Eyewitness Accounts... Page 10
Eyewitness Accounts... Page 10

Mothman, Owlman and the Pterosaur

Here at, we've known about all the Mothman and Owlman stories that have been told over the last 30 to 40 years but we weren't so sure that they had a place here in our collection of interesting facts and artifacts.

Perhaps we were thinking, this material is outside of our area of expertise? We decided to reconsider when we realized that we had no area of expertise! (Thanks mom!)

One thing that has struck us about these stories is how many times the details made us think about bipedal pterosaurs. If they still existed, they would certainly be large enough, frightening enough, would have the wings and the requisite clawed feet. They stood upright like a man. Consequently, they might have the requisite humanoid/birdlike aspect as well.

Look at the collection below. On the left, is one of the depictions of Mothman, drawn from eyewitness descriptions. In the middle is a 16th century Native American "thunderbird" representation. On the right is a pterosaur with wings outstretched rather than folded as are the other two.

Notice the similarities. If the pterosaur were to stand with his long neck bent below the level of the tops of his wings, he might appear to have no neck and his eyes would appear to be in his chest from straight on view This would be particularly true at night when most if not all of the sightings occurred. This article by Daniel V. Boudillion, may have helped stimulate our thinking in that direction.

Many animals have eyes that reflect light (like cats) which make them appear to glow.

As you read the eyewitness encounters of mothman, owlman and of supposed pterosaurs, see if you agree that this animal would fit the witness descriptions--again particularly at night with frightened witnesses believing pterosaurs to be extinct.

We don't assert this pterosaur theory as fact--it’s just a hypothesis. It's also very possible that Mothman and Owlman are simply large owls or other "conventional" large birds. Judge for yourself.

Pterosaurs took off by swaying backwards on to their hindlimbs, then they quickly extended their wings and, leaning forward, walked or trotted into the breeze. By now the wings were already developing lift and helping to support the animal, and, with a push from their hindlimbs, they would be up and away. This would work well for most pterosaurs, especially the larger ones. Small pterosaurs probably lived on tress and cliffs and could easily have become airborne by launching themselves into the air from a high point.

Pterosaurs probably flew at similar speeds to birds and bats so most probably travelled at no more than 10-15 kph. However, some of the giant forms could probably fly a lot faster if necessary and speeds of 50 kph or more would not be unreasonable.....Dr David Unwin


The Story of Mothman

The first sighting came in the early 1960s.

A woman was driving along Route 2, near the Ohio River, with her father. As she neared the Chief Cornstalk Hunting Grounds, a large man-shaped figure walked out onto the road.

As the woman slowed her car, the figure spread two large wings and took off. Ironically, the witness did not report the incident - "Who would believe us, anyway?"

The first sighting which received publicity, though, was one in 1965. A woman living near the Ohio River related how her son had told her one day of seeing "an angel" outside. She thought nothing more of it until about a year later.

In the summer of 1966, a doctor's wife in the same general area said that she had seen a six-foot long thing resembling a "giant butterfly".

The weird events connected to the Mothman began on November 12, 1966 near Clendenin, West Virginia. Five men were in the local cemetery that day, preparing a grave for a burial, when something that looked like a brown human being lifted off from some nearby trees and flew over their heads. The men were baffled. It did not appear to be a bird, but more like a man with wings.

Late in the evening of November 15, two young married couples had a very strange encounter as they drove past an abandoned TNT plant near Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The couples spotted two large eyes that were attached to something that was "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back".

When the creature moved toward the plant door, the couples panicked and sped away. Moments later, they saw the same creature on a hillside near the road. It spread its wings and rose into the air, following with their car, which by now was traveling at over 100 miles per hour.

The bird seemd to fly as fast as the car and followed them down Highway 62 and right to the Point Pleasant city limits.

Another group of four witnesses claimed to see this bird creature three different times!

At about 10:30 on November 15, Newell Partridge, a local building contractor who lived in Salem (about 90 miles from Point Pleasant), was watching television when the screen suddenly went dark. When the TV tube went blank, it was replaced with a fine herringbone design that glowed faintly. A humming sound could be heard from the TV speaker as this went on. Partridge's dog, Bandit, was barking viciously outside so he grabbed a flashlight to investigate.

