Missing Children Found in Caves

First, if you have any information on any unusual flying creature observed in or near a cave, please contact me, Jonathan Whitcomb, at:

Contact Whitcomb by email



A typical cave entrance, this one in Texas

Pterosaur Caves in General

Before getting into the missing-persons cases of Mike McDonald in Arizona and Timothy Farmer in Australia, consider other reports that tie caves to ropens (or other modern pterosaurs).

The following are limited quotations from the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition (more about caves can be found in this book):

Another [native] man, also interviewed by Blume, examined a magazine-cover illustration of a pterosaur and said that he had seen those creatures himself. He estimated their size, perhaps wingspan or length, at six to seven feet, “bigger than a man.” They eat fish “out of the water” and live in caves. [page 22]

Stopping to refuel at Kampalap [Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea], they learned that villagers occasionally see the ropen as it leaves a cave, most recently three weeks earlier. [page 95]

. . . he heard of an old story of the flying creature that is called kor on islands north of Umboi. During World War II, some Japanese had bombarded a cave inhabited by the creatures because some of their soldiers had been attacked by them. [page 134]

“I live in Lamero, Kentucky. . . . I have a friend who lives near Renfro Valley, which is about twelve miles north of me. Its a wooded area as well, with . . . several caves. And I’m talking a lot of caves, lol. This county is seriously like swiss cheese [page 228]

Timothy Farmer in a Cave in Australia

This two-and-a-half-year-old boy was found in a cave in New South Wales, Australia, in May of 1954, after he became missing from the family’s front yard the previous day. I learned about this case from the book Missing 411 The Devil’s in the Detail, by David Paulides. (Keep in mind that the pterosaur-abduction hypothesis—PAH—is my idea, not his.)

Timothy was found without serious injury in that cave by a waterfall in a gorge, but how does that relate to a modern pterosaur? That little boy could not have climbed down there without serious injury; rescuers had difficulty getting down there. It’s far more likely he was carried to the cave.

But why should it be a pterosaur? Why not a Bigfoot or other unclassified cryptid? For one thing, it was the strange stare that met the rescuers when they found Timothy. Mr. Paulides says, in his book, that children found alive are usually semiconscious or unconscious and a strange stare is common.

This fits the model of the modern-pterosaur attack in which a debilitating mist prevents an animal or human victim from putting up much of a struggle when the predator flies off with its prey.

Does the shock of abduction cause many children to have memory problems and other mental weaknesses when found by rescuers? Simple reflection repudiates that notion, for these are not rare mental breakdowns but common symptoms, found in children of various ages, including two-year-olds.

In addition, rescuers in this 1954 search in Australia found one of Timothy’s shoes before they found him, another connection with the standard model of a flyaway abduction by a pterosaur. A victim sometimes falls out of a piece of clothing or a shoe, which sometimes saves the person’s life.

In this case, the flying creature probably accidentally pulled the shoe off the child, and Timothy fell a very short distance to the ground. The predator dropped the shoe and flew back to locate the boy. It then again grabbed him and flew away to its cave. Fortunately, rescue time came before ropen dinner time, in this case.

Mike McDonald in a Cave in Arizona, USA

This two-year-old was found fifteen miles from where he became missing, in 1945 in southern Arizona, asleep in a small cave. Like the case in Australia, he was found the day after he disappeared. Mike had no injury other than a small cut on one foot.

Could the two-year-old have wandered that far, so quickly, and found a cave by good fortune, as a safe haven to sleep? No. Something took the child to that cave and it was not a bear or a mountain lion. The most likely animal would be a flying creature large enough to carry him by grabbing him almost entirely by the clothing.

I don’t think rescuers in Arizona found Mike asleep because it was naptime, and I don’t think that one small cut on that one foot was from walking fifteen miles. The family dog was also found at the same time the child was found: standing guard at the cave entrance. That would explain why there was no ropen having lunch in that cave, for no family dog will stand having its human become any animal’s lunch.

We still may have a mystery in the case in Australia: Why was Timothy found alone in that cave? Perhaps noisy rescuers arrived just in time, and the ropen decided to eat out while the strangers came to call; perhaps another exit allowed the animal to escape without being noticed. Anyway, everyone can be grateful that the rescuers noticed that cave . . . everyone except that ropen.


