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My Five Favorite Flying Freaks: When Winged Monsters Go on the Rampage

I was having a debate a few days ago about the phenomenon of what have popularly become known as “flying humanoids.” And there’s more than a few of them. With that said, I thought I would share with you some of my own, favorite creatures that fall into this particular category. I’ll begin with what became known as the Houston Batman – a creature that briefly terrified people in Houston, Texas way back in the 1950s. The most famous encounter with the beast took place during the early morning hours of June 18, 1953. Given the fact that it was a hot and restless night, twenty three year old housewife Hilda Walker, and her neighbors, fourteen year old Judy Meyer and thirty three year old tool plant inspector Howard Phillips, were sitting on the porch of Walker’s home, located at 118 East Third Street in the city of Houston. Walker stated of what happened next: “…twenty five feet away I saw a huge shadow across the lawn. I thought at first it was the magnified reflection of a big moth caught in the nearby street light. Then the shadow seemed to bounce upward into a pecan tree. We all looked up. That’s when we saw it.” She went on to describe the entity as being essentially man like in shape, sporting a pair of bat style wings, dressed in a black, tight-fitting outfit, and surrounded by an eerie, glowing haze. The trio all confirmed that the monstrous form stood about six and a half feet tall and also agreed that the strange glow engulfing him was yellow in color. The Batman vanished when the light slowly faded out and right about the time that Meyer issued an ear-splitting scream.

Now, onto the strange monster known as Batsquatch. It was a diabolical beast encountered by a young man on the night of Saturday, April 16, 1994. The location was southeast of Buckley, Washington State, and with Mount Rainier in the background. Interestingly, Mount Rainier has another strange and now-famous aerial mystery attached to it: it was over the mountain, on June 24, 1947, that a pilot named Kenneth Arnold encountered a squadron of strange, flying vehicles that, when the media got hold of the story, became famously known as flying saucers. Meanwhile, however, back to 1994. The man who became the unfortunate witness to the terrible beast was Brian Canfield, who, at the time in question, was driving his truck to Camp One, a settlement in the area, and which is situated near Lake Kapowsin. All was normal until Canfield’s headlights began to fade. That was bad enough. But, in mere moments, his engine completely quit and his vehicle silently coasted to a stop at the side of the road. All thoughts of what he should do, on a lonely stretch of Washington State road at around 9:30 p.m., went totally out of the window when an infernal monstrosity loomed into view.

Canfield could only look on, terror-stricken, as a large, dark-colored humanoid descended from the black skies. It did so in a curious semi-gliding, semi-flying fashion, finally coming to rest right in front of his vehicle. Canfield was unable to move, such was his level of terror. All he could do was grip the steering wheel and stare in stark terror at the beast before him. It was a shocking sight, to say the least. The winged, hair-covered monster was around nine feet in height and, as Canfield could now see, those wings spanned the entire road. It was at this point, despite his terror, that Canfield finally got a good look at the creature. Its fur was actually a dark blue, rather than the assumed black or brown. Its eyes shone yellow, and its white fangs protruded menacingly from its werewolf-like visage. For at least a couple of minutes, both man and monster confronted each other, neither making any kind of move. That is, until the creature, without warning, flapped its wings powerfully and violently and took to the skies.

Now, let’s take a look at the Owlman of the U.K. In 1976 the dense trees surrounding Mawnan Old Church, Cornwall, England became a veritable magnet for a diabolical beast that was christened the Owlman. The majority of those that crossed paths with the creature asserted that it was human-like in both size and design, and possessed a pair of large wings, fiery red eyes, claws, and exuded an atmosphere of menace. No wonder people make parallels with Mothman. It all began during the weekend of Easter 1976, when two young girls, June and Vicky Melling, had an encounter of a truly nightmarish kind in Mawnan Woods. The girls were on holiday with their parents when they saw a gigantic, feathery “bird man” hovering over the 13th Century church. It was a story that their father, Don Melling, angrily shared with a man named Tony “Doc” Shiels. I say “angrily” because Shiels was a noted, local magician who Melling came to believe had somehow instigated the whole affair. Or as Shiels, himself, worded it: “…some trick that had badly frightened his daughters.” Shiels denied any involvement in the matter whatsoever. But that was only the start of things.

