I was impressed with the honest quest for accuracy in the 2007 Destination Truth “Ropen” episode, that I watched in its original broadcast and in the online version. Josh Gates appears to have tried hard to dig down to the basics in examining stories of the apparent large nocturnal flying creature and in finding physical evidence that might help explain what causes the lights.
We must understand, however, the great difference between a well-funded scientific expedition and a television adventure series, for Destination Truth had several purposes for visiting the southwest Pacific, and the glowing ropen was only one of them. Their team was much larger than most ropen expedition teams, and with much more equipment, but their time was limited.
Gates interviewed an eyewitness in Salamaua, Papua New Guinea, who had recently seen the light ascribed to the large flying creature that the Americans called “ropen.” (It probably has another name in Salamaua.) Fabian described a red light. The Americans would soon learn that this flying light was more than just a legend.
With one or two of his expedition associates, Josh Gates explored a small cave in Salamaua, finding many creepy crawlies and many human bones but no ropen. The bones may have been from Japanese soldiers who had died from starvation and related health problems, rather than from attacks from giant flying creatures.
After the cave exploration, the Expedition team set up cameras nearby and waited through the night. They were not disappointed, for a strange glowing orb flew far out over the sea, in front of one of those cameras. Josh and one or two others were able to observe it with the night-vision binoculars as well. The video recording of that light was later analyzed in California, but the two scientists were unable to offer any explanation.
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.
Fabian appeared to have significant experience observing that creature, for he described what part of the creature’s body could glow.