Crater lake where a ropen frightened seven native boys
Daylight sighting of a huge long-tailed featherless flying creature on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea
Copyright 2005-2016 Jonathan David Whitcomb
Lake Pung on Umboi Island
Searching for Ropens and Finding God, 4th edition
Gideon Koro, Wesley Koro, Mesa Augustin, and four other boys saw a gigantic long-tailed pterosaur fly over Lake Pung
Searching for Ropens and Finding God
Thank you to Garth Guessman for the use of this photograph of Lake Pung. This lovely crater lake is near Mount Tolo. Copyright 2004, Garth Guessman
Seven boys were terrified, in about 1994, as they saw
the ropen fly over a crater lake. On the remote island of
Umboi, in Papua New Guinea, the boys climbed up to
Lake Pung, just north of their village. Within just a few
minutes, they saw the giant creature fly over the water.
The boys ran home in terror and the memory of that fear
lasted for years.
In 2004, Jonathan D. Whitcomb explored part of Umboi
Island. He interviewed Gideon Koro, who confirmed their
encounter, calling the creature by the local name ropen.
Two other young men were also soon interviewed by
Whitcomb, and they verified Gideon’s account of the
sighting. According to Gideon, this creature has a wing-
size of “seven meter,” a long tail, but “no feathers.” Its
wings he compared with those of the Flying Fox.*
*Flying Fox fruit bats are common in some Southwest
Pacific countries, including Papua New Guinea. They
can hardly explain sightings of the ropen, however. Even
the largest fruit bats never grow long tails, never glow at
night, never catch fish on the reef, never rob any human
graves, and never ever attain a wingspan of 30-50 feet.
Yet ropens do.
This nonfiction cryptozoology book explains not only the investigations
and the expeditions but examines theories of what the ropen is, delving
a bit into the philosophical implications of the existence of modern
living pterosaurs. Part of that investigation involves “universal common
ancestry,” or the General Theory of Evolution of Charles Darwin. In the
second edition of Searching for Ropens, a “sheltered superstition” is
explained. (The popular dogma of Western culture rejects competing
philosophies, including any belief in divine creation of life.)
The universal-pterosaur-extinction axiom is not scientific but is, in fact,
philosophical, and superstition is not limited to “primitive natives,” for
Westerners are also vulnerable.
Strange as it may appear, the fourth edition is not only enlarged in the
content, with many more sightings worldwide, but has a longer title,
Searching for Ropens and Finding God, and yet it has less explicit
reference to God and religion. It’s a cross-genre: cryptozoology, true-
life adventure, spiritual quest, and it begins with what appears to be
an auto-biography of Jonathan Whitcomb.
Interviews conducted by Whitcomb
The credibility of these young men impressed Whitcomb
(who was a forensic videographer at that time). Their
demeanor convinced the American that they were telling
the truth about the huge ropen that they had seen flying
over Pung. The descriptions suggest that the ropen of
Umboi Island is indeed a living pterosaur. According to
the investigators, including Garth Guessman and David
Woetzel, a giant Rhamphorhynchoid.
A few weeks after Whitcomb’s expedition, Guessman
and Woetzel began theirs, interviewing many natives not
interviewed by Whitcomb. Several factors convinced all
three Americans that the ropen is a long-tailed pterosaur,
what many paleontologists would call a basal pterosaur,
although most scientists know little, if anything, about
expeditions in which Americans have looked for ropens.
A long-tailed Rhamphorhynchoid (basal)
Lake Pung is one of a number of crater lakes and ponds on
Umboi Island. Others are Bono (by Mt. Sual) and Malangpot.