Interview methods: Guessman & Woetzel
Eyewitness Interviews on Umboi Island
Garth Guessman (below) and David Woetzel (2004
expedition) prepared a questionnaire booklet before they arrived in Papua New Guinea. This ensured that important points would be
covered in interviewing eyewitnesses of the ropen. Their interviews were well organized and, because of careful planning, many
villagers who had not previously been interviewed by anyone gave many details that benefited the investigation.
The images from Umboi Island are copyright 2004, Garth Guessman
Other images and text are copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
2009, Jonathan Whitcomb
Special thanks to Garth Guessman for the use of these eight images
reviews the interview form on Umboi
Woetzel and Guessman used a detailed set of questions (two pages) to determine time-of-day
(or night); sighting location; date; weather conditions; visibility; shape-of-creature: head, neck, wings, feet, mouth, eyes; flight
pattern; and name of the eyewitness. Many natives on Umboi Island were interviewed, although not all interviews involved the detailed
Some pages of the interview book had pictures of birds to show natives. (Could a bird be mistaken for a ropen?) This
staking attention to detail helped verify the authenticity of the unique characteristics of the ropen sightings. The local people saw
these pictures of birds but no bird picture
was chosen for a ropen sighting. The two Interviewers determined that the ropen looks quite
different; it is no bird.
More images shown to Umboi natives
Included images of bird flight
Natives were shown a variety of bird species: to compare with the ropen
Bird-bat-pterosaur comparison page of the interview book
Part of the interview book is devoted to comparing images
of many birds, bats, and pterosaurs. This allowed the explorers to find out if there were misidentifications or misunderstandings
involving sightings. Umboi Islanders were allowed to choose for themselves which sketch most resembled what they saw.
of South Carolina
Sighting by Wooten
Eagles of Umboi Island: very unlike descriptions of ropen
The eagles of Umboi Island are well known to the local islanders. Guessman
and Woetzel videotaped these large birds. They're nothing like the ropen descriptions given by native eyewitnesses; the
nocturnal ropen flashes a brief, bright light. On the rare occasions when it flies in daylight, eyewitnesses describe the ropen as
gigantic ("too big" according to Wesley Koro). Gideon Koro, from the Akure Village area of Umboi, answered an American explorers
question about the tail length: "sefen meetah" (seven meters) long. It's also said to have no feathers.
Still images from video: birds flying over Umboi Island (at least one eagle)
In the book Searching for Ropens, the 2004 Guessman-Woetzel expedition is explained in detail; Whitcomb’s earlier expedition
is also covered in detail. Why has the Western world been completely ignorant of this giant living pterosaur? The book delves
into why standard models of science are not as objective as portrayed.
In the second edition of the book (two chapters have been
added) the break-through expedition of November, 2006, is explained: Two indava lights were videotaped deep in the mainland interior
of Papua New Guinea; later, in the United States, a missile defense physicist analyzed the video footage: the two lights were not
made by lanterns, car headlights, airplanes, or meteors.
Other local names for apparent living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea
include duwas, wawanar, kundua, seklo-bali, and indava. On Umboi Island, the name is “ropen.”
living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea
(by Jonathan D. Whitcomb)