1930 Lucy Evelyn Cheesman (1881–1969) was a British entomologist

Evelyn Cheesman and Strange Flying Lights

In one of her expeditions in the southwest Pacific, the British biologist Evelyn Cheesman witnessed some strange horizontally-flying lights deep in the jungles of New Guinea. This may have been early in the 1930′s, or possibly in the late 1920′s, for she wrote about it in her book The Two Roads of Papua, which was published in 1935.

How is that related to my expeditions on the mainland of Papua New Guinea? The strange lights that the British biologist observed were just a couple of mountain ranges or so north of where I recorded my sightings decades later. It seems very likely that I recorded the same kind of flying lights Cheesman had seen.

Consider what Cheesman wrote:

While at Mondo I witnessed a most curious phenomenon which I could not understand; nor could I later hit upon any satisfactory explanation for it. It was a very close, still evening; thundery conditions, yet no storms . . . It was moreover clear; there were no cotton-wool clouds roving round which is rather a rare occurrence. . .

I spent much time in leaning over the veranda, and gazing across at the flat monotone of jumbled hills against a purple sky. When suddenly I saw a flash of light somewhere below the horizon. It was rather a slow flash, and might have been made with an electric torch by someone with a finger on the
switch to prolong it perhaps four seconds.

. . . in a moment it came again, and this time I counted; yes, about four or five seconds, but that flash had been a little distance away from the first. Flashes continued at intervals.

. . . by no possibility could there be human beings out there using flash-lamps at intervals. . . . I measured my position carefully against the veranda-post . . . and also where the spots appeared, so that in the morning I should have some idea of how far off they were. . . . By daylight I took up precisely the same position on the veranda, and measured off against the post where I had seen the lights the evening before. . . . the flashes had been following a certain ridge of hills. Three ridges are visible one above the other in that direction, the highest one on the horizon. It was on the middle one that this phenomenon appeared, and it seemed as if the flashes must have kept closely to the top of that one ridge. About a week later precisely the same thing occurred. . . .

It may be dismissed at once that the flashes were due to any human agency. Even if they had strong flashlights in their possession there could be no incentive for bushmen to stand at intervals—and I reckoned there would have to be nearly thirty individuals—for two or three miles along a ridge, flashing them where they could not be seen by one another. . . .

I include these details from Cheesman’s book because we need to understand that a scientist has made details notes about these strange flying lights and we need to discover what causes them.


Big bird kills a wild pig in 2005

Hi Paul,
My name is Casey Walker. In June 2005 I spent about 1 month in Papua New Guinea with my wife and in-laws. My father in law is an eye surgeon and at the time was working with Christian Blind Mission doing remote cataract surgeries throughout the country. We traveled through most the provinces of the country by car, plane and vessel and spent about 1 week in the village of Finschafen.
At the time I was only engaged to my wife, so she and her parents shared a room and I slept in the kitchen of a small shack at the top of a bluff overlooking the ocean in Finschafen. There was a large avocado tree next to the shack and a ravine behind it. On 1 particular night at approximately 3 AM I awoke to a pig squealing down in a ravine about 200 feet from the shack. There was also a great deal of thrashing and an unfamiliar animal noise I estimated to be a large bird. The first thing I thought was cassowary or something. I then thought perhaps the locals were doing a sacrifice with an animal or something. The pig stopped, but the thrashing continued. Then for approximately 15 minutes I heard an incredibly loud flapping in the ravine behind the shack I was sleeping in. Each flap was about 2 seconds long. I had seen countless fruit bats at this point and am certain what I heard was not a fruit bat. I know what I heard was a large wing flap. I was actually a little scared because it was so loud and awkward. I grabbed my flashlight and went out to the front porch. Admittedly, I was a bit scared so I didn’t wander far around the house. The flapping slowed down while I was outside, but the object was too far from my shack to see anything. I stepped back into the shack and listened to the flapping for another 30 minutes or so only for it to end abruptly. Not surprisingly, my wife and in laws slept through everything, which is amazing given how loud the flapping was. I spoke with them the next morning about it. I was still worked up about it, but at the expense of sounding like a nutball to my fiancé and future in-laws, I decided to stop discussing it with them. However, I did write about the experience in my travel journal, which I still have. My wife and in-laws remember me discussing it with them on that morning.
A few years ago I saw a special on the History Channel about the “Ropen,” My heart rate jumped and I instantly was brought back in time to that night in Finschafen, PNG. I am certain that I heard a large winged creature in Finschafen PNG in 2005.