Another one to see the Owlman was Jane Greenwood, also a young girl. She wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Falmouth Packet, during the summer of 1976 that detailed her own startling encounter: “I am on holiday in Cornwall with my sister and our mother. I, too, have seen a big bird-thing. It was Sunday morning, and the place was in the trees near Mawnan Church, above the rocky beach. It was in the trees standing like a full-grown man, but the legs bent backwards like a bird’s. It saw us, and quickly jumped up and rose straight up through the trees. How could it rise up like that?” Two fourteen year old girls, Sally Chapman and Barbara Perry, also had the misfortune to have a run-in with the Owlman in 1976. At around 10.00 p.m., while camping in the woods of Mawnan, and as they sat outside of their tent making a pot of tea, the pair heard a strange hissing noise. On looking around, they saw the infernal Owlman staring in their direction from a distance of about sixty feet. Sally said: “It was like a big owl with pointed ears, as big as a man. The eyes were red and glowing. At first I thought that it was someone dressed-up, playing a joke, trying to scare us. I laughed at it. We both did. Then it went up in the air and we both screamed. When it went up you could see its feet!” Sightings of the Owlman still occasionally surface, but not on the scale of those events that terrified people in Cornwall in the summer of 1976.

Imagine driving, late at night, across the foggy moors of central England and coming across what looks like nothing less than a living, breathing pterodactyl! Think it couldn’t happen? It already has. From 1982 to 1983, a wave of sightings of such a creature – presumed extinct for 65 million years – occurred in an area called the Pennines, better known as the “backbone of England” and comprised of rolling hills and mountains. So far as can be determined, the first encounter occurred at a place with the highly apt name of the Devil’s Punchbowl, on September 12, 1982. That was when a man named William Green came forward with an astonishing story of what he encountered at Shipley Glen woods. It was a large, grey colored creature, that flew in “haphazard” style and which possessed a pair of large, leathery-looking wings. The latter point is notable, since it effectively rules out a significantly sized feathery bird, and does indeed place matters into a pterodactyl category. Seventy-two hours later, a woman named Jean Schofield had the misfortune to see the immense beast at the West Yorkshire town of Yeadon. That the thing was heading for the Leeds/Bradford Airport provoked fears in Schofield’s mind of a catastrophic mid-air collision between a passenger plane and the mighty winged thing. Perhaps inevitably, the local media soon heard of the sightings and the story was given pride of place in the newspapers of the day. While the theory that a large bird of prey had escaped from a menagerie or zoo satisfied the skeptics, it did not go down well with the witnesses, who were sure that what they had encountered was something straight out of the Jurassic era. It didn’t stay around for too long.

And, of course, there’s the Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, a creature that terrified the people of the city in 1967. A devil-like, winged monster with glowing, red eyes, Mothman’s appearance came quite literally out of nowhere and, some say, culminated in high tragedy and death. But what was the Mothman of Point Pleasant? And how did the legend begin?  To answer those questions we have to go back to the dark night of November 12, 1966, when five grave-diggers working in a cemetery in the nearby town of Clendenin were shocked to see what they described as a “brown human shape with wings” rise out of the thick, surrounding trees and soar off into the distance. Three days later, the unearthly beast surfaced once again. It was at the highly appropriate time of the witching-hour when Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette – two young, married couples from Point Pleasant – were passing the time away by cruising around town in the Scarberrys’ car. As they drove around the old factory, the four were puzzled to see in the shadows what looked like two red lights pointing in their direction. These were no normal lights, however. Rather, all four were shocked and horrified to discover that, in reality, the “lights” were the glowing, self-illuminating red eyes of a huge animal that, as Roger Scarberry would later recall, was “…shaped like a Mothman, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back.” The legend began. And the fascination for the story still continues.

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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