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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Civil War soldiers shoot down a pterodactyl???

This photo has been making the rounds for some time, and I have to say it warms my heart. Giant monsters in the Civil War? Yeah, I'm there!

It appears to show a group of Union soldiers proudly displaying a pterodactyl they've shot down. It's similar to a couple of other photos that I published in my post about the Thunderbird photo. As with those photos, I didn't ask permission to republish this. If it's really as old as it appears, then it's in the public domain. It could simply be an old fake. If it's a modern fake, then I'm in breach of copyright, but the only way the creators could sue me is if they admitted faking the photo! I'll take that chance. :-)

This image first appeared on Freakylinks, a cryptozoology page. Hit the link for a larger format of this photo plus an article about it. The author claims to have found this image stuck like a bookmark in a book titled Search for the Outer Space Gods by Jonathan Ferody, published by Harpsong Press in 1977. Searches on Amazon, ABE, and Google produced no such title or author. There is a Harpsong Press, but it wasn't established until 2003 and only published one book.

The author also states he contacted various professionals who said it looked real, including "Professor M. Nance Darbrow from the University of Florida Paleontology Department" and "Dr. Christian Barscuz, Anthropology Department, University of Arizona." At this point my bullshit detector went off the scale. I studied at the University of Arizona Anthropology department in the late 1990s and remember no such professor, even though Dr. Barscuz was supposedly there in 1998. An Internet search failed to bring up either of these two researchers at any university.

What's interesting is that this story was picked up by many other websites who simply repeated the information without spending five minutes to check, which all the time I devoted to this. Life is short, after all.

But I'm not one of those grumpy skeptics. I love the fact that some Civil War reenactors got together with a B-movie castoff and made this photo. Maybe I should make some of my own for my next book cover? At least my Civil War horror books are clearly labeled as fiction!


  1. Yeah, fake or no fake, it makes for a great photo and has got lots of story potential!

  2. The only flaw in the theory that it may be real is that it clearly looks faked.

  3. I was an ACW reenactor for some years, and we never carried live rounds except at the odd range event at someone's farm. On the off chance that we had been visited by a pterodactyl while we HAD been loaded with live rounds, the chances of us hitting it would have been minimal. Heck, we couldn't hit a tin can on a fencepost at 25 metres, most of us. Cool picture, though.

  4. Some people are more gullible than others, but logic should prevail. It does make an interesting photo, though. (we'd like to believe the unbelievable)

    I think brown pelicans have a touch of the pterodactyl in their skeletal design.

  5. These are almost definitely modern reenactors in the photo. If you'll notice, they are middle aged men The average age of Union soldiers was 22 and often they were considerably younger. Moreover,with one exception, the men in the photo are overweight. There were very few overweight Civil War soldiers. Most were thin.

  6. The Freakylinks photo at the start of your article is different than the one shown repeated in the margins of your web page. The most active advocate of "living pterosaur" claims, Johathan Whitcomb, claims that the second one is the "real" one which the Freakylinks crew copied in their hoax. However, it too has serious problems, both with the anatomy of the creature, and the soldiers. For example, they are wearing Union enlisted infantry uniforms, but then they should be wearing oval belt buckles instead of rectangular ones. For a detailed analysis of these photos and "modern pterosaur" claims, see my critique at:

  7. Both "Civil War" photos with six solders posed with a giant pterosaur are modern fakes, created under the direction of Haxan Films c. 1998-2000 for the FreakyLinks TV series aired by FOX. The one showing the creature laying flat (and a soldier with his shirt open at the left) was used for the FreakyLinks website promo, and the model used in it is in Loren Coleman's museum in Maine. The other photo, called "Ptp" by a YEC name John Whitecomb who wrote a book promoting it, was used in the program itself, Episode. Both used Civil War actors, and have heavily photoshopped backgrounds. For more details on this, and reviews of alleged "living pterosaur" sightings, please see my article at: http://paleo.cc/paluxy/livptero.htm

  8. I was there that day and the giant bird came down and made a squawking sound , stamped it's feet and gobbled me up .True as Im standing here on me bed .


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