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
It was a nice day with only a few clouds, when eight-year-old Aaron Tullock and his mother arrived at his grandparents’ house in northeast Texas, an hour before sundown; the boy stayed outside to look around.
After half a minute, the creature came. In Aaron’s own words, “This thing flew over my head, about eight feet off the ground, and stopped and hovered in mid air. I was facing west, so the creature flew from east going west which means it came from our land across the road, which is a nice mix of oak and pine forest and thick swamp. . . . It stopped in mid air and hovered there by flapping its featherless, bat-like wings, which were about four feet in span, maybe five. It had a tail about three feet long, with the . . . flange on the end . . . no head crest and no feathers at all, although there was kind of a longish bump on the back of the head. . . .”
Aaron is familiar with the birds and bats of the area; the apparent pterosaur was nothing like any of them. Since he was not believed, he put the encounter out of his mind for years. But he has now allowed his name to be used as he reveals his experience.
Early in 2010, through emails, Jonathan Whitcomb, author of the nonfiction cryptozoology book Live Pterosaurs in America, interviewed Aaron. The young man sent the cryptozoologist color sketches, showing the orange and black markings of the creature. He said, “Although the animal was brightly colored, the underside was not brightly colored, it was more of a cream color, like dirty clouds.”
Aaron also said, “I remember its feet were little and its legs were probably less than a foot long each, about seven inches. it had four claws on each foot, black in color like monitor lizard claws if a monitor lizard swiped up fish or something from water, a little disproportionately long to its toes. The flange on its tail had a small diamond shape in the center with veins going out from it. After about two or three minutes of it hovering in place, it made a strange noise I dont know how to descibe . . .”
Although the coloring differed greatly from most reports from eyewitnesses, the long tail with a “diamond” is a common description, present in reports from various parts of the world, according to Whitcomb.
Read Marfa Lights of Texas (living pterosaurs that are bioluminescent)
With a straight tail that was 15-16 feet long, the dark creature with no feathers flew about twenty feet over Campus Drive, just north of the University of California, Irvine, in the summer of 2007. (The eyewitness did not see it fly over the university campus but from one wetlands area into another.) The area into which it flew is at the western edge of the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.
The ropen of Papua New Guinea rarely shows itself in daylight, but this ropen-like creature was observed in daylight in Orange County, California. The business stature of the eyewitness (who is anonymous) makes this highly unlikely to have been any kind of hoax. Details have been published in the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America.
Interview by Jonathan Whitcomb (author of LPA)
Giant salamander cryptid in California