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Mystery Flying Cryptid Photo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 23rd, 2006

Mystery Flying Cryptid

Cropped and unidentified versions of the above photograph have been floating around the internet, sparingly. I noticed one used in conjuction with the Ropen press release. It clearly seemed out of context, but nevertheless worthy of further examination.

Cryptomundo reader Brian Gaugler tracked it down to the files, and located the text of the who and the where behind the photo:

2003 – New Hampshire. November 6 – On the 25th of October in Plymouth, Joy P. was in the middle of a train trip. While observing the landscape, she decided to take photographs of the passing scenery. One of her pictures of red deer in a forest would show a strange, flying craft of a triangular shape. According to the Joy’s statement on the North American website Coast to Coast, when making the series of photographs, she never observed anything out of the ordinary while taking the landscape pictures.

Okay, I have to expose the bias of the website of origin. How does this show a "craft"?

Basically, what we have here is rather elementary, upon a second look. A photograph was taken. It shows something flying in the air. The person doing the picture-taking does not know what it was. It is an unknown.

The photo was sent to a UFO website. It was found in said file. But it also has been posted in conjunction with the Ropen reports.

But consider this… “UFO” means “unidentified flying object.” There is no direct connection between the object photographed and it being a known craft from outer space, which appears to be the immediate leap that seems to be happening merely due to where this photo was filed/found. Perhaps, as often happens, it was misfiled?

This can be placed in the "Mystery Flying Cryptid" photographic file just as easily as it can be in a ufo file.

Is it definitiely a photo of a Ropen? Of course, not.

It probably is not an African Kongomato either (as seen here in this William M. Rebsamen drawing from Cryptozoology A to Z).


But then, it is not outside the realm of possibilities that this might be a Thunderbird, a Mothman, a bird, a bat, or any number of natural objects or flying zoological or cryptozoological species. Just because something ends up in a so-called “UFO file” does not mean that it is “an outer space alien.” It only means it was an unidentified object seen flying, it was not sent to a cryptozoologist for an investigation, and Cryptomundo didn’t exist yet. :-)

As I have mentioned with the Mothman data, there are plenty of reasons a cryptozoological point of view should be used in an analysis of perhaps mislabelled and misfiled information.

What do you see in the photograph?

What are your ideas for what it might be?

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

57 Responses to “Mystery Flying Cryptid Photo”

  1. swnoel responds:

    Probably something on the lens of her camera.

    It appears that whatever it is, is out of focus, compared to the scenery.

  2. paperdragon responds:

    Yes, it could be something on the lens. My first impression though was that it was a flock of birds or swarm of insects.

  3. hanes responds:

    Since I am interested in serious unidentified flying objects research for many years, I can tell you that I am quite sure, that these pictueres show a well known phenenomen: little leaves, insects etc. right in front of the lense – which appear to be much bigger than they actually are.

    Greetings from Germany!


  4. Timber responds:

    It is difficult to estimate the size of this object since there is no relation point. Furthermore, the camera focus lies neither on the object nor on the mountains behind.

    However, it is visible from the blurring that the difference to the object and to the mountain differ. To me it seems that the object is much closer.

    I do not believe that there is something on the lens, since the camera focus seems to lie at a greater distance, so if there is something on the lens, it should IMHO more blurred.

    What can I say, to me it looks like a flying duck in profile (head down left, wings in plane with the viewer).

  5. caubeck responds:

    It looks like something stuck to the lens, though it could be a tanga or false moustache caught in the wind.

  6. Mnynames responds:

    Ok, how about a broken black trashbag blowing in the wind. Such an object, although perhaps seen at the time, might still be forgotten by the time the picture was developed/looked at (Don’t know if it was digital or not).

    Regardless, what causes me to be highly suspicious about the object is its apparent assymmetry. Maybe one could get an animal with bilateral symmetry to look like that from a certain angle, but I just can’t quite make it work in my head.

  7. Mnynames responds:

    Presumably a craft would be fairly symmetrical too, certainly if it was man-made, and if flight dynamics as we understand them were a factor.

