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… 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!

Indava Bird Revealed

Well, revealed as to what the natives say they see and the talents of Desiree Byrd of Byrd Creative.  I had an old artistic rendering from 1994 based on the information we had back then.  Now with newer descriptions and higher quality graphics, we can maybe have a glimpse of this mystery creature. If anyone is familiar with the fossil record and pterosaurs , you will notice that this creature has characteristics of both families of pterosaurs.  The head crest of the pterodactyloids and also the long tail of the rhamphorhynchoids.  Makes you pause and wonder how a simple native sustaining in the jungle could know such details from the fossil record!  Maybe they have seen something we do not know about.IndavaBird ArtisticRendering

News from PNG

Heard from my contact in Papua New Guinea.  He is recovering from dengue fever. This his second round with this fever.  As of right now there is no preventive medicine you and take to prevent this.  It is another mosquito borne virus that attacks humans.  Since I will be traveling a couple of days through this hot spot of dengue fever I will have to be very cautious and prepare as much as possible to prevent the mosquitoes biting.  This like repellant, long sleeve shirts, gloves, everything that makes wearing them in the high heat and humidity miserable.  Fortunately my main time will be up in the mountains and the mosquito is not a problem.

What does the Indava look like?

I have been asked…What does this creature look like?  Since I have only seen the bioluminesence of this creature and no morphology.  I can only give descriptions as reported by those who have seen this creature.

The year is 1875. British explorers were steaming up a newly discovered river in Papua New Guinea they call the Baxter River. ” 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 truck 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.”

Now advance to August 1944. The war with Japan was ending and Dwayne Hodgkinson, a 19-year-old soldier, was hiking with his friends on a path which led to a local village near the town of Finschaven, Papua New Guinea. As they were walking, they heard the sound of a large animal crashing through the bush. Moments later, a wild hog came out of the dense jungle and began running through tall grass in the adjacent field. The hog’s commotion led to a scene that was permanently burned into Dwayne’s memory. To his amazement, Dwayne watched as a huge “bird” took flight less than 200 feet in front of him and his friends. When this creature rose into the air, Dwayne vividly remembers the tall grass and brush swaying violently from the down rush of air as the creature gained altitude.

Dwayne watched in awe as the creature circled and flew back to where they were, giving them a perfect side view of this unique creature. He estimated that the creature was flying at no more than 100 feet high at that time. What amazed him most was the crest on the creature’s head! Dwayne knew that no birds today have such a crest. He noted the long beak and head crest were each about three feet long. Dwayne said that the creature looked exactly like pictures he had seen of a prehistoric flying reptile only found in the fossil record. He estimated that the tail of the creature was about 15 feet long and the color of the body was dark, “not black, but dark brown.” Before being drafted, Dwayne was a private pilot and flew a small aircraft called the Piper Tri-Pacer which has a 29-foot wingspan. The creature that flew before his eyes had about the same wingspan as his plane back home! We now know from the fossil record that pteranadons had a 30-foot or even greater wingspan. After returning to camp and telling about his “discovery,” Dwayne quickly realized there is a price to pay for seeing something no one else has seen. After being teased by his follow soldiers, he quickly realized it was best not to talk about such things because people will think you are unstable or have been drinking. It was the result of Dwayne’s story that led to the first expedition into Papua New Guinea in 1994.

(Please see a YouTube of an interview with Dwayne about his eyewitness account of the creature.)

Now let’s stop in August 1994. I, Paul Nation, was sitting in the men’s hut in Garu Village, Papua New Guinea, listening to natives tell of creatures they have seen that exhibit the same characteristics as the one Dwayne sighted. One group of hunters told about a similar creature that flew into their camp one night to steal the game they had killed. It landed by clinging to a nearby tree trunk and the men could see a “glow” coming from this creature. It terrified these normally fearless hunters to the point that they could not even move! To simulate the creature’s clinging to the tree trunk, one hunter jumped up next to a large support post in the hut, tightly gripped the post with his legs, and then grabbed the top of the post with his hands. This caught my attention because no known birds have “hands” to grip the trunk of a tree. Local fruit bats are plentiful and have claws on their wings, but they land on tree limbs and never on the trunks of trees. The bats will land on a limb and immediately swing down into an inverted, hanging position. But they never land upright on the trunk of a tree. What flying creature would have this ability to land upright on a tree trunk and grip the trunk with both feet and wing claws?

