|Posted on July 12, 2012 at 7:15 PM|
Originally Posted January 13, 2008
ROPEN AND ORANG BATI: THE "FLYING APEMEN" OF SOUTHEAST ASIA
Researched, Compiled, Edited and Illustrated
By R. Merrill
ROPEN: THE "DEMON FLYER" OF NEW GUINEA
Shortly after World War II, as Western missionaries began to penetrate the deep jungles and remote islands of Papua New Guinea, stories of a flying creature called the Ropen ("demon flyer") began to be reported. Duane Hodgkinson was stationed northwest of Lae, near Finschaven, Papua New Guinea as part of the Army cavalry in 1944. About noon one day in August he was walking down a trail through a clearing in the forest when he was startled by a crashing in the brush. As he watched a large bird-like creature ponderously rose from the ground, circled and flew away. Hodgkinson, a pilot, estimated the wing-span to be about 20 ft. He clearly recalls the dark-gray coloration, long serpentine neck, beak, and distinctive head crest. Described as a nocturnal creature, the Ropen possesses two leathery wings like a bat, a long tail with a flange on the end, a beak filled with teeth, and razor-sharp claws. An intriguing sea chart dated 1595 warns mariners to beware of a variety of "sea monsters." It depicts two flying creatures with long necks, headcrests, ribbed wings and fantastical tails (split on the end like a flipper) flying above the islands of New Guinea. One is even shown as having dermal bumps. (Sweeney, James B., A Pictorial History of Sea Monsters, 1972, p. 42.)
Two species appear to persist in Papua New Guinea. A smaller pterosaur is believed to inhabit the caves that dot the islands of Rambunzo in the Bismarck Archipelago. Reports seem to fit the presumed-extinct Rhamphorhynchus, a pterosaur with a wingspan of 3-4 feet. Like the Kongomato in Kenya, the Ropen is said to have a taste for decaying human flesh and has even harassed native funeral gatherings with western missionaries present.
Carl E. Baugh of the Creation Evidence Museum conducted an expedition to Manus. With missionary Jim Blume, he observed one of the creatures through a monocular night scope and snapped a picture of a strange print in the sand the next morning. In 1987, Tyson Hughes, an English missionary, began an 18 month contract to assist the Moluccan tribespeople of Ceram Island, Indonesia to develop efficient farms. Tyson heard stories about a terrifying creature called the Orang-bati ("men with wings") that possesses enormous leathery wings like a bat and live in the caves of Mount Kairatu, an extinct volcano situated in the center of the island. Likely this creature is similar to the Ropen from adjoining Papua New Guinea.
In October of 2004, Genesis Park staff conducted a three week trip to the remote Siassi island off the western coast of Papua New Guinea, somewhat south of the Manus island group. The goal was to hike into the mountainous interior of Siassi to follow-up on intriguing reports received from coastal communities on the south of the island. Dozens of interviews were conducted and the credibility of witnesses was carefully tested by the use of black and white profiles. After carefully collating the dozens of interviews, a composite drawing comprised of the most likely characteristics possessed by the Ropen was assembled.
The creature appears to resemble the Dimorphodon pterosaur, with the addition of a head crest and dermal bumps. However, the animal is said to have a 15-20ft wingspan and exhibits a bioluminescent glow. On Wednesday, October 27 a large, yellowish glow approximately 20-25% the size of the full moon was observed to fly behind one of the volcanic peaks. The light left no trail and it twinkled around the edges. The whole sighting lasted for only a few seconds as the light streaked across the horizon and behind Mt. Tolou. Intriguing carvings made by an unknown artisan were photographed. The statutes show a medicine man with a reptilian creature on his shoulders. The creatures display a lizard-like ear, forked tongue, elongated snake-like neck, shallow beak, scaly membrane wings, dermal bumps running down its back, webbed feet, and a long tail (in one case being swallowed by a crocodilian).
In the fall of 2006 a follow-up expedition obtained the first photograph of a Ropen light as multiple creatures were observed flying nocturnally.
The similarities in the several independent lines of evidence produce a powerful argument for a living pterosaur in Papua New Guinea. A missionary pilot's sighting, an ancient map, an American WWII veteran's testimony, a Highland Papua New Guinea native's sculpture, dozens of eye witness reports from Umboi and the Manus islands combine to make a strong case! For more information, see the full Papua New Guinea Expedition Report Page with slides in the Genesis Park Auditorium.
ORANG BATI: THE WINGED MAN-EATERS OF INDONESIA
In Seram of the Maluku Islands, also known as the Moluccas archipelago of Indonesia, lives a creature that has fueled both the curiosity and fear of the locals. Known as Orang Bati, or in Indonesian terms, the winged man, the creature resembles a human or giant ape with bat-like wings.
Historical accounts of Christian missionaries visiting the islands during the 15th to 16th century narrate how a winged monster has raided and terrorized the village of Uraur in Seram. The residents fear the creature, as it is known to abduct infants and children when it feeds at night. The monster is also said to raid nearby villages. According to these locals, the Orang Bati lives during the daytime on Mount Kairatu, a dormant volcano with a network of deep caves on the island of Seram.
The Orang Bati has an ape-like body, much like a human standing four to five feet tall, with red skin on its body. The creature has large black leathery wings and a long tail, compared to rhamphorhynchoid species of flying dinosaurs or pterosaurs. Some accounts describe the wings and tail as covered with thick black fur. Villagers often hear the Orang Bati's arrival by the sound of its shrill wail, similar to that which speculation has associated with pterosaurs.
One of the most mentioned accounts of the Orang Bati were that of the English missionary named Tyson Hughes, who went to the Moluccas to help the villagers with their farming systems in 1987. At first the British man was skeptical about the Orang Bati and the stories the locals tell. During his 18 month mission, Hughes and the rest of his team admitted that the village tales were actually true.
Comparable creatures have been said to exist in nearby Southeast Asian and Pacific regions, such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Another version of the Orang Bati, called the ahool in Java, is described as possibly being a giant bat.
The same description applies for residents of the Philippines, where they believe giant bats to be responsible for killing livestock in the villages. First thought to be flying monkeys, these versions of the Orang Bati could possibly be a cross between birds and bats, possibly even large eagles.
A similar large flying creature has also been sighted in several regions around the world. In these accounts, however, the creature is not mammalian nor does it resemble humanoid forms. Paleontologists, or those who study prehistoric animals, find that these creatures resemble the flying dinosaurs, so they are more reptilian or avian rather than mammal.
The kongomato of Zambia in Central Africa have been described as large flying animals with reddish complexion and with wings covered in leathery skin. The kongomato was also sighted in Rhodesia, Angola, and the Congo. In Papua New Guinea, however, this creature's name is ropen, which means "flying demon" in the vernacular. Accounts from the natives claim that the ropen also eats human flesh.