Mist Used in Attacks on Humans?

. . . how an attack is accomplished, since these animals are considered by me and my associates to be modern pterosaurs with wings that may be delicate in comparison with the bodies of other large predators. The answer is in a few reports that suggest a debilitating vapor or mist is ejected at the victim.

Missing Persons in USA

Much of what I have learned so far has been from the nonfiction book Missing 411 – Western United States & Canada (by David Paulides) and from what I have learned from some reports of apparent pterosaurs. . . . we do have some direct eyewitness accounts that suggest at least a few modern pterosaurs can appear threatening to humans in the USA.

Can Ropens Hide in Caves?

So where might a ropen hide in daylight? On Umboi Island, some natives say that the ropen . . . lives in a cave. Yet a deep cave in a cliff is not necessarily essential for a sleepy ropen who needs a safe bedroom for daylight napping. For a small ropen, why not a hole in a rock, just a modest little cavity?

Pterodactyl Attacks in Yosemite?

These weird disappearances are not confined to Yosemite, nor even to the United States. Several factors do seem to tie together cases that are separated by long distances and sometimes separated by decades.

Nonfiction books by Jonathan Whitcomb

Books like the cryptozoology genre Live Pterosaurs in American and the cross-genre Searching for Ropens and Finding God


Who is a Scientist?

Whitcomb at a ropen sighting location in California

Jonathan Whitcomb at a sighting location where he installed a deer camera

I have written one scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science. Yes, only one. Most of those honored with the title scientist have written many scientific papers, and those men and women generally have advanced educational degrees. I have no advanced degree in science, yes none. With all that said, however, beware of over-simplistic thinking.

With limited obvious credentials, why do I suggest I am an expert in my specialty, a field most persons would assume is a branch of science? My associates and I are experts in a narrow branch of cryptozoology, namely in sighting reports of modern pterosaurs, and cryptozoology is not considered a branch of zoology. Yet there’s much more.

I have probably spent more hours on this subject than any other person on the planet, over 10,000 hours over the past eleven years. That in itself does not make me a scientist, of course, but that much time can sometimes open the door leading into scientific investigation, and this is the critical question: Have I, Jonathan Whitcomb, stepped through that door?

This is hardly my favorite subject, why I am a scientist. Why do I write about it now? An acclaimed paleontologist recently wrote a post, mostly about me. I will not mention his name here, but he has written more than 30 books and more than 250 scientific papers, according to Wikipedia. That led another writer to also write about me and assume that I am not a scientist. That second post is why I write about how I, Jonathan Whitcomb, can indeed be a scientist.

It was the second writer, who does not appear to be a scientist herself, who wrote, “Whitcomb, who is not a scientist by any stretch,” but let’s confine ourselves to the first post, written by the man who is an undisputed scientist.

It could have been a prized recommendation for my eleven years of work in my field, if only he had said something positive about me; but no, this particular scientist ridiculed my work, concentrating on accusing me of writing dishonestly and inappropriately. He provides no proof of my supposedly shameful motivations, but his sources, in my opinion, are just libelous web pages that also ridicule me as dishonest and underhanded.

If only this particular paleontologist had devoted himself to scientific reasoning, rather than assume I was deceitful and then ridicule my religious beliefs! Unfortunately he avoided anything scientific in his post. Yes, this acclaimed scientist, in that post, said nothing scientific.

I may be more of an investigative reporter than a scientist and certainly more like a journalist than a jurist who judges the honesty of someone on trial. I do not accuse my accusers of dishonesty. But the subject now is science; please consider the following.

I have analyzed statistics from 128 sighting reports, accumulated and recorded systematically at the end of 2012. My analysis revealed three separate factors that each demonstrated it was unlikely that any significant number of hoaxers could have been involved in those 128 eyewitness accounts.

I could say more, but I now submit that this particular part of my work was scientific, using mathematics to gain knowledge about one of the major objections that skeptics had brought up about reported sightings of living pterosaurs. The old hoax-conjecture has been disproven.

I hope that I have never used bulverism, as one paleontologist has done, in ridiculing someone with whom I disagree. I suggest that each of us participate in discussing the issues themselves rather than accusing others of deceit or making fun of other’s religious beliefs. Why should a scientist abandon scientific discussion in diving into dirty politics?