On my expeditions, I have taken a set of silhouettes of flying creatures, both present-day birds and those known from the fossil record. I ask eyewitnesses to pick silhouettes from the head, wing and body types of the one that resembles the creatures they have seen. Without fail, 100% of the natives will pick a pterosaur silhouette. Then to my amazement, 80% will choose the Sordes Pilosus out of all the pterosaur silhouettes!

This brings up a question: How do these natives know to pick this particular creature if they have never seen one?

March 2007 Return to Bianu

Chapter 3 March 2007 Return to Bainu and the High Garden Site

My heart is having a race in competition with my excitement as my plane is on final approach to land on the grass strip in Tawa, Papua New Guinea. Late one evening only five months ago, I was here at this very spot videoing the bioluminescence of a mysterious, rare, and unique flying creature. The weather has been cloudy so I have waited over three days and two aborted attempts for good enough flying conditions for the pilot to safely navigate the plane through the valleys and around mountains to land here.

That clear strip in the center is the grass airstrip at Tawa

That clear strip in the center is the grass airstrip at Tawa

The bush plane landed, let me off, and was barely out of sight before questions saturated my mind. The most urgent of these troubling questions was, “Why did you pay the girls so much?” I would never have thought that such a trifling matter would weigh so heavily on my mind. Planning for what I was to accomplish in my research here should not have to take a backseat in my thinking for such a minor thing. Please let me explain.

My last trip here was in October 2006. We left the airstrip at Tawa to hike about eight more miles up into the mountains to reach Bainu. Two heavy duffel bags of supplies and equipment were brought to last me through the month I would be conducting research. In this culture the men do not carry things, but that labor is left for the women and young girls. Many times I have seen women loaded down with seventy-five to a hundred pounds of firewood or coconuts as they transport their burden.

On my last time here, I had asked my guide, Joseph, to find people to help carry my bags to Bainu. I was surprised when I realized that Joseph hired two girls about fifteen-years-old to carry the bags. The girls slung those bags around their backs, placed a shoulder strap across their forehead, and were ready to go. Those girls climbed steep, muddy hills with little effort, always waiting for me to catch up with them at the top of each ridge. They giggled each time I approached the top and needed to pause and rest while they easily traversed the top and started on down. (I can see the humor in this even today.)

Kids playing

Kids playing around my site at the “high garden”

After an eight-hour hike, I paid them fifty Kina, equivalent to about twenty US dollars, which I thought was a fair price for carrying the duffel bags. No! Little did I know about the going wages in the area. I later discovered that I had paid them about a week’s wages for one day’s work. Because the girls had received so much money, their “wantoks” (relatives) came by for their share of the profits. In the end, the girls received almost nothing after the relatives claimed their share. In this culture, if a relative asks another relative for anything, that relative who is asked must give if within their power to do so. If relatives want to room in your hut, you will let them live in your hut until they decide to leave. It works for them, but I could see many problems arising from such arrangements.

I have seen women carry amazing loads for considerable distances and not seem fazed by the effort. I remember while on Umboi Island, Mark Kau’s wife, Deliah, was carrying about forty-five pounds of coconuts to sell at Bunsil Station. When Deliah realized that the person carrying my heavy bag had gotten tired, she took the bag’s shoulder strap by one hand, swung the bag up on the top of her load, and kept walking and talking for another five miles. It is really amazing to see the strength and endurance of these women who are tempered by the constant, hard work they do daily.

