The island of Seram, formally Ceram, also called Seran or Serang, is located in the Maluku province of Indonesia in the Molucca Islands. The island is traversed by a central mountain range the highest point of which is covered with dense rain forest. This rainforest is the home to a wide variety of flora and fauna as well as the reported home of a bizarre winged beast known to the locals as the Orang Bati. For decades the natives of the island, the Moluccans, have told Christian missionaries horrific tales of this supposedly nocturnal, airborne predator.
Said to kidnap infants and children during nocturnal raids on local villages, the Orang-Bati is described by locals as a winged primate, approximately 5 feet tall, with black leathery wings, blood red skin and a long thin tail. Some locals of the island have stated that the Orang-Bati lets out a long mournful wail. The name Orang-Bati translates from the indigenous language for the Moluccan’s as “men with wings” seemingly supported the idea that the Orang-Bati is a large flying primate.
In 1987, English missionary Tyson Hughes began an 18 month campaign to assist the Moluccan people in developing more efficient farms. Mr. Hughes was told stories of the Orang-Bati which he intern passed on to the civilized world, though he himself remained skeptical as to their existence. That is until about midway through his campaign when Hughes himself claimed to have had an eyewitness encounter with an Orang-Bati.
Some researchers have suggested that the description of the Orang-Bati may be more inline with a Pterodactyl, a flying reptile thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs over 65 million years ago. Other researchers have suggested that the description of the creature seems to indicate that it may be a form of giant, undiscovered bat, living in the mountain caves of the island during the day and descending to the low lying areas at night to hunt insects. Of course there are a small handful of investigators who have taken the natives descriptions of a flying simian to heart and believe that the Orang-Bati may be one the world’s first example of flying primate.