Richard Syrett interviewed Jonathan Whitcomb for Canadian television showJonathan Whitcomb interviewed by Richard Syrett in 2012



Is Jonathan Whitcomb a Paleontologist?

I’ve received emails from eyewitnesses from four continents plus islands in the Pacific, emails about flying creatures that resemble “primitive” or “prehistoric” animals more than any bird or bat. On occasion I am able to talk with an eyewitness by phone or by face-to-face interview. One critical point here, unappreciated by some paleontologists, is that those eyewitnesses come from various countries and have different backgrounds and beliefs, including differing religious beliefs.

“Stupid Dinosaur Lies” or the Truth?

Let me make this plain: I am not accusing the originator of Stupid Dinosaur Lies of deception. I am defending the honesty of me and my associates. That ludicrous sentence with five errors does suggest the writer was more likely to have been careless than dishonest. But the accusations, direct or indirect, are against those of us who have traveled to Papua New Guinea to search for living pterosaurs and those who later reported what was found in eyewitness testimonies.

Modern Pterosaurs and Biology Professors

One of the web pages that caught this professor’s attention was my post “Bioluminescent Pterosaurs in Southwest Washington State.” We need to be clear about the differences between two professors, for Peter Beach has also taught biology but he has no doubt that modern pterosaurs live in the state of Washington and elsewhere.

Long Review of book by Whitcomb

Anyway, do these things really still fly? I want to believe in big flying dinosaurs roaming the skies, but experience and common sense argue against it. So far I have never been chased by one as I wander through town. . . .

I spotted a book “Live Pterosaurs in America” by Jonathan David Whitcomb, a nonfiction analysis of actual sightings in the USA.  This I had to own, so I immediately ordered it from Amazon, and a few days later it was mine! And you know what — I’m glad I bought it, and have enjoyed reading it.

Definition of who is a scientist

A scientist, in a broad sense, is one engaging in a systematic activity to acquire knowledge. In a more restricted sense, a scientist may refer to an individual who uses the scientific method.


Missing Persons in USA

This is only a preliminary investigation of a few of the more-mysterious disappearances of men, women and children in the United States. Much of what I have learned so far has been from the nonfiction book Missing 411 – Western United States & Canada (by David Paulides) and from what I have learned from some reports of apparent pterosaurs. I hope to have more details to report within the next few weeks or months.

Direct Eyewitness Accounts That Suggest Potential Attacks

From a comment on a page of cryptomundo.com in 2006:

Hairless and featherless, grey to almost slightly pinkish in skin colour, a ‘flock’ of these 20-foot+ wingspanned ‘birds’ came in high over their sailing vessel around the same time each evening for several days. [in the Pacific, in the Samoan Islands region]

These screaming furies would circle lower and lower and then make strafing runs low over the hull of their vessel. My friends had to retreat with their children into the cabin for protection when these frightening squadrons came over. They called them pterodactyls . . .

Well, that may sound like reports of giant flying creatures carrying off children and adults in Papua New Guinea: maybe third-hand accounts from faraway tropical islands. But we do have some direct eyewitness accounts that suggest at least a few modern pterosaurs can appear threatening to humans in the USA. Consider two of them.

From a lady in Rhode Island, I got an email in 2004:

I have seen a pteradactyl in my backyard. . . . It was a cold night, and I heard a loud whooshing noise  moving in the air to my right. I saw a huge pteradactyl. It circled my house six times, and once it turned its head and looked at me. By the sixth time it was somewhat lower; it definitely was interested in me . . . I can’t believe more people don’t report seeing them.

That sounds subjective, regarding any possibility of an attack, for the creature did not actually attack the lady, but there’s more.

Two years ago, a lady sent me an email about her sighting years earlier. Our email interviews became extensive and I concluded that the flying creature she had seen was in an attack dive when it had second thoughts. That young lady was standing waist-deep in a small pond at night, and the apparent pterosaur probably thought it an unnecessary risk to continue the attack, without knowing the size of what was partially in and only partially out of the water. The flying creature hovered for a short while and then flew away, although that hovering seemed almost like an eternity to that young lady. Here are some of her words about her encounter one summer, late in the 20th century:

It came from the direction of the moon and, as we had no flashlights or any light source, all I saw was its silhouette.  I could see it was big even before it was close.  It seemed like it crossed a great distance with only a few flaps of its wings and mostly glided but it came very fast. I have not before nor since ever been so petrified in my life. . . .