1875 Henry Smithurst – first documented sighting

For years I have tried to locate the original report put forth from Mr. Henry Smithurst who first reported a very large bird in Papua New Guinea while on the Baxter River.  The “Baxter River”  is no longer  a name for any river in present day Papua New Guinea.  Just yesterday, I located an article from 1876 which told the actual longitude and latitude of the river which Smithurst had claimed to be the “Baxter” river.  As in many other occasions the name given by one person is not necessarily the correct name known officially. The  longitude and latitude coordinates put the river and name of it to be the Fly River of present day Papua New Guinea. This  is directly south of the new area of research I would like to continue to pursue researching.

Now, the following article is the closest to the original that I have been able to locate to date.  I would love to locate Mr. Smithurst’s actual journal, but as he is not a well known person that is very doubtful.

The Daily News Nov. 24, 1875    (London, England)

From the account furnished by Mr. Henry Smithurst, who was the engineer of the steamer in which the stream was explored. …” We often heard the natives speak of a large bird which could fly away with a kangaroo or a large turtle, but I scarcely credited the statement until I saw two of the birds myself. One was seated on the trunk of a large tree, and rose as we approached. The noise caused by the flapping of its wing resembled the sound of the locomotive pulling a long train very slowly. When it had flown away we heard another coming, with just the sound of an approaching goods (freight) train. I had a good opportunity of observing it, and it appeared to be sixteen or eighteen feet across the wings as it flew; the body dark brown, the breast white, neck long, and beak long and straight. Our guns had no effect on it. I feel sure I struck it, but flew on as unconcernedly as ever.”



Paul Nation is one of the few white men some of the indigenous people of Papua New Guinea have ever seen. When native children are brought to see him, they scream in terror until they get used to him and lose their fear. That fear is justified as traditionally in parts of Papua New Guinea, adults coerce children into obeying by telling them a white man will eat them if they disobey. White skin is so unusual and out of place that one elder even asked him, “Why are you so ugly?”

Paul lives near Ft. Worth, Texas, with his wife of 34 years and two grown sons. However, his exploring wanderlust has always kicked in and drawn him out into the world looking for adventure. His mother always accused him of leaving good jobs to take up an “exciting job way out in the middle of nowhere.”

His early years included many outdoor activities which well suited him. He has always loved working with animals, including birds, dogs, cows, and horses. Because his In-laws are ranchers, this gave him many opportunities to work with and take care of many different kinds of animals.At the age of 16, Paul and five other young men canoed the Boundary Waters Canoe area in Canada for two weeks. During summer breaks while in college, he worked for a boys’ camp in Hinkley, Minnesota, teaching horseback riding and leading horse trips of up to a week into the remote Minnesota woodlands. After marriage, Paul worked as a youth camp manager near Houston, Texas, where he organized canoeing, cycling, and camping trips as well as teaching rock climbing and rappelling.

In 1976, Paul received an Associate Degree in Science in Aviation Technology from LeTourneau College, in Longview, Texas. He has a private pilot’s license and became proficient in flying acrobatically. He served as a helicopter mechanic when working on offshore oil platforms.

When a friend in West Texas caught two ostriches while trapping exotic deer for a rancher, Paul bought the two birds, and operated his own ostrich farm. In 1994, his experience with ostriches resulted in his being invited to join the first expedition to Papua New Guinea in search of the mysterious flying creature that is reportedly seen there. The expedition leader recognized that his expertise in handling ostriches would be a great asset to the group in case a live specimen of the flying creature would be found and captured. This first trip into the jungle was a scientific expedition where Paul gained much experience in the many situations that arise on such an endeavor.