Once outside, Partridge shined the flashlight towards the barn - the direction Bandit was barking. What captured his attention in the beam of light was a large man-like figure with eyes that shone like red bicycle reflectors.

He and Bandit began to head toward the barn when a sense of dread, paranoia and incredible fear overcame him. He described the sensation he felt as "unnatural." He was afraid, but this type of fear was almost hallucinogenic.

He hurried back to the house and closed the door. He spent the rest of the night with a loaded shotgun in his bed. When Partridge awoke the next morning, he went in search of clues as to what might of happened the previous night. Bandit's tracks led straight to the spot where the creature was seen near the barn. The dog's tracks went round and round in the same spot but never left the area. Bandit was never heard from again.

The next night, Mr. and Mrs. Roger Scarberry and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Mallette were driving near the "TNT Area", near the town of Point Pleasant. A tall figure stood by the side of the road. "It was shaped like a man, but bigger," said Mr. Scarberry.

"Maybe six and a half or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back." His wife commented on its huge red eyes, "like automobile reflectors."

Mr. Scarberry, who was driving, took off in his car at "better than a hundred miles per hour," the figure spread its wings and flew after the car. It didn't seem to flap its wings at all, and its wingspan was over ten feet.

Mrs. Mallette said that it made a squeaking sound, "like a big mouse." The four also noted that a dead dog had been lying by the side of the road, but was gone when they returned.

They went to the offices of the Mason County sheriff and reported their sighting. Deputy Millard Halstead returned to the TNT Area with the four, and said that as he passed the spot where they had initially seen the figure, his police radio made a sound similar to a speeded-up record.

The TNT Area, which seemed to be a sort of home for the "Mothman," as it was quickly dubbed by the press, is a large tract of land. Small concrete "igloos" dot the landscape, used during World War II to store ammunition. The TNT Area is adjacent to the 2,500 acre McClintic Wildlife Station. The entire area is covered with dense forest, steep hills, and riddled with tunnels.

The area is also sparsely populated. One of the families living in the area is that of Ralph Thomas. On the 16th, at about 9:00 pm, Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley, Mrs. Marcella Bennett, and Mrs. Bennett's daughter, Tina, were visiting the Thomases. On the way there, they watched a red light which circled the TNT Area.

When the car pulled up in front of the Thomas', it disturbed something. It seemed as if it had been lying down. It rose up slowly from the ground. A big gray thing. Bigger than a man, with terrible glowing red eyes.

The witnesses ran to the Thomas home, where they were let in by the three children. The figure shuffled along behind them, coming onto the porch and looking through the window. Mr. Wamsley called the police, but the thing had, of course, vanished by the time they arrived.

Mrs. Bennett, who lives at the edge of Point Pleasant, says she has heard the creature on other occasions. She describes the sound it makes as "like a woman screaming."

Paul Yoder and Ben Enochs, two firemen, said they had seen Mothman in the TNT Area on the 18th. Richard West, of Charleston, called the police on November 21. A winged figure was sitting on the roof of his neighbor's house, he said. The six-foot tall figure had a wingspan of six or eight feet and red eyes. It took off straight up, "like a helicopter."

Tom Ury was driving along Route 62, near the TNT Area, on the morning of November 25. He saw a large, grayish figure standing in a field. Then it spread two large wings, lifted straight into the air, and flew over Ury's car at an altitude "three telephone poles high"--probably about 50 or 60 feet.

The next day, Mrs. Ruth Foster of St. Albans said the creature was standing in her yard near her porch. Her description tallys with West's. The same day, people in Lowell, Ohio, saw several large birds flying over Cat's Creek.

The three witnesses followed the birds in their car and said that they were "...dark brown with some light flecks. Their breasts were gray and they had five- or six-inch bills, straight, not curved like those of hawks or vultures." The birds seemed to have reddish heads.

