More About the “Destination Truth” Ropen Episode

I know that last July I wrote about this television show, but I left many things out.

It seems timely now to quote Josh Gates, who leads expeditions, including this one in Papua New Guinea, searching for the truth about the flying creatures that could be pterosaurs.

“I’m Josh Gates. My travels have taken me to the most exotic and mysterious places on earth. I’ve seen some unexplainable things which raise some strange questions. Now I’ve pulled together a crack team, armed with the latest technology, to search for answers. I’m not sure what’s out there waiting for me but I know what I’m looking for: the truth.”

“Reports of a pterodactyl-type bird brought my attention to Papua New Guinea. The locals call this flying dinosaur the “ropen,” and the papers have reported sightings all over the country. They describe it as an extremely dangerous large featherless bird with a wingspan that can reach up to fifteen feet. Some experts believe the ropen is a pterosaur that survived the Cretaceous period by hiding deep in the caves scattered throughout Papua New Guinea.”

“As a nocturnal creature, the ropen’s defining characteristic is the glow it reportedly emits from its stomach and tail. Many witnesses have claimed to see this glow at night, and recently a U.S. explorer caught two lights on camera that he thought belonged to the legendary animal.”

“As you might have guessed, I wanted to see this lost-world creature for myself, so Lindsay, Marc, Neil, Eric, Hank, and I packed up the equipment and headed to the airport”

Joshua Gates shows native eyewitness a recording on a laptop computer, while the sit on a native boat

Josh Gates and Fabian in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea, in 2007

Three expedition-team members on a small boat in Papua New Guinea

On the left, Josh Gates; on the right, Jacob Kepas, native eyewitness

At a harbor in Papua New Guinea, native interpreter Jacob Kepas is interviewed by the American Josh Gates

Jacob Kepas answered Josh Gates questions

Joshua Gates interviewed the eyewitness Jacob Kepas.

Josh: “I’ve heard that you’ve seen the ropen.”

Jacob: “I saw the light back in Wau.”

Josh: “What did the light look like.”

Jacob:  “It looked very bright.”

Josh: “Like a round light?”

Jacob: “Yes.”

Josh: “The whole bird just glowed?”

Jacob: “The stomach and the light from both wings.”

Later in their expedition, the team was able to videotape one of the flying lights.

Television Episode of “Destination Truth”

Soon after the cave adventure, they set up cameras nearby, hoping for some sighting at night. They were not disappointed, for a strange flying light appeared over the sea, out beyond the high cliff on which they had set up their four cameras.

Television Coverage of Flying Creatures

I am grateful that my friends and associates Garth Guessman, Clifford Paiva, and Paul Nation were featured on this Monsterquest episode. I am also grateful that Duane Hodgkinson was part of this television production about these wonderful flying creatures.


"Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - front cover - non-fiction book

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – what a gift it will be!

From page 173:

It all happened so fast and I didn’t get a good look at it as I was busy trying to control my car. But it flew over my head and disappeared into a gravel pit. I was pretty shaken up, but unhurt and wasn’t brave enough to go to the gravel pit to investigate then or later. Nor did I tell anyone because they would have thought I was crazy.

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About Norman Huntington AKA Jonathan Whitcomb

Passionately supporting research into living modern pterosaurs
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