Scott Norman: Pterosaur Eyewitness

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 4th, 2008

papo pterandon

People are remembering Scott Norman in their own ways.

Reopn researcher J. D. Whitcomb has sent along the following contribution to Cryptomundo:


I too was shocked to learn of Scott’s passing. To those who knew nothing about Scott except for his apparent failure to find a living dinosaur, we can correct a misunderstanding: Scott did see, in the Southwest Pacific, at 2:00 a.m., July 19, 2007, from a distance of twenty feet, an apparent pterosaur.

Whitcomb points to these two sources, here and here.

The exact quotes from Scott are:

“Scott described a flying organism with a wingspan of 8-10 feet, bat-like wings, and a crested head.”

“Two nights ago our fellow researcher, Scott Norman, saw a creature glide over him only 20 feet up. He said it had a classic pteranodon shape: large head crest, no tail and a 10 foot wing span. Scott was the most skeptical of all of us, but not any more.”

Whitcomb continues:

Some of the leaders of the expedition excursions (many searches in mid-2007) were so secretive that I still do not know what country they were in. What little they told me I agreed to keep secret so that they would be able to capture a creature first, before any newcomers could jump in. After many months, I feel that I must now speak out.

With Scott’s passing, it seems inappropriate, at least, to keep quiet about these successful sightings of many flying lights and pterosaur-forms flying over some area in the Southwest Pacific. I believe that the explorers are running out of funds, which strengthens the reasoning for opening up: Let others see for themselves; let wildlife photographers photograph; let non-creationists experience this wonderful non-extinct life. Let those who have captured non-cryptids alive capture one of these cryptids alive.

I think that this is what Scott would have wanted.

And let us remember Scott not only for his kindness and humility, but for his final success: witnessing with his own eyes what textbooks declare has been extinct for millions of years. Scott was a successful cryptozoologist.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

16 Responses to “Scott Norman: Pterosaur Eyewitness”

  1. MattBille responds:

    With all the respect due to my fellow Christians, I would still feel better about such a spectacular claim if there was any record written personally by Scott.

  2. cryptidsrus responds:


    Are you saying possible hoax, MattBille?

    Why would Whitcomb lie?

    Well, one never knows…

    Whether this story is true or not, Norman WILL be missed. RIP.
    Say naught the struggle naught availeth…

  3. Bob Michaels responds:

    It’s true dinosaurs are living today. IN THE FORM OF BIRDS.

  4. MattBille responds:

    Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think for a moment that Scott or his companions were pulling a hoax. I would just like to read Scott’s own impressions recorded first hand. Is there such a record available?

  5. John Kirk responds:

    I am able to confirm that what has been written in these columns and the other locations referred to herein are accurate depictions of what Scott Norman said he saw. I am writing this purely from a scientific perspective and not from any particular viewpoints on the origins of zoological forms.

    I have known about Scott’s work in this area for 9 months and heard from him personally of the account of his sighting of what he believes was a pterosaur. I believe he called me on July 20th (the day after the sighting) to describe his sighting to me. I asked him several times whether he thought he might be mistaken and could it have been a bird. He said it was not a bird and what was amazing about this flying wonder was his description that the head was between three and four feet long.

    He said it was more bat-like than bird-like as far as the wings were concerned. However it could not have been a bat as no bat has a three to four foot-long head. There are other pieces of evidence that Scott shared with me that indicate that what Scott and others in the search area saw at such close quarters was not a bird or bat.

    The investigation in this area is ongoing. To allow Scott’s colleagues to continue their work in peace I strongly suggest we leave them alone and wait until further evidence is presented before we make a final decision on the identity of Scott Norman’s mystery flying organism.

    I am keeping an open mind on this creature because I know who Scott Norman was and if he said he saw a pterosaur, I am inclined to believe him as his impeccability is without reproach.

    To Scott’s Ropen colleagues, I would say, honour the memory of your friend and colleague and keep searching until you have exhausted all possibilities. This would be the right way and Scott would have appreciated that.

    Thanks to my colleague and fellow BCSCC member, Matt Bille, for raising this issue because it allowed me to verify this was indeed what Scott said he saw.

    John Kirk.

  6. werewuf responds:

    What does this have to do with christians?