It took only four hours to arrive at the high garden site on this trip, cutting my time from the first trip almost in half. On this trip I gave money to Joseph to pay a fair wage, so the girls were happy and able to keep and spend all they earned at the “general Store.” A hard lesson was learned by me. I discovered that a fair wage is three Kina, about 96 cents in US money, for those two girls to carry the heavy duffel bags for eight miles up and down the mountain ridges.

Finally the end of my hike for today

Finally the end of my hike for today

Now I am back at my “high garden” site. The tent is pitched and a sunshade is placed over the tent since I have to sleep during the day and stay awake at night. Let me regress for a moment and recall what happened the last time I set up my tent on this spot.

Natives inspection my tent at Bainu village

Natives inspection my tent at Bainu village

Even though we are close to seven thousand feet above sea level, days this close to the equator are very intense and hot. The nights cool off nicely and make for a comfortable time to watch and do research. One afternoon, I was trying to get to sleep and sweating profusely in the unbearable heat. All of a sudden it became darker in the tent due to a shade cloth being thrown over the top of the tent. I looked outside and saw Zion and six local natives around the tent, staking down the shade cloth so it would not touch the tent or blow away. The inside of my tent was made considerably cooler by the nice shade they provided. This unexpected deed of kindness allowed me to sleep for the entire time I was there without sweating during the heat of the day. This was one memorable act of kindness the local natives showed me while I was with them. Many other times they brought food from the garden and also delivered fresh water to me.

Mt.Hamiya  Coming out of the mist

Mt.Hamiya Coming out of the mist

The first night I eagerly sat and watched intently all night long although my diligence was not rewarded at all. Nothing of interest happened, nothing at all. In fact, during the entire three weeks I spent watching the night skies, I saw no bioluminescence of any kind. The Indava creature must have moved out of this area for some reason. October is springtime in Papua New Guinea. If this creature had young to care for and feed, I should have seen more activity during those fruitless nights. I surmised that if the young were five-months-old or older, perhaps the creatures moved on to other territories and would again return to this region in the springtime.

I have not had enough time in the bush to be able to educate myself about the comings and goings of the flying creatures. I do not yet have an explanation for why their bioluminescence was hidden from me on this trip. Only spending much more time, diligence, and research in this remote and dangerous part of the world will shed more light on the activities of these enigmatic night fliers of Papua New Guinea.

October 2006 A Grass Airstrip at Tawa

Above…Preparing to cross a stream deep in the jungle


October 2006    A Grass Airstrip at Tawa,  Papua New Guinea   

Located just north of Australia, the island of Papua New Guinea is the second largest island on planet Earth. It has been called the Lost World and previously unknown species of  birds and other animals have been discovered within the last ten years.

It’s Friday. Tomorrow the bush plane is scheduled to return and take me back to Wau, Papua New Guinea.  The weather has not looked good over the last couple of days, and with all the mountains and valleys we must fly over before reaching Wau, it could be very tricky. Jim Blume, the bush pilot, has been flying in these jungles since 1969. It is safe to say there is no one better than Jim who knows this area and its weather dangers. In the early 70s, Jim worked hard to put this grass strip in place to serve the people in this region of Papua New Guinea.

Crowds form every time the bush plane lands

I am fortunate to be staying right next to the grass strip in an old abandoned hut next to the “general store.” The cracks in the walls are big enough for the locals to peek in and see what I am doing. Regardless of whether I am sleeping, sitting, reading, or eating, I always have an audience.

My guide Joseph and translator Jacob are with me but have gone into the main village of Tawa to visit people they know. This allows some time for me to cook up a little dinner from my supplies of rice and canned tuna bought next door at the general store. The “general store” is just a better built hut with a locking door and iron screens to separate customer from the merchandise. You point to what you want and then you buy it. All stock is displayed on the shelves….if you don’t see it, they don’t have it. Very simple. When supplies are exhausted, it could be weeks before someone makes a trip to a town, such as Aseki, Wau, or Lae, and returns with another supply of goods.

