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Lair of the Beasts: Monsters of the Skies
Winged Creatures from Beyond
By Nick Redfern
February 12, 2011
Flying Monsters on the Loose.
Within the annals of cryptozoology, encounters with mysterious and monstrous flying beasts are legendary. Throughout my years as an investigator of all-things-unexplained, I have come across countless reports suggesting that the skies of our world are filled to the brim with terrible creatures that science tells us do not, and cannot, exist. Yet people were, and still are, seeing them.
Certainly the most famous diabolical, winged entity is the Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Its mid-1960s appearance intriguingly coincided with a plethora of UFO encounters, confrontations with Men in Black, and a whole range of paranormal weirdness of a truly dizzying variety – all of which elected to descend upon the unfortunate city, and people, of Point Pleasant.
The strange and disturbing events came to a climax on December 15, 1967, when the city’s Silver Bridge (so named after its aluminum paint) that spanned the Ohio River and connected Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio, collapsed into the river, tragically claiming forty-six lives. And while a down-to-earth explanation most certainly circulated – that a flaw in a single eye-bar in a suspension chain was the chief culprit – many saw, and still continue to see to this very day, the cause as being directly linked with the ominous and brooding presence of the accursed Mothman.
But Mothman is far from being alone.
In the early months of 1946, at an old, large house that existed on the edge of a little Texas town just outside of Lubbock decidedly strange events were afoot. Supposedly, on one occasion in the dead of night, a group of kids playing in the area had seen two eight-foot-tall humanoid creatures climb stealthily out of the building’s cellar. The creatures were not only eight-feet-tall: they were also gray of skin, had large, leathery wings, and glowing red eyes.
The monstrous pair apparently turned sharply as they surfaced from their underground lair and stared intently at the kids, then broke into a hopping-style run, opened their immense wings and soared majestically into the starlit sky. One interesting observation was that the limbs of the creatures looked almost hollow against the background of the full moon that loomed overhead. One of the original two creatures was reportedly seen several months later, standing in the middle of the local highway, by a terrified motorist in the early hours of the morning and while issuing a woeful moan.
A friend of mine, Neil Arnold – the author of many books, including Monster! - dug into an intriguing case of similar proportions from England, and that had occurred at Sandling Park, Hythe, in 1963.
Neil said: “Four teenagers, one being seventeen-year-old John Flaxton, saw a strange light over the park late one night as they returned home from a party, and then ran in horror from a creature that emerged from nearby woodlands where they swore the light had landed. For several days after the event the area was bathed in an eerie glow. No-one ever mentioned the creature flying, but what it was remains a mystery.”
Neil continued: “Local UFO experts believed that the case was nothing more than a misinterpretation of natural phenomena, but Flaxton recalled: ‘I felt cold all over,’ while another witness, eighteen-year-old Mervyn Hutchinson, told police: ‘It didn’t seem to have any head. There were huge wings on its back, like bat wings.”
There was still more to come, as Neil demonstrated: “On 21 November, that same year, seventeen-year-old Keith Croucher claimed also to have seen a weird craft in the area, this time floating over a football pitch near the park. Two days later John McGoldrick went to the area with a friend to look into the weird reports and claimed to have discovered an area of bracken as if something disc-shaped had landed there.”
Neil added: “Three giant footprints were also found in the vicinity which were said to have measured two-feet long and nine inches across. On 11 December, various newspaper reporters accompanied McGoldrick to the area and found that the woods were illuminated by an eerie, glowing light. No-one investigated any further and the case faded as mysteriously as it had emerged.”
And there is the strange story of the Owlman, whose exploits were chronicled by my good friend Jon Downes in his book, The Owlman and Others.
In the summer of 1976 the trees surrounding Mawnan Old Church, Cornwall, England became an absolute magnet for this strange beast. 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 dread.
One of the first to see the Owlman, Jane Greenwood, wrote a letter to the local newspaper, the Falmouth Packet during that same summer that detailed her 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?”
How, indeed? As all the above cases demonstrate, the creatures of the skies are a strange and monstrous breed.
Nick Redfern is the author of many books on paranormal subjects, including There’s something in the Woods; Contactees; and the forthcoming The Real Men in Black.