For my first article of this week, I thought I would do something a bit different: namely a review of a lecture I attended just this past weekend. It was given by good friend and fell0w seeker of strange creatures, Ken Gerhard. Ken drove up to the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area early Sunday morning - from his San Antonio home - to speak at the monthly meeting of a local group, EPIC, the Extraordinary Phenomena Investigations Council.
The subject of Ken's lecture was his latest book, Encounters with Flying Humanoids, which, as its title suggests, is an in-depth study of a wide and varied range of bizarre, winged, human-like creatures - with Mothman being, without any doubt, the most famous example. I reviewed Ken's book here a couple of months ago, but there's another reason I want to highlight it today. And that is - and as Ken spelled out time and again in his illustrated presentation on Sunday - the many and disturbing occasions upon which encounters with winged humanoids have seemingly provoked immediate (and sometimes lasting) bouts of ill-health or disaster. Or even both at the same time.
Indeed, it's almost as if these nightmarish entities have the literal ability to "infect" us in some weird and unsettling manner, not just with disease and illness but als0, rather disturbingly, with what might be called near-endless bad luck. But how, precisely, they do that and why, are very different matters. As Ken's lecture made abundantly clear, however, crossing paths with the weird winged things of our world can be profoundly dangerous.
Of course, most readers of Mysterious Universe will be aware of how, in December 1967, the sightings of Mothman culminated in the collapse of the town's Silver Bridge (which spanned the Ohio River) and that led to the tragic drowning of dozens of people. But, as Ken's words demonstrated, this is just one example of many where disaster has followed the sighting of a flying humanoid.
As a perfect example, Ken noted that on the evening of September 12, 1952 all hell broke loose in the small town of Flatwoods, West Virginia, when something paid its people a terrible visit. Chief among the witnesses were Mrs. Kathleen May, a National Guardsman named Eugene Lemon, and a group of excited teenagers. One and all tentatively headed out together to the darkness-filled scene of the action, where they encountered nothing less than a giant, brightly-lit, creature with a head that seemed somewhat cowl-like.
As a showering array of flashing, arcing lights surrounded the beast, its glowing, fiery eyes stared right in the direction of the group, and in penetrating, predatory-style, one might suggest. Not surprisingly, as the monstrosity began to move towards them – in gliding fashion, and above the ground - they fled down the hill like definitive wildfire. But, as Ken noted in his lecture, when the group finally made it to the home of Mrs. May, a number of the young boys began to vomit, as did Lemon's dog, which tragically died only a couple of days later.
Some might suggest that such a reaction, and even the attendant death of the dog, may have been down to fear and nothing else. It was not, however, an isolated incident. Moreover, there seems to be a distinct pattern to such reports. And it's a pattern that extends from the distant past to the present day. Part of Ken's research has focused upon a beast known as the Skree, a "gigantic, black, birdlike creature" that loomed into view during Scotland's Battle of Culloden Moor of 1746 - in which more than 1,500 Jacobite soldiers lost their lives.
In addition, as Ken showed, the Ishkitini of Native American lore is a huge, owl-like beast, the manifestation of which is seen as an omen of death. Then there was, as Ken revealed, the Camazotz, or "Death Bat," of Mexico and Central America, whose translated name speaks for itself in the fatal stakes.
And demonstrating that such reports are not steeped in the past, there is the 2006 affair of the "Man Bat" of Wisconsin. In his lecture, Ken noted that the witnesses were a father and son of Cherokee descent that, on the night of September 26, 2006, had an encounter that H.P Lovecraft himself would have been proud of. It involved the sighting a man-sized beast that was part-human and part-bat, and which displayed large, leather-like wings and yellow eyes.
It was a terrifying, violent creature that "dive-bombed" the car in which the two were traveling towards the town of Holmen. Of profound note, and as Ken highlighted, in the immediate aftermath, both father and son became violently ill and had to pull the car over to the side of the road to vomit.
Then there is the matter of England's Owlman, which Ken addressed quite deeply and which was investigated by our mutual friend Jon Downes, for his book, The Owlman and Others. Although Jon himself never personally encountered the red-eyed, Mothman-like monster, every time he investigated the creature and its infernal actions, he found himself suffering from all manner of physical ailments, and runs of misfortune and disaster - to the point where he was forced to walk away from the Owlman investigation and leave it alone. As in forever.
And these are just a few of the cases to which Ken referred in his presentation and in which negativity and health-related issues were noticeably present. Interestingly, during the course of the question-and-answer session that followed his lecture, Ken revealed that although he believes that many of the so-called "cryptids" - or unknown animals - of our planet are of a normal, flesh-and-blood nature, he concludes that the flying humanoids are something very different, something far more paranormal in nature.
While we may not really have a full understanding of (a) what they are and/or (b) their motivations, there is one thing that can be said with a fair degree of certainty about flying, winged humanoids: they are best avoided at all costs...