After that first trip, he began organizing and leading subsequent expeditions to the jungles of Papua New Guinea. On these trips, Paul looks for empirical evidences, those that are gained by observation and experience in his search for the elusive flying creature. Once these evidences are fully documented by Paul, he will then encourage scientists with expertise in several fields to continue study of the creatures based on the foundation he has laid. Because the creature is reported by eyewitnesses to look like a huge pterosaur and exhibit bioluminescence, the discovery and documentation of the creature would generate worldwide scientific interest.

At first, Paul’s interest was sprinkled with a healthy dose of skepticism about the actual existence of this unusual flying creature. However, after only one month of exploration in the jungles of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, Paul became fully convinced that there actually is some kind of strange creature that the natives were actually seeing. What natives call the creatures varies among the several tribes, but the more common names are Indava Bird, Ropen, and Demon Flyer. From that time, finding and documenting this creature became a passion with Paul and he will not be satisfied until he answers the questions in his mind about the existence of this unusual creature. One of Paul’s discoveries so far is that in this lost and strange world of Papua New Guinea, almost anything is possible.

In 2009, History Channel’s MonsterQuest approached Paul to see if he would lead an expedition to Papua New Guinea to do an episode on the MonsterQuest series. Due to obligations in Iraq, Paul was unable to lead that expedition, but MonsterQuest sent a camera crew to do a two-day film shoot with Paul while he was on leave in Texas. That program aired in June 2009 as Episode 9 in Season Three.

Paul continues to teach himself skills that will be useful in the pursuit of the Indava Bird. Do the jungles of New Guinea intimidate him? Although he has contracted malaria, jungle rot and a staphylococcus infection while there, he declares that once you get used to the jungle environment, a big city feels less secure than the jungle, and the jungle becomes almost boring. Yet he does not underestimate the many dangers that explorers encounter in that environment. Much planning is required in preparation for an expedition. Caution is always the rule because if someone gets hurt, medical help is no closer than two weeks away.

Paul worked in Iraq in 2007 resupplying combat outposts on the east side of Baghdad. He drove tractor trailers on “Combat Logistic Patrols” with the Army. Every day, he drove outside the wire and completed over 300 missions. These convoys were often shot at, and some vehicles were blown up by IED’s He has had stones thrown at him and survived numerous mortar and rocket attacks. It was unusual for a civilian to go outside the wire, but to Paul, it was an adventure, especially driving through the cities and local villages. He enjoyed working with the military and drove convoys for over two and a half years.

Today, Paul is still satisfying his desire to travel and see the world by working on Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan, supporting the United States Marine Corps. His duties often require him to travel to other small and isolated bases in Afghanistan.

Paul is available for radio and television interviews and conference presentations. For information on scheduling Paul for an interview or speaking, he can be reached at… Indavabird@yahoo.com or calling 817 573-4216 (CST).

Mega Bat is it possible?

I have been asked about the possibility of the Indava being a new species of a mega bat. While anything is still possible I do not think it will be. I base this upon my knowledge that the natives sometimes will have as pets, the huge flying fox bat . They will keep the bat for a while feeding it and getting it fatter, Then they will kill and eat the fox bat.

Once in Gomlongong Village the clan leader Jon Kau brought out his rusted antique single shot shot gun and said he was going bat hunting. Bat hunting is not very hard. You find a tall tree that has 30 to 40 huge bats hanging upside down from the limbs. You shot up among the bats.  With one shot Jon Kau brought down three large flying fox bats. Taking the bats back to the village, they had, bat over the fire and bat wing soup that night.

You see the huge bats, I am talking six foot wing span, do not scare the natives as they see them daily and use the bats as a source of food.  They know what a bat looks like and this Indava creature has similar wings to a bats in that the wings are “like a bat’s wing” meaning a skin membrane.  But the other characteristics are very different.  The ability to land on a tree trunk, the ability to carry a heavy load flying, and the the “glow” or bioluminescence it can produce.

When you see these huge bats flying they do look very much as “ancient flying creatures” they have a very distinctive flying style with the huge wings compared to the size of the body.  During flight in the day time you can almost see through the thin membrane of the wing if the sun is behind the bat. I picked up on dead flying fox and held the wings out from me.  The wings were just about a far as I could spread my arms and the body in relanzon-inaki-madagascar-flying-fox-fruit-bat-in-flight-berenty-private-reserve-south-madagascarfront of my face was about a foot long. a very scary looking creature indeed.