  8. tpeter responds:

    The first thing I though of was that it looked like the sillhouette of a duck or goose diving or flying head downwards, though it was a bit odd I didn’t see any legs. No, it didn’t make me think of a pterosaur or kongamato.

  9. caubeck responds:

    Ah, now I’ve re-read the report I’ve come to a new conclusion.

    “On the 25th of October in Plymouth, Joy P. was in the middle of a train trip. While observing the landscape, she decided to take photographs of the passing scenery.”

    The photograph was taken through the window of a train.

    Joy P. would not have noticed anything in the air at the time because what we see was very probably just a bit of dirt on the glass. The sunlight coming through the pane makes the “thing” look lighter in colour and therefore further away.

    Having taken many photos through car, train and plane windows I know the muck and grime and pieces of gum hanging on the glass aren’t noticed until it’s too late.

  10. crypto_randz responds:

    Beautiful scenery in that photograph to me, I only wish the photo was clearer to me just my opinion it looks like a giant bird perhaps a Pterosaur just look at the front of its beak and mouth are very long.

  11. tpeter responds:

    On Mnynames’ comment about its possibly being a broken black trashbag blowing in the wind–taking a walk a few years ago, I saw on the street a few hundred feet ahead of me what at first looked like a black dog or cat jumping back and forth in a peculiar way. Coming closer, I saw that it was a black plastic bag stuck on a wire fence, flapping back and forth in the wind. On a parking lot in my neighborhood there is rusty fragment of a steel partition between two parts of the field for customers of different businesses, detached from its main portion a few years ago by a drunk or careless driver. From a distance, the detached barrier fragment used to momentarily think it was a large dog sitting on its haunches.

  12. caubeck responds:

    I would also point out that this is very unlikely to be the whole photograph, just a cropped fragment to place the mysterious splodge in the centre. No traveller believing the surrounding landscape is worth a photograph would capture mainly sky, a bit of tree top and the top of an anonymous hill.

  13. kamoeba responds:

    I believe it is probably a case of ‘forced perspective’…a small everyday object close to the camera lens looking like a large distant object. The photo was taken in the fall when many trees shed their leaves. A lonely leaf blowing in the wind?

  14. Ole Bub responds:

    Wakey wakey…eggs and bacey…this is obviously a Klingon warbird….transporting herds of sasquatch hybrids…and gaggles of kongomato’s cloaked in swamp gas…piloted by albino lycnathropes…

    seeing is believing

    ole bub and the dawgs

  15. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    It’s a hang gliding blob-squatch!

  16. cabochris responds:

    As the former owner of a photo lab it looks like digital work done on the computer. I think one can see where the subject was added in and also where other parts of the photo have been touched-up. Over the years in the photo business, it is quite interesting hearing “I never saw it in the picture when I took it”. Red-flag number one!

  17. s7nations responds:

    I think this looks like a duck that is flying through the picture. It is out of focus because the photographer was not intending to take a picture of the duck, but of the scenery. But, it could be any number of things since we don’t know everything about the picture.

  18. s7nations responds:

    After looking at it some more I tend to agree with Cabochris. You can see blur marks around it like the photographer used a blur tool to make the “duck” look out of focus.

  19. MK2_Bigfoot responds:

    If it is something stuck to the lens, it would be easily verfiable by examining the photo prior and the photo taken afterwards in the sequence.

    It is interesting…

  20. moregon responds:

    My first thought was the same as Mnynames such as some sort of debris like a garabage bag or something being blown by the wind. There is also the possibility, that since this picture was taken on a train trip, and most likely taken through window glass it was something stuck on the window itself.

  21. caubeck responds:

    The blur around the mystery splodge is also around the landscape. This is a completely normal effect caused by magnifying a small fragment of an ordinary photograph, or reducing the size of a large one for use in a webpage.

    If you search Google for holiday snaps of landscapes and blow them up in Paint or some other programme you will find the phenomenon all the time.