I felt incapable of moving my legs.  I just stood there, facing it until it literally got about 20 to 30 feet away and it “stopped” and hovered mid-air. . . .

The wings were somewhere between 15 and 20 feet wide and they covered the entire opening to the U-shaped inlet when they were open.  The wings were bat shaped without feathers, the head’s silhouette looked like a point (again, could not see facial features as it had the moon behind it) like a head crest but what I was looking at more than anything else was its large, sharp talons. . . .

Well, maybe that creature heard the splashing in that pond and assumed, at first, it may have been a raccoon or something; maybe that huge flying thing would never harm a human. But circumstantial evidence points to something more sinister in large flying creatures in general, and right here in the United States. Take a peak at what little I have found on this so far.

Strange Missing-Persons Cases

David Paulides has investigated some of the strangest cases of human disappearance, especially in national parks of the USA. Sometimes a person is never found; sometimes the person’s body is found under strange circumstances; sometimes a person is found alive but in a strange place.

I do not imply that all or even most of the cases in his book relate to attacks from ropens or any other kind of pterosaur. At least a few of them, however, do look like that, and common or even uncommon alternative conjectures fall flat compared with a ropen-attack explanation.

Looking through the glasses of Sherlock Holmes, what would law enforcement professionals be expected to find if they were open to large ropens attacking people and carrying them away?

  • Unlike deer and other potential prey for large pterosaurs, humans wear clothing. If people are being carried away by huge flying creatures, we would expect that some missing persons would never be found and if clothing were found then it might be one shoe or a pair of pants that was inside out or with one pant-leg inside out. Why? A creature would occasionally grab a foot, eventually allowing the human to fall out of a shoe, or claws would grab the upper part of the pants, eventually causing the pants to go inside out as the person fell away.

Well, that’s what searchers find sometimes, one shoe or one piece of clothing that is inside out, including at least one pair of pants that had one pant-leg inside out. With that said, it may be more common for the pants to be completely inside out; we need more information.

  • We would also expect that some missing persons would be found at a much higher elevation than where they were lost. Whether the person was alive or dead when found, he/she would probably be carried away to a higher elevation for the ropen (or other huge flying creature) to feast. Clothing makes a few escapes possible, allowing a very few persons to survive and be found, although they would not always be still alive when found by searchers.

Well, a significant number of found persons turn up much too far away from where they went missing, often at a much higher elevation.

  • If people were simply wandering away, and no huge flying creatures were ever involved, children would be found closer than adults and toddlers would be found even closer to where they were lost. That is not what happens with these really strange cases.

Toddlers, older children, and adults are all found far from where they were lost. Even little kids two-to-four years old are found miles away, sometimes with a mountain separating the found-location from the originally-lost-location. Unfortunately not all of them are found alive.

  • We would expect tracking dogs to stop at where the person was carried away into the air.

Well, tracking dogs do stop following the scent suddenly, and multiple teams of multiple tracking dogs have the same problem.

I hope to have more information and even some statistics, as this investigation continues.



Attacks From a Ropen in New Mexico?

Some kind of predator was probably involved in at least two of those cases, someone or something dangerous residing in that part of New Mexico.

Nita Mayo and Patricia Tolhurst

 I now approach a painful problem in our American society: missing persons. I really want to help in any way that I can, but I also need help in tying together two disjointed concepts, if they can honestly and objectively be tied together. I don’t know how to proceed without speculating, so let’s just jump in.

Papua New Guinea Ropen Attack

On the northeast coast of Umboi, in 1993, she saw the glowing tail (little else was visible) approach the funeral procession; apparently the creature had smelled the body. After the mourners banged pots and yelled at the ropen, it flew away.

Human Deaths From “Pterodactyl” Attacks

I hope that no pterosaur was responsible for any of the human deaths in British Columbia, Canada, along the 500-mile stretch of highway from Prince George to Prince Rupert, but I also hope that all attacks from irresponsible humans, against innocent human victims, will cease, and that this world will become a paradise in which death itself will cease. Notwithstanding all our hopes for the future, however, we now face a present danger, a warning from Gerald McIsaac, author of Bird From Hell, who believes that “most of the hitchhikers [on this highway at night] who disappear have been killed by this animal. It is also my opinion that many of the people who have disappeared have not been reported.”

