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.”
When Gideon Koro and his boyhood friends hiked up to the crater lake Pung, on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, around 1994, he knew nothing about the 1971 sighting by the Australian Brian Hennessy, hundreds of miles to the east. He had heard the traditions of the ropen but he and his friends were unprepared for the shock of seeing one in daylight. They were sorely shocked at the giant long-tailed creature that flew over the lake that day; all the boys ran home. Ten years later (2004), he told about his encounter to an American cryptozoologist.
When Hennessy was driving on a ridge on Bougainville Island, he knew nothing about the 1944 sighting by the American Duane Hodgkinson, hundreds of miles to the west. He knew Western traditions about pterosaur extinction and was shocked at the large, apparently featherless pre-historic-looking long-tailed creature that flew over the ridge that day. Thirty-five years later (2006), he told about his encounter to an American cryptozoologist.
When Duane Hodgkinson and his army buddy were staring at large tropical ants at the edge of a clearing just west of Finschhafen, New Guinea, during World War II, he knew Western traditions about pterosaur extinction. He was shocked at the large, apparently featherless pre-historic-looking long-tailed creature that took off from the far side of the clearing and flew up into the air. Sixty years later (2004), he told about his encounter to an American cryptozoologist.
Hodgkinson deserves credit for telling the right American investigators about his encounter, for books have now been published on living pterosaurs. Other eyewitnesses have been found and interviewed because he was willing to lead the way, openly telling us about his experience. His courage is displayed not so much in standing his ground one hundred feet from a giant living fossil but in standing his ground facing potential ridicule from the American public. Thank you, Duane.
R.K., of Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, reports that the glowing nocturnal flying creature of those northern islands is called “kor.” Descriptions strongly suggest that they are at least similar to the ropen of Umboi Island, perhaps the same species: glowing with various colors, a long tail, “skin all over it,” and a few creatures growing to a large size. A few American investigators (some of them exploring in some areas of Papua New Guinea) are convinced that these are living pterosaurs.
According to what R.K. has learned from some older villagers, the kor catch fish “by skimming slowly around on the ocean surface, then as the light under their wings and belly glowed bright and attracted fish, the korr would swoop in . . . ” and “they eat in flight.”
But these are not just old reports. R.K. has reported his own encounter [early 2010 report]: “Two years ago we took a boat out to investigate and could see the lights soaring over us and heard flapping of wings.”
Older web page reports of smaller “ropens” around Manus Island (as if these were a different species because of size) are questionable. One kor was large enough to kill an islander in the 1960′s (according to R.K., this was the last human death from an attack). Perhaps the reports of smaller creatures come from the larger number of younger ones. Larger ones are reported to eat turtles and even young crocodiles. Some animals continue to grow throughout their lives; perhaps the kor, on occasion, also grows to a large size.
See American glowing flying creatures