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Eskin Kuhn's 1971 depiction of the creature he saw at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

The ropen is an alleged relict pterosaur that has been reported from the jungles of Papua New Guinea. It is described as a large, featherless flying creature with a long tail. It is reported to glow at night, in a way suggesting the animal controls the light (called "intrinsic bioluminescence"). (According to Monsterquest, this flying creature is referred to as "Demon Flyer" by local villagers[1]) A more recent definition, which does not restrict the cryptid to any particular location, is "A modern pterosaur with Rhamphorhynchoid characteristics," generally meaning a pterosaur with a long tail (from the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, fourth edition). As of early 2015, the ropen remains within the realm of cryptozoology rather than official biology, for it is not yet acknowledged to be a living species according to Western biologists.


The name ropen meaning "demon flyer" comes from speakers of the Kovai dialects on Umboi Island. This is the name that gained ascendancy amongst Western researchers.

Other names include Duwas, Glikioik, Indava, Kundua, Seklo-bali, and Wawanar[2].

Sightings in Papua New Guinea

Finschhafen (1944)

The American World War II veteran Duane Hodgkinson (1925-2014) was interviewed extensively by the cryptozoologists Jonathan Whitcomb and Garth Guessman, in 2004 and 2005. The following is taken from the scientific paper "Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific" ([3]). Hodgkinson was in the U.S. military, in 1944, on the island of New Guinea, when he and another soldier saw a flying creature that has, in recent years, been interpreted as a large ropen.

"He and an army friend were in a jungle clearing west of Finschhafen . . . when something 'huge' took off into the air from the far side of the clearing. The creature ran to their left, taking six to ten steps to get airborne and ascended at an angle of about 30 degrees . . . It then disappeared over the dense brush but soon returned and flew over the clearing, presenting a “perfect side view” of its features before again flying out of view. The wings never stopped flapping, at one to two seconds per flap, while it flew.

"He estimated the legs to be 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m) long. The top of the back was 5–6 ft (1.5–1.8 m) above the ground just before takeoff. Although he did not notice details of the tail, he estimated it was “at least” 10–15 ft (3–4.6 m) long. He compared the wingspan to a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane (~29 ft or 9 m). The length of the head, not counting the appendage, was about 3–4 ft (1–1.2 m), similar to the length of the neck. An appendage protruding from the head, above the neck, was about half that length, and both the head and appendage were parallel to the neck."

Umboi Island (about 1994)

Three natives of Papua New Guinea were interviewed by Jonathan Whitcomb during his expedition on Umboi Island in 2004. The following is taken from the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

[Whitcomb interviewing the eyewitness Gideon Koro] "“When you got to the lake . . . did you stay there for a few minutes . . ."

[Gideon answering] "A few minutes later, it came down."

[Whitcomb] ". . . About how large were the wings?"

"Gideon said, 'Sefan meeta.' In Tok Pisin, the plural is not formed by adding s, and this can carry over into their English."

[Whitcomb] “Seven meters? OK. This animal . . . you call it a ropen? Is that the name they have for it?”

[Gideon] “Yeah.”

[Whitcomb] “OK. Did it have a tail?”

[Gideon] “Yeah.”

[Whitcomb] ". . . How long was the tail?"

"Gideon looked at the ground to his left for five seconds; from the way he glanced back and forth at the ground a few times, I concluded that he was imagining the tail and estimating its length. He looked back at me and said:"

"Sefan meeta long."

[Whitcomb] "Seven meters?"

[Gideon] "Yeah."

"When I asked about feathers, he gave me the puzzled look."

[Gideon] "There’s no feathers."

"I learned that two more eyewitnesses were present. Wesley Koro (brother of Gideon) and Mesa Agustin had also seen the giant creature over Lake Pung on that day years ago."

[Whitcomb interviewing Mesa] "We then used an interpreter as I asked, 'Years ago, he went to Lake Pung with Gideon?'"

[Mesa] "Yes."

[Whitcomb] "What did you see?"

[Mesa] "Ropen"

[Whitcomb] ". . . Did you see the end of the tail?"

"Mesa nodded as the interpreter said, 'Yes, they saw it.'"

