palm tree


David Woetzel and

Jonah Jim compared

Live Pterosaur




large no-tail pterosaur

David Woetzel (of New

Hampshire) and Jonah

Jim (of Umboi Island)

both saw a glowing form

flying towards the crater

lake called by natives

“Pung.” But Woetzel

saw only a distant glow;

Jonah Jim described a

creature that Westerners

would call “pterosaur.”

On October 7, 2004, Jonathan Whitcomb, a forensic videographer from Southern California, was interviewing natives on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea. One of the four young men he interviewed on that day was Jonah Jim, who had seen a large creature flying overhead a few years earlier. The sighting was at night, but the creature was glowing and flew close enough that the native could see the wings and the tail. Whitcomb’s interview was brief, but within a few weeks two other Americans would interview Jonah Jim.


Garth Guessman, from Southern California, and David Woetzel, of New Hampshire, began their search for pterosaur-like creatures on Northern Umboi Island. Like Whitcomb, the other two Americans interviewed many natives who had seen what those islanders called “ropen.” But before they found Jonah Jim, Woetzel himself saw something strange, about two miles away.


Woetzel said, “My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video . . . I . . .saw some meteors while on night watch. They were whitish in color and had a tail. But this thing was different. . . very different in coloration . . . almost golden and shimmering around the edges. . . . There was no tail and it was flying horizontally from Mt. Barik toward Mt. Tolo.” (from the book Searching for Ropens, second edition)


Within a few days, Guessman and Woetzel found Jonah Jim, who revealed many details about the ropen he had seen in July of 2001. At ten or eleven o’clock at night, while talking with family near his house south of Mount Tolo, they saw the “ropen” as it flew “directly overhead . . . altitude 500-550 ft.” The tail, at 2.5 to 3 meters long, was glowing brightly “blue—a shade darker than sky blue.” With a wingspan of “6-7 meters,” the ropen was flying towards Mount Tolo, the mountain peak near Lake Pung (Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea).


What is the significance of these two eyewitness testimonies? They both involve something strange flying towards Lake Pung; both men saw something glowing but unlike any meteor. What does it prove? In itself, the comparison of Woetzel’s and Jonah Jim’s testimonies is insufficient to raise the ropen from cryptid to classified animal, but it proves significant in a cryptozoological investigation in which seven boys, in about 1994, saw a giant pterosaur-like creature flying over Lake Pung. Such accounts and interviews raise the ropen from a speculative legend to a solid footing in cryptozoology, ready for the next step: video footage or live capture that raises the ropen to scientific classification.

no-tail pterosaur, small

When two eyewitness testi-monies  agree  on  several points, the credibility of the most  natural  or  direct interpretation of those points is strengthened. Accumu-lating evidence strengthens the case.

no-tail pterosaur, small, looking left

Eyewitness Testimonies

(Main eyewitness page)

External Links

The sightings of Woetzel and Jonah Jim suggest that Lake Pung (Umboi Island) may be a regular resting or drinking spot for the ropen. This is the lake where Gideon Koro and others saw a giant ropen in about 1994.


Interview Methods of

Guessman & Woetzel


New Hampshire Businessman

sees a glowing form in Papua

New Guinea (David Woetzel)


Credibility of the Umboi Island

Eyewitnesses  of  the  Ropen


Wooden Carvings in Port

Moresby, Papua New Guinea

(may represent living pterosaurs)


David Woetzel and Garth Guessman,  in 2004, photographed large wooden carvings that the two

Americans believe represent creatures like the ropen

of Umboi Island  and the  Indava of  the mainland.

 (But the artist or artists who created these large

works of art may not have themselves observed

the creatures.) The carvings show evidence for representations of fur, wings, a reptilian-like tail,

and a reptilian ear.


Woetzel and Guessman believe that these carvings

support the credibility of eyewitnesses (like Gideon

of Umboi Island) of apparent living pterosaurs in

Papua New Guinea.

Mount Tolo, near Lake Pung

Mount Tolo, near Lake Pung,

Umboi Island, Morobe Province

small no-tail pterosaur