Credibility of the Umboi
Reasons to believe eyewitnesses who claim
to have seen a giant ropen and describe
it in terms suggesting a pterosaur
“Byung” Fruit Bat
Flying Fox or Pterodactyl
Papua New Guinea
Gideon Koro interview, 2004
Do pterosaurs still live? In the 21st Century? Don’t
rush to any conclusion; get the facts, then judge
According to Jonathan David Whitcomb, a legal
videographer in Long Beach, California:
“On October 7, 2004 I left the Gomlongon Village
area with my interpreter and some local guides.
We arrived at Akure Village, giving almost no notice
to the locals who were unaccustomed to seeing a
white-skinned man. I waited there while someone
was sent to get Gideon. It is very unlikely he had
time to prepare for the interview, yet he was at ease
being questioned (while being videotaped) about
his experience encountering the giant ropen about
ten years earlier.
“He acknowledged that he had been interviewed
before. I had studied his previous video-recorded
testimony and noticed that he was much more at
ease than he appeared to be years earlier. It should
be noted that the previous interview may have taken
place soon after the sighting itself took place, so he
may have been nervous being interviewed on camera.
“These villagers have probably never seen a movie
or television or even a live dramatic play. They are
unaware of acting techniques in the way Westerners
are. The many facial expressions of Gideon during
our videotaped interview were highly consistent with
his verbal answers. He was not play acting.
“There is no reasonable possibility that he was willfully
giving false information and that he had not seen any
creature like the one he described. I interviewed him
in front of the villagers who knew him. After I asked
him the length of the tail of the ropen, he looked away
as if to imagine the tail on the ground. He looked back
and forth at the ground for a few moments and then
he looked back at me and answered emphatically,
“sefan meetuh” (seven meters). He was surely doing
this to get a feel for both what the tail would have
looked like if it were stretched out on the ground,
and to then to estimate the length. It is beyond belief
to suggest he was acting in dishonesty.
“In regard to any possibility that he firmly believed in
a creature that he thought he saw, but which was only
a mental illusion or dream, we need to consider a
broad perspective on this sighting. A specific
hallucinated image does not affect a group, but is
experienced by an individual. The ropen sighting
involved seven boys. They ran home in terror after
this sighting. Wesley, the brother of Gideon,
described the ropen to me and I was able to video-
tape his answers. Likewise, another of the witnesses,
Mesa, told me that he saw the ropen at that time.
These videotaped interviews are available to all
who would like to examine them. What these young
men described to me was no dream or hallucination.”
Wesley & Mesa interviews
“Soon after interviewing Gideon, I learned that two of the
other witnesses were present with us. Wesley is a brother
to Gideon and answered my questions without hesitating.
He displayed a swaying motion just as he answered some
of the questions, but this was not any sign of dishonesty:
He swayed before answering “yes” to my question about
if he were a brother to Gideon, in the same manner as he
swayed before answering other questions. His answers
and his mannerisms were both highly credible.
“Mesa seemed nervous in his interview, likely because it
was his first time to be questioned about the sighting. He
agreed with Gideon. He and Wesley both told me that the
tail of the creature had a “diamond” on it. (I believe this
refers to a flange at the end of the tail: a vane common
in Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur fossils.) I found nothing
in Mesa’s testimony to cause any doubt of his honesty.
“Regarding Mesa’s nervousness, some ropen legends
suggest danger or bad luck or other negative aspect to
having an encounter with it. It’s not surprising that one
out of three of these young men was still ill at ease about
the ropen encounter at that crater lake.
“Note that these islanders are quite aware of the bat we
call “Flying Fox.”That nocturnal featherless flying animal
is common on that island. The Flying Fox holds no fear
for the native. In fact, it’s an ingredient in a soup they
“Those who received a sling-shot as a gift from me were
delighted, as this makes it much easier to catch that bat,
which they call “byung.” How unbelievable that seven
island boys would run home in terror of an ingredient of
soup! It is also unbelievable that they mistook a byung
(Flying Fox) for a ropen with a seven-meter-long tail.
(And it was flying over a lake.) What terrified those boys
was obviously no fruit bat.
“We also need to realize that the islander-eyewitnesses
who answered our questions, did not repeat the legends
of the ropen. They simply answer our questions as to what
they saw. Apparently, nothing in the knowledge or culture
of these people is close to the form of what the boys saw
other than the ropen, so the boys called it by that name.
A living pterosaur—that’s what seems to best fit these
(a forensic videographer in 2004)
Sighting in Australia
"In December, 1997 my husband and I both sighted
a huge creature flying over a densely populated area,
while we were out walking one night in Perth . . .
Australia on the coastline around 10:30 pm"
“Garth Guessman, a living-pterosaur investigator,
interviewed three Americans who had worked in or
visited a medical mission in Central New Britain
Island . . .” [They had at least three separate
sightings, in daylight, of large pterosaurs.]
Are Dragons Pterosaurs?
“Why connect the dragon of myth with the pterosaur
of science. Were not all dragons fictional but
pterosaurs real? We have fossils to distinguish
between reality and fantasy, do we not? Or is it
“If this press release [about Hodgkinson’s sighting
of a huge “pterodactyl”] referred to an isolated
account, we might dismiss the veteran’s report, but
natives on the island of Umboi (in Papua New
Guinea) have reported the same thing: the long-
tailed bat-like ‘ropen’ eats fish.
“Animals that are classified as cryptids seem to be
known through stories or through a limited number
Owls and Bioluminescence
An Australian [expert on birds], Mr. F. F. Silcock,
declares that a few barn owls (Tyto Alba), on rare
occasions, glow with intrinsic bioluminescence.
Hoaxes (or not)
“In 1856, according to The Illustrated London News
(newspaper) at the time, men working on a tunnel
in France discovered a living pterosaur (by whatever
name). . . . is now believed by many to be a hoax.”
Pterosaur sketch by Eskin Kuhn
Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Jonathan David Whitcomb
Some natives report a flying light at night, others report what others have told them, but a few have seen a giant featherless flying creature in clear daylight
Michael answered Jonathan Whitcomb’s questions:
The flying creature robbed a grave in Gomlongon
Who is Jonathan Whitcomb
Gideon Koro, of the Akure
Village area of Umboi Island,
Papua New Guinea (2004)
When Whitcomb asked him about
the length of the tail, the native
looked away to imagine the tail
and then estimate its length. This
was done in a highly credible way.
Wesley’s testimony agreed with
Gideon’s, and was consistent in
manner and content (credible)
Mesa verified that what Gideon said
was true. Although he was nervous
while talking about the creature, his
testimony is considered credible.
When asked if the creature had
any feathers, Gideon showed
nonverbally that he considered
the question strange: He replied,
“There's no feathers.”
Duane Hodgkinson, when he was a
soldier in New Guinea, in 1944,
saw a long-tailed “pterodactyl.”
Its description closely relates
to what is described by natives.
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