Two very different books have one thing in common. In the allegorical fiction book The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, much of the story is about a shepherd boy’s travels far from his homeland; he returns to find his purpose fulfilled in his own country. In the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America, by Jonathan Whitcomb, only a little is about the author’s travel to Papua New Guinea; he returns to find a possibility that his purpose may be fulfilled in his own country.
. . . It’s in how something in a shepherd boy’s quest resembles something in the history of living-pterosaur investigations since the late twentieth century (traveling back and forth, literally).
But how strange it may strike readers when they realize that the non-fiction book is the one about modern pterosaurs—some would call them “dragons”—living in the United States of America, not the fictional story by Coelho.
As we approach the Christmas gift-giving season (how commercial!) we may consider books about wildlife and animals. These seem to be popular as gift-books.
Secretariat’s Meadow (story of a race horse)
On March 30, 1970, Secretariat drew his first breath in a little white foaling shed on a historic farm called The Meadow in Caroline County, Virginia. Three years later he would leave the nation breathless as he captured the Triple Crown, shattering records and rivals alike.
Great Migrations (by National Geographic) (wildlife migrations)
At a riverbank in Africa’s Serengeti, thousands of migrating wildebeest try desperately to cross as terrifying crocs feast on the galloping herds–which must attempt the river for a chance at survival. . . . In the Falkland Islands, the albatross . . . in this magnificent book, companion to the 7-hour HD epic television event from National Geographic . . .
Live Pterosaurs in America, second edition (Amazon category: wildlife book) (Nonfiction)
Encounters with living pterosaurs (Eyewitness accounts in cryptozoology)
Live “pterodactyls?” In the United States? Many scientists have long assumed all pterosaurs died millions of years ago. Now take a whirlwind tour of many years of investigations in cryptozoology, and prepare for a shock: At least two species of pterosaurs have survived, uncommon, not so much rare as widely, thinly distributed.
An early-twentieth-century British entomologist (biologist specializing in insects), Evelyn Cheesman, wrote about her experiences in New Guinea. Published in 1935, The Two Roads of Papua includes several pages about the author’s investigation of strange lights seen near the top of a mountain ridge, on the jungle mainland of what is now the independent nation Papua New Guinea. She never learned what caused the lights.
In late 2006, only about three mountain ranges south of Cheesman’s observation location, Paul Nation (a cryptozoologist from Texas) videotaped two strange lights that the local natives call “indava.” They resembles the ropen lights of Umboi Island, where he had previously explored. Like the ropen, the indava is said to be a large nocturnal flying creature. The two are thought by some cryptozoologists to be at least related to each other and to be giant bioluminescent Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs. How Cheesman would have been shocked!
See British Biologist Observes Strange Lights (later reported to be a bioluminescent flying creature)
According to National Geographic, regarding the Marfa Lights (Texas), ”Reports often describe brightly glowing basketball sized spheres floating above the ground, or sometimes high in the air.” (Word-for-word National Geographic correlates with Wikipedia here.) Wikipedia adds that skeptics attribute the lights to “mistaken sightings of ordinary nighttime lights, such as distant vehicle lights, ranch lights, or astronomical objects.”
According to Jonathan Whitcomb, author of the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America, some of the America ghost lights may be from bioluminescent pterosaurs, similar to the ropen of Papua New Guinea. Those flying lights are sometimes seen above mountains, sometimes with a mountain background, and sometimes moving too fast to be from any human source; they are not from vehicle lights (especially where there are neither vehicles nor roads, especially in the sky), astonomical objects (with mountain background), or natives’ flashlights.
The British entomologist Evelyn Cheesman investigated the strange lights she saw deep in the mainland of New Guinea, in the 1930′s. She never was able to come to any conclusion about what caused the lights, although she was sure that they were not from any human origin.
See also “Pterosaur Interpretation of Chessman Sightings.”