As remembered by colleague and fellow 1948 Australian-American Expedition to Arnhem Land team member Raymond Louis Specht, Dave Johnson, mammologist to the Expedition, was 'a quiet "American back-wood's-man", a loner', as well as 'a remarkable shot, bringing down bats as they flitted by at night'.
The local Indigenous version of Johnson's time at Cape Don and his solo walk to Oenpelli includes many elements not recorded by Johnson himself, including an encounter with a yumbarrbarr 'giant' at Port Essington on Cobourg Peninsula and, more remarkably, an encounter with the spirit of the man Marrarna, whose remains lay in a cave at Dilkbany, a dangerous kuyak 'sickness' site north of Oenpelli. According to this story, Johnson places Marrarna's spirit in a bag when at Dilkbany and secretly takes him back to America where he is brought back to life in the form of a strong young man.
Stories were recounted in two interviews by Croker Island people with a direct connection to the Johnson stories.
David 'Cookie' Minyimak's father, master canoe maker Buckley Darrarndarra, provided Johnson with transport for his local collecting trips in the canoe Yinbi.
Archie Brown, a grandson of Marrarna, explains how the news of his grandfather's resurrection in the United States reached the community of Minjilang on Croker Island many years later and described the impact it made.
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