Mothman, Owlman and the Pterosaur
On the left, is one of the depictions of Mothman, drawn from witness 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. In case you came to this page directly bypassing the prior page on this topic, our theory is that some sightings of Mothman and as we cover on this page, Owlman, are actually sightings of the still very much alive, pterosaur. That's pure speculation of course and as Christians, it makes no difference whether these sightings are pterosaurs, owls, pigeons or figments of the imagination.
The Owl Man
by Jonathan Downes
In April 1976, Tony Shiels, known to many as 'Doc' and sometimes as 'The Wizard of the Western World' wrote a letter:
"A very weird thing happened over the Easter weekend. A holiday-maker from Preston, Lancs., told me about something his two young daughters had seen ... a big, feathered bird-man hovering over the church tower at Mawnan (a village near the mouth of the Helford River).
The girls (June 12, and Vicky, daughters of Mr Don Melling), were so scared that the family cut their holiday short and went back three days early.
This really is a fantastic thing, and I am sure the man wasn't just making it up because he'd been told I was on a monster hunt. I couldn't get the kids to talk about it (in fact, their father wouldn't even let me try), but he gave me a sketch of the thing drawn by June.
"There have been no reports, so far as I know, of anybody else seeing the Bird-Man ... even if it turned out to be just a fancy dress hang-glider, you'd think someone else would have spotted him ... but Mawnan is not a place for hang-gliding! I really don't know what to think ... it's as if a whole load of weirdness has been let loose in the Falmouth area since last autumn!"
Although, if you read any of the books on general mystery animals such as Alien Animals by Janet and Colin Bord, or indeed any of the contemporary copies of Fortean Times the claim that Cornwall had been particularly weird at the time is often made, it is not until you visit the Cornish Studies Library in the back streets of Redruth, sit yourself down at one of their microfiche machines, and physically examine twelve months or more's issues of The Falmouth Packet, The West Briton and The Western Morning News that you can see quite how strange the time actually was.
For a period between the late autumn of 1975 and the early spring of 1977 it seems that Southern Cornwall was seized by a period of collective madness. Much of this is chronicled in some depth in my book The Owlman and Others but even there I think that I failed to give a true picture of quite how strange the area had become.
There were dramatic extremes in the weather - droughts and floods - heatwaves and frozen wastes. The local animal life went (figuratively and literally) crazy; one unfortunate woman was imprisoned in her house by hordes of attacking birds which literally beat themselves to death against the walls of her house, which was dripping red with their blood.
Another woman was similarly imprisoned by a mob of feral cats, dog attacks trebled, swimmers were attacked by dolphins (who also saved other swimmers from drowning), and there were reports that cattle belonging to local farmers had developed the power of teleportation.
Most interesting to the fortean were the burgeoning numbers of UFO sightings and the reports of three entirely different sets of mystery animal in the region; Morgawr (the Cornish Sea Serpent), the Cornish mystery big cats and the Owlman of Mawnan.
The first reports of these 'creatures' in print were in an obscure booklet entitled Morgawr-the monster of Falmouth Bay by Anthony Mawnan-Peller. (This is a pseudonym - but not for Tony Shiels). He gave a brief description of the events of Easter Saturday:
"During the Easter weekend, the two young daughters of a holidaymaker ... Mr. Don Melling, from Preston, Lancashire ... saw a 'huge great thing with feathers, like a big man with flapping wings', hovering over the church tower at Mawnan (on 'Morgawr's Mile'). The girls ... Vicky, 9, and June, 12 ... were so frightened that the family holiday was cut short by three days".
......Church and tower at Mawnan
Although not widely read outside Cornwall, this booklet was available extensively throughout the county and was read by many people including two young girls of fourteen, Sally Chapman and Barbara Perry, who in early July 1976 were camping in the woods by Mawnan Old Church when they, too, saw the Owlman.
They met Tony on Grebe Beach, below Mawnan Old Church the day after their sighting. Sally, who was from Plymouth, had been staying with her friend Barbara, (who would only admit that she lived 'quite near the river'). Sally approached Tony and said: "Are you Doc Shiels? We've seen the bird monster."
Sally described what they had seen: "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 were like pincers"
Her friend added some details of her own: "It's true. It was horrible, a nasty owl-face with big ears and big red eyes. It was covered in grey feathers. The claws on its feet were black. It just flew up and disappeared in the trees".
Although as Tony admitted at the time, it is possible that the two young ladies were trying to hoax him, he is convinced that they were genuine. He separated the two girls and had each of them draw a picture of what she had seen.
The two pictures are dissimilar enough to rebuff suggestions of collusion but have enough points in common, both with each other, and with the other accounts of the 'creature' to be considered as a significant piece of evidence.
