Papua New Guinea

Destination Truth – Ropen Episode

Sci Fi Destination Truth introduction image

Standard introduction to the Destination Truth television series episodes

While Paul Nation was nearly the end of his expedition deep in the mainland of Papua New Guinea, late in 2006, I was interviewed by members of the Destination Truth television production team, in their new office in Hollywood. They were in the early preparations for the expedition in Papua New Guinea, and were collecting information on the ropen.

Seven months later, in June of 2007, I watched their television show, an entertaining production, at time exciting in the extreme. I did not expect a scientific documentary, for it was an episode of a reality-adventure show, but I was delighted with the result: video footage of what I believe was the bioluminescent glow of a ropen flying over the sea at night.


Josh Gates asked the native Fabian about an image of a pterodactyl

Josh Gates questions a native eyewitness of the glowing “bird” that the American called “ropen” (with no indication what they call it in Salamaua, south of Lae)


glowing orb of light recorded by American television team in Salamaua

Mysterious flying light videotaped by American Destination Truth explorers

Native Eyewitnesses

Josh Gates interviewed at least two native eyewitnesses of the glowing ropen of Papua New Guinea: Jacob Kepas and Fabian. What was not shown in the television episode was that the two areas, in which these two natives saw the flying creature, probably have different names for the animals, and neither of them is likely to be “ropen.” That word is used by natives of Umboi Island, although they probably indicate the same kind of bioluminescent flying creature, perhaps even the same species. But Destination Truth is a television adventure show, not a documentary format.

Ropen Search by Destination Truth

Just before Eric Wing and Neil [Mandt] interviewed me in their Hollywood office, I had received news that Paul [Nation] had videotaped some ropen lights (also called indava lights: the first video footage of its kind that would enter the United States). . . . Although any nature documentary is far removed from an episode of Destination Truth, both can benefit with eyewitness accounts; the Mandt Brother’s production handled this well.

Ropen Bioluminescence

For years, I have advocated multiple species of pterosaurs living in various parts of the world. Even for glowing lights in Papua New Guinea, multiple species may be involved . . .

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