Wednesday, September 23, 2020

'Warned Not to Go Out at Night'

The following report was filed by Phantoms & Monsters Fortean Research investigator Tobias Wayland:

The Singular Fortean Society received the following email on April 30th, 2020.

According to my mother's friend who lives on 63rd [Street] and [South] Pulaski [Road] in Chicago, Illinois, there has been a rumor of mothman being present in their backyards. There have been disappearances of people, and neighbors around that area have noticed “big, chicken-like [footprints]” behind their backyards.

In my mother’s friend's case, she called law enforcement and detectives came only to take pictures and quickly erased the evidence of the mothman. Many of that area are scared or are warned not to go out at night when the “thing” appears. [Her friend] states that law enforcement seems to be covering the fact that this creature is around their neighborhood and [they] don’t do anything about it.

I wanted to tell you this because it’s a very interesting topic; especially since I’ve grown up doing research on urban legends, yet never knew it would hit so close to home. Thank you so much for taking your time in reading this, and at the moment I am trying my best to convince [my mother's friend] to go out and take pictures of the giant footprints but she, of course, is frightened.

Lead investigator Tobias Wayland replied to the email, thanking the woman who sent it and asking that she contact any witnesses to see if they’d be willing to speak with him.

She responded that she would contact them “as soon as possible.”

In a brief follow-up message, she requested that her name not be used in conjunction with the investigation.

No further response has yet been received.

The account referred to in the email is strongly reminiscent of an incident which occurred on February 28th, 2020, in which  a man contacted Lon Strickler of Phantoms & Monsters to report a sighting his mother had of a “big, black birdman.” According to the man, the creature left footprints in the snow that he was able to photograph.

That sighting was only about six blocks east of the location mentioned in the woman’s email.

At least two other sighting reports of weird, winged beings are associated with South Pulaski Road; one from 2011 in which a man photographed a statue near 63rd and Pulaski, only to later realize that there was a flying creature present in the shot, and another from August of 2017, when a woman reported the sighting of a “flying mothman” over South Pulaski Road, “right before 55th Street.”

In the case of the report from 2011, it now seems likely that the witness accidentally photographed a butterfly which had flown in front of his camera, and some believe the February 28th, 2020 footprints to be misidentified rabbit tracks—although in the latter case that hypothesis does not explain the witness’s testimony regarding the six-foot-tall “birdman” she claimed to have seen. 

Rumors of a coverup like the one mentioned in the email go back to at least 2017, when investigator Manuel Navarette reported that he’d heard from members of the media and municipal employees that the city government was trying to stifle news of the sightings.

There have so far been no missing persons who can be reliably connected to the flying humanoid reports, although at least five people—ranging in age from 16 to 66—have been reported missing in Cook County since February of 2020.

Because of its proximity to other unexplained sighting reports, this report could be related to the string of ‘Mothman’ sightings from within a few hundred mile radius surrounding Lake Michigan, including every state bordering the great lake. These sightings ostensibly began in the spring of 2017, but more historical accounts are being reported as more people become aware of the phenomenon. They generally take place in the evening or at night, often in or near a park, and around water.  Witnesses consistently describe a large, gray or black, bat or bird-like creature—although in a small number of cases the creature was described as insect-like—sometimes with glowing or reflective red, yellow, green, or orange eyes, and humanoid features such as arms and legs are often reported. Some witnesses have reported feeling intense fear and an aura of evil emanating from the creature they encountered.  Many of the sightings are also of something seen only briefly or are described only as a flying creature with few details, which leaves open the possibility that a large bird or bird-like being could explain some—although certainly not all—of the encounters. A number of associated high strangeness incidents have also occurred alongside the creature sightings; including reports of UFOs, other anomalous flying creatures and mysterious humanoids, parapsychological phenomena, and bizarre events experienced by those investigating the sightings.