New Book on Living Pterosaurs

It looked like a dead pterodactyl: not fossil bones but with skin, like it had died recently. Could those creatures, non-extinct, still fly? Although I could not verify the photo was genuine, the idea within that image in a soon-forgotten book would be awakened four decades later . . .


4th edition, front cover: Searching for Ropens and Finding God

Searching for Ropens and Finding God – fourth edition


Is Jonathan Whitcomb a Paleontologist?

I have never suggested that I, Jonathan Whitcomb, am a paleontologist, although I surely know more about pterosaur fossils than the average person on the street. I am an expert on reports of apparent living pterosaurs, commonly called pterodactyls by the eyewitnesses. In other words, I am a cryptozoologist.

I’ve received emails from eyewitnesses from four continents plus islands in the Pacific, emails about flying creatures that resemble “primitive” or “prehistoric” animals more than any bird or bat. On occasion I am able to talk with an eyewitness by phone or by face-to-face interview. One critical point here, unappreciated by some paleontologists, is that those eyewitnesses come from various countries and have different backgrounds and beliefs, including differing religious beliefs. Why is that critical? Significant similarities in the descriptions include featherless appearances, a cone-like appendage at the back of the head, and a long tail, sometimes described with a “diamond” at tail-end.

What about the fossil experts, in particular those paleontologists who ridicule the possibility of living pterosaurs? They know about individual creatures that have died, those few rare individuals that left evidence of their existence in fossils. I believe that’s what paleontology is about. So how much do those few critics know about eyewitness reports? Very little, it seems. Some like to generalize and imagine misidentifications of common birds and bats; rarely does a paleontologist even acknowledge a particular sighting, a real encounter with some flying creature.

Jonathan Whitcomb in a mini-documentaryJonathan David Whitcomb, cryptozoologist

Expeditions in Papua New Guinea

One paleontologist has visited Papua New Guinea once, to my knowledge, on an expedition supposedly for discovering a modern pterosaur. That was the television-show expedition production of Monsterquest, the episode showing several westerners, and many natives, on the island of New Britain. Consider what is written in the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition, by Whitcomb) regarding that paleontologist:

Consider the words of a paleontologist who participated in an expedition for Monsterquest. He explained his opinion, why a pterosaur is not likely still living: “It flies; they would have been seen by lots of people.” Well, if only 1% of the encounters gave some kind of impression of a pterosaur or dragon appearance, that’s 70,000 persons: “lots of people” indeed, in my opinion.

I extol the participation of my friend and associate Garth Guessman, in his part in the Monsterquest expedition; he believes in the reality of living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea and elsewhere, as I do. But that paleontologist hardly seems like an ideal person to take on a search for an extant pterosaur.

Here are some of the Americans who have sincerely searched for the ropen (apparent long-tailed pterosaur) in Papua New Guinea:

  • Garth Guessman
  • David Woetzel
  • Jonathan Whitcomb
  • Paul Nation
  • Nathanael Nation
  • Carl Baugh

Woetzel and Guessman met many natives on Umboi IslandTwo associates of Whitcomb: David Woetzel (left) and Garth Guessman (bottom), on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, 2004

More about paleontologists

Consider the following from Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

. . . but paleontologists, those thought to be the greatest experts on pterosaur fossils—they consider it almost impossible for one of those species to be alive, and the key point is “almost.” I have learned that critical detail from communicating with a few paleontologists and from reading what a few of them think about reports of modern pterosaurs.

I have also seen the results of a survey of biology professors from some of the largest universities in the western United States. Of the few that responded to the questionnaire, the probability of a species of living pterosaur was put at 0% to 5%, with an average of 1.5%. Half of those professors who responded believed it was very unlikely but possible.

In other words, not all paleontologists and biology professors are completely convinced that all species of pterosaurs much have become extinct. That is far from what some critics and skeptics have said in deriding the work of those of us who still hope for a wonderful scientific discovery. Please keep up your hope in a discovery.




Expert in modern “pterodactyl”

The title is “Jonathan Whitcomb: Pterodactyl Expert,” although the one that appears guilty of libel spells it . . . I don’t mean to imply that everything on this forum thread is without merit. But all commentators except the one initiating the discussion appear to me to practice bulverism rather than comment on any specific sentence that I have written.

