By the cryptozoology author Jonathan D. Whitcomb
The scientist Clifford Paiva suggested, in January of 2017, that I write a little book about a photograph that has been around a long time. I wrote Modern Pterosaurs in a nonfiction-cryptozoology genre, although it supports a Biblical time-table, especially concerning a literal Flood of Noah. Yet religion is almost entirely in the background, with an emphasis on what some persons call the “Civil War pterodactyl photo.” Paiva and I call it “Ptp.”
Background on the “Pteranodon photo”
Paiva found evidence that Ptp is as old as it looks, for a tree branch appears to have been used as a prop to keep one man’s leg from moving while the photograph was taken. That suggests the date was probably before about 1870.
Some persons may call Ptp the “Pteranodon photo,” for the animal shown has a head that is very like what we would expect on that species of pterosaur. That particular type, however, was not well known, even by many scientists, before the early 20th century. If the photo really is from about the time of the American Civil War, that head would indeed be direct evidence that an extant pterosaur lived in the 19th century.
Modern Pterosaurs (nonfiction)
Confusion with a different photo
Around the year 2000, people connected with Haxan Films (Florida) created a photo that was made to appear old. It was in imitation of Ptp, with apparent American Civil War reenactors, to promote one or more episodes of the “Freakylinks” television show, which was on the Fox Network from 2000 until 2001.
Because both photos appear to be from the time of the Civil War, with apparent Union soldiers, and because both have one man with his foot on the head or beak of an apparent winged animal, people have become confused. One prominent online page even shows a small image of Ptp but with words referring to the Haxan Films hoax. It now appears obvious that the writer thought that what we now call “Ptp” is the fake photo that was connected with a TV show. It is not.
Original Ptp photograph is on the left; a recent hoax-imitation is on the right
Ptp is authentic, according to Paiva and Whitcomb
We have found many evidences that Ptp is genuine, with an image of an actual animal that was photographed with those six soldiers. You’ll find many details on our findings when you read Modern Pterosaurs – Human encounters with living “pterodactyls.”
We [Jonathan Whitcomb and Clifford Paiva] are serious about our declaration that this photograph (Ptp) has a valid image of a real animal.
Clifford Paiva, a scientist living in California, this past January suggested I write a small book about what we have discovered in an old photograph. I just finished writing the nonfiction Modern Pterosaurs, which supports a Biblical timetable regarding the Flood of Noah.
The photograph now called “Ptp” has been around for a long time, possibly in one or more books in the mid-20th century . . . Very early in the 21st century, a stunt-photo was created, apparently imitating Ptp, for one or more episodes of the Freakylinks television series on the Fox network. . . . But that photo has an entirely different origin than what is now called “Ptp,” . . .
I believe it’s important that people not be deceived when viewing the image that Mr. Paiva and I have declared to be a genuine modern pterosaur. We are serious about our declaration that this photograph (Ptp) has a valid image of a real animal.