David Woetzel and
Jonah Jim compared
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.
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.
(Main eyewitness page)
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.
sees a glowing form in Papua
New Guinea (David Woetzel)
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,
Umboi Island, Morobe Province