Missing Children and the Ropen

I don’t blame Americans, or people from other Western countries, for suspecting something is wrong with me, as I have written over a thousand blog posts, over the past eleven years, on the subject of modern pterosaurs. As I said in my book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, “Not everybody embraces a live pterodactyl.” Yet ordinary persons continue to report to me their encounters with extraordinary flying creatures.

I don’t accuse all ropens for all the disappearances of children who go missing in North America. But the reported sizes of some of these flying creatures makes it possible for a small number of them to go bad in the worst way, like a few mountain lions and a few bears that we have heard of over the decades. This possibility now deserves attention: A few ropens have also gone bad.


road leading to Cal State Irvine, California

Location of sighting of apparent 30-foot long ropen in Southern California


Gigantic Flying Creatures in Southern California

Let’s begin with potential non-human predators of children in Southern California. Are any of these flying creatures large enough to carry away a child?

PD [a teenager in the 1960’s] lived in Altadena, near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. . . . Sunset was approaching and the teenager was home alone. The creature flew “straight up” and over a mountain ridge near the intersection of Allen Avenue and Altadena Drive. The wings were wide and long, and the wingspan was the “length of a bus.” [from the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (SFRFG)]

A few weeks before my expedition in 2004, a lady posted her account of a giant flying creature that had flown over her house in Encinitas, twenty-five miles north of San Diego. The loud swooshing of wings first caught her attention. The “huge dark bird,” heading east, then flew directly over her head. She reported, “It was much bigger than any bird I have ever seen, including vultures, condors.” [SFRFG]

That report prepared me for an email I received years later, early in 2012, about two men who had seen two huge flying creatures about twenty-five miles to the south, over San Diego. One of the men told me, “It was about 8 p.m. . . . We were standing in the street . . . from the west came this dark object in the sky. It was right over us [90-120 feet high] . . . it looked like a huge bird, it was gliding in the air . . . it turned around and it stood still in the air, it was flapping its wings while it was there. Then . . . came another one . . . as it got close to the other one they both went east.” [SFRFG]

I can say that he is highly educated and works in a field in which this kind of report could greatly damage his career: a giant featherless flying creature he encountered in the summer of 2007, just north of the University of California at Irvine. . . . He could tell how long it was because it was so low as it crossed that road: The length of the creature was the width of the road. Half of that length was a straight tail with a “triangle” shape near the end. . . . [total length close to 30 feet and tail length close to 15 feet] [SFRFG]

Those are four eyewitness accounts of huge flying creatures in Southern California, one encounter in Los Angeles County, one in Orange County, and two in or near San Diego. I submit that each sighting is evidence for the existence of a species of large ropen in North America, a creature large enough to carry away a child.

Children Who Disappear in Southern California

The following two accounts of missing children may be explained by modern pterosaurs, yet we have room for doubt. Many other cases are documented in the nonfiction book by David Paulides, Missing 411 Western United States & Canada, and some of them show more evidence for this possibility. Please be aware that the living-pterosaur hypothesis for human disappearances is my idea, not Mr. Paulides’s. He has submitted facts that I later interpreted. In addition, the evidence, through the end of 2014, is circumstantial.

David Baumgarten, Big Bear Lake, 1938

This one has a happy ending, unlike many missing-children cases.

Two-year-old David went missing near Big Bear Lake, in the mountains north of San Bernardino, California. A search was organized and lasted through the night, but only after thirty hours was the boy found.

Four miles from where David went missing, his father found some faint tracks in the snow. He kneeled down and prayed, then walked further along the dirt road. He found his son lying unconscious in the snow. He was in excellent condition except for deep scratches on his face.

Thomas Bowman, Altadena, California, 1957

Eight-year-old Thomas was hiking with his father, in the Devil’s Gate Dam area north of the Rose Bowl of Pasadena, when he ran ahead to get to the car in the parking lot. He was never seen again.

This could have been a case of criminal abduction, of course, for many humans behave criminally. But not all animalistic behavior is from humans. This disappearance was only a few miles west of where a teenager, about eight years later, would see a giant “pterodactyl” fly into the mountains.

The Above Two Missing-Children Cases

I do not submit the above two cases as the most convincing possibilities for this hypothesis, for other explanations could be equally likely, especially for the Altadena case. Yet we have stronger cases in Mr. Paulides’s book, with more substantial circumstantial evidence for a large flying creature.


large river in northwest United States

Columbia River, northwestern United States, where some persons report seeing “pterodactyls”


Jess Davis, Gopher Valley, Oregon, 1955

This two-year-old had been left in the backyard for only ten minutes when the family noticed that he was missing. When the family could not find him, they notified the sheriff and some tracking dogs were brought in: three bloodhounds. Unfortunately, the dogs could not pick up a scent.

The next day, loggers found the two-year-old, by a creek many miles away. He was alive, although he had deep scratches on his legs. He could not have walked that distance, for he would have had to have hiked over at least two mountains.

Why could not the dogs track the boy, and how did he get so far away, alive but with deep scratches? All three of those puzzles can be solved by one large flying creature: a ropen.

Keith Parkins, Northeast Oregon, 1952

This two-year-old wandered away from his grandparents’ house, apparently, at about mid-day. Less than twenty-four hours later, Keith was found, unconscious but alive, in a creek bed. He was taken to a hospital and found to have many scratches over his entire body, but he survived.

How did that two-year-old cross fences and icy streams and mountains, all in about nineteen hours? He never did any such thing, at least not at that time, when he was only two. He was probably carried through the air over all of those obstacles.


Many other cases give significant circumstantial evidence that large flying creatures have, on occasion, carried away a child. Many such cases have no resolution, meaning no child or body was ever recovered.

Many times, clothing may come off the child, or maybe just a shoe. This most likely is from the child falling out of the clothing or shoe, allowing for a possible escape, since those flying creatures would not likely carry any child high above the ground.

This would explain why some children are found alive in underbrush or under a log. Falling onto bushes not only cushions the fall but hides the child from the ropen, should it turn around to try to find its prey. A child may roll under a log or later seek shelter under a log. This makes it more difficult for both ropen and human rescuers to find the missing child, yet it does explain why some of the living children are found in underbrush or under a log.


nonfiction paperback by David Paulides

Nonfiction paperback: Missing 411 Western United States & Canada



Garrett Bardsley in Utah

The case of missing-child Garrett Bardsley has barely enough evidence to even mention in regard to potential attacks from a North American ropen. But even if only one child can be saved from being a victim, it will be worth all the efforts we can muster. Garrett may have simply become lost and succumbed to the weather.

Do You Believe in Flying Dinosaurs?

Your belief depends a great deal on where you lived your childhood: in a village like Gomlongon on Umboi Island or in a western country like the United States. The fourth edition of the nonfiction book “Searching for Ropens and Finding God,” published on October 31, 2014, explains why religion has limited relevance to belief in the ropen.

Missing Persons in Western USA

If anyone knows of any report of an attack on a human, from an apparent ropen or from anything like a strange large bird, please let me know: Contact Whitcomb. I have recently found a number of missing persons cases in a nonfiction book: Missing 411 – United States & Canada. Some of them suggest the possibility that a large ropen may have gone bad and attacked people.

Getting Carried Away With Large Pterodactyls

I believe that modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaurs (AKA ropens) live in a number of species, probably specializing in a variety of uses of bioluminescence and in what each type of ropen eats. Humans are not a common prey for any species of modern “pterodactyl,” but the apparent exceptions now deserve attention.

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