Credibility of the Umboi Island Eyewitnesses Reasons to believe eyewitnesses who claim to have seen a giant ropen and describe it in terms suggesting a pterosaur “Mesozoic” Strata Ropen Eyewitness “Byung” Fruit Bat Flying Fox or Pterodactyl Boy’s Testimony 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 credibility. 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 relish. “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 descriptions.” Jonathan Whitcomb (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" Living Pterodactyloid  “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 so simple?” Living Pterodactyls  “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. Cryptozoology “Animals that are classified as cryptids seem to be known through stories or through a limited number of eyewitnesses.” 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 “Indava” Pterosaur 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. Report your sighting by email