This will be my last night out in the bush. For three weeks I have lived and visited with the natives in this region. This has given me time to ask them many questions about the creature that flies and glows in the dark. Here in this area of the country, the creature is called Indava. The name Indava in the local language means, “Bird that flies at night, and brings message of death.” Many stories exist about this  animal, stories from the realistic to the absurd. Many of the stories are firsthand accounts, but more include secondhand accounts and others farther removed from the original sightings.

According to the best source I met, sightings of the Indava were more prevalent in the sixties and seventies. On nights the villagers would hear the Indavas coming, they would run outside their huts waving, screaming, and making as much noise as possible in trying to prevent the Indavas from landing. This was a fearsome creature that would attack humans, even attacking small children and carrying them off. On one occasion, a seven-year-old boy was caught and taken away, with the Indava dropping him some distance from where he was caught. However, when the villagers were able to reach the child, they discovered that he was dead. My sources told me that nothing like this has happened in this region since the seventies.

After finishing my supper of rice and tuna, it was time to go outside and start watching the skies for more sightings of the “glow.” Six times over the last weeks I have seen this bioluminescence, but the distance was too great for the camera to be effective. For all those nights of watching, I have nothing to show for my efforts to collect evidence, but just seeing the bioluminescence made my pulse race. However, the most dramatic sighting of the “glow” was one that came floating in the air through the river valley below me.

At this point, I need to explain where I was for my observation point to be high enough that I was able to look down on the bioluminescence that was moving through the valley below me.

The area seen from high garden site

I had traveled from the village of Bianu up higher to what I call the “high garden” site. A local native named Zion had offered me his garden site for an observation point that was a much higher altitude than the main village.

Grass huts at "high garden" site

The grass hut at garden site

The garden site had three round grass huts for shelter and a nicely cleared area with few trees, so I could actually see for many miles over some of the lower mountaintops and into other valleys around this area. I never saw the river that ran its course below me because of the tree canopy that completely covered it. However, the lay of the land let me know the river’s path because the mountains rise sharply from aside the river’s channel.

One night as I was scanning the skies, I saw a “glow” coming from the west that appeared to be following the river channel. As I watched for about a minute, the “glow” traveled smoothly on a level course below me until suddenly increasing its altitude and heading straight for a rocky point on Mt. Hamiya, the closest mountain ridge east of my location. Just as it appeared to be about fifty feet from landing on the rocky outcropping, the “glow” suddenly disappeared, almost like someone shutting off power to a light bulb.

At the time, the distance seemed too great for the camera to be of any use, so I did not even try to video the event. Later I learned from experience that the “glow” will be caught on video at even a greater distance. I had over six sightings of the mysterious “glow” during my night’s observations, but nothing was captured on video.

While back at the grass strip in Tawa, I prepared myself to watch the mountain ridges around the strip, which was about five hundred feet lower in altitude than the surrounding ridges.

There was never a chair for me to use while on watch. Many times, I would be so tired from hiking on the water-soaked, muddy ground, that all I wanted to do was relax in a chair. Not to be! Usually nothing could be found but a log, and I felt lucky if it was a big log. The natives would just squat and sit on their heels by the hours while I struggled to find something more comfortable. But why no chairs?

In the sixties, many customs and traditions in this culture were changing and some had radical changes from the way things had been. For example, people would be killed for various reasons and then eaten by the other villagers! Apparently, the last man who suffered this fate was Zion’s father, who, for his only “crime” of accepting Christianity, was killed and eaten in the sixties. Thankfully, that custom has been abandoned!

Now back to the chairs. I learned why there were no chairs for my use. Possibly, chairs bring to the natives’ minds another one of the old, outdated customs of this area. When a highly respected leader or tribal elder died, the villagers would build a chair, tie the body to this chair with vines, and then set the body and chair inside a hut. Then for about six months, the villagers would keep a smoky fire going 24/7 in the hut which would dry out the body until it was like meat jerky. Once or twice a day someone would enter the smoky hut and wipe off the body fluids until the body became completely dried. After the process was completed, the person of honor was memorialized by being mounted to a large rock overhang while still seated in the chair. There was one such rock ledge with a couple of bodies not far from where I was standing. What was left of the bodies and chairs had a grotesque appearance with the bones and teeth shining white against the leathery, blackened, and dried skin. This practice has since been banned because some say that many people got sick and died after several times of entering the hut and wiping off the body during the drying process.