Both girls made brief additional notes underneath their pictures. Sally's read: "I saw this monster bird last night. It stood like a man and then it flew up through the trees. It is as big as a man. Its eyes are red and shine brightly".
And Barbara wrote: "Birdman monster. seen on third of July, quite late at night but not quite dark. Red Eyes. Black Mouth. It was very big with great big wings and black claws. Feathers grey."
The two girls agreed on most points with their pictures although Sally thought Barbara had 'done the wings wrong'. At the same time as Sally and Barbara were talking to 'Doc' on Grebe Beach, two other girls also saw what Tony refers to as 'his Owliness':
"It has red slanting eyes and a very large mouth. The feathers are silvery grey and so are his body and legs, the feet are like a big, black, crab's claws. We were frightened at the time.
It was so strange, like something out of a horror film. After the thing went up, there were crackling sounds in the tree-tops for ages. Our mother thinks we made it all up just because we read about these things, but that is not true. we really saw the bird-man, though it could have been someone playing a trick in a very good costume and make up. But how could it rise up like that? If we imagined it, then we both imagined it at the same time".
Two years later, a young lady called 'Miss Opie' saw 'A monster, like a devil, flying up through the trees near old Mawnan Church'. A few days later Tony Shiels wrote to Janet and Colin Bord of the Fortean Picture Library: "The owlman is certainly back in business, it seems.
I poked around his area, around Old Mawnan Church, a couple of days ago, and the atmosphere was positively crackling with 'odd presences', if you know what I mean. As soon as anything really exciting happens, I'll let you know. It would be terrific if I really could get a picture of our feathered friend, but, he only seems to pop up for young girls ... and I ain't one!"
The Owlman, as it was now generally known, (it appears that Tony coined the name in late 1976), was seen again on the 2nd August by three young, unnamed French girls. The landlady of the boarding house in which they had been staying told Tony that the three girls had been frightened by something "very big, like a big, furry bird with a gaping mouth and round eyes"
This was all that the landlady could tell him, so Tony left a message for the girls to contact him, but as always seems to be the case he never heard anything further.
Many commentators on the case have questioned Tony's role in the affair. One investigator, Mark Chorvinsky of Strange magazine even claimed that because so many of the sightings were connected with him, that Tony had made the whole thing up.
Such people do not understand the reticence of the Cornish people. They do not like to talk to outsiders, and I am convinced that if it had not been for Tony's presence in the area as a trusted 'local' the affair would never have been made public.
The case of the French girls for example. Tony wrote to me in 1995 explainiing how he had become involved: "The French girls were students (at Camborne Tech - now known as Cornwall College), lodging in Redruth. I think they were on some sort of 'summer school' course. Their landlady 'phoned me about this sighting.
Remember, at the time, I was getting quite a lot of media coverage. People reported weird "stuff" to me"...
Two years later the creature re-appeared when, "an enormous, bird-like creature" was seen flying "over the Helford River and into the trees near Grebe Beach".
.....In 1989 a young man called 'Gavin' and his girlfriend 'Sally' (not their real names), encountered the Mawnan Owlman. This was perhaps the most important sighting to date from a cryptoinvestigative point of view, because it is the only sighting that cannot in any way be linked to Tony 'Doc' Shiels.
I have interviewed 'Gavin' on a number of occasions and am convinced of his veracity. This is his story in his own words:
"We had a torch and I was shining its beam across trunks about fifteen feet off the ground. I am fairly sure that the animal was standing in a large conifer tree and the illustration we made after the sighting (but not til we got home actually) does depict the animal in a conifer tree, but I'm not that sure now. Here is the actual sighting as written down in my diary:
'Every couple of hours we would walk along the fringe of the wood. This was the third time that evening and it was beginning to get dark. From a distance trees looked black but closer up the branches and trunks could be seen.
We saw the animal at about 9.30 pm. It was standing on a thick branch with its wings sort of held up at the arms. I'd say that it was about five feet tall (but please read on).
The legs had high ankles and the feet were large and black with two huge 'toes' on the visible side.
The creature was grey with brown and the eyes definitely glowed. On seeing us its head jerked down and forwards, its wings lifted and it just jumped backwards. As it did its legs folded up. We ran away.
"We had a pretty good idea what it looked like. We didn't know what to do about it, and essentially vowed never to tell anyone. I last saw Sally about two years ago and talked about it then.
She was as unkeen to share the information then as she was earlier, and I promised I wouldn't tell anyone about her involvement, but I could 'do what I liked' with my interpretation. I respect this and have never disclosed any information about her'.
To date the most recent sighting of the Mawnan Owlman, took place, allegedly, at the end of the summer of 1995 and is chronicled in a letter sent to Simon Parker, the night editor of the Western Morning News in Truro.
