The deserts of southwest Texas near Marfa harbor a few strange nocturnal flying creatures, according to one theory by a cryptozoologist. Bioluminescent winged predators have been tagged with the name “Marfa Lights.” Stranger still, they have been conjectured to be living pterosaurs, yes those flying “dinosaurs,” also known as pterodactyls, that were thought to have become extinct millions of years ago.
According to the Houston Chronicle:
In 1883 a young cowhand saw the flickering orbs while driving cattle and wondered if they were Apache campfires.
Others have imagined the yellow-orange lights to be dancing devils, ghosts, invading soldiers, owls with lights under their feathers and most recently, the dinosaurs.
Whitcomb’s theory, loosely, is that the flying creatures emit a light or a glow that attracts insects. Then bats eat the insects, and the dinosaurs (he calls them ropen, pterosaurs and pterodactyls) feed on the bats. During the cooler months of the year, he says, the flying predators may chase rabbits, owls and rattlesnakes instead of bats or bugs.
While Whitcomb has been effective in broadcasting his views, he acknowledges that he has no scientific training, has never been to Marfa and has not seen the creatures whose patterns and habits he attempts to describe.
According to the cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb:
Hunting Marfa Lights, by James Bunnell—That’s where I got the details from years of observations, in southeast Texas, scientific observations of those flying lights. Bunnell and I agree that the mysterious lights examined in his book are not glowing owls; but we disagree on what causes the ones that fly just above the floor of the desert south of Marfa.
Sometimes a light splits into two, which then separate, moving some distance away from each other before reuniting. . . . So what was the insight about strange flying lights near Marfa, Texas? Look at one light that separates into two lights. Why would they move away from each other, or would one move away while the other was stationary? Keep looking as they later reverse direction to approach each other and come back together, or as the approaching one disappears right before the reunion.
But how can ropens explain a light splitting into two lights? We now get into the tactics. Two glowing ropens sitting next to each other would appear from a distance to be one light. After attracting insects for awhile, one ropen flies off, still glowing. . . .
. . . during World War II, “these lights [would] take off, fly, and land with Marfa Army bombers . . . Not one, but most of the bombers . . . were escorted by these lights.” Those were not flying car headlights. It seems to relate to what some residents of the area have said about the flying lights: They are playful.
Well, I see something more strange than large intelligent bioluminescent flying creatures unclassified by scientists. Search for a non-living explanation for one light that splits into two, with one of them then racing just above desert vegetation, only to reverse course and return to the light that was remaining in the original location.
If non-living, the two lights probably consist of the same active combusting-like substance. Whatever would pull at that single mass would probably pull all of it. If some strange process of physics caused it to split, whatever pulls one strongly enough to make it race across the countryside should have caused at least a little pull on the other. And how could any non-living substance be influenced to reverse course and return to the stationary one while that light sitting still refuses to move under the influence of that reverse-direction-pull? I find it much easier to believe in flying dinosaurs that glow in the dark. [From the fourth edition of the paperback Searching for Ropens and Finding God]
I believe that a future discovery involving Marfa Lights may involve capturing an animal, but that requires an explanation.
A new explanation for the mysterious flying Marfa Lights comes from a strange source: a cryptozoologist . . . Jonathan Whitcomb . . . suggesting they might be related to the ropen lights of Papua New Guinea.
Several scientists and a group of student-scientists have searched and researched, with various conclusions. The most common explanation is “car headlights;” the strangest, “living pterosaurs.”