Whitcomb, Woetzel, Guessman, and Nation in PNG

Does a live pterodactyl fly over villages of some  southwest Pacific islands? Many testimonies  suggest nocturnal long-tailed creatures (called  “Rhamphorhynchoids” by some) having names  like “ropen” and “duwas” (Don’t confuse with  “duah,” a Western mistake), live in coastal areas  of the mainland of Papua New Guinea, as well  as on the islands of Umboi and Manus.

Jonathan Whitcomb interviewed on Monster-X Radio

I was delighted with the two hour interview I had with the two hosts of the Monster X Radio online broadcast: “Johnny Bigfoot” and Shane Corson. We did not get into any details about the Marfa Lights of Texas, but we did discuss the bioluminescent-pterosaur concept, and Susan Wooten mentioned her experiences watching the Bingham Lights of South Carolina.

Books by Jonathan D. Whitcomb

Live Pterosaurs in America and also Searching for Ropens and Finding God


4th edition, front cover: Searching for Ropens and Finding God

Nonfiction cryptozoology/inspirational book

Ropen book in its fourth edition


Ropen-Pterosaur in Oregon and Washington?

Another report of flying lights has surfaced, this one from a wilderness area of Oregon. It seems that the mysterious lights that have been reported to fly over the Yakima River in the state of Washington—those are also seen to fly over a river in Oregon, reported by two cryptozoologists from the Portland area.

The undisclosed river in Oregon is near caves and the two eyewitnesses also saw the flying lights enter and/or exit one or more of the caves. Since the ropen-like lights appear similar to what were previously observed on a river to the north, in Washington, the following is relevant, taken from the fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

On August 6, 2014, I interviewed Milt Marcy and Peter Beach on the bank of the Yakima River in Washington state. I knew, when we arrived for the interview, about the flying light that they had witnessed one night and the apparent pterosaur that another man had encountered in daylight; I had not known that the flying light came up out of the same tree where the other man had seen the flying creature. That was a pleasant surprise, for it strengthens the case that a species of ropen lives in the northwestern United States.

A man, on two separate mornings (about 5:00-6:00 a.m.), saw what looked like a “pterodactyl” perched on a limb of a tree on the bank of the river. He reported it to his friend Shawn who contacted Milt Marcy and Peter Beach, who then interviewed the eyewitness and Shawn.


two cryptooologists in Washington state

Peter Beach and Milt Marcy at the Yakima River in Washington state


Ropen Lights in North America

With many sighting reports of flying lights in the United States and Mexico, a direct connection with possible living pterosaurs is only indirect. The sightings of an apparent “pterodactyl”near the Yakima River in Washington, however, makes a connection. Consider the following, taken from another nonfiction book, the third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America:

We now have evidence for rare nocturnal bioluminescent flying creatures in the United States; nevertheless, because form or features are rarely reported, and locations are widely separated (with local residents being mostly ignorant of similar lights outside their locality), the flying lights have been given various labels and explanations. . . .

A flying bioluminescent thing can escape notice, unseen or mistaken for a meteor, but I received an email from a person I call “DU.” He did notice.

“I and two other people had an extremely interesting experience fishing at night along a river. I will not tell you the exact location . . . at least not yet, because it is a remote portion of the mid-U.S. and I want it to stay that way. It happened Aug 21, 2008 . . . midnight.

“. . . we all three saw a small creature that was flying very fast . . . but the catch was it was glowing off and on, off and on (otherwise we would have never seen it). It darted around much like a bat, but was faster than any bat I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen swallows dive as fast as it, but the object wasn’t diving but rather moving horizontally across the tops of the river bank trees and out along the middle of the river.

“The glowing portion of the object was only [6-8 inches], but it must have had wings too. It came within 30 ft from us and was probably only 20 ft off the [water’s] surface. . . . The on-off cycle lasted around 3-4 seconds and would start up again after the same amount of time not glowing. We could not make out a definite shape of the thing, because it was pitch black outside. . . .”


Ropens Hiding in Caves

Last month, I learned about multi-eyewitness sightings of flying lights in the northwestern United States, lights that the observers believe are bioluminescent pterosaurs, possibly ropens. . . . My associates and I believe that most, if not all, ropens are nocturnal. They are uncommon, if not rare, and are rarely reported in Western countries like the United States, for a living pterosaur contradicts generations of universal-extinction indoctrination.