  22. One Eyed Cat responds:

    For once I will answer before reading the previous posts.
    First thought? Either the Japanese Rodan or the back end of a Romulan Ship from Star Trek.

    Seriously Without sign of a tale, Ropen like creature seems not likely. I am leaning toward craft right now.

  23. tpeter responds:

    Toward the end of Comment #11 this morning, I wrote: >
    No, I didn’t mean to say that the detached barrier fragment itself thought anything! I meant to say, > I had just absent-mindedly left out the words “made me”.

  24. smylex responds:

    It could be fake, alot of people can fake something like that with photoshop or something. I think it just might be real though.

  25. OKBFfan responds:

    Oh its definitely a real photograph. It could be a real photograph of a t-shirt thrown into the wind. There is no scale for reference, and no other indications as to what this could be, therefore, it could be anything at all.

  26. English Boy responds:

    I cannot tell, I would need a closer look to be able to make judgements on this.

  27. springheeledjack responds:

    I would love to say that it is a thunderbird or pterosaur or some such beastie…but the photo is so vague and non-descript that I have to go with it being something ordinary like dirt or an object that happened to get caught in the frame.

    I don’t think it is dirt on the lens because that would have shown up in other pictures.

    I think the biggest clue is that the woman did not see anything while she was taking the pictures. That leads me to believe she caught something that flitted in front of the camera or something ordinary that did not call her attention to a big something flying through the sky.

    Too bad though.

  28. Brian Gaugler responds:

    This reminds me of the so called “rods” that supposedly can’t be seen with the naked eye but only when they are photographed or videotaped. It’s been shown that they are simply blurred insects caught on film, so that might be what we have here, or of course it could be a duck, a bag, or just Photoshop all together.

  29. kentsmole responds:

    Am I the only person who sees a butterfly?

  30. harleyb responds:

    Looks almost convincing,but if it was a huge flying thing wouldn’t somebody else have seen it? makes a man mad.

  31. larzker responds:

    It is definately a pteranodon or a huge archaeopteryx. Whatever it is there cannot be a reasonable explanation for it. It MUST be an animal that has been extinct for millions of years. Remember the coelacanth? Everyone thought that was extinct. Therefore, anything in the background of any grainy photograph MUST be either bigfoot or a dinosaur.

  32. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    How about a plain old kite made like a flying reptile or a flying model. They wereboth available not so long ago. Somehow its not really convincing.

  33. Sky King responds:

    It almost looks like a frame from the movie Q, (for “Quetzalcoatl”) starring the desperate-for-work David Carradine… except that film was set in NYC…

  34. mrdark responds:

    Looks like a goose to me.

    Also looks an AWFUL lot like the ‘cryptid’ in the 9/11 photos shown recently on Coast To Coast AM’s site.

    I’m guessing it’s a crop from those photos, pasted into a random scenery photo, and foisted upon us not as a thunderbird, but as a UFO.

  35. madman responds:

    It should be obvious to all that it is an uncloaked Klingon bird of prey

  36. jayman responds:

    There is just not enough information – this could be anything. And a UFO makes as much sense as a pterodactyl or “thunderbird”.

  37. Mnynames responds:

    Thank you #14 and #15, you guys made my day! Glad I wasn’t drinking anything when reading this, or I would’ve sprayed it all over my desk…

  38. TemplarKnight21c responds:

    Looks like a jet, or maybe a kite.

  39. Ouroborus Jay responds:

    I’ll second the ‘hang gliding blobsquatch’ comment.

    With a fuzzy picture like that, it’s hardly even worth speculating.

  40. pat collins responds:

    I’ve studied both versions of this photo (cropped and uncropped) for quite some time. It looks as though this is something flying to the right and upward, the “bird head” actually some kind of tail. I grant that it is hard to make out.

  41. mooppoint responds:

    Hi all,

    I’ve been an avid reader and fan of this blog for a while and I thought I’d take this opportunity to register for comments.

    This photo could be everything suggested above, but it appears to me to be a flying squirrel sailing above and toward the left of the photographer.

