My special guest tonight is author and researcher Lon Strickler who's here to discuss the winged creature being reported in the Chicago city skies. Get his book.

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The presence of strange winged beings is probably as old as the human imagination. In the late Summer of 2011, reports of Mothman-like flying humanoids began to surface in the city of Chicago. After three brief sightings, there were no further accounts. Then unexpectedly in early 2017, a smattering of encounters emerged from different locations throughout the Chicago metro area; until the number reached near fifty sightings before the end of the Summer. Why Chicago? Why now? This book will examine the witness accounts and the investigators thought processes, as these incidents were brought to our attention. The sightings continue… but we are determined to find the truth.

 

In West Virginia folklore, the Mothman is a humanoid creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 15, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register, dated November 16, 1966, titled "Couples See Man-Sized Bird ... Creature ... Something".[1] The national press soon picked up the reports and helped spread the story across the United States. The source of the legend is believed to have originated from sightings of out-of-migration sandhill cranes or herons.[2][3]

The creature was introduced to a wider audience by Gray Barker in 1970,[4][5] and was later popularized by John Keel in his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies,[6] claiming that there were supernatural events related to the sightings, and a connection to the collapse of the Silver Bridge. The book was later adapted into a 2002 film, starring Richard Gere.[7]

An annual festival in Point Pleasant is devoted to the Mothman legend.[8]

 

On November 15, 1966, two young couples from Point Pleasant—Roger and Linda Scarberry, and Steve and Mary Mallette—told police they had seen a large white creature whose eyes "glowed red", standing at the side of the road near "the TNT area", the site of a former World War II munitions plant.[9][10][11] Linda Scarberry described it as a "slender, muscular man" about seven feet tall with white wings, and said that she was unable to discern its face due to the hypnotic effect of its eyes.[12] Distressed, the witnesses drove away at speed, and said that the creature flew after their car, making a screeching sound. It pursued them as far as Point Pleasant city limits.[9]

During the next few days, other people reported similar sightings, after local newspapers reported it. Two volunteer firemen who saw it said it was a "large bird with red eyes". Mason County Sheriff George Johnson commented that he believed the sightings were due to an unusually large heron he termed a "shitepoke". Contractor Newell Partridge told Johnson that when he aimed a flashlight at a creature in a nearby field, its eyes glowed "like bicycle reflectors". Additionally, he blamed buzzing noises from his television set and the disappearance of his German Shepherd dog on the creature.[2] Wildlife biologist Robert L. Smith at West Virginia University told reporters that descriptions and sightings all fit the sandhill crane, a large American crane almost as tall as a man with a seven-foot wingspan featuring circles of reddish coloring around the eyes. The bird may have wandered out of its migration route, and therefore was unrecognized at first because it was not native to this region.[2][3]

Batman and his antagonist Killer Moth are varyingly cited as influences for the term "Mothman"

Due to the popularity of the Batman TV series at the time, the fictional superhero Batman and his rogues gallerywere prominently featured in the public eye. While the villain Killer Moth did not appear in the show, the comic book influence of both him and Batman is believed by some to have influenced the coinage of the name “Mothman” in the local newspapers.[13][14]

Following the December 15, 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge and the death of 46 people,[15] the incident gave rise to the legend and connected the Mothman sightings to the bridge collapse.[2][16][17]

According to Georgian newspaper Svobodnaya Gruziya, Russian UFOlogists claim that Mothman sightings in Moscow foreshadowed the 1999 Russian apartment bombings.[18]

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) is a major motion picture, loosely based on the 1975 book of the same name by John Keel.

In 2016, WCHS-TV published a photo purported to be of Mothman taken by an anonymous man while driving on Route 2 in Mason County.[19] Science writer Sharon A. Hill proposed that the photo showed "a bird, perhaps an owl, carrying a frog or snake away" and wrote that "there is zero reason to suspect it is the Mothman as described in legend. There are too many far more reasonable explanations."[3][20]

 

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