  7. CamperGuy responds:

    Why does Whitcomb make the remark non-creationists? Creationists not allowed to see a pterosaur? I don’t understand.

    How incredibly wonderful if a living pterosaur can be proven to exist!

  8. eireman responds:

    Agreed. If a pterosaur exists, it does so irrespective of religion. I am with MattBille, if there is a primary source, I would love to read that to see what he saw in his own words. Sometimes these things can end up like a game of “telephone” and get a somewhat distorted.

  9. jayman responds:

    Many creationists are interested in surviving pterosaurs and dinosaurs since they feel this would “disprove” evolution. But many creatures older than dinosaurs have survived to the present.
    The idea of large unknown flying animals, whether pterosaurs or thunderbirds, is harder for me to accept, though, than land or water based cryptids. They’re just too visible.

  10. Richard888 responds:

    Hi John Kirk,

    It was nice to read your article. I had watched John give a slide presentation in the Royal BC Museum about Ogopogo in Lake Okanagan many many years ago. The theme was to analyze some pictures that were proven to be of a beaver, after an 1 million dollar bounty had been announced for clear evidence for the creature.

  11. MattBille responds:

    To John Kirk,

    Thanks for that update.

    I’ve always had trouble with the whole pterosaur-cryptid business. To the usual surviving-reptile problem (no fossils for 60MY, after a rich fossil record throughout the Mesozioc), one must add the seeming improbability of large winged forms surviving the ascent of competitors (raptors) who are present on every continent and every sizable island or archipelago, and who are not only smarter but much better flyers.

    At the same time, I can’t discount an eyewitness report of the quality described here.

    So I end up thinking “Let’s see what happens next,” which is a scientifically valid viewpoint but not an entirely satisfying one. We all want our answers right away, but Nature doesn’t care about what we want.

    Good luck to the hunters.

  12. jdwhitcomb responds:

    With my first posting, I didn’t take into account that some people are unaware of ropen (living-pterosaur) investigations; sorry.

    Thank you, John Kirk, for adding what you know about Scott’s sighting. Scott never contacted me, but I learned a bit from one of his associates.

    CamperGuy: Over 90% of the living-pterosaur expeditions (1994 through 2007) have been by Creationists. The greatest sightings have been in mid-2007, but none of the team members have told me many details (not even what country it is). I am now encouraging the 2007-team members to open up and allow all investigators to know about these recent successes. Philosophy and religion can be discussed after detailed photos and videos have proven that these creatures are real.

    I became involved in the living-pterosaur investigations in 2003 (producing a short documentary that is now obsolete), and explored Umboi Island in late 2004, a few weeks before the Woetzel-Guessman expedition. The second edition of my book, “Searching for Ropens, Living Pterosuars in Papua New Guinea,” was published last year, just before the most spectacular sightings took place.

    We can put the “hoax” question to rest regarding veteran ropen hunters like Paul Nation, Garth Guessman, and David Woetzel: Why would any of us spend so many thousands of dollars (personal funds, mostly) and travel to Papua New Guinea, with the object of proving pterosaur still live, and then admit that we never saw anything that resembled a pterosaur (before 2007)?

    Religion, evolution, Creation, and living pterosaurs–how they relate is a deep subject, one that I’ve tried to introduce in my book. Believe me, there’s no room for it here, no room to do it justice.

    One point of interest is this: If the creature Scott Norman saw really did not have a long tail, it was not really a ropen: just a Pterodactyloid(!)

  13. dschwartzman responds:

    I recently bought the “Searching for Ropens, Living Pterosuars in Papua New Guinea” book and to my surprise found it was a polemic for young Earth creationism. Ugh! Why would the existence of a so-called living fossil prove the Earth is young? We now know that birds are very likely warm-blooded dinosaurs, and unlike most if not all of the other dinosaurs their ancestors survived the mass extinction 65 million years ago. So why would the survival of an ancient lineage prove the Earth is young? Modern hyperthermophilic procaryotes are living representatives of the most ancient life, close to its origin at least 4 billion years ago.

