Living Pterosaurs in Washington (state)

By living-pterosaurs researcher Jonathan Whitcomb


For those who already know about my investigation in cryptozoology, you can skip to the next section.

A few years ago, one skeptic dismissed my ideas by assuming that I had come to believe in the possibility of non-extinct pterosaurs from one or more rumors that I had read online. Nothing of the kind.

Between 2003 to 2017, I interviewed eyewitnesses who came from around the world: ordinary persons who live or who have lived on five of the seven continents of this planet. In 2004, I led a brief expedition on Umboi Island, interviewing native eyewitnesses of the ropen, which my associates and I believe is a living pterosaur.

Before continuing, please be aware of the importance of the work of my associates, including (but not limited to) Clifford Paiva, Garth Guessman, David Woetzel, and Paul Nation. Without their efforts and support, and the support of some important eyewitnesses, I don’t know how I could have gotten through the past 14 years while still doing my own investigation in this narrow and controversial branch of cryptozoology. Thank God for their help!

With that said, here is part of what God has helped me to accomplish during those 14 years in which I was writing  about living pterosaurs:

  • Over 1,000 web pages/blog posts published in 7+ languages
  • Four nonfiction books published in nine total editions (English)
  • One scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed journal

Please keep that in perspective: Most of the above was done before I received the following email in July of 2015.

Sighting in the State of Washington in 2015

Subject: I think I saw a ropen the other night

On the night of July 17th, 2015. I am around 30 years old and have been living in this great state for about 28 years in total. I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff but nothing such as this.

I had been standing alongside the river on our property out in Randle – Washington like I usually do . . . sit and watch the birds during the day until the bats fly overhead and eat bugs at night. During the day I like to sit from this spot on the riverbank and watch all sorts of birds and bugs fly by, as well as passing clouds and planes, there is a lot of mountainous terrain around the Cowlitz River here.

Bald eagles like the ride the thermal drafts just further down the river, it sits a bit higher than the riverbed so you have good sight lines down that way. So anyway I’m [a] definitely avid sky watcher. I know the silhouettes of objects and creatures pretty well and I have become pretty adept at identifying them and I have good eye sight. I also very much like to look at the stars every night that I can.

I would say it was some time around midnight, when it started getting truly dark that night. I had been staring down toward the end of my view of the river, thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me, because down around the bend of the river where I couldn’t see very well, [it] was being lit up by this eerie looking dim red glow, it flashed a few times then disappeared but I had chalked it up to just my imagination, perhaps someone with a flashlight down there, but red and such a large area to light up seemed unrealistic.

My father had just left the fireside not more than 5-10 minutes earlier to go to sleep, a shame too, he did not see it and as such I am the only witness. I swear that I saw this and it was real, and most certainly was NOTHING like a BIRD or a BAT.

It was pretty quiet except for the bats locating their food as far as I could tell, you could hear them screeching up high off the river. I was looking up at the big dipper while the fire was beginning to dim down to embers when I saw the most amazing thing that made my flight senses kick in.

As soon as I witnessed this creature, I got a pretty good look at this thing and it was massive, probably a bit bigger than the eagles I see. I think because the resemblance was undeniable to my subconscious, at first I thought it may have been a crane then suspected a large bat but when I saw the tail wafting behind it in the wind it scared me. But I thought to myself, its totally dark out right now and I don’t see why a crane would be nocturnal, I’ve never seen one far from a swamp not to mention they certainly do not have a tail like this, and I’ve never seen or heard any owls in the area either. I tell you now that it had more in common with a reptile than a bird.

I am pretty certain it had been hunting along the river, for what I do not know. We do find a lot of fallen feathers in the area, as well as signs of struggle by small furred creatures so perhaps that has some role in it. It had back swept, semi imposable wings, like what you would commonly attribute to a pterodactyl to having and something of a long neck and beak. It’s why I immediately thought of a crane, then a bat.. then.. a dinosaur.

This .. thing sailed in over my head ultimately silently, and perched in the main tree, of many trees on that corner that overlook it. You could hear the weight of it settling on the branch and it began to make this guttural clucking noise at me and I could see its head moving and looking at me and it wasn’t afraid of me at all.

So I shined my flashlight at it trying to get a better glimpse of it, scared to death and expecting to soon become its snack, but it only made it go back further into the trees. From what I could tell it looked very pale, with what seemed almost like leopard spots or some kind of form of natural camouflage.

I slowly walked over to the shed while keeping it illuminated with the light to tell my dad about this because I was so intimidated by this thing. I was really worried that it may eat our year old German shepherd, or hurt me or my dad, being so massive.

He [Dad] then came out to see and reassured me that nothing was there and we want back over and tried to toss a few small rocks at the foot of the tree to see if it was still there. But there was no sign of it. It seemed to have fled as silently as it came or hid it itself very well from us.

I went back out first thing in the morning and it wasn’t there. But I was still feeling pretty freaked out by the whole affair. I will never feel the same again that far outdoors after what I saw that night.

It was very humbling to know something like that exists and is very real as it had some pretty serious looking talons on the wings. I found my way to your site when scouring the internet for any kind of information regarding a creature like this and now I don’t feel so crazy about it because I know that I saw . . . something like this creature.


In the context of countless other sightings of apparent living pterosaurs around the world, including within the United States, even other encounters in the state of Washington, I belief that this man saw a ropen, similar to what many others have witnessed in North America.

If I have never had any previous experience with reports of apparent modern pterosaurs, I could have some doubt, but knowing that at least some pterosaurs are still living I have come to believe that this particular man witnessed a particular living pterosaur.



Living Pterosaurs Declaration

The following persons ask the general public to become aware of research into many eyewitness sightings of apparent extant pterosaurs, commonly called “pterodactyls,” . . .

eyewitness sightings of living pterosaurs worldwide - England through Papua New Guinea

(The above is part of the sighting-location list)


Two Pterosaurs in Washington State

A frightening encounter with two large long-tailed living pterosaurs


Nonfiction books on living pterosaurs – for LDS

  • Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition)
  • Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition)
  • Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea (pdf)


Living pterosaurs in the state of Washington

On Wednesday, August 6, 2014, Peter Beach, Milt Marcy, and I drove together from Portland, Oregon, to the Yakima River in southeast Washington state. . . .


Books for LDS readers

With the Christmas gift-giving season approaching, I offer the following three nonfiction books that I have written, each of them about evidences for non-extinct pterosaurs, what many Westerners call “pterodactyls.”


Uncommon bits of information