By living-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

The following are the words of a native of Papua New Guinea. He will begin leading an expedition, we hope within a few weeks, on Umboi Island. The ropen search will probably last longer than any previous living-pterosaur expedition ever conducted in this area of the world.

Be aware that what follows are answers to specific questions regarding health precautions for expedition members, videotaping times, and getting local village permission to search particular jungle locations.

Also be aware that not all of these plans and ideas are necessarily completely what I would agree with or with what my own priorities would be if I were leading a ropen expedition on Umboi Island. With that said, I expect that this native will have more success than I had when I searched for ropens on that tropical island.

1: Health=health & safety are paramount issues in any field related physical or chemical tasks. Thus, my boys have to know how to get right dose based on prescriptions. So 4 able young men who have a fair bit of education will be entrusted to do this job in 4 different expedition camps. THERE ARE MANY PRIMARY AND HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS IN TARAWE VILLAGE ON UMBOI ISLAND, WHO WILL BE NOMINATED TO DO THIS JOB.

Tropical jungle diseases like malaria, cold, fever and flu are common and their symptoms are quit easy to detect and will direct the boys on what drugs to take for cure.

Remember, any serious casualties and serious illnesses which we can not interpret will be referred straight to German built health center to Finchaffen across Vitiaz Strait through rough seas. If that referral needs serious medical treatment or operation, then the patient will be transported further to Lae city on the same speed boat.

2: Filming times=

(i) At dawn a close watch is essential. It starts at 4:30 am till 5:30 am when sun comes up. Within this 1 hour period is the time birds wake up from their nests and sing. This is the crucial time when Ropen has always been seen to fly over tree canopies from one place to another. Timing of 6:30 am – 7:30 am are to be considered too because anything can happen within this time frame as jungle darkness will be evident by tree canopies and mountain clouds and fogs cover.

(ii) at dusk all cameras will be manned vigilantly at 5:45 pm-7:00 pm because this is the period Ropen is hungry and would want to feed on anything edible. Locals believe that this is the time it returns to its home from hunting trips from place to place. 4:30 am-5:45 am is on crucial watching time too because of cloud covers that make jungles gloomy and dark too quickly. REMEMBER, ROPEN HAS A CHARACTERISTIC THAT FAVOURS THESE TIMINGS.

(iii) daylight filming is 100% on because anything can pop up during day. But occasionally, chances of filming Ropen during daylight is slim.

(iv) Camera flash lights are vital. Greg Hedger’s Panasonic Full HD camcorder (5.1 inch, 29.8 mm wide and 20.4 mega pixel) has potential to do this night vision job. I need 4 digital cameras with flash lights that will support this camcorder. At least 4 Canon cameras with 10.0 mega pixels will do. EVIDENTLY NO STILL CAMERAS TO AFFORD SO WILL EMPLOY NATIVES TO USE JUNGLE KNOWLEDGE ON HOW TO AMBUSH AND HUNT WILD ANIMALS DURING HUNTING BY HIDING HUMAN SCENT AND TRACES THAT WILL SCARE ITS APPROACH FOR BAIT THAT WILL LURE IT.

3: Permission for Sacred Sites=It is a MUST THING. I have to get special permissions to film and I have to do it because without release I might face obstacles. Some of these taboo grounds got human bones that are used for spiritual worships.

Bones are remainants of grave yard dug by ropen for its food. Taboo sites are attached with evil spells. Traditionally, if someone trespasses without permissions, he/she faces death. TO CATER FOR ANY OPPOSITION FROM CUSTOMARY LAND LORDS, I GOT TO PAY SOME MONEY TO MAKE EASY ACCESS TO THESE SPIRITUALLY POSSESSED ZONES. SO JUNGLE JUSTICE IS EVIDENT ON UMBOI ISLAND TERRAINS.


near Lab Lab on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea

Near Lab Lab on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea (2004 expedition by Whitcomb)



Ropen of Umboi Island

Just weeks after my 2004 expedition on Umboi Island, the cryptozoologists Garth Guessman and David Woetzel interviewed Umboi native eyewitnesses with systematic interview forms . . .


What is a Ropen?

