Supporting the old Civil War Pterosaur Photograph

By the living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

A Partial Reply to “Living Pterosaurs (Pterodactyls)?” by Glen Kuban

Last month, I contacted the writer Glen Kuban, informing him of his long-standing mistake in assuming that there was only one Civil-War-soldiers-with-a-dead-pterodactyl photograph. Yesterday, I noticed he had corrected that one mistake, publishing images of both the Ptp photo and the Freakylinks hoax photo together. (See “Ptp: Civil Pterodactyl Photo” on this Cerritos Families blog; it’s dated January 31, 2017.)

Unfortunately, in revising “Living Pterosaurs (Pterodactyls),” Kuban added a long string of paragraphs that attacked the possibility that Ptp might be a genuine photograph. I could write a book in response to his web page of 60+ paragraphs, but we’ll have to settle for a short reply here, concentrating on a few details in some of the new paragraphs.

First, Kuban mentions two controversial photographs and then uses the words, “active promotions by Jonathan Whitcomb and associates.” That could mislead at least some of his readers, for he refers to the Haxan Freakylinks photo and Ptp, but I have always declared that the Freakylinks one is a hoax. In other words, I have never promoted the idea that the Haxan Films photo might be genuine. I don’t accuse him of deliberately trying to mislead anyone, but that wording of that sentence appears to me to be far from ideal.

I don’t mean that Kuban is the main source of confusion on this subject, not at all. In fact, it seems that on separate Freakylinks online pages each of the two photos appears (one on each page). But when we, at least in recent years, say “Freakylinks Civil War pterodactyl hoax photo,” or something similar, we mean the one in which the entire image is out of focus and the supposed animal on the ground looks more like a crumpled up canvass than an animal and the soldier on the left appears too heavyset to button his shirt. That’s the one we call the Freakylinks photo.


comparing two photographs

Only the one on the left (“Ptp”) is a genuine photograph with a real animal


Yet even after Kuban admits his original confusion between the two photos, he refers to Ptp with, “[people have] pointed out the suspiciously blurry and grainy nature of the photo, compared to the sharp focus of most photos from the time.” If Kuban had personally looked closely at the two photographs, he would not have made that mistake. See for yourself by clicking on the above comparison-image: Notice that in Ptp the faces of the soldiers and the head of the animal are in focus (compared with the background), but in the Freakylinks fake photo nothing is in focus. In other words, Kuban is still being careless and is still making errors of fact in his paragraphs in “Living Pterosaurs (Pterodactyls).”

Pteranodon or not Pteranodon, That is the Question

He makes more mistakes, in quick succession. He seems aware that I have recently published many web pages on Ptp, yet he seems to have looked at very few of them or failed to read many of them or forgot what he read or confused it with something somebody else wrote. I have often made it clear that the physicist Clifford Paiva and I have not declared that this animal must be some species of Pteranodon. Yet Kuban writes a long list of things that he thinks makes the image in Ptp different from a Pteranodon. He seems to think that his list should discredit the authenticity of Ptp. Really!

And even his list begins with an error that I think could be cleared up by simply looking closely at a magnified image of the head of the animal. He refers to large teeth and then says that Pteranodons did not have teeth. Look more closely. Those are not teeth but could be an irregularity in the shape of the mouth. Perhaps this was a species of Pteranodon that has not yet been discovered in a fossil.

I could write much about weaknesses in his other points but this will have to do for the present.

In other words, Kuban needs to look more closely at Ptp and read more carefully what I have written about it. By the way, we are still dealing in cryptozoology, at least mostly, for eyewitness accounts have been most useful in the living-pterosaur investigations. In addition, for those who have read Kuban’s page, Paiva and I are not declaring that Ptp must have been a photograph recorded during the American Civil War or that it must have been in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The scene could have been photographed a little after the Civil War and in some other part of the United States.


copyright 2017 Jonathan Whitcomb


Civil War Photograph of a Pterodactyl

A number of names or labels have been given to this old photo, probably the most practical being “Ptp,” for that helps to distinguish it from the more recent hoax photo that was created to promote the Freakylinks television show produced by Haxan Films at the beginning of the 21st century.

Ptp: Civil War Pterodactyl Photo

Paiva started examining the Ptp photo many years ago, finding evidence for authenticity; I have known about Ptp for a long time, possibly as early as 1968, but I’ve hesitated putting great confidence in it until mid-January of 2017. That was certainly not my friend’s fault but my own weakness . . .

Old Photo of a Pteranodon

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, the missile defense physicist Clifford Paiva and I communicated by phone and mutually agreed that the image herein labeled “Pteranodon Photograph” contains a genuine image of a modern pterosaur, regardless of the specific species or type of pterosaur that it may have been.

Photograph of soldiers with a pterodactyl

Answering skeptical comments and criticisms of a direct interpretation of a photograph that some persons report remembering from the middle of the 20th century, long before Photoshop digital imaging processing was generally available.

Ropen of Papua New Guinea

Gideon Koro was interviewed by Jonathan Whitcomb,in 2004, on Umboi Island. The American found this native’s testimony to be highly credible: The long-tailed ropen terrified Gideon and six other boys, as it flew over Lake Pung one day around 1994. [This appears to be a modern living pterosaur, perhaps related to the orang-bati of Indonesia]


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