Destination TruthEpisodes

Ropen and Chupacabra
Season 1 - Episode 103
Ropen and Chupacabra
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Papua New Guinea: Ropen

Intrigued by reports of a pterodactyl-like creature, Josh travels to the largely unexplored island nation of Papua New Guinea, where witnesses describe the so-called Ropen as a carnivorous, featherless bird with a wingspan of up to 15 feet and a defining glow emanating from its torso.

After meeting with a witness in the city of Lae, Josh and his crew are directed to the Salamaua peninsula, where recent sightings have occurred. There Josh talks with a second witness who matches what he saw to a drawing of a pterodactyl. Josh then meets Max, a villager who offers to take him to the cave thought to be the Ropen's home.

Papua New Guinea: Ropen, continued

Not long into their journey up a steep hillside, Josh realizes that Max has no idea where he's going, so they return to the village and find a new guide who not only knows where the cave is but is able to draw up a map of all the caves in the area.

As the expedition searches for the cave opening, Josh comes across a hillside cemetery filled with broken graves, which one of the locals says have been robbed by the Ropen. Not far from the gravesite, Josh locates a small opening believed to be the entrance to the Ropen's nest.

After finding a human bone fragment and droppings too big to be from bats, Josh emerges from the cave and directs the crew to set up surveillance cameras outside the opening. During the night, the team captures footage of a glowing orb in the sky, and Josh returns to the United States to have forensics experts review the video.

When both forensics specialists and a zoologist are stumped by what they see on the tape, Josh concludes his investigation believing that something strange is flying over Papua New Guinea at night. He then turns his attention to the legend of El Chupacabra in the South American nation of Chile.


Chile: El Chupacabra

Upon arrival in Santiago, Chile, Josh interviews witnesses who claim to have seen El Chupacabra. They describe it as a three-foot-tall creature with coarse hair, leathery skin and glowing red eyes. It is reputed to be responsible for killing thousands of head of livestock. It kills with a single puncture wound through the jugular vein.

One woman claims that 100 of her chickens were slaughtered by the creature in a single night. Then a bus driver tells of his collision with El Chupacabra and gives Josh a hair that he found on the windshield after the incident.

A subsequent witness in the town of Puemo claims to have been attacked, showing Josh scars on his leg and body. Then he points to the nearby mountain where he alleges the attack occurred. Josh and his crew head into the mountains and position their surveillance equipment for overnight observation, placing live chickens as bait.

As Josh searches the area, something scurries past him and toward a nearby cave. As Josh explores deep into the cave, he doubles back to investigate a sound that originates from behind him. He finds two hairs on the ground. Once he is back outside the cave he hears more scampering, but no additional evidence is discovered.

Josh returns to the United States to have the hairs examined by Dr. Elizabeth Wictum, a veterinary geneticist at the University of California–Davis. Wictum says that DNA extractions prove that the two hairs found in the cave are human, but that the hair from the bus doesn't match any documented mammal. Despite the uncertainty, Josh is convinced that the Chilean livestock were slaughtered by a natural predator.

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