    Just my two cents.

  42. mooppoint responds:

    In support of my opinion, I did a google image search, and came up with this here. That’s a photo (if I did the link right) of a northern flying squirrel, which I believe is fairly common in New Hampshire.

    If you adjust for the angle of view, maybe you can at least get an idea of why I think that’s what this might be a photo of.

  43. downag responds:

    I have been a photography buff since my early teens. In adulthood, I began an ernest investigation into UFOlogy. Since that time, other interests have added to the conglomeration of the ole computer bank of my brain. This could be similar to the phenomena witnessed over NYC where the observer says he say a “tear” in the fabric of the continuum through which it is said many UFO’s appear and disappear. I say this as only a possibility. If the edges of the object (void) are misdirecting the ambient light in its immediate proximaty this would explain the dirtortion, that matter (air molecules; Ox., Nitrogyen, et al) is being spread apart like someone clearing their path through a spider web. Just a muse.

  44. skunkape_hunter responds:

    I see a hang glider, or ultra lite in trouble…..

  45. shumway10973 responds:

    looking at the pic at the top, it looks as though you can see right through this thing. There might be a “frame” of sorts, but for the most part it is just thin material or skin over some sort of frame. If I am seeing it correctly, follow the closest, darkest line towards the left. It meets something and then returns to the right behind the closest line. That is probably a kite or something of that sort.

  46. DGroup responds:

    I’m casting my vote for flying debris. The object seems a bit too fancy and assymmetrical to be an artificially constructed craft, and the lack of feet coupled with disproportionate body features seems to rule out any sort of biological entity.

  47. kentsmole responds:

    As I said before, it’s a butterfly. I now can say it’s of the swallowtail variety, as seen here.

    The head is to the right, and the “tails” are hanging down on the left. Really easy to see this, as well as the border along the wings.

  48. MattBille responds:

    Just not enough data. The only thing we can be sure of it that the object is closer to the photographer than to the trees in the background. Given that it’s not really in focus, a bird from an odd angle, one of those winged plastic kites, or even windblown debris are all possibilities.

  49. crypto_randz responds:

    Its a judgment call many good ideas here. I wish it was clearer picture.

  50. sschaper responds:

    Kite, complete with strings. You can see the rods in the leading edge of the V.

  51. stillserchin responds:

    All the comments here range from flights of fancy to logical reasoning meaning everyone has their own visual perspectives in regards to the photo. As for myself the image is too indiscernible to make a fair assessment so I’ll just choose one or all of the above.

  52. Maer responds:

    It’s a fluffy duck… or, it’s guck in front to the camera (on the train window, perhaps, it’s awfully fuzzy).

  53. Trapster responds:

    Looks to me to be a flying goose. Pretty straight foreward, and common in the area. It’s flying from right to left, look at this goose for a perspective comparison. It’s pretty obivious what I think it is.

  54. CryptoHunter133 responds:

    Honestly, that does look out of focus with the rest of the scenery. The areas around the actual item lead me to believe it was pasted in somehow. It is in the shape of a supposed Pterosaur, but I agree with Trapster. It does look alot like a
    Canadian Goose, in the motion of flying.

  55. CryptoHunter133 responds:

    Just some observations: The underside of the wing seems to be whitish in color, and the head area seems to have a sort of striped band around it.
    You can just see the other wingtip in motion, as well. They seem to have taken a picture while the supposed cryptid is gliding, otherwise it’d probably be blurred if it was in the motion of flapping on the air thermals.

  56. jenkins responds:

    I think it is a crane flying. Cranes are fairly common in that area of NH. They have a long neck like that.
    It really does not look like a speck on the lens, on the window, or a butterfly. look closely, you can see a neck and a head.
    Something is flyig in that pic. Probbaly a normal bird.
    But it does have the look of a pterodactyl.
    interesting pic

  57. Goodfoot responds:

    Swallowtail Butterfly. It’s flying from left to right; most of you thought right to left.

    Do you see?

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