Jun 08, 2017 I MJ Banias

Chicago’s Current Mothman Flap “A Warning,” Says Expert

What goes through a person’s mind when they come face to face with a monster? Over the last two months, a handful of Chicago locals are now able to answer that question.

On April 7th, a witness came forward to report the sighting of a large seven foot tall bat-like humanoid in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Sparking a reaction, many witnesses have begun to come forward with their own experiences. Approximately fifteen sightings of a ‘flying humanoid’ have been reported in the Chicago area.

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Map of the current sighting locations. Click here to view the live map. (Image: Phantoms and Monsters)

The winged being, according to some witnesses, bears a resemblance to the famous Mothman of Point Pleasant, while others have described it as more bat-like in appearance. One researcher argues that it is probably just a large owl. While testimony concerning the appearance of this creature varies, one recurring theme seems to be consistent; the feeling of dread and doom that comes over the witnesses, and the sense that tragedy lies in its wake.

Enter Lon Strickler, an expert in the field of cryptids and founder of the popular website, Phantoms and Monsters. He has received multiple reports concerning the recent rash of sightings in Chicago and has been thoroughly investigating each one.

In an interview with Mysterious Universe, Strickler pointed to two sightings on his website that he states are the most compelling. The most recent incident, on June 3rd, occurred in the Lincoln Park area around 10:00 PM local time. The couple, who wishes to remain anonymous, just finished a late dinner and were out for a walk when they saw the strange being. According to the report,

[it was] a 7-8 ft solid black humanoid with wide membrane wings, that resembled those of a huge bat. The wingspan was at least 12 ft. The head was prominent, and thinner than a human head. The back end of the body tapered to a point. No legs were noticed, but could have been tucked up under the body. The figure was gliding quickly along the length of the street heading east, then suddenly ascended into the night sky. Neither heard any sound. Both witnesses told [Strickler] that they felt a sense of foreboding and were still terrified almost an hour after the encounter.

The second interesting case is an earlier sighting which occurred on March 22nd to a local truck driver and Chicago local, Billy Bantz. With the help of Strickler, Mysterious Universe was able to secure an interview. Bantz was delivering a shipment when he noticed something strange in the air,

It looked like a flying Batmobile. I was sitting in my semi--trailer at around noon. I saw this object coming from Route 55 and Cicero. I saw it gliding, and, not too fast. No sound. I saw that it was not a drone, and the size of a large car. It climbed higher and turned twice...I can tell you that it glided just like a bird. It went almost straight up and I lost it in the clouds.

Bantz believes that this incident has affected his life. According to Bantz,

The more I speak of this, the worse my luck becomes. My mom died three weeks ago...I am not sure what to think at this point.

Bantz, like the many other people who reported seeing a strange flying humanoid over Chicago, just wants to know what is going on.

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Bantz's drawing of his sighting. (Image: Billy Bantz/Lon Strickler)

As reports continued to come in over the months of April, May and June, hosts Vance Nesbitt and Jennifer Ann of the fledgling paranormal podcast, The Acrylic Ranch, went out on their own night investigations to try and catch footage of the monster. While they did experience some odd battery drains on their equipment, nothing conclusive was found. However, Ann believes there may be an eight-day pattern to these sightings,

The way the dates are falling, I am going to guess that the next sighting will be either on June 14th or 18th. It could be a feeding pattern…

In his interview, Strickler was unsure why Chicago specifically was experiencing a ‘flap’ of flying humanoid sightings, however, he did state,

There are many opinions as to why these sightings are occurring, including a general feeling that unfortunate events may be in the city's future.

While nothing is certain, Strickler does believe something is lurking in the shadows of Chicago, and that it is an ill omen.

At this point, I feel that this being may be attempting to distinguish a connection between locales within the city and future events. The witnesses have been very steadfast with what they have seen, and refuse to embellish on their initial descriptions. Each witness has had a feeling of dread and foreboding, which I believe translates into a warning of some type.

As Strickler continues his hunt for the elusive being; only time and more sighting reports will shed light on this story. While this may be nothing more than a giant owl looking for a new home, which seems the most reasonable hypothesis, many of the witness reports clearly describe a humanoid figure. Is this the return of the Mothman, here to warn Chicago locals of some impending tragedy? Or is it another cryptid drawn from a deep-seated cultural lore, not only haunting the skies but the minds of people as well?

Every monster will have its hunters, but more importantly, the legend that monster leaves behind. For every sighting reported, and every article written, the legend of Chicago’s flying creature will continue to grow. The stories woven together bring life to our deepest fears, regardless of facts and truth. Everyone loves a good monster story, so long as it remains just a story.



(Featured image courtesy of Lon Strickler)

MJ Banias

MJ Banias is the author of “The UFO People: A Curious Culture” and curates the popular Fortean blog “Terra Obscura" and YouTube channel. He has appeared on multiple radio shows and podcasts including Coast to Coast AM, and his work has appeared in Fortean Times Magazine, FATE Magazine and in the book, “UFOs: Reframing the Debate."

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