While back on watch as the night continued to grow blacker and blacker, I kept a constant vigil by scanning the horizon and the tops of the mountain ridges close by for any type of luminescence. Suddenly a “fire” seemed to be ignited, and it rapidly bloomed into a “flame.” I remember thinking, “Wow, someone just threw some gasoline on that fire.” As it grew in intensity, a second “fire” started to glow. That’s when I thought my heart would jump through my chest as I realized what I was seeing was not  a “fire” at all.   Seeing what I thought was a fire seemed strange because I had never seen a fire outside the huts in this area. At this high elevation and thin atmosphere, we are constantly in a cloud cover and the rains and mist make it very difficult to keep a fire going. On my expeditions, all the fires I had ever seen were inside grass huts.

Fire in the center of a grass hut on a split bamboo floor.

(Being inside a grass hut having a split bamboo floor with a fire in the middle of the floor causing smoke to fill the hut from the roof down to two feet off the floor left me wondering what to do if the floor catches fire and the grass hut goes aflame in seconds. But after being in the huts around the fires for weeks with nothing tragic happening, I had come to accept the fire inside a grass hut as a normal part of their lifestyle. If placing a fire outside, one would constantly be fighting the rain and mist to keep the fire alive.)

I threw the video camera into action, knowing the objects seemed too far away to get good video, but also knowing this was my last chance to capture any video of this bioluminescence I had witnessed over the last several weeks. Nothing showed in the viewfinder so I just carefully pointed the camera and started to record. A few seconds later the first “fire” died away and the second “fire” flew up and over, then down the back side of the mountain I had been viewing.

Later that night, about 10 pm, Jacob and Joseph saw a single bioluminescence returning.  It flew along a ridge to the east of us heading back to the same general area I had seen the two “glows” appear earlier.

After twelve years of hearing about this bioluminescence or “glow,” and how bright, how big, and the colors look, I have  become an eyewitness to this mystery. But what kind of flying creature is it?

Two of the Indava’s bioluminescence or “glows” magnified when both intensities are the same. Shortly after this, the (1) source, on left, starts reducing in intensity.

After arriving back in the United States, Cliff Paiva, with BSM Research Associates, did a computer enhanced analysis of the video.  His enhancement was done with computer programs, checking edge gradients and radiation intensity.  The plates which follow are the results of Cliff’s analyses.  The first plate below shows the radiation intensity for both objects. The whiter the color the more intense is the radiation, so farther away from the body naturally shows a weaker intensity. The absence of radiation intensity in the “body” is certainly unique.  If this had been a fire, flashlight, or any type of artificial light source, the center would have the most radiation intensity and not be devoid of radiation intensity as this analysis demonstrates.

Computer enhanced radiation gradients.       White is intense and blue is cool.

This confirms the light sources are not from an artificial source. (Neither a car, airplane, flashlight, nor any other man-made light source would be expected in this area because of its remoteness, ruggedness, and lack of any human population or facilities.) Also, two distinct sources of radiation with different intensities are demonstrated. This further indicates that the two sources of light are two separate entities.

What kind of flying creatures can generate such visual radiation?


August 2002 Return to Umboi Island

Chapter 2 August 2002

Gomlongong Village, Umboi Island , Papua New Guinea

After eight years, I have returned to Gomlongong Village. This expedition includes only me and my oldest son Nathanael. We have traveled 27 hours by bus, 19 hours by plane, and finally, a slow, 17-hour boat ride to arrive on Umboi Island.