And still more sightings came. On November 27, on the way home from church, Connie Carpenter saw a grayish figure standing on the golf course near Mason. The creature took off and flew straight towards her car. She was one of few who actually saw the creature's face, although her description--"It was horrible"--doesn't help much.

Another sighting took place that same night in St. Albans, where two girls saw the creature near a junkyard. The creature flew after them.

On December 4, five pilots at the Gallipolis, Ohio, airport saw some sort of giant bird flying at about 70 miles per hour. Its wings weren't moving, and unlike other witnesses they commented on a long neck.

Mabel McDaniel (coincidentally, mother of Linda Scarberry, one of the first witnesses) saw Mothman on January 11, 1967. Mrs. McDaniel said that at first the creature looked like "an airplane, then I realized it was flying much too low. It was brown and had a wingspread of at least ten feet."

In March, an Ohio man claimed his car was chased by a flying creature.

The last sighting seems to have come on November 2, shortly after noon. Mrs. Ralph Thomas (from Bennett's sighting) heard a "squeaky fan belt" outside her home and saw a "tall gray figure" moving among the concrete domes in the TNT Area.

Scattered sightings continued for several years afterwards. In 1968, especially, a number of hairy humanoids with glowing eyes were seen on Jerrico Road. And on September 18, people in the TNT Area supposedly saw Mothman once more--putting in his last appearance, it seems.

....But no discussion of the Mothman phenomenon would be complete without recounting the story of the Silver Bridge. On the evening of December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge, which crossed the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, collapsed in rush-hour traffic. Over forty-six cars fell into the river. It was the biggest disaster ever to hit Point Pleasant.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before people began to connect this disaster with the Mothman sightings. Was Mothman some sort of warning sign of the impending disaster? Was the entire saga somehow connected with the UFOs seen in the area?

As a final postscript, New Haven farmer Ernest Adkins reported something very odd indeed in April of 1969. He found his eleven-week-old beagle lying dead in his front yard. "There was no evidence the dog died in a fight," Adkins said. What made it strange was the fact that the dog's chest was chewed open, and its heart was lying outside.

Not surprisingly, most scientists scoffed at this theory. They said it was probably just some normal kind of bird; the favored culprit was a sandhill crane. These large birds have reddish patches on their heads (accounting for Mothman's "red eyes") and a large specimen would reach roughly the size attributed to Mothman.

But other birds were found in the area that could account for the sightings. In July of 1967, several boys found a large vulture near New Haven. And at Gallipolis Ferry, a farmer shot a rare bird indeed--an Arctic snow owl. The owl was two feet tall and had a five-foot wingspan.

Source: The Complete Guide To Mysterious Beings by John Keel



Kevin W., 25, was staring out the 10 foot bay windows on an upper floor of Brookfield's Elmbrook Memorial Hospital.

He was alone, pacing the waiting room, awaiting the birth of his first child. He couldn't have guessed that what he was about to glimpse in the clouds that overcast day would cause him to question his very sanity.

Elmbrook Hospital

.......Elmbrook Hospital

From high on the bluff, looking out the windows, Kevin had a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside. A black form dipping in and out of the clouds first caught his attention. If it was an airplane, it meant trouble, because it was flying dangerously low. Kevin stopped pacing to track the object's flight.

A full body suddenly emerged from dense clouds. Startled, Kevin realized that it wasn't an airplane. It looked very much like a large bird.

At first he couldn't believe his eyes, but then doubt turned to fear as it steadily flew nearer.

"I wanted to run out of the room, but I couldn't move," he says. Whatever it was, "it was bigger than a full-size pickup truck, but smaller than a Piper Cub plane."

On hunting trips to northern Wisconsin he had seen other large birds, but none had compared to this mysterious creature. "It was no blue heron," he says.

The enormous creature continued sailing closer. It did not flap its wings, but glided on air currents, always just underneath the clouds, as if "using them for cover." Kevin estimates the creature's wingspan was 12 to 15 feet across, with a similar span from its head to the tip of its tail.

It glided in clear view for about a minute, coming within 100 yards of the hospital windows. Kevin started to call out to attract the attention of others, to verify what he was seeing, but froze when he felt as if the creature had sensed his presence.