  14. jdwhitcomb responds:


    I find it interesting: You mentioned that my book argues for young
    Earth creationism; I have also been criticized by YEC for not
    supporting a 6000-year-old earth. I don’t recall writing anything
    directly about earth-age except in the appendix (pages 225-227)
    where extreme YEC (6000-year-old earth) is questioned, not advocated.

    What pages are you referring to regarding a young earth? Perhaps you
    are confusing the book’s criticism of universal common ancestry. Is
    that it? The General Theory of Evolution is related to belief in a
    very ancient earth, it’s true: closey related (but not identical).

    There is one sentence in the appendix: “I believe that the earth is
    much younger than the billions of years . . .” If that is what you
    refer to, yes, that sentence does contradict the idea of billions
    of years of the earth’s existence.

    The book is mainly related to the title: “Searching for Ropens.”
    The arguments against standard models of macro-evolution (GTE) run
    throughout the book, but not everyone is offended at that approach.

  15. dschwartzman responds:

    jdwhitcomb says “I believe that the earth is much younger than the billions of years . . .” Young Earth, no? Radioactive dating methods, including Claire Patterson’s lead isotope approach, give a solar system/Earth age of 4.6/4.5 billion years. Hadean zircons dated by U-Pb have ages up to 4.4 b.y., the age of the first crust (and indirect evidence of liquid water from oxygen isotopes, hence first possibility of biogenesis). My own graduate work involved K-Ar dating of the Stillwater Complex in Montana, 2.7 b.y. old. The pathetic creationist refutation of radioactive dating commonly invokes variable half lives of parent elements such as U. If the half life of U was much shorter in the past we would see consequences such as pervasive radiation damage in old rocks. Hence, the need for another miracle. Religion yes, but not science.

  16. jdwhitcomb responds:

    For MattBille and eireman:

    Regarding Scott Norman’s own words (which sadly are now available only from his records or from those who spoke with him; he is missed), about what he saw, in addition to John Kirk’s record we have the following:

    Thank you, Loren, for letting us know about this site.

    When I read this, last week, I was shocked to learn that the sighting was not in the Southwest Pacific: It was in California. My own state! I then spoke by phone with one of the leaders of this investigation and it was confirmed. No wonder they have kept it so secret: How hard it will be for the landowner to keep people away when it becomes public knowledge that large Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur live here!

    But all of this deserves a little more introduction. Carl Baugh was the first American ropen searcher in 1994. Health concerns prevented him from continuing travel to the remote islands of Papua New Guinea, so his expeditions stopped before the turn of the century.

    One mistake he seems to have made was in referring to an old European newspaper account of a pterodactyl that was said to have been discovered in a tunnel. That seems to have been a hoax. This discrediting of the newspaper account has become well publicized by critics; what is not as well publicized by critics have been the many late 20th Century and early 21st Century expeditions by Paul Nation, myself, Garth Guessman, David Woetzel, and Matthew Speights. With no exception of which I am aware, none of these expeditions resulted in any American observing anything that
    resembled a pterosaur. We were following eyewitness reports of creatures described like pterosaurs. Can a hoax theory explain anything about our investigations in Papua New Guinea? I don’t see how. If any one of us had any desire to perpetrate a hoax, we would have lied about seeing a living pterosaur. Instead, we came back to the States with eyewitness reports: no hoaxes.

    Within weeks of the Destination Truth (ropen episode) broadcast in the U.S., several living-pterosaur investigators began having many distant sightings in a new location. Sometimes the flying creatures were close enough to see a form. Not one of my associates told me anything until I accidentally found some of their correspondance on a web page that they did not realize had been scanned by web spiders. They then confirmed that the sightings were hot. Very hot! One description of the flying lights was like a “Fourth of July” show. That should have clued me into the location: Nobody in the SouthWest Pacific would have so described it.

    What I now see as related is this: Within the past few months, I have also received reports of flying lights in other areas of the U.S., including the State of Washington (western). Some of these are not really new; I have just newly realized the relevance.

    I met Scott Norman after my expedition to Papua New Guinea; he and Guessman and I had a good talk in my backyard. I does seem strange that he passed away of natural causes at home: He was younger than some of us who have, as he did, traveled to some rather dangerous places (he more than me). His contributions will be remembered and I plan to include something of them in a future edition of my book (or another book).

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