Ropen - a cryptidEdit
A large flying creature within the realm of cryptozoology, the ropen has been sought by American creationist cryptozoologists (who explore in Papua New Guinea) since 1994. According to these men (including Paul Nation, Garth Guessman, David Woetzel, and Jonathan Whitcomb), the ropen is a living species of Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. The reports from eyewitnesses distinguish the creature from birds and bats in several ways: The nocturnal ropen has no feathers, unlike birds, and it has a long tail, unlike bats; in addition, it glows brightly.
The first 21st Century American-led creationist expedition to Papua New Guinea, to search for ropens, was by Paul Nation (of Texas) and his son, Nathanael. They interviewed natives on Umboi Island, in 2002, but had no sighting themselves. Late in 2004, Jonathan Whitcomb (of California) explored in about the same area of Umboi Island, but interviewed mostly different eyewitnesses of the ropen. His interpreter had a brief sighting of a "ropen light," but no photograph was taken. A few weeks later (2004), Garth Guessman (of California) and David Woetzel (of New Hampshire) explored further north on Umboi, interviewing natives, most of whom had not been interviewed before. Woetzel had a brief sighting of what investigators believe was the same kind of light witnessed by natives and by Whitcomb's interpreter.
The first expedition to obtain video evidence for the strange flying light was Paul Nation's late-2006 expedition into a remote mountainous area of the mainland of Papua New Guinea. Here the villagers call the creature "indava." One night, after having observed several distant lights on previous nights, he videotaped two slowly pulsating lights on the top of a nearby ridge. The video footage was later analyzed by a physicist and found to be very unlike common lights: not car headlights, nor airplane lights, nor camp fires, nor lanterns, nor meteors.
Ropen - the nameEdit
The word "ropen" comes from natives of some of the villages on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea; but the same word, near the city of Wau on the mainland of Papua New Guinea, is used by natives (of another language) to mean "bird," and those natives use "seklo-bali" to mean a giant nocturnal flying creature that glows. American investigators believe that the seklo-bali is closely related to the ropen, if it is not the same species. For this reason, cryptozoologists need to consider language differences when investigating reports in which natives label the creature; they need to consider the descriptions of a creature first, before making assumptions based only on the name applied to the creature locally.
Since the June, 2007, airing of the Ropen episode of Destination Truth (on the Sci-Fi channel), the word "ropen" has been used, in the United States, to mean a giant glowing pterosaur-like creature that flies in the night skies of Papua New Guinea. To natives of many languages in Papua New Guinea, however, there are many words that seem to indicate a nocturnal large winged-creature: indava, duwas, kunduwa, wawanar. Investigators (including Paul Nation, Jonathan Whitcomb, Garth Guessman, and David Woetzel) believe that at least some of these names refer to the same glowing creature called "ropen" on Umboi Island.