Brian Hennessy, an Australian who works at a medical university in China, I interviewed by email in 2006 (two years after my expedition in Papua New Guinea). His sighting, on the island of Bougainville in 1971, relates to the sighting by Duane Hodgkinson, in 1944, although the locations are many miles apart.
Hennessy told me, “The creature I saw one early morning . . . was so unusual. I actually heard it before I saw it. A slow flap…flap…[flapping] sound. The air was still, and our truck had stopped on our downward journey from the top of the range to the coast way below. . . . When I looked up, trying to see what was making this sound, I saw a very unusual creature. Firstly, it was very big (wingspan at least 2 metres, probably more … possibly much, much more).” [the distance was difficult to judge and distance is critical when estimating size. JW]
“It certainly looked prehistoric, in that it did not look like any other bird that I have seen before or since. Why prehistoric? Well, maybe my memory has been influenced by the intervening years, but I recall seeing this creature with a longish narrow tail . . . the head was disproportionately large compared to the body (no feathers in sight). The wingspan was large. . . . and not a feather in sight (and that is not to say that there weren’t feathers…maybe I could not discern them).”
His objectiveness becomes obvious when we consider his comments about the featherless appearance, for he admitted the possibility of feathers that he did not see. Nevertheless, the absence of visible feathers suggests that it was no bird. Could this have been a strange large bird with feathers not easily visible? Mr. Hennessy also mentioned something on the back of the head of the creature; he used the word “horn.” That horn and the long tail suggest a ropen or at least a large flying creature similar to the one seen by Hodgkinson.
I am very grateful that he gave us permission to use his name and quote his comments on what he had seen, for it demonstrates the credibility of living-pterosaur investigations. Why? For one thing, the possibility of a hoax is practically nil, because of the lack of any motivation for a hoax and because of the eyewitness’s profession. What about insanity? Ask him to see a psychologist; it’s easy for him to look in a mirror, for Mr. Hennessy is himself a professional psychologist.
Pterosaur Hoax Idea Itself Refuted
Giant Pterodactyl of 1944 (sighting by Hodgkinson)