Flying Dinosaurs in Papua New Guinea

Do you believe in the possibility that long-tailed featherless flying creatures, much larger than any fruit bat, live in the jungles of Papua New Guinea? Your belief depends a great deal on where you lived your childhood: in a village like Gomlongon on Umboi Island or in a western country like the United States.

Ropen appear to live in Washington state

My wife and I were coming back from . . . Skamania Lodge on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.  At the time we lived in the Portland Oregon area, and we were driving back west on I-84 to get home. . . .

” . . . coming left to right across the highway about 100 yards (give or take) in front of us came the most odd looking thing I have ever seen flying.  My wife and I both immediately said “what was that?” . . . probably only about 30 feet or so off the ground, and we only had about two seconds of visual on it, because it came swooping over the trees on the left side of the highway . . .

It had a longer neck, crested head, big curved wings that connected at the back of the body, and a long tail.  Out of all those things the tail is what really stood out to me.  The tail was longer then the animals whole body from tip of head to base of tail. . . .

Ropen Expedition by Woetzel and Guessman

A few weeks after my expedition on Umboi Island, David Woetzel and Garth Guessman arrived in Papua New Guinea. It’s now been ten years since our two expeditions in 2004, but what we learned from interviewing natives—that still needs more publicity, for few Americans have heard about our discoveries in cryptozoology. Consider the following quotations from Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition):

Page 93

Guessman and Woetzel left California October 17, arriving in the city of Lae on October 19, Papua New Guinea time, where they met missionary Jim Blume and his wife . . . According to Blume, in a wide area of Papua New Guinea, many nationals give similar descriptions: bat-like wings, long body, tail with a flange, pelican-like bill, and a “comb” (more rounded than horn-like) on the back of the head.

Garth Guessman and David WoetzelGuessman and Woetzel arrive at an airport in Papua New Guinea


Page 94

Interviews by Blume suggest that the bioluminescence may relate to secretions that seem to drip from the creatures as they fly, like “sparklers” falling to the ground. The secretions are said to burn human skin, even with serious burns. . . .

Rather than take a ship, as I had, those three [David Woetzel, Garth Guessman, and Jacob Kepas] flew to Umboi Island in a small plane, searching the landscape as they passed over the center of the island. Because the pilot had no interest in zigzagging, they flew directly to the northern coast which they followed to the air strip at Lab Lab.

Here the three ropen investigators met Peter Ake, magistrate of Mararamu Village, and the four men took a banana boat along the northeast coast. Kepas interprets between English and Tok Pisin, but Peter also interprets between English and the local dialect of Kovai.

Page 95

Stopping to refuel at Kampalap, they learned that villagers occasionally see the ropen as it leaves a cave, most recently three weeks earlier. . . . The creature flies to a promontory north of the village, landing and waiting on a tree top before flying out to the reef. . . . Guessman, Kepas, Peter, and Woetzel continued on the banana boat northwest, leaving it near Aupwel, where they were greeted by many local villagers. An older man, Patrik Sual . . . told the investigators that he sees the ropen once a month, only from a distance; it flies from mountain to mountain.

Page 97

The three men not only came close to ropen habitat, they became close to the villagers, becoming officially adopted into three families. They were honored as they received new names: Guessman was named Bok Sigil (Bok is a brown eagle, Sigil means “cliffs”); Woetzel, Ropen Lailai (Lailai is the tallest peak of Mount Sual); and Kepas, Ropen Barik (one of the major mountains of Umboi).

Woetzel and Guessman met many natives on Umboi IslandDavid Woetzel (left) and Garth Guessman (bottom)


Crater lake "Bono" at Mount Sual, Umboi Island

Bono, the crater lake of Mount Sual on Umboi Island


Page 97, continued

On October 23rd, Guessman, Woetzel, and Kepas hiked up Mount Sual with five men and four boys; they descended into the caldera, setting up camp fifty meters from the shore of Lake Bono. Their lookout post, near the bushes six meters from the shore, gave a panoramic view of the lake, but after a grueling climb the first night of observations tested their resolve to stay awake. . . . On the third night, rain stopped observations. Previous ropen sightings suggest these peaks, including Mount Sual, harbor one of the creature’s resting spots. Unfortunately these three nights at Lake Bono gave little rest for man, none for the ropen. Disappointed, the men returned to Arot on the fourth day, sliding down the muddy trail in the rain. Two days later their luck would improve.

