Pterosaurs Still Living
Two American cryptozoologists explore Umboi Island
In the second ropen expedition of 2004, David Woetzel and Garth Guessman searched for a living pterosaur in Papua New Guinea
cartoon sketch of a short-tailed pterosaur sketch of a long-tailed pterosaur
Copyright 2005-2016 Jonathan David Whitcomb
Woetzel-Guessman Expedition
A few weeks after the Whitcomb expedition on Umboi Island, Morobe Province, in 2004, Garth Guessman and David Woetzel arrived
Searching for Ropens and Finding God
Thank you to Garth Guessman for the use of many photographs on this page: Copyright 2004, Garth Guessman. Also thank you to David Woetzel for his work in this expedition, which may have included some photography.
The American explorers David Woetzel (left) and Garth Guessman (lower right) made many friends on Umboi Island, including this villager. Some of the islanders were so touched by the friendliness of the ropen investigators that they adopted the visitors into their families, giving them new names. Woetzel and Guessman were invited to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in one or two villages, for many of these natives had some exposure to Christian missionary labors, either directly or indirectly. Woetzel and Guessman were accompanied by native guides on several excursions, as they hiked up mountains and down the jungle trails.
Over this crater lake, on a remote tropical island, around 1994, flew the gigantic ropen, terrifying seven local boys. This photo was taken by Guessman, about ten years later, while he and his fellow-explorer David Woetzel were camped out on a ridge above Lake Pung for a few days and nights. According to local natives, it was the first time that any humans had ever been camped out on this ridge overlooking Lake Pung. The Americans saw no ropen while they camped out there, unfortunately, not even a flying light. Read the explanation in Searching for Ropens and Finding God (4th edition).
Two American explorers on Umboi Island: David Woetzel and Garth Guessman with a local native Over this crater lake on a tropical island, around 1994, seven native boys were frightened by a huge ropen Native eyewitness of the seklo-bali is interviewed in city of Lae Lake Bono on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea - a crater lake surrounded by jungle
The two American cryptozoologists, with their native guides and interpreters, also camped by Lake Bono, another crater lake on Umboi Island. But they were also unlucky there and not just because they became drenched with rain: They stayed there by Mount Swal at a time when the ropen was on another part of the island.
Guessman (left) interviewed a local Baptist pastor, Jacob Kepas, regarding his sighting of a flying seklo-bali, that these investigators believe is similar to the ropen of Umboi. Both of these flying cryptids appear to glow as they fly at night. Mary Blume, wife of the missionary Jim Blume, helped with the interpretation. (A possible alternate spelling of Jacob in PNG is Jakob.) A skeptic might dismiss the sighting by Jacob Kepas, for he did not see a shape or detailed features of the flying creature he had witnessed. Why is the seklo-bali a non-extinct pterosaur when this native could not make out sufficient details in the appearance of the glowing flying creature? It does support the testimonies of other eyewitnesses who have seen the glowing flying creatures, and some of those natives have seen both the light of the animal and the details of its appearance: like a long-tailed pterosaur.
Baptist missionary James Blume was interviewed in 2004 Notebook for interviewing natives on Umboi Island in 2004
Woetzel and Guessman used sketches of many birds, bats, and pterosaurs, to test the native eyewitnesses for any possible misidentifications.  The  results  were consistent: The ropen is unlike any bird or bat, but it is like a Sordes pilosus, a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.
Missionary James Blume saw a small glowing penguin-shaped figure, but no no detailed features (1996, near Manus Island, which is many miles north of Umboi Island). This supports honesty- credibility of eyewitnesses and those who interviewed them.
Natives of Opai Village, especially eyewitness Leonard
Guessman and Woetzel also visited Opai and Gomlongon Villages. Here Leonard describes to the two Americans how the ropen flies over Opai towards the sea. He sees it about once per month as it glows at night. Other native islanders confirmed that the creature flies over villages sometimes. This kind of testimony is common in Papua New Guinea: An eyewitness sees a flying light but not any details about the animal that produces the glow while it flies. Yet a few eyewitnesses, in particular Jonah Jim and Jonathan Ragu, have seen both the glow and the shape and features of the flying creature. It is those detailed descriptions of appearance that support the concept that the ropen of Umboi Island is a modern living long-tailed pterosaur.
American explorer David Woetzel on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, in 2004 silhouettes of bats, birds, and pterosaurs - used for interviewing natives
David Woetzel saw the ropen light one night, when he was near Arot Village. This may have been the best sighting by a Westerner in many years on this island. It lasted only two seconds— no time to grab a camera for a photo. This is another case of an eyewitness who sees a flying light but cannot see any details about what produced that light. On the positive side, we can be sure the American explorers are not making up hoax interviews and trying to fool people with falsified sightings.  
Guessman and Woetzel had prepared a page of silhouette illustrations before their expedition on Umboi Island: thirty-four pictures of bats, birds, and pterosaurs. Noteworthy was the popular choice: #13, Sordes pilosus. Both Jonah Jim and Jonathan Ragu had a clear view of the form and features of the glowing creature. Both were sure it resembled the Sordes pilosus sketch more than the other pterosaurs and birds and bats shown to them. Other natives had less clear of a view.
Wooden carving in Papua New Guinea - it may have been inspired by ropen sightings
How might these strange wooden carvings in Port Moresby relate to the creatures seen in many coastal areas of Papua New Guinea? Living- pterosaur investigators believe that these works of tribal art are indeed supporting evidence for the existence of the ropen. Yet the primary source of cryptozoological evidence for modern long- tailed pterosaurs in the southwest Pacific is in detailed descriptions in the reports from eyewitnesses such as the following: Duane Hodgkinson Brian Hennessy The Perth couple Gideon Koro and his friends Others in the southwest Pacific who saw an apparent pterosaur
Cryptozoology book "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" - fourth edition, by Jonathan Whitcomb "Searching for Ropens and Finding God" front cover of paperback cryptozoology book
Read much more about the two ropen expeditions of 2004, plus many more of these extraordinary searches, in the fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God. Get the many details not available in online sources: a wealth of information and adventure. The ropen is not confined to the southwest Pacific. Whitcomb has received, over many years, reports from five continents. Large featherless long-tailed flying creatures live in many areas of our planet, being mostly nocturnal and somewhat uncommon, therefore they are encountered less often than common birds.
From the first chapter of the book “It looked like a dead pterodactyl; not fossil bones but with skin, like it had died recently. Could those creatures, non-extinct, still fly? Although I could not verify the photo was genuine, the idea within that image in a soon-forgotten book would be awakened four decades later, to plunge me into the most dramatic adventure of my life: exploring a remote tropical island, searching for giant living pterosaurs. “. . . Grave robbery in both Africa and Papua New Guinea—it looked like too much for a coincidence. Both ropens and kongamatos appeared to be real creatures. . . . [maybe] pterosaurs.”