This time the ferryboat was an old rusty freighter called “Total,” which was placed into service because mechanical problems had disabled the newer ferry. There was only a single, open, seatless, and constantly-flushing toilet to serve all the passengers. When it rains,  passengers spread a large blue tarp over themselves and everyone hangs onto the fabric to keep it from blowing away. There was no way all the people could get out of the weather.

Arriving on pier at Lablab Mission

Arriving on pier at Lablab Mission

Plowing through the water at barely six knots, the rust bucket slowly makes it way to Umboi. Food and water are what you brought with you and since we did not know about the ferry’s lack of conveniences for its passengers, we suffered. With us was our translator, Harry Bonjo. Fortunately for us there were several  men from Gomlongong village riding with us. After some time together on the ferry, they and Harry started talking together and remembering us from our other expeditions, which also stirred my memory of them. It was through Harry that we found this common link because he was able to speak their language and explain to the people the reason these two foreigners were going to Umboi. They offered us some of the food and water they had brought along and it helped to offset our hunger and thirst. Through Harry’s translation of our conversations, we had an interesting time of visiting with the men and reminiscing about the last expedition of eight years ago.


Dancers of the “Pig Clan”

After seventeen exhausting hours, we finally landed at the concrete pier at Lablab Mission. The best thing about this boat ride was that the seas were very calm! As we were unloading, we noticed a large crowd already on the pier. As we got closer we saw it was a local dance group from the “Pig Clan.” Dressed in the old traditional dress with pig-tusk-necklaces and shells, they performed nearly all the dance in the squat position, bouncing up and down to the rhythm of the drums. This was quite an exciting welcome for us, even though no one knew we were coming. Thankfully, it was because of coincidental timing that we were able to be entertained by this group.

On arriving at Umboi, we needed to find a way of transport to Gomlongong Village. Since the lumber company  left the island, the road became unusable, and we discovered that no rental trucks were available for us. Well, when traveling in this part of the world, it is imperative to always have a plan “B.” That plan resulted in Harry’s finding a banana boat we could rent that would take us one-quarter of the way around the island to Bunsil Station. From there it is about a ten-mile hike uphill to Gomlongong. Soon we discovered that several passengers wanted to travel with us to Busil Station. The plan was for each of the passengers to pay a little for the ride. However, as it turned out, I covered the whole expense and these people received a free ride. This gesture did open up a couple of friendships which would later prove useful in Gomlongong.


Unloading banana boat on beach at Bunsil Station

One fuel stop and a four-hour ride in the banana boat placed us on the beach at Bunsil Station. From there, we unloaded and started our hike to Gomlongong Village. The first day is always the hardest, getting our packs settled in and our bodies used to carrying those heavy packs. We spent the first night in Mize Camp. This was a new camp of people from the interior who were cutting out land to build huts and be closer to the beach at Bunsil Station in hopes of finding a better life. Mr.Mize was a hustler and tried to get me to do things with and through the United States Consulate for his new camp. I had no connections and had never talked with the Consulate but he believed that as an American I could pull many strings for him. (Later I discovered that he actually traveled to the U.S. Consulate Office and made inquiry about me and the earlier expedition in hopes of using that information to his advantage. Of course, nothing resulted from that as we had no influence.) Because there is no postal service on the island, he actually sent me a hand-carried letter in a white envelope while I was in Gomlongong. He tried to make the letter sound official and that I was required to come back to his camp and photograph as much as I did in Gomlongong! Needless to say, we were glad to leave the Mize camp the next morning and travel on to Gomlongong.

Once in Gomlongong, we immediately learned we would not be allowed to climb Mt. Bel because it was off-limits to us. That was strange because we had not come with the intention of climbing Mt. Bel again. There was nothing on the mountain we wanted to reinvestigate. Now that I think about it, there was a “large-sounding” waterfall about halfway up the mountain. I say “large-sounding” as we were never able to see it. While we walked up a ridgeback, the sound was close below us, but with all the trees and dense foliage, we could see no more than fifty feet in front of us. Our time was too precious to stop and spend time looking at a waterfall. My thought was that the waterfall would have a plunge pool large enough for a flying creature to land and drink freshwater. Perhaps a cave would be close by in which the creatures could stay and rest. Now we may never know.