Thank you to Garth Guessman and to David Woetzel for allowing us to learn of their expedition through their photos and the records of their interviews, only a small portion of which can be included in this post.



The two Expeditions of 2004

The last leg of our journey took us through the villages of the western coast and down to the government station of Bunsel. While at Bunsel we met some folks that explained to us their traditional belief that the Ropen feasts on a particular kind of large mollusk. We had heard reports from other villages about these clams (some of which are reported to litter mount Bel). But the villagers were able to show us some of the shells, as big as 5 feet (1.5 m) in diameter!

Bioluminescent Ropen

Let’s compare the words of four witnesses: three natives on Umboi Island and one British biologist on the mainland of New Guinea. Each describes flying lights: on two sides of Umboi and on the mainland to the west of Umboi.


Ropen Only Extinct on Wikipedia

Last month, the “Ropen” page was deleted on Wikipedia, apparently with the aid of self-appointed editors, one of whom carelessly deleted a valid entry that would have saved that page from deletion. Nevertheless, one online dictionary has maintained that page, or one very similar to it:

Ropen in an online encyclopedia

On Umboi Island the word “ropen” refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies. The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it’s believed by some natives to be a real animal.

“TheFreeDictionary” is not without problems in the page on ropens. It displays a conservation status (“Vulnerable” with listing “IUCN 3.1”), but the International Union for Conservation of Nature does not show anything online with the word “ropen.” I find the online encyclopedia reference to “vulnerable” interesting but it can be misleading: The ropen is still a cryptid (as of early September, 2014), not officially listed as a living species in biology text books and other resources in biology.

Regarding the definition of “ropen,” that encyclopedia-dictionary quotation is outdated. In my nonfiction Searching for Ropens and Finding God, it is defined thus: “A modern pterosaur with Rhamphorhynchoid characteristics.”

Food for the Ropen (quoting from the appendix of that book)

In the summer of 2007, in clear daylight, a giant ropen appeared to be chasing a flock of birds over a wildlife sanctuary near the University of California at Irvine. That may relate to the two “dragons” reported in California newspapers in 1891, creatures that were also called “pterodactyls.” They were reported to have devoured mudhens in a pond “at two or three champs of the jaws.”

Danger to Humans

Although Marfa Lights in Texas have been occasionally reported to be friendly, a large ropen, in some areas of this planet, would love to take you out, to eat. According to Gerald McIsaac, author of Bird From Hell, people have been attacked in northern British Columbia, sometimes killed, by flying creatures he believes are modern pterosaurs. I’ve read his book and communicated with him for years, and I’ve come to believe he may be right.

Where do Ropens Nest?

In his book Bird From Hell, McIsaac reports a nest encounter in British Columbia. A teenage girl had hiked up a hill alone one summer day and found a large nest with about twenty eggs. As she was about to pick up one of them, a strange creature attacked her, and she ran down the hill and escaped. I read nothing about wings on that creature, but McIsaac believes it was a pterosaur.


Sep12, 2014, encyclopedia entry for "Ropen"“Encyclopedia-TheFreeDictionary” entry for “Ropen” (Sep 15, 2014)



Ropen Pterosaur

Many species of pterosaur may have  become extinct, but at least a few of the  two main types have survived. They are  sometimes called “pterodactyls,” “flying  dinosaurs,” “dinosaur birds,” or “dragons.”

Ropen – a Modern Pterosaur

Not only natives have seen this “dragon”  or “pterodactyl” in Papua New Guinea. In  1971 (when the islands were known as  “New Guinea”), the Brian Hennessy, of  Australia, witnessed something strange on  the island of Bougainville: a long-tailed  flying creature that had not a feather in  sight.

Ropen Light Sighting

“My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video—maybe 2 seconds  . . . almost golden and shimmering around the edges. . . . There was no tail and it was flying horizontal from  Mt. Barik toward  Mt. Tolo [on Umboi Island in 2004, a few weeks after the Whitcomb-Paina expedition in that same area of Papua New Guinea].”