It reads: "Dear Sir, I am a student of marine biology at the Field Museum, Chicago, on the last day of a summer vacation in England. Last Sunday evening I had a most unique and frightening experience in the wooded area near the old church at Mawnan, Cornwall.
I experienced what I can only describe as 'a vision from hell'. The time was fifteen minutes after nine, more or less, and I was walking along a narrow track through the trees. I was halted in my tracks when, about thirty metres ahead, I saw a monstrous man-bird 'thing'.
It was the size of a man, with a ghastly face, a wide mouth, glowing eyes and pointed ears. It had huge clawed wings, and was covered in feathers of silver/grey color. (sic).
The thing had long bird legs which terminated in large black claws. It saw me and arose, 'floating' towards me. I just screamed then turned and ran for my life.
"The whole experience was totally irrational and dreamlike (nightmare!). Friends tell me that there is a tradition of a phantom 'owlman' in that district. Now I know why. I have seen the phantom myself.
"Please don't publish my real name and address. This could adversely affect my career. Now I have to rethink my 'world view' entirely. Yours, very sincerely scared... 'Eye Witness'."
We have her name and address, but we have respected her wishes and kept her anonymity. We have tried a little piece of covert investigation into this particular eyewitness but have drawn a blank whenever we tried to investigate further.
I think that it would be unwise to wholeheartedly accept this account as genuine, but it is included for the sake of completion. We are left now with what devotees of TV gameshows would no doubt call the $64,000 question. Does the Owlman exist? and if it does what is it?
Source: Center for Fortean Zoology
Flying Creature In Wolverhampton west Midlands. UK.Location: Northicote farm.
Description: Once walking across near by an old tudor farm house, in the grounds, me and a friend saw a humanoid figure grayish colored with a human type head, standing in a tree (part of many trees that boarder the farm, these were tall pine trees, and this figure stood in the top branches.
We estimated its size at around 7 feet, it had two legs and two arms connected to membrane type wings (a bit like a terasaur) it's claws and arms seemed connected to these wings.
It moved its head and looked directly at us, since the moon was full and street lights were not far away (the farm is near to a busy main road.
It turned its head from us took one giant leap and glided to the next tree, the tree bent under this creatures weight as it took its impact, it then turned its head again to look at us once more, its gaze felt that it could see inside our own very being, we both felt quite scared, (even though my friend was an ex-artillery officer in the territorial army and has done a lot of night patrols).
We both fled quickly. We sat down and discussed what we had seen it was a creature the like we had never seen before or want to ever see again.
Color/Shape: Grey and rubbery looking
Height & Speed: none it the creature never flew away from the trees
Mothman (Pterosaur) Sighted Over Serbian City?
September 15, 2005
The entire Ljubovija is since the night before yesterday talking about the mysterious phantom that was flying above the Ljubovian rooftops.
According to witnesses, who don't want to give away their names to the newspapers, the figure was in shape of a man who jumped from one roof in Karađorđe street and started flying to the rooftop of other buildings, and then started flying from rooftop to rooftop of buildings in the city.
Witnesses say that the mysteryous flyer had some kind of cloak on his back, his eyes were glowing and around his entire figure there was a strange glow. While the city folks discussed all kind of theories, from ufo's to weather ballons - yesterday around 3 p.m. the figure was sighted again flying towards the "Kik" hill.
New witnesses gave out exactly the same description as those had given the night before; a “human” figure with a black cloak flying very fast, almost as if he had an engine attached to his back.
After this sighting even those with a suspicious nature who searched for any logical explanation possible started to suddenly believe what was happening and it left them speechless.
To Ljubovijan police, at least at the time this text was written, nobody had reported to the police about the mysteryous flyer and in the town, everyone is waiting to see what will happen next.
This event stirred everyone. In this town on Drina it's the only subject people talk about. Even the yesterdays football game was their second subject. Many, especially the kids, watch the sky of Ljubovija endlessly and with anticipation they wait what'll happen, hopefully to see the mysterious phantom once again.
- Tranlated by Jugoslav Trijić Blic.com
*Drina is a River.
**Ljubovija is the name of the Village.
Note from Citizen: I am a citizen of Ljubovija. First, it's not a "Village", it's a municipality...In town live about 4000 citizens. There is one more article (I cannot translate it now), with eyewitnesses' statements...
People here are scared, as there are so many witnesses who saw the same thing, as described in Mothman story...National TV same to make a story...I don't know what to believe in, but my cousin and his wife saw the same creature in 1990, but they didn't talk about, as people would think they're crazy...Who knows...
--------->Prior Page, The Mothman
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