Back to the reason we were banned from the mountain. The story got to us that while we were on the mountain eight years ago, the villagers heard two loud explosions from Mt. Bel. To them, this was proof that we had found something of great value, gold or diamonds. They never would believe that we were looking for a bird! They are now convinced that we had found “the mother lode” and they wanted to know what it was and where we found it. The problem with this story is that we never returned to claim the supposed “gold or diamonds” and eight years later I show up again. It was a story I had to refute over and over again. There was no explosion on our part and those of us on the mountain never heard anything. My thinking is that a jet plane broke the sound barrier and produced that double “explosion” everyone heard. Many times I had to say that “I am not a geologist or a prospector!”

The reason we got an order not to climb Mt.Bel was that eight years ago, the first expedition had paid a high price for the “rights to the cave” on the mountain. Eight years later, they still thought something of value was on the mountain but they did not know what it was. It was all about the money. If I had come up with enough money, I could have gone back up the mountain. But on this trip I had other plans for research.

With this stigma of my having some knowledge about the mountain’s supposed riches, we could hardly go anywhere without having to hire some local landowners’ “representative” to walk with us. This was just to make sure that any “discovery” was made known to the landowners.

Interestingly, it was this situation that played a main role in allowing me to contract malaria. Please let me explain. Since our research was to be for about two weeks in and around Gomlongong village, I had decided not to buy malaria pills in order to save some money. In the mountain area malaria is not much of a problem and mosquitoes are rarely seen, or so I believed.

Large "walking stick" bug on trail

Large “walking stick” bug on trail

Everything was arranged for us to go investigate a small lake at the base of Mt. Bel which I thought could possibly be another source of freshwater for this creature. The lake increased in size with rains and decreased with no rain, so it was not fed by a river or spring, but rather existed as a large pond of water at certain times of the year.

With me, my son, Harry, and two representatives of the landowners I had arranged to go with us, that would be five people going. I had agreed to the payment price for the five of us. When I showed up at the main lodge the next morning, there were nine people ready to go and obviously I had not paid for the unexpected four others. I tried to explain that I had already agreed on five and not nine. Besides having to pay extra, the noise the natives made while traveling in the bush was very loud and I was trying to keep things stealthy. It turns out that I would be crossing other landowners’ property in the jungle and needed to pay for the right to cross that clan’s land.

After about an hour of discussion and seeing no change in their attitude, I decided to accept an offer I had been given from some natives to visit the beach down from Opai Village. From that point we headed down to the beach. That night the mosquitoes were plentiful and from the bite of just one of the females, I came back to the States with the kind of malaria that can be fatal. Fortunately, I was in the States when the full-blown symptoms hit and I received excellent hospital care in Trinidad, Colorado. The malaria incident happened during the very last days of our time on the island. Had I been able to conduct the research I had prepared for at the higher elevation, it is doubtful I would have contracted malaria.

On our way back  from the beach, going to Opai Village, I had an opportunity to interview one the strangest eyewitness reports.

A local native named Jefferons had reported to Harry that he had seen a bioluminescence flying from Mt. Bel to the ocean. I asked Harry to question Jefferons about his sighting but to do it in Jefferons’ mother tongue.

Jefferons saw “sparks” falling off as the creature flew

My thought was that I would get much better descriptions and details if Jefferons spoke in his mother tongue and not have to search for words to describe what he saw. I could get this interview translated once I got back to the States.

Later in 2002, I got this interview translated and I thought what a disaster it was! Jefferons spoke of seeing this creature fly from Mt. Bel to the ocean with “sparks falling off the tail” of the creature. He said this creature was “bright and had lots of fire.” I was so disappointed with these seemingly outlandish statements that for several years I left this testimony on tape never thinking anymore about it.