Fair day’s wage

Tawa Airstrip from last ridge

Tawa Airstrip from last mountain ridge

I was reminded recently about the vast difference there is in the world concerning a fair wage for a days work.

It was October and I had just landed at the grass strip in Tawa, Papua New Guinea. The bush plane which we had arrived in had departed. My guide/translator Joseph,and I needed to move my gear and ourselves eight miles over rugged terrain to our target area, the village of Bainu.  My gear and equipment all fit into  two large military style green duffle bags. Each bag weighed close to seventy pounds. I asked Joseph to find us some local help to carry the duffle bags.  With the recent rains the steep mountain trails were going to be very muddy and muddy also means slippery and slippery can cause injuries and I sure did not want any type of injury out here.

About an hour later Joseph shows up with two young girls.  I would estimate their age around fifteen years old.  Very slender and I would call “scrawny”.  Nothing like I imagined for one to be able to carry my duffle bags a hundred feet much less eight miles. Boy, was I ever wrong! Joseph had to explain to me that in this tribal area the men do not carry things. Carrying things is a womans work. So he was not able to hire any men to carry our equipment and supplies.

Typical trail going to Bainu village

Typical trail going to Bainu village

Trusting in his expertise of the local culture we started up the trail to the top of a ridge. I was slipping and sliding back as much as I was climbing up.  Very difficult climb, up and over, then back down the other side for eight long muddy hours.  Those “scrawny” girls put me to shame with their strength and agility on a steep muddy trail.  From the start they carried the duffle bags by putting the shoulder straps across their forehead and letting the bag lay crossways on their shoulders with their neck carrying most of the weight. They would beat me up to the top of a ridge and wait the next fifteen minutes or so to for me to catch up.  As soon as I got to the top of a ridge, off they would scamper, laughing and talking like it was a normal stroll through a park. Meanwhile I was panting and exhausted just to make it to the top. Rest for a while and start the torture down and up the next ridge.

One of the girls who carried my equipment for the * hour hike

One of the girls who carried my equipment for the 8 hour hike

After eight hours of torture for me, we arrived at our destination. Out of a  heart felt thanks and still in awe of these girls with  their strength and endurance I reached into my pockets and gave each girl what would be the equivalent of $5.00 US dollars.  What I thought was really cheap for the eight hours of work they had done for me.

I returned five months later to the same airstrip in Tawa. The plane was still unloading when I was bombarded with the question….”why did I pay those girls so much money?”  I had to think back to remember how much I had paid them and realized the very small amount I had given each of them. It seemed that when the girls returned to the village of Tawa and people heard what I had paid them the “wantoks” showed up for their share of the bounty. Wantoks are family relatives and in this tribal culture relatives are never said no to.  If a relative wants to stay in your hut and eat your food for months…then that is OK.  If a relative needs money and you have some you must share a portion. So these poor girls ended up losing all the money I had given them. Only because of the number of relatives that showed up claimed their portion of the excess wages.

I learned very quickly to give my guide/translator money in advance of needing to hire some one because he would know the fair wages for a days work.  So once more we traveled the same trail, in half the time because the trail was dry, and arrived at the same remote village.  After the girls had left I asked Joseph what he had paid the girls to carry the bags. Three kina, just over $.65 cents US.  Since this was a days fair wages in this area the girls were able to keep the whole amount and go buy something at the local “general store”. I learned that the $5.00 US dollars was a weeks worth of work!

Indava Bio-luminescence

I have been asked to describe the bio-luminescence that I have seen.  According to the local natives this strange flying bioluminescence is from the Inava bird. The natives claim the creatures can “glow” in three different colors. The colors are white, yellow and red.  The colors I have seen are the white and yellow bioluminescence flying.

The easiest way for me to describe this phenomenon is by comparing this bioluminescence to the street lights in a large city. The “white” glow would be very close to a bright white mercury vapor street lamp, the ones that illuminate large areas with a bright white light.  The “yellow” glow would be similar to the orange /brown sodium vapor lights that illuminate with a yellowish light. And when the natives say “bright, big light”….it is a very bright “glow” that flies across the night skies.

Now, I need to return and probe even farther and deeper into this mystery!