[Whitcomb] "What did the end of the tail look like?"

[Mesa] "Diamond"

Food Sources

According to the nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition), "They eat fish or giant clams, although more than one species may be reported, perhaps with each one having its own preferred diet." Investigators and explorers (including Garth Guessman, James Blume, and Jonathan Whitcomb) have encountered accounts of attacks on humans and even of human death. In Papua New Guinea, some accounts are of huge flying creatures that dig up human corpses from the ground as food. But according to the book (SFRFG), such grave robberies appear "to have stopped with the use of wooden coffins."

Expeditions in Papua New Guinea

Umboi Island (Paul Nation, 2002)

In 2002, Paul Nation (of Texas) and his son Nathanael explored part of Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea, and interviewed natives who had seen the flying ropen light or who knew about the ropen from local sources. Neither of these two Americans saw the ropen (or its light), but they developed and strengthened native friendships that helped prepare for the success of the two expeditions of 2004.

Umboi Island (Whitcomb & Paina, 2004)

The American Jonathan Whitcomb and his interpreter, Luke Paina, led the first of the two Umboi Island expeditions of 2004. Eyewitness interviews mostly involved natives who had seen the flying light from a distance, without any observation of any form or features of a ropen.

Exceptions included three of the seven Lake-Pung eyewitnesses, which three had seen a huge flying creature over a crater lake, in clear daylight, about ten years earlier. Whitcomb had a brief interview with Jonah Jim, who also saw the form and features of a large ropen south of that lake.

Although Whitcomb did not see anything like the ropen, his interpreter did see the flying light one night, from a distance.

Umboi Island (Woetzel & Guessman, 2004)

The Americans David Woetzel and Garth Guessman explored Umboi Island a few weeks after the Whitcomb-Paina expedition. Villages and areas visited only partially overlapped with the earlier expedition of 2004, with detailed interview notes being obtained for eyewitnesses probably never before questioned by Westerners.

Critical interviews included those of Jonathan Ragu and Jonah Jim, both of whom chose a silhouette sketch corresponding to the long-tailed pterosaur Sordes pilosus.

Woetzel had his own sighting of a flying light one night. According to Searching for Ropens and Finding God [SFRFG]:

"On Thursday, October 28th, at 10:00 p.m., while . . . . Woetzel was watching the sky from the Arot observation area, a large yellowish glowing object flew near the horizon, disappearing behind Mount Tolo [next to Lake Pung]. Unlike a large meteor, it left no meteor trail. . . . Woetzel would report 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."

Mainland of New Guinea (Nation & Kepas, 2006)

According to the scientific paper "Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific" [RLPSP]:

"The first American to bring back video evidence for the bioluminescence of the ropen was Paul Nation, who explored near Tawa Village in late 2006. He saw a number of flying lights on several nights and videotaped, for about fifteen seconds, two lights that were on a ridge where there were no roads, cars, or campfires."

MonsterQuest (2009)

In episode 15 (titled "Flying Monsters") of the third season of the TV-show MonsterQuest ([4]), a team of researchers (consisting of both supporters and opponents for the existence of the Ropen) traveled to Papua New Guinea to attempt to find the legendary Ropen, but were seemingly unsuccessful. The show also presented a couple of the many sightings which had been reported in the area.

Relationship to Ark Research

Verification of extant pterosaurs carries a similar benefit to verifying the existence of the Ark of Noah, namely this: It demonstrates that the Bible contains factual information about the past. The fiery flying serpent may have been a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur (that is bioluminescent), and the official scientific discovery of a living long-tailed pterosaur shows us why the ancient Israelites chose that name for the creatures that attacked them at the time Moses was leading them away from Egypt.

In other words, the Flood of Genesis was a historical event, as was God's leading the children of Israel out of slavery (through the prophet Moses). Modern discoveries that are in harmony with those Biblical accounts help people to gain faith and hold onto faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

See also


  1. MonsterQuest Episode Guide - Season 3 -
  2. Modern Pterosaur Name
  3. Peer reviewed and published in Creation Research Society Quarterly, Volume 45, Number 3
  4. Monsterquest Episode 15. Aired June 03, 2009

External links

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