How often we’ve been taught that all dinosaurs and pterosaurs became extinct millions of years ago, as if that were proven! But what if some are still living?


Books for LDS readers

With the Christmas gift-giving season approaching, I offer the following three nonfiction books that I have written, each of them about evidences for non-extinct pterosaurs, what many Westerners call “pterodactyls.”


Books by Mormon Authors

This includes the cryptozoology book Searching for Ropens and Finding God.


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The Woetzel-Guessman Expedition

On February 19, 2011, in Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

David Woetzel and Garth Guessman succeeded in their 2004 expedition on Umboi Island, even though they failed to get a clear view of a ropen, for their interviews with native eyewitnesses proved of great worth in their cryptozoological investigation. To the expedition of these two American creationists, I devoted a chapter, in my nonfiction book Searching for Ropens (this book is in its second edition, with the third edition now being written). Woetzel and Guessman deserve more credit than a brief reference in Wikipedia, so I quote from the book, although only in brief summary:

Kepas [interpreter] accompanied Guessman and Woetzel to Umboi Island, but rather than take a boat, as I had, they flew in a small plane, searching the landscape as they passed over the center of the island. . . . they flew directly to the northern coast which they followed to the air strip at Lab Lab.

Here the three ropen investigators met Peter (Pita) Ake, magistrate of Mararamu Village, and the four men took a banana boat along the northeast coast. . . . 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 the tree tops 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 (whose ancestors lived near or on Mount Sual) told the investigators that he sees the ropen once a month, only from a distance; it flies from mountain to mountain. . . .

[In the first major trek on foot] . . . passing between the mountains Barik and Sual, they arrived at Arot Village where they made friends with local men and prepared for the excursion up to Bono, the crater lake of Mount Sual.

Guessman interviewed Jonathan Ragu, of Mararamu Village, who saw a ropen in July of 2004, when he and his daughter were at a beach. Between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. . . . it flew away from the northwest coast of Umboi Island, heading toward Tolokiwa Island (northwest of Umboi). Glowing brightly red and white from the head and trailing edges of the wings, it flew fast, at tree-top level. . . . nose-to-tail length was eleven feet. From thirty-four silhouettes of bats, birds, and pterosaurs, Ragu chose the Sordes Pilosus, a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

They had many more interviews with eyewitnesses and explored some of the central areas of Umboi Island. They stayed for a few more days than my own two-week expedition, which was a few weeks earlier than their expedition. Woetzel had a sighting of the ropen light one night, briefly and at a distance. That deserves another quote from the book.

 Woetzel reported to me, “My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video–maybe two seconds. The light was very different from what Garth and Pastor Jacob saw. I suspect theirs was a meteor. I also saw some meteors while on night watch. They were whitish in color and had a tail. But this thing was different. It went about as fast as a meteor, but it was very different in coloration . . . almost golden and shimmering around the edges. It looked like an old-fashioned street light in the fog. There was no tail and it was flying horizontally from Mt. Barik toward Mt. Tolo.”

Woetzel continued, “I . . . saw it streaking across the horizon and disappearing behind Mt. Tolo. The size, color and speed made it immediately stand out as unlike any other thing I’ve ever seen in the sky. . . . Woetzel estimated the angular size to be 20%-25% of a full moon and said, “. . . larger than any meteor I’ve ever seen.”

For an introduction to ropen expeditions in Papua New Guinea, read “Basics on Living Pterosaurs . . .” (It includes a correction to a mistake about Woetzel’s ropen-light sighting.)

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Science and Clear Thinking

On June 15, 2010, in philosophy, Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” I believe Nikola Tesla was thinking clearly when he said that. I also believe that we need clear thinking in the scientists of today, at least as much as in the time of Tesla. It appears to me difficult to define, although its opposite appears easy to expose. Perhaps we should be grateful for extremes that help us to distinguish between foggy and clear thinking. I suggest a couple of examples.

A few years ago, a critic of living-pterosaurs investigations appeared offended that I had, on one of my own web pages, included a link to a creationist site; he demanded that I remove that link, insinuating that I should not be taken seriously because of that link. I now suggest that those who can be offended by such a thing should consider this: Bias is not necessarily confined to those who disagree with you.

