It seemed like it would be a fun activity for the seven native boys of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea. It was a short hike in kilometers, but a difficult climb up to the crater lake that they call “Pung.” Just a few minutes after they arrived at the lake, however, something unexpected also arrived: the giant ropen. The creature flew over the lake, and the boys ran home in terror, never to forget the horrible encounter.
One of those boys was Gideon Koro. Soon after the encounter with the ropen, he was interviewed by some American visitors who were curious about reports of an apparent pterosaur. The boy was still nervous to talk about the ropen but answered their questions.
About ten years later, Gideon was visited by another American, Jonathan Whitcomb, who asked more questions. The young man had grown up and was more at ease this time. He described the mouth of the ropen as “like a crocodile.” The tail length he estimated at “sefan meetuh” (seven meters, or twenty-two feet). He was sure that the ropen had no feathers but skin “like byung” (flying fox fruit bat).
Two other native eyewitnesses then made themselves known to the American interviewer: two of the other boys who had been terrified at the sight of the ropen on that day on the shore of Lake Pung. They verified the truthfulness of Gideon’s account.
Read “Gideon was terrified by the ropen” (with audio of the actual interview in 2004)
Also the “First interview of Gideon Koro”
Nonfiction cryptozoology book on living pterosaurs in the United States
The Whitcomb-Kenda expedition of 2004 resulted in many eyewitness interviews, including that of Gideon Koro. This interview (plus the two of Gideon’s companions, Mesa, and Wesley) has become known through many web pages and the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens (second edition, by Jonathan Whitcomb).
Less well known is the 1994 interview of Gideon, soon after the terrifying ropen sighting. In that interview, the boy showed signs of fear or nervousness. This appearance is very unlikely to have been faked by the boy, for it shows consistantly during the interview. When a moment of humor caused him to smile, the change became obvious when questioning resumed and he returned to his nervous expression. This quick change in his face reveals to us that the boy really was frightened of something. So why not believe his account? Strange as it may seem to Americans (who are taught from young childhood that dinosaurs and pterosaurs are all long dead), it was a flying creature whose size, according to his 2004 interview, ten years later, can be guessed at by the tail length: according to Gideon, “seven meetuh” (twenty-two feet).
The 1994 interview was done with the interpretation-assistance of missionary Jim Blume.
Read about the “2004 interview of Gideon Koro.”
According to the nonfiction book “Live Pterosaurs in America,” Susan Wooten was driving to Florence, South Carolina, on Highway 20, when she “saw something flying from her left, then passing in front . . . ‘It swooped down over the highway and back up gracefully over the pines . . . as big as any car . . . NO feathers . . . like a humongous bat.’”
Before writing the book, the author had interviewed Wooten. She seemed to be credible, showing no sign of anything that would suggest any hoax or mental health issue. Here is part of that interview:
Q: How many feet above the highway was it?
A: Probably 20 feet or so . . .
Q: What was the approximate distance from wingtip to wingtip?
A: My best guess is 12-15 feet. [wingspan]
Q: Could you make a sketch of the creature?
A: Oh, yes [sketch shown above]
For more online information, see South Carolina Pterosaur Sighting
For a better-quality sketch of an apparently-similar pterosaur, see Pterodactyl in Cuba