have almost disappeared. The only he has seen in recent months was not on the phone line but on a fence. The eyewitness saw the flying creature sitting on the phone line, so it seems likely to be a predator that eats possums and probably rats.

How did a Dragon get to Lakewood?

The eyewitness in Lakewood estimated its wingspan at about six feet (perhaps more) and it flew away from her when she used a loud voice. But there have been fewer possums in that neighborhood, at least the ones that used to run along the phone lines at night, far fewer.

“Hunger Games” Might Leave People Hungry

Many movies fill the screen with more violence than “Hunger Games.” But many movies allow us to be filled with hope as we exit the theater. “Hunger Games” left me unfilfilled, imagining how much better the story could have been.

Not that it had no value; the main characters remained untainted by cruelty, true to their ideals to the end. But I enjoy standard-format fantasy films in which the hero returns home better than in the beginning, with some form of rising above the evil that often fills much of fantasies. “Hunger Games” failed to fulfill that basic requirement, for the final victory was basically only survival.

Without giving away too much, I’ll compare the story to “The Truman Show.” But “Hunger Games” is a little more unbelievable in where cameras are hidden. The main difference is this: “The Truman Show” ends with the hero surviving and escaping a huge prison; “Hunger Games” ends with at least one hero surviving (I’ll say no more) but with all the world still imprisoned by a world-wide dictatorship. Both movies end with a world that is hardly better off than before. But Truman gained personal freedom, guaranteed for the rest of his life. Do not expect anything like that in “Hunger Games.”

Having said that, I have been informed that this is taken from the first of a series of books, and a more positive end is in store for a world oppressed by tyranny. That does give us hope.

Now to technical details.

The acting and effects were almost without blemish, notwithstanding the weird costumes. An exception was in the beginning: Hand-held camera jitters make this part of the movie difficult to watch, and it failed to make the story more realistic to me. It really was an artistic disaster with those hand-held shots: overdone and too long.

Two of the dramatic events appeared to me too much like cliches, and one of them seemed to have no logical purpose. The romantic aspects were limited and welcomed, for they were fresh, not cliches.

Be aware, especially with children and teenagers, that more than half the teenagers in this gladiator combat environment show us the worst form of violence, and these are children being killed, sometimes for apparent sport. For those who enjoy simple hero-survival, this can be a satisfying movie; just don’t expect very much.

Movie Review: “Super 8”

For most adults with taste and for most children, stay away and save your time and money [re: Super-8]

Texas Marfa Lights

The new hypothesis, outlined in the news release “Unmasking a Flying Predator in Texas,” has received little support from most scientists who have recently become aware of the idea. It involves a group of intelligent flying creatures that glow brightly with intrinsic bioluminescence . . .

Teradactyl Expert

The spelling “teradactyl” is incorrect, meaning “pterosaur,” but not everyone can win a spelling bee. Some Americans refer to this feather-less flying creature as a “flying dinosaur” or a “prehistoric bird” or a “dinosaur bird.” It comes in two flavors: Rhamphorhynchoid (long-tailed) and Pterodactyloid (short-tailed).

So what is a “teradactyl expert?” This also comes in two flavors: paleontologists (who study fossils) and cryptozoologists (who study eyewitness reports of apparent living pterosaurs). This might lead to controversy, when people use the same word (“pterosaur” if they are particular about the correct spelling) for two different meanings.

Attacks on “Pterodactyl Expert”

It was just a few commentators on a cryptozoology.com forum thread who initiated the attack. But it was a rather vicious attack, with one of the assailants using the name “ape man.” The question may appear simple on the surface: Am I (Jonathan Whitcomb) a “pterodactyl” expert?

A Live Teradactyl

 Jonathan Whitcomb, the forensic videographer, interviewed natives with professional experience in getting to the unique aspects of each sighting.

Art at the Cerritos Library

You can find more than books at the Cerritos Library.


The Cerritos Library features the works of artists with national and international reputations. Located throughout the building, these works of art enhance and comment on the themes created for the various areas of the building. Information on the artists and works housed in the library is available [on the Cerritos Library web site] as well as in printed form at the adult reference and information desk.

About the Artist Bruce Everett (The painting “Las Virgenes Valley, 2001” is in the Craftsman area of the library)

Bruce Everett lives and works in Los Angeles County. His technical mastery became evident at an early age. Upon visiting the Chicago Library as a young boy, he saw a mural size painting that inspired him to follow a career in art. This Library connection makes the Cerritos painting a very personal and meaningful statement. Everett studied painting at the University of Iowa and University of California, Santa Barbara, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in 1968. Although he was trained as an abstract painter, he later became interested in portraying the landscape in a realistic manner.


Child Care in Long Beach, California

Whitcomb Family Daycare, 4503 Walnut Avenue, Long Beach, California

Licensed by the City of Long Beach and by California: State license # 191604310

With the balanced leadership of a husband and wife (who have raised their own children), Gladys and Jonathan [Whitcomb] will give your child a healthy balance of love and training . . . highly qualified, recommended, trained, and licensed to provide a loving, secure home environment for the children who come into their care. Feel free to call Gladys for more information, including rates and availabilities.