Civil War Photograph With a Pterodactyl

By the cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb

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.

We also need to understand that a more-recent imitation photo is a hoax, or at least a virtual hoax, created for a TV show. Do not confuse these two photos, for on the surface they appear similar. Some persons have been confused, thinking there is only one photograph.

The photo shown in Figure-1 has recently been labeled “Ptp,” to distinguish it from an imitation photo that was created as a sort of hoax for the Freakylinks television series. Figure-1 shows Ptp, which was proclaimed genuine in January of 2017, and Figure-2 shows the Freakylinks photo, which was made look like Ptp. (Haxan Films produced Freakylinks, 2000-2001.)

Ptp photo with verified authentic modern pterosaur

Figure-1: The original Ptp (See full-size Civil War pterodactyl photograph)


Now see the imitation photo, staged with Civil War reenactors, Figure-2:

Hoax photograph made by Haxan Films to promote Freakylinks episodes

Figure-2: imitation hoax for a TV show (“credit” Fox Network)


I’ve written much about these two photographs in the past few weeks. The following are brief summaries of some of those online publications; this list is not complete.


Validating a Civil War Pterosaur Photograph

This briefly mention Pteranodon anatomy and the Freakylinks hoax, but it mainly deals with the writings of three critics who have dismissed the older photograph: Loren Coleman, Glen Kuban, and Dale Drinnon.


Civil War Soldiers and Monster Photo

This has an update (January 24, 2017) at the top of this post that was originally written on April 9, 2013. The original post mentions the possibility that the photograph (Ptp) has a genuine image of a Pteranodon. It mentions the hoax photo for Freakylinks but mostly deals with a skeptic’s proclamation about an apparent Photoshop artifact with the head of one of the soldiers shown in the older photo.


Old Civil War Pteranodon Photograph

If you had asked me about this old photograph, of an apparent pterosaur, 25 years ago, I would have said that it’s probably a hoax. How much I have learned in recent years! . . .

Anyone who has seen an image representing a Pteranodon head may see a resemblance in the Ptp photo. Mr. Paiva and I are not declaring, however, that the animal in this photo must be the same species as fossils of that type. Yet we see an obvious resemblance.


Modern Pterosaur in a Civil War Photograph

This begins by comparing the two photos, giving a few clues why the Freakylinks photo is fake. It then mentions details in Ptp pointed out by Clifford Paiva:

  • muscles in the neck
  • curve of the neck
  • hump at the shoulder
  • vertical pupil of the eye

Those details suggest that the flying creature was either a Pteranodon or something similar.


Old Photo of a Pterosaur Declared Genuine

Official Announcement of a Joint Declaration

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, the missile defense physicist Clifford Paiva and I communicated by phone and mutually agreed that the image herein labeled “Pteranodon Photograph” [later labeled “Ptp”] contains a genuine image of a modern pterosaur, regardless of the specific species or type of pterosaur that it may have been.


Civil War Pterosaur Photo

This is a page of the Live Pterosaur Media Center and quotes Tom Payne, including this: “I’m 67 years old and remember this photo from when I was young . . .”


Credibility of a Photo of a Modern Pterosaur

This mentions a bit about skeptics of the investigations, with an introduction that includes the 2004 expedition of Jonathan Whitcomb on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea. It then shows the two “Civil War” “monster” photographs and explains why one soldier (Ptp) appears to have the ends of his fingers missing.


This is a recently updated page that now includes a bit on the Civil War “pterodactyl” photograph. It also mentions a sighting from a U.S. military ship, although that is more of a request for eyewitness sailors to come forward and provide more information.