"At some point, I was aware that it was aware of me," he says. Immobilized, he watched as the enormous creature turned its head, locking in on him standing exposed behind the broad sheet of glass.

Then, as suddenly, as if knowing it had been spotted, the creature soared back into the covering clouds. Kevin could only shake his head, thinking, "Could I really be stressed out enough to have imagined this?"

Over the next several minutes, Kevin sat as close to the door and as far away from the window as possible. He wanted to ensure a quick exit should the bird reappear. Warily, he scanned the skies, replaying the scene in his head again and again.

Had he imagined it?

A huge bird was one thing, but what he had seen was far stranger yet. As he sat thinking about his experience, he even considered seeing a psychiatrist. He just couldn't get the pointy, aerodynamic head of the creature out of his mind.

"I couldn't make out any feathers," he says. "It was more bat-like."

Not a normal bird, even for an abnormally large one. Kevin believes the creature he saw that cloudy day in 1988 is related to a species of long-extinct flying reptiles, something like the Pterodactyl — a pre-historic monster, winging over the city of Brookfield.

"I've never had any other type of weird experience and I wasn't under any real duress at the time," he says. At the time of his experience, Kevin had recently received his associate degree in police science. He had honed his observation skills to help him catch shoplifters in a previous job as a department store security officer.

Following his experience, Kevin served as a petty officer with an aircraft carrier task group during the Gulf War. That position required him to familiarize himself with all kinds of aircraft and flight patterns. He was, and is, a trained observer.

He knows he didn't see an airplane that day. If it was a fantasy, he has no explanation for why he'd fantasize something so bizarre, a winged monster over Brookfield. In the intervening years he's come to a shrugging acceptance of his sighting, but acceptance brings him no closer to an explanation of what he saw that cloudy end of summer day.

Source: Allison Jornlin. Copyright 2001

An Illinois Sighting

(1969) Park Forest, IL

I along with four of my friends saw a pteradon about three to four feet tall through the body around April of 1969 as memory serves it might have been 1970.

I do recall we were riding in my friends 1969 Boss Mustang.

We were on a gravel road south of Park Forest, Illinois. A small suburb on the south side of Chicago. At that time there was nothing but country and farmland south of Park Forest. We were heading west on Steunkle road going to Monee Ill.

We were in the valley a few houses west of were I used to live as a boy, I was like 17 or 18 years old. It was a foggy night, really thick blanket of fog close to the ground, as we started up the hill we emerged from the fog and it was a crystal clear night with a full or almost full moon and lots of stars.

We were driving along and my friend just slowed down and stopped the car. He leaned up over the steering wheel and stared at an angle out of the windshield.

I asked him what he was doing and he didn't answer me he just kept staring out the windshield, so I leaned forward and looked up and out of the wind shield and shilouetted against the full moon, sitting on the top of a telephone pole was this pterodon.

The body was covered with fur like a bat, It had its wings folded up tight against it's sides and you could see little claws at the top of each folded wing.

It had a tail similar in length to that of a cat in comparison to the body size, but it was smooth like a rats tail except for a single tuft of hair at the very end.

As we sat there watching it, it was looking to the left and then to the right and then it would look off across the golf course to the north. The whole time it was switching it's tail around like a cat does when they are agravated, very nervous movements. The neck and head were smooth leather like, no hair at all.

... I don't know exactly how long we sat there watching it probably only a few minutes but it eventually looked down at us in the car and then threw its head back opened its mouth, showing very impressive teeth and let out a blood curtling screech and with three flaps of it's wings did a half back over twist and sailed silently out over the field headed toward a large marsh south of our position and dissappeared into the fog.

We were only 30 feet from the base of the phone pole and the pole was probably only 20 to 25 feet tall, so we were very close and got a real good look at the thing.

Over the years I have only shared this information with a few close friends and they treat me like I'm nuts. I am still friends with two of the guys I was with that night but we have never talked about what we saw that night.

Well thats my story I hope it helps.

Source: The Pterodactyl Society

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