The expanded and improved third edition of my first book will be retitled: Searching for Ropens and Finding God. From the first edition, this has been a cross genre, a spiritual true-life-adventure cryptozoology book. The new title makes that fact more clear: This is about more than just modern pterosaurs.
Lake Pung Ropen Sighting
The following is taken from the May 14, 2013, version of the editing of the second chapter. It involves Gideon Koro’s first videotaped interview on Umboi Island:
Gideon’s testimony overshadowed the others. He was one of seven boys who saw a giant ropen, around 1994, flying over a crater lake; the boys ran down off the mountain, terrified. Within few months, Gideon answered questions in front of a video camcorder, nervously. He described the ropen as skinny, and the size as “house to house” (referring to nearby huts). One of the two interviewers, Baptist missionary Jim Blume, interpreted: “about twenty feet.” But he misunderstood.
The number of creatures then became confused with size. As Jim Blume was interpreting and estimating the wingspan, it sounded like Gideon mentioned additional “smaller ones.” The interpreters then questioned him about “how many” (meaning the number of creatures), and Gideon answered, “ten or twenty.”
I would discover, after interviewing Gideon myself in 2004, that he did not mean that there were ten or twenty ropens; he was probably adjusting, during the first interview, his size-estimate for the one ropen he encountered. But I would conclude, in 2007, that the median of ten and twenty—fifteen—was the approximate overall length or wingspan of that ropen, in meters, consistent with his estimate of wing-size during my interview with Gideon in 2004: seven meters.
We need to understand that Gideon thinks in meters rather than feet. When the subject was the size of the ropen observed by those seven boys, Jim Blume said “twenty.” Gideon then said something that was interpreted as “smaller ones.” What he meant, I believe, is this: The length or wingspan (probably similar in size) could have been smaller than twenty meters, less than sixty-six feet.
By the way, my memory of villages on Umboi Island may be instructive. I believe many of the huts are in the neighborhood of fifteen meters apart, which is what I believe Gideon meant when he estimated the size of the ropen with the words “house-to-house.” The interpreter may have thought about house length.
Publication of Searching for Ropens and Finding God
I hope this third edition will be completed and published by the end of summer.
A related book but in pure cryptozoology genre:
Live Pterosaurs in America, third edition, by Jonathan David Whitcomb
This book about modern living pterosaurs is available now, in contrast to Searching for Ropens and Finding God (which will not be published until around September of 2013). From the middle of the introduction, we read:
If this book does nothing more than comfort the eyewitnesses of strange creatures, I would be grateful; but there’s much more. We need to understand why we believe what we believe. When I first began researching these eyewitness sightings, years ago, I mentioned a word to a kindergartner: “pterosaurs;” he said, “A comet.” Years later, while writing this book, I mentioned my work to a second-grader; she said, “Who will buy your book? Crazy people?” I think better of you. And I think, because of what she and many others have told me, that we must understand indoctrination, for it influences our beliefs; the extent of that influence discomforts me.
Purchase your own copy of Live Pterosaurs in America — available now.