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The Bizarre Man Bat of the Mississippi

One type of especially strange cryptid entity is what are typically called “winged humanoids,” and are basically just that, creatures with vaguely man-like features yet featuring ominous wings spreading out to allow them to alight into the air. Such reports run the gamut from winged men to more monstrous things more animal than man, but all of them occupy a unique realm within the world of the weird, seeming to dwell in a domain that seems impossible to reconcile with what we know of the world. One such winged abomination has been spotted over the years along the massive Mississippi River of the United States, and which seems to be some sort of humanoid bat from the depths of a nightmare.

One of the first and perhaps well-known of the few sightings of the creature that would come to be known as the “Man Bat of the Mississippi” was made in 1991 by a witness who was out one evening with his two friends in their hometown of Mantachie, MS. They were up to a bit of no good at the time, hanging out by a liquor store trying to get someone to buy them alcohol since they were underage, something the witness says they did around 3 times a week. They managed to get some and take it to their usual hangout at a nearby park at approximately 9 PM, but before they were even able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and open a single can or bottle something very bizarre would occur. The witness says:

We pulled up to the park and started to get out of the truck. We had not yet opened the booze so the booze did not influence us. I was sitting in the middle and my friend was getting out of the passenger’s side door. When he got out and I got out, I noticed the sound of a tennis ball bouncing on the tennis court. I looked and saw this figure bouncing a tennis ball. The figure was around 6 foot tall and was wearing a dark cloak. It looked to me that he had some sort of pouch on his back. Me and my friend who got out of the truck saw this figure and told the driver of the truck to look. He did and saw the same thing. In a flash we jumped back into the truck and headed down the road to figure out what we had seen.

 

We got a few miles away and in the distance we saw coming at us a large bat-like creature. It was several feet away from us but you could make out the red glowing eyes. It passed right in front of our windshield and vanished in the darkness. We rushed to one of our houses and didn’t drink that night. We didn’t do anything but stay there all night. I am a skeptic when it comes to the paranormal but I do know what I saw.

What could this unearthly entity have been? Interestingly, this was not the only sighting of something weird flying around the skies of the Mississippi, as according to cryptozoologist and researcher Linda Godfrey in the mid-1990s there were two separate sightings of a flying humanoid of some sort in the vicinities of LaCrosse, Wisconsin and the town of Medford. In these cases the entity was described as having wings and very reptilian looking features. Godfrey covered the cases in her book Hunting the American Werewolf, and she writes of these encounters:

Another man and his son had by the riverbank in LaCrosse while hunting for a lost dog. They saw what they described as a “lizard man,” covered in brownish scales and very reptilian-looking. It did not have its mouth open or arms extended Around the same time, a state DNR warden and separately, a group of highway workers saw what they described as a “reptile man” on Hwy. 13 near Medford. It also possessed wings and was able to fly out of their view.

Rather bizarrely, Godfrey has managed to dig up yet another report of a strange flying humanoid from the same area of LaCrosse, and which is also much more recent. The alleged encounter occurred at 9:30 PM on September 26, 2006, along a dark, densely wooded rural road called Briggs Road, which is located just north of LaCrosse and right up against the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. On this evening, the main witness, known only by the Cherokee name Wohali, was driving along the gloomy road with his 25-year-old son when they were startled by the sight of a creature out of their nightmares blooming out of the darkness, past the flickering trees into the illumination of their headlights. It was described as a “bat-like, man-like creature around 7 feet tall, with a 12-foot wingspan and possessing a muzzled face full of visible sharp teeth that was remembered as looking very angry.

This strange abomination reportedly flew right at their windshield on a seemingly collision course, apparently snarled at them, and then flew up into the blackness above with a shriek before impact. As soon as it did so, the two witnesses report that they had been overwhelmed with a sudden sense of overwhelming nausea, which made them incredibly ill and forced them to veer to the side of the road and vomit profusely into the mud. This inexplicable sickness apparently lasted for a whole week after the encounter, after which it just sort of faded away. Wohali would say of the beast they had seen:

(It had) distended ribs, long sort of human legs with claws, huge bat-like wings with ‘arms’ sort of attached, I remember the teeth and the scream we heard was terrifying. I’ve been living in this valley all my life and have seen some strange things, after all the Mississippi Upper Wildlife Refuge is the largest in the country and right out my back door. It hides lots of strange creatures. But I’ve NEVER seen anything like this. Rent the movie Bram Stoker, Dracula, the Dracula creature looks like it or better yet like the one in Van Helsing.

It is hard to ascertain just why these two witnesses felt so ill and nauseous, or what that had to do with the thing they supposedly saw, but it is definately an odd detail. Godfrey actually followed up on this report by visiting the scene of the encounter and speaking with Wohali, and while she was visiting the area with the witness and a hunter friend of his they made a rather macabre discovery that may or may not be tied to it all. There, sprawled out in the brush just off the road, was a deer carcass which was in quite a strange state. Godfrey has said of the finding:

There were no visible drag marks and a complete absence of blood on the ground. The deer carcass lay on its right side with its back facing the road, and the white area we saw was its exposed layer of winter fat, the skin having been peeled back from the midsection toward the forelimbs, which remained intact along with the head. No bullet wounds or bite marks were visible. There was no odor, probably because temperatures had ranged near freezing at night and only in the 50s daytime. The hunter with us estimated the carcass to be no older than three days, and its weight at about 60 pounds. The low weight estimate was due to the fact that the entire haunch section, lower abdomen and rear limbs WERE GONE!

 

The spine still protruded from the midsection, which by the way still retained the prized ribs and tenderloin that a hunter would certainly have taken, but the haunches appeared to have been ripped off. The remains did not appear to have been cut with a knife, said Wohali’s Native American hunter friend. And the fact that the carcass was nearly bloodless and that there was no blood on the road or in the vicinity would indicate that the haunches were ripped off in another place where the carcass immediately bled out, and then it was carried to this spot and deposited. There were no APPARENTLY VISIBLE tooth or bite marks that would have been left by something carrying it in its mouth. We were not in a position to conduct a complete forensic examination of the animal. Oddly, an unused, unopened dark garbage bag lay adjacent to the carcass, toward the road.

This odd carcass was apparently still there the next day in the same condition, which seems odd in that it should have at least been descended upon by scavengers, but it was oddly devoid of any signs of this activity. At this time Wohali and friend would then claim that they could see something black at the top of a nearby hill that looked “like an inky ribbon unfurling,” and this plus the gruesome site of that weird deer carcass splayed out nearby were unsettling enough that they felt it was time to vacate the area. It is hard to say what was going on here, or just what connection or significance that unusual deer carcass had with the Man Bat sighting, but it is all very odd at the very least.

There are precious few other pieces of the puzzle to go on here, and we are left with this handful of wierd sightings along the Mississippi that may or may not even be the same entity and we don’t even know if they were ever even real or not, such is the lack of any real physical evidence. If any of it is indeed true, then what could such things be? One of the main skeptical arguments for sightings of the similar Mothman were that what was seen was some sort of large owl or other bird, but could these witnesses really so grievously misidentify something to this extent? Other theories have included that it is some undiscovered species of animal, a mutant secret experiment that escaped, aliens, or the idea that it is some sort of interdimensional interloper, what John Keel referred to as “ultra terrestrials,” here on some business we could never hope to fathom. Whatever it is, one wonders just what kind of winged weirdies are prowling the skies of the Mississsippi River, and whether it or they will be back or not.