Why it’s Hard to Videotape
or Photograph Ropens
Imagine that you’ve been given a school assignment to get a photograph of an automobile accident. You’ll have four months in which to obtain the photo but this must not be a staged or fake accident.
It must not be of an accident that occurred before the project was given to you. The photo must be taken by nobody but you. Does this seem like a very difficult assignment? Is it feasible?
To honestly succeed in photographing an actual automobile accident, you would probably need to spend many hours a day for many weeks, waiting at some location where automobile accidents are known to happen. What if, after waiting five weeks
at the intersection, an accident happens right in front of you, but you were not able to get the lens cap off in time to take the photograph of the accident? How would you feel?
The point is that photographing an event that is sure to happen may be very easy when we know when and where the event will take place. When we do not know the place or time, it is very hard. This is the case with research into the creature that some call ropen.
Be that as it may, many people on some of the islands of Papua New Guinea have seen these creatures.
With so many names, like duwas, ropen, wawanar, indava, and seklo-bali, this pterosaur or pterosaur-like creature may not be so rare. Why has the Western news media not yet been given a photograph or a videotape of this strange nocturnal “pterodactyl?” Are pterodactyls still flying around our night skies?
Cryptozoology and Pterosaurs,
commonly called pterodactyls
Carl Baugh, of Glenrose, Texas, went to
two or three remote islands in Papua New
Guinea, in two light expeditions in the
1990’s. On one of these trips he was able
to see, at a distance, what may have been
Paul Nation went on two light expeditions to one or two of these remote islands, but by the end of 2002, he had seen nothing that could have been the elusive nocturnal creature that’s described like a pterodactyl.
In 2004, three Americans visited Umboi
Island and searched for the ropen. One of
them saw the creature one night. This one
sighting lasted for about two seconds and
was from a distance. One interpreter had
a similar sighting after the American had
gone to bed. (another vague distant form)
At least one or two other Westerners have
gone to one or two of these remote islands
in search of the pterosaur-like creature.
Jim Blume, originally from the U.S., has
been a missionary in Papua New Guinea
for about thirty years. He has interviewed
about 70 eyewitnesses of the creature. He
has been involved in a little searching him-
self. He has had only one sighting. It was
of a vague light near a beach. Considering
all the details, researchers believe this was
a juvenile ropen or a similar type creature.
This sighting by itself is hardly convincing
evidence to skeptics, of course.
Considering that fact that so many people
have gone to these remote islands, looking
for the creature that they hope is a living
pterosaur, and not one of them has ever
claimed to have had a clear view of any-
thing that resembled a pterosaur, it’s very
clear they are not using any dishonesty to
convince people pterosaurs are living there.
If during these many years, one of them
had the desire to lie to promote the idea
that pterosaurs are still living, it would
have been easy to say a pterosaur-like
creature had been seen by one of them.
An examination of the efforts of these men
reveals the obvious fact that they hope to
show the world that pterosaurs still live. It
just needs to be done honestly.
Do all these seeming failures indicate that
the ropen is not a real creature? Why is it
so difficult for a Westerner to see them?
Let’s look at some reasons:
1) Ropens are nocturnal. For the most part,
they come out when most people sleep.
2) These creatures are rare. As few as one
giant ropen lives on Umboi (an island of
about 900 square kilometers).
3) They live in dense tropical rain forests,
for the most part. When they fly over-
head, tree cover prevents a sighting.
4) Those local people who see them on a
regular basis, often see a ropen only
once a month. We believe these men
are those who are out at night often.
Westerners usually stay on an island
for only a few days or for 1-2 weeks.
5) Several eyewitnesses indicate that this
creature glows brightly for only about
five to six seconds at a time as it flies.
Even without tree cover and being in
in the right place at the right time, you
could have your back turned when
it gives off the brief light.
6) On Umboi Island, the large ropen is
seen often by many local people. It
is unpredictable to some extent, how-
ever. It flies from mountain to moun-
tain and from inland areas to shores
on both the north and south sides.
It’s hard to predict where it will be.
7) There is not yet any firm idea about
where it sleeps.
This last point may be important for future expeditions. If we can find where one sleeps, we can photograph and videotape it.
New book: Searching for Ropens
More about the book on living
pterosaurs (Southwest Pacific)
Recent expeditions of Paul Nation
Charles Darwin in the pterodactyl
book Searching for Ropens
Superstition as it relates to the
Bioluminescence and the ropen
Living Pterosaur links
Purchase the book online:
Searching for Ropens
Second Edition (2007)
In June of 2007, the SciFi channel aired the ropen episode of Destination Truth, with host Josh Gates. They videotaped what appeared to be one or more “ropen lights.” According to the author of Searching for Ropens (Jonathan Whitcomb), these resembled the lights videotaped by Paul Nation a few weeks earlier but in a different part of Papua New Guinea (much more to the west).