I later found a site produced by another critic; he used the words “lies” and “stupid” in his URL, with the content of his site ridiculing me and my associates. Not to repeat much of the content, I simply refer to part of it: He declared that “John Whitcomb” had been sponsored by Carl Baugh and led a group of creationists in an expedition in Africa; I have never gone by the name of “John,” have never been sponsored by Carl Baugh for anything, have never led any group of creationists on any expedition anywhere, and have never set foot in Africa.

Regarding his URL, I have told the truth, not lies; I hope that he was simply ignorant of my intentions. I make no comment about “stupid,” although I sometimes admit that my general intelligence may be inferior to that of some of my readers and my education may seem less impressive than that of some of my critics (not, it seems, this one), but let’s return to “clear thinking,” for that is the subject.

I admit this subject cries for me to dig more deeply and learn more about human thinking, but one thing is obvious: We need to listen to each other, regardless of previous disagreements and regardless of differing labels. Truth can be found in the thoughts of those appearing to be most ignorant and foolish. Even my own most vehement critic did reveal some truth about me: My last name is “Whitcomb” and I am active in promoting the concept of modern living pterosaurs; this critic may have actually helped promote awareness of the case for living pterosaurs.

By the way, I did explore a remote island in Papua New Guinea (north of Australia) in 2004. I traveled to P.N.G. alone and found an interpreter on the mainland, before taking a small ship to Umboi Island. I interviewed many eyewitnesses of the ropen. My associates and I are convinced that this nocturnal flying creature is a modern Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur.

My critic may have confused Papua New Guinea with a small country in Western Africa. He may also have confused me with John C. Whitcomb who wrote The Genesis Flood many years ago. He may also have been confused by my assistance from Paul Nation, who was once a close associate of Carl Baugh. He may also have been confused about the two expeditions of 2004, for the second one was led by two American creationists and they followed my expedition by only a few weeks.

After I had replied to this web site, stating the inaccuracies, changes were made, including the correct spelling of my name: “Jonathan Whitcomb.” The newer page mentions nothing about my being in Africa. I appreciate that correction.

But many other inaccuracies were added, related to sightings and the living-pterosaur investigations. For example, the two indava lights videotaped by Paul Nation in 2006 were compared with high-speed UFO’s (the two lights were actually sitting motionless on the top of a nearby ridge). The critic mentioned those videotaped lights “flying in the sky above the peaks of volcanoes located on Umboi Island created by creationists possessing fake credentials.” (I suspect he was trying too hard to cram too many criticisms into one sentence.) At any rate, the videotaped lights were on the mainland of Papua New Guinea, nowhere near Umboi Island. I’m afraid that the critic has a problem with clear thinking, for he still tends to become confused.

I don’t know why this critic uses the words “lies” and “stupid” for me and my associates; I assume that it is also from some kind of confusion.

More: objective evaluation of eyewitness reports and the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America (published by Createspace; written by Jonathan David Whitcomb) This is a cryptozoology book.

Objective interview methods of Guessman & Woetzel (2nd Umboi Island expedition of 2004)

Objective Ministries” is a parody or hoax. The university is nonexistent. There’s no “objectiveministries.”

“Objective Ministries” site is a hoax

On April 27, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

For many years a web site has proclaimed ongoing plans to explore Africa with the hope of capturing living pterosaurs. I tried to communicate with the person who seemed to be in charge of the “Objective Ministries” project but never received any response. It eventually became apparent that no progress was being made. I eventually concluded that the whole site is a hoax. This seems to be confirmed.

There seems to be no professor named “Richard Paley.” Even “Fellowship University” is nonexistent. Although parts of at least some of the pages refer to real persons and at least one real expedition (by the real person Carl Baugh), “Objective Ministries” is a huge joke, with no actual plans for any expedition.

Why would anyone take so much time to write and publish such a hoax? It seems that somebody took great pleasure in ridiculing religious leaders and those labeled “creationists.” How could such an elaborate hoax have been created by someone who believes similarly to creationists? The only explanation that I know of is that the person responsible has no respect for creationism. In other words, this site is not at all creationist, for it mocks rather than promotes the ideals of those it seems to portray.

This is not to be confused with my own site:, which is serious.

See also Objectiveness in the investigations

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