Alleged 1924 Ropen Footage?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 15th, 2007

On September 13th, 2007, Azrul Hisyam Saleh sent me the above footage. It was presented as an “old 1924 video of supposed Pterosaur in PNG.” I was in no mood to rush to publish this on this blog.

But now I’m seeing this footage crop up on creationist sites and crypto blogs. Ugh. So I’ll place it here, make a brief remark, and open it to your comments.

To me it looks like someone put a painted tail (I can’t see the wings move) on an old film, maybe even one from the 1920s, of a frigate bird.

Several things hit my skeptical button on this. No video in 1924, so that mistake, that it is film, is understandable. But wait, the 1925 movie The Lost World might have some copycats I’ve not seen? Or as anyone knows, “old film” (with a sepia look) can be created today.

I don’t know. I really doubt it is a film taken on “one of the last expeditions to Papua by the Australian Geologist Evan Richard Stanley” that was hidden in an “an atheist conspiracy to suppress the truth about the glory of God’s creation,” as one David Woetzel is saying about this footage.

I’m not feeling very forgiving about internet and YouTube hoaxes and pranks today.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

25 Responses to “Alleged 1924 Ropen Footage?”

  1. Bob Michaels responds:

    I wouldn’t give these Hoaxers the time of the day. Those of us who take our Cryptozoology serious have to put up with this nonsense in pursuit of true Cryptids it seems on a daily basis.

  2. captiannemo responds:

    This could be faked by anyone with a computer and a cheap program.

  3. gloomer responds:

    Looks like something dreamt up for “The Lost World” (1925… close, eh?)

    Stop motion silliness.


    FAKE!!! Are you joking! My 8 year old sister could do better, and she doesn’t even own a video editing program!

  5. shovethenos responds:

    The strange thing is even if a surviving pterosaur/etc. did exist it wouldn’t prove young earth creationalism. There are a number of different animals that were around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth that are around today.

  6. Ceroill responds:

    Loren I suspect you’re right about what this film is really of. Wings are very much like a frigate bird.

  7. Mike Smith responds:

    Fake, Looks like a kite.

  8. fallofrain responds:

    Heh. A “1924 video” huh? Ok, I’ll forgive them that. Could be an honest mistake referring to something that wasn’t invented for another 40 or 50 years. It could even be a frigate bird with something caught in its feet trailing behind. But it’s probably not. The footage may or may not be fake, but it was certainly misinterpreted.

  9. Norm Al responds:

    No. That’s it. Nothing else I say can add to that single negation of the very existence of this…item. If the “ropen” swooped down and snatched up Speed Racer this wouldn’t be any less believable.

  10. jodzilla responds:

    It looks real to me.

  11. Richard888 responds:

    Cryptomundo gains more points from me even when I see “silly” videos like this one. Why? Because it has an anassuming style and a tendency to sharpen the investigative skills of us commentators. Keep up the flow from Youtube, Loren!

  12. Rillo777 responds:

    As a creationist I get very tired of seeing silly stuff like this used to promote that viewpoint. I’m with all of you on this one. A big waste of time and wouldn’t prove a thing even if true.

  13. robot zombie monkey responds:

    The footage appears to be the first few seconds of this video (obviously a sea bird).

    The footage is looped – the cloud pattern in the back repeats 3 times – and the number of frames per second looks have been reduced, more likely for a quick animation job than for an authentic old timey look. A poorly drawn “tail” has been added, the video mirrored and run through a “crappy old film” filter in some cheep-o film editing program. I studied animation at university and this is an exceptionally crap job done by a hoaxer who has a political agenda. Thanks to youtube for linking to the possible source vid in the “Related” sidebar.

  14. Logan5 responds:

    Kudos to robot zombie monkey for a good catch! I think that he/she is undoubtedly correct in the assertion that this is a “flipped” copy of the first few frames of the footage previously identified as either a Kite or Frigate bird.

  15. serpent_seeker responds:

    It never flaps its wings as it glides across the sky it seems stationary.

  16. hlw responds:

    I don’t know how you can feel forgiving about this type of crap any day. After spending the many years you have in the field, and being immersed in real investigative work, having to deal with the constant stream of this type of stuff must be very frustrating. Kudos to you for taking the time to be fair and represent all sides of an issue, even when you know this is a waste of time. Hopefully one of these days one of these sights will come up with some real evidence. Until then thanks for all your time filtering this garbage in search of the real thing.

  17. Sharmz responds:

    I did saw this video first on a creationist website before asking Loren about it. My first impression was that it was a footage of a frigate bird then modified to give it a pterosaur-type ‘diamond’ tail. Yes, I think it’s a fake.

  18. robot zombie monkey responds:

    I can verify that the two videos are indeed the same. I chucked them both into Premier and they match exactly, save for the drawn on tail. I might be posting the results on youtube later today. (I’m a “she”, BTW.)

  19. Bob K. responds:

    Agree with Rillo777. Creationist (which I am) or not, I don’t see this film (on the face of it anyway) as anything special. Until you can provide some reasonable proof that a film is genuine or not-especially when appealing to something filmed in 1924-it means nothing. ‘PG 1967’ has been subjected to almost endless scrutiny and study. If those who put this film forward as real are serious about its importance, then they should put out some time and $$$ and give it the study and analysis it deserves, and issue reports from the same.

  20. Doug responds:

    Once again, if it is on youtube, viewer beware.

  21. Greg Bishop responds:

    Oh man,

    This sort of stuff is exactly like the Haiti UFO videos that we ripped apart on ufomystic.

    Commenters complained that we shouldn’t give the hoax videos any attention, but I think it’s fun to see how well they were done. We’ve reached the age when ANY video or still pictures of anything anomalous has been rendered worthless.

  22. eireman responds:

    I agree with the Frigate Bird theory. I live just off of a saltwater lagoon near San Juan and those things are always flying overhead. As for the “footage.” It’s so obviously rendered in something as cheap as Microsoft Moviemaker, which comes installed on pretty much everybody’s computer these days. You tube is a waste of time. If I want a laugh, I will watch some of the postings but it’s not a forum for scientific evidence.

  23. Wisemen responds:

    There comes a time when you have to ask yourself is it good or bad when the cryptid (ropen) is identified by bad publicity. If the animals do exist the vids keep it from being discovered. They are so badly made who would even believe it.

  24. gguessman responds:

    This looks like a sea bird. It makes a good pseudo pterosaurs, but then again many water birds do.

  25. jdwhitcomb responds:

    The so-called “David Woetzel” that put up this video on YouTube is not the David Woetzel who explored on Umboi Island, searching for ropens. Whoever put up the video refused to communicate with the real Woetzel and has now been kicked out of the YouTube community. The reason was probably related to impersonating the real D.W.

    It seems questionable that the person is actually a Creationist. He is not one of us who have traveled to Papua New Guinea, searching for living pterosaurs. The hoax was, apparently, not just of a video but of a name. As such, his words and actions cannot reasonably be used to discredit those who’ve had no real association with him.

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