Aug 302011
 

Scott T. Norman, American cryptozoologist and explorer, passed away on February 29, 2008, at the age of forty-three. He was a passionate investigator of cryptids, even taking part in an expedition in central Africa to search for the Mokele-Mbembe; he failed to see any sauropod dinosaur during that expedition, but just months before his untimely death, from natural causes, he experienced what may have been his greatest success in cryptozoology: He saw a living pterosaur.

Scott Norman Pterosaur Sighting

A few months after my late-2004 expedition in Papua New Guinea, I [Jonathan Whitcomb] met Scott Norman. My associate, Garth Guessman, introduced me to this cryptozoologist [Scott Norman, who] two years after I met him . . . became, I believe, the first American cryptozoologist to observe the clear form of a living pterosaur while searching for one.

Scott Norman’s Pterosaur Sighting

In the second half of 2007, living-pterosaur investigators were active in a new sighting area . . . [in the United States]. Some of the men had been on cryptozoological expeditions in Africa or Papua New Guinea, including Scott Norman.

Silent, with stars for a background, the dark creature flew twenty feet high, over a shed only twenty feet from Scott . . . there was no mistaking it: . . . a head three to four feet long, and a two-foot-long head-crest that reminded him of a Pteranodon. . . . [Wings] more bat-like than bird-like.

Cryptozoology Book

Scott wished that the creature had been glowing when it flew over the shed [unfortunately, it was not glowing, at least at that time], confirming the concept of large bioluminescent flying creatures. He felt . . . the wingspan was eight to ten feet. He was a bit perplexed that legs were not visible, but like other eyewitnesses of large flying creatures he was concentrating on one or two parts of the cryptid: Apparently Scott was concentrating on the creature’s head.

Other Cryptozoologists Searching for Extant Pterosaurs

It seems that most cryptozoologists who actively search for living pterosaurs are Americans: Garth Guessman, Paul Nation, Jonathan Whitcomb, David Woetzel, and a few others. Most, but not all, seem to be strict Young Earth Creationists; one of the most outspoken in YEC concepts may be Woetzel, with Guessman seeming to preach in a similar way. Whitcomb has gone on record as opposing the idea of a 6,000-year-old universe, but some of his writings have strongly supported traditional ideas in the Bible.

Garth Guessman

Guessman’s knowledge of Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur fossils allowed him to notice an important clue about the ropen’s classification. The two explorers learned that the native traditions describe the ropen’s tail as being stiff, never moving except near where it connects to the body. Guessman recognized that this relates to the stiffening extension rods of Rhamphorhynchoid vertebrae.

Paul Nation

Paul Nation’s short video of the two indavas was examined by Cliff Paiva, a missile defense physicist, who declared that the images of the two lights were not of meteors, camp fires, auto headlights, a paste-on-the-background hoax, or other common things.

Jonathan Whitcomb

What flies in the night
As it glows
Bigger than fireflies and bats
Who knows?
Bigger than barn owls
Dark as the crows
But never with feathers
Who knows?

David Woetzel

Woetzell is the second-most prolific writer on the subject of living pterosaurs (after Jonathan Whitcomb), with a web site titled “Genesis Park” and a more-recent scientific paper in a science journal.

Apr 062010
 

In my nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America, I mentioned the sighting by Professor Peter Beach, in the summer of 2007, near the Yakima River in the state of Washington. Consider part of what he wrote about it:

. . . we saw many . . . flashing lights. I would have assumed that [they] were fireflies but we [don’t] have them in Washington. One of the flashes took off from a big tree overhanging the river and made a kind of flashing coma turn. Many flashes were parallel to the river. . . . there were many fish . . . Prime hunting grounds for fish-eating birds. Only these things fish at night with bioluminescence. At first I thought I was just seeing shooting stars, but they were all parallel to the river and close to the horizon. Next I noticed that when the cloud cover came in, I could still see the flashes. They were under the cloud cover. Whatever they are, I suggest that they are at least unknown to science, night flying, bioluminescent, flying creatures . . .

About a year later (perhaps in the same area) the professor led another expedition, observing the flight of the bioluminescent flying creatures for three hours:

. . . there were two light [flashes] . . . about 50-100 ft., above the river. . . . followed by screeches from about a dozen or so agitated nighthawks in the general area. I think the Rhamphorhynchoids, if that is what they were, were feeding on the nighthawks as the nighthawks were feeding on the flying insects. Bats were also common, but they were fast, made sharp turns, and were relatively small . . .

I know of others who encountered strange flying lights over rivers in the United States, flights that were only just above the water. Even where fireflies live, these flying things are much larger and faster.

See “Pterosaurs Alive in America

See also “Cryptozoology, science, and pterosaurs”

Feb 182010
 

What is credibility? In regard to eyewitness accounts of cryptids, this gets complicated, for eyewitness-credibility and description-of-cryptid credibility often become intertwined. Let’s get them separated.

Consider how a witness speaks and acts under questioning, if you’re serving on a court jury; the witness might seem believable. Now consider an eyewitness of a cryptid that you feel sure could not exist; do you look for anything that might indicate the person is telling a lie or misidentifying a non-cryptid? It is hard, sometimes, to be objective, when our feelings or basic beliefs appear to be threatened by the testimony of what has appeared to another person. We are all human, regardless of what the cryptid is.

How rare the evaluator who can separate the eyewitness-credibility from the description-of-cryptid credibility! If we feel that a large hairy ape should not be living in North America, we might notice little mannerisms or hesitancies in the testimony of a Big Foot eyewitness. If we feel that all species of pterosaurs should be extinct, we might question the religious motivations of the eyewitness of an apparent Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur (most of those interviewers are creationists). We would do well to avoid rushing to a convenient conclusion, keeping an open mind to discovery, even when it means changing an old, deep-seated assumption.

See Hennessy 1971 Pterosaur Sighting (Brian Hennessy is a professional psychologist who saw one)