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Lair of the Beasts: On the Trail of the Houston Batman
The Sky Monster
By Nick Redfern
August 14, 2010
Winged Monsters of the United States
© Bob Trate
Everyone, I’m absolutely sure, has heard of the notorious Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, which was made famous in the 2002 movie The Mothman Prophecies (that was based on the book of the same name penned by the late John Keel). But, long before Mothman dared to surface from his strange and ominous lair, there was yet another mysterious winged-thing that struck terror into the hearts and minds of those who were unfortunate enough to cross its path.
Certainly one of the most bizarre of all the many and varied strange beings that haunts the lore of Texas is that which became known, albeit briefly before it vanished into overwhelming obscurity, as the Houston Batman. The quintessential encounter, as reported within the pages of the Houston Chronicle newspaper at the time in question, took place during the early morning hours of June 18, 1953.
Given the fact that it was a hot and restless night, twenty-three-year-old housewife Hilda Walker, and her neighbors, fourteen-year-old Judy Meyer and thirty-three-year-old tool-plant inspector Howard Phillips, were sitting on the porch of Hilda’s home, located at 118 East Third Street.
Hilda stated of what happened next: “Suddenly about 25 feet away I saw a huge shadow across the lawn. I thought at first it was the magnified reflection of a big moth caught in the nearby street light. Then the shadow seemed to bounce upward into a pecan tree. We all looked up. That’s when we saw it.”
Hilda went on to describe the entity to the newspaper as follows: “It was the figure of a man with wings like a bat. He was dressed in gray or black tight-fitting clothes. He stood there for about 30 seconds swaying on the branch of the old pecan tree… It had the exact appearance of a man dressed in a tight fitting uniform similar to a paratrooper. He was encased in a halo of light.”
The trio all agreed that the being stood about six-and-a-half-feet tall, and said that the strange glow engulfing him was yellow in color. The “Batman” vanished when the light slowly faded out, and right about the time Judy screamed out.
Mrs. Walker also recalled the following: “Immediately afterwards, we heard a loud swoosh over the house-tops across the street. It was like the white flash of a torpedo-shaped object… I’ve heard so much about flying saucer stories and I thought all those people telling the stories were crazy, but now I don’t know what to believe. I may be nuts, but I saw it, whatever it was… I sat there stupefied. I was amazed.”
Judy added to the newspaper that: “I saw it and nobody can say I didn’t.”
Howard was candid in stating: “I can hardly believe it. But I saw it… we looked across the street and saw a flash of light rise from another tree and take off like a jet.” For her part, Hilda reported the incident to local police the following morning.
As a long-time resident of Houston, Ken Gerhard, a good friend of mine and a fellow-creature-seeker, made attempts to locate the address on East Third Street where the event took place and discovered that it is no longer in existence; seemingly having been overtaken by the expansion of nearby Interstate 10. Strangely, and perhaps even appropriately, the location has apparently vanished into the void.
A number of years after he first heard about the exploits of the Batman, a close friend of Ken told him about some fellow employees at Houston’s Bellaire Theater, who claimed to have seen a gigantic, helmeted man, crouched down and attempting to hide on the roof of a downtown building one night during the 1990s.
Perhaps we should seriously consider the possibility that the Houston Batman has returned. Or, maybe, it has never gone away. Instead, possibly, it has been lurking deep within the shadows of Houston for more than half a century, biding its time, and only surfacing after the sun has set, and when overwhelming darkness dominates the city.
If you know more about the Houston Batman, let me know!
Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including Monsters of Texas, co-written with Ken Gerhard, and the forthcoming Final Events – a study of those people who believe UFOs have demonic, rather than alien, origins.