Jacob Kepas, a Baptist minister and a native of Papua New Guinea, may be the most experienced ropen seeker in his country. But when he was a boy, the glowing creature that he saw fly over his village was not known by his people as “ropen” but as “seklobali.” It would not be the only time in his life that he would see a giant nocturnal flying creature in Papua New Guinea: a pterosaur candidate.
Late in 2006, the American Baptist missionary James Blume, an airplane pilot, took Kepas and American Paul Nation deep into the mountainous interior of the mainland. There, near the village of Tawa, Blume left the two explorers as he flew back. Kepas and Nation talked with the villagers and learned that the local name for the large glowing creature of the night was “indava.”
I have often written about the two indava lights Paul Nation videotaped near the top of a ridge above Tawa Village. Not so often have I written about the daylight sighting of an indava that Jacob Kepas and a local villager observed. It helps verify what local villagers say about the creature.
Paul Nation did not accompany the other two men on this particular daylight hike, but he loaned them his camcorder to. Unfortunately Kepas and the local guide could not get close enough to the sleeping creature that they observed. It appeared to be sleeping on a cliff opposite to the hill that they had climbed. They tried to get a video recording of it but failed, perhaps because of their lack of experience with the camcorder; but it was also just too far away. They reported to Nation that the creature was very large.
During this 2006 expedition, Nation learned from one local villager of another daylight sighting. The man had seen an indava near a river and described the creature in terms of the size of an airplane (Tawa Village is near a small air strip). Nation also learned that indavas sometimes carried away village pigs or children, at some time in the past, but they no longer do so, for the villagers have learned to make noise to scare away the creatures.
Investigators now believe that both the lights videotaped by Nation and the creature observed by Kepas were modern living pterosaurs.
The American cryptozoologist Garth Guessman (lower-left) interviews native Jacob Kepas, with interpretation help from Mary Blume (wife of Jim Blume). This interview was in 2004, just before the Woetzel-Guessman-Kepas expedition on Umboi Island. Kepas tells of his sighting when he was a boy.