Feb 192010

R.K. (anonymous, at least for now) recently reported to me several things about the creature they call kor:

“I was born and brought up in Manus Island . . . there are lights swooping over fish shoals between rambutyo and lou baluan islands. Two years ago [on a boating trip] we . . . could see the lights soaring over us and heard flapping of wings . . . they did dive into the sea and then erupt out of it . . .” [too dark to see much]

R.K. also told me about a fisherman who died after fighting off (and killing) one of the creatures; it seems that local natives believe the kor attacked the fisherman to eat him (larger kor are said to catch and eat young crocodiles and turtles). Consider this excerpt of R.K.’s English-language version of the fight.

“. . . from the grandson . . . of the man who killed the creature [and later died himself] . . . [in the early 1960’s was] the last [human] death reported by this creature . . . the animal destroyed his canoe and [the fisherman] fought it with a traditional fishing spear. . . . The animals tail and jaws took a heavy toll as it followed him to shore where a sea cave runs into a crevice . . . Badly wounded . . . [the fisherman] wedged the spear into a crevice and took the animal through the mouth with the spear [killing it] . . . [The fisherman] crawled out [and] was found by villagers . . . He died three days later.”

Umboi Island (about 200 miles to the south of these islands), where I interviewed many natives in 2004, has a very similar creature that they call “ropen.” With one exception, no human death on Umboi has been attributed to the ropen, with one exception (there was no eyewitness of any attack, and there was no human body ever found; a “crazy” woman went into the bush looking for the ropen and never returning).

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