Three years later as I was reading about more creatures with possible bioluminescence, I came across the following:

“A German Jesuit monk, Athanasius Kircher is very much respected for the work he accomplished on classifying and collecting data on the flora and fauna of medieval Europe. The prolific 17th century writer Athanasius Kircher’s record tells how the noble man, Christopher Schorerum, prefect of the entire territory, “wrote a true history summarizing there all, for by that way, he was able to confirm the truth of the things experienced, and indeed the things truly seen by the eye, written in his own words: “On a warm night in 1619, while contemplating the serenity of the heavens, I saw a shining dragon of great size in front of Mt. Pilatus, coming from the opposite side of the lake [or ‘hollow’], a cave that is named Flue [Hogarth-near Lucerne] moving rapidly in an agitated way, seen flying across; It was of a large size, with a long tail, a long neck, a reptile’s head, and ferocious gaping jaws. As it flew it was like iron struck in a forge when pressed together that scatters sparks. At first I thought it was a meteor from what I saw. But after I diligently observed it alone, I understood it was indeed a dragon from the motion of the limbs of the entire body.” From the writings of a respected clergyman, in fact a dragon truely exists in nature it is amply established.” (Kircher, Athanasius, Mundus Subterraneus, 1664, tr. by Hogarth, Dragons, 1979, pp. 179-180.)

“As it flew it was like iron struck in a forge when pressed together that scatters sparks….”

How coincidental! These two descriptions of a flying creature with sparks! Two men separated by 10,00 miles and over 650 years! Two men describe something flying with “sparks falling off”! Is this creature a legendary dragon of medieval times that is still alive? If it still exists, it has chosen the most remote, less populated region of the world. Imagine if “dragons” were flying today, attacking cattle, flocks, and young children. The first thing humans would do is have someone hunt and destroy this “menace to society.” This would effectively chase this creature away from any civilization.

Am I saying this is a flying “dragon” or that flying “dragons” actually exist today? Just some intriguing food for thought concerning this mystery.

Modern Sightings of the Flying Bioluminescence

Mark Kau, the Ward Counselor for Ward 7, a respected man in the community, has seen this bioluminescence flying from Mt. Bel to the ocean, or from the ocean to Mt. Bel.

Kau has only seen the big light "glow" only flying--- no shape of creature

Kau has only seen the big light “glow” only flying— no shape of creature

Mark’s hut sits on a nice clear ridge just outside of the main village of Gomlongong. This situation allows for viewing of Mt. Bel without any obstructions. Kau has seen the “bright light, plenty of light” but admits he does not know what the actual flying creature looks like. All he has seen is the bioluminescence flying to and from Mt. Bel.

After my visit in 2002, I left Kau with a tablet of paper and a pen. This was to keep a journal of the times the bioluminescence was seen flying to or from Mt. Bel. I heard back from one other explorer who visited a couple of years later that he had only seen two occurrences for a year. This was not enough consistency of sightings to make it worth my time to continue researching  Umboi Island.


Big tree grubs eaten as a delicacy

During one of our hikes, we came upon natives building a new hut. While cutting down trees, they found huge grub worms inside the bark. These grubs were the size or a little bigger than my thumbs. They had collected a bunch on a leaf and were going to sell them at market in the next village, Taraway.


Tree grubs

I took pictures of them eating those monster grubs. Then they challenged me to eat one. After much discussion, I chewed one down and they all laughed. Not bad. It was crunchy with very little flavor, almost disappointing.

We headed back to Lablab and waited for the ferry to arrive on Sunday afternoon. Wow, we were thrilled to see the passenger ferry back in service! The ferry ride took only twelve hours back and had a bunk bed for resting! With food and water we could purchase, the trip seemed so much faster.


Passenger ferry arriving

Once back on the mainland, we found out about the ferries’ schedules. Yes, the week we had traveled over to Umboi, the passenger ferry was down for maintenance. However, each ferry alternated weeks. One week the passenger ferry made its trip and the next week was the the cargo ferry’s time. People who often rode the ferry could wait for the right week to ride the faster and more comfortable passenger ferry.