Just about everyone has heard of the red-eyed Mothman – the winged thing that struck terror in the people of Point Pleasant, West Virginia from late 1966 to December 1967. But, what about the U.K.’s equivalents of Mothman? How many people may know about them? With those questions in mind, let’s take a look at some of these strange things that have been seen in the skies in the U.K. We’ll begin with a creature that first surfaced in the summer of 1976. It is known as Owlman. In 1976 the dense trees surrounding Mawnan Old Church, Cornwall, England became a veritable magnet for a beast that was christened the Owlman. The majority of those people who 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 menace. No wonder people make parallels with Mothman. It all began during the weekend of Easter 1976, when two young girls, June and Vicky Melling, had an encounter of a truly nightmarish kind in Mawnan Woods. The girls were on holiday with their parents when they saw a gigantic, feathery ‘bird man’ hovering over the 13th Century church.
Two fourteen year old girls, Sally Chapman and Barbara Perry, also had the misfortune to have a run-in with the Owlman in 1976. At around 10:00 p.m., while camping in the woods of Mawnan, and as they sat outside of their tent making a pot of tea, the pair heard a strange hissing noise. On looking around, they saw the infernal Owlman staring in their direction from a distance of about sixty feet. Sally said: “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!” Sightings of the beast are still occasionally made in the area.
A particularly strange story of an unidentified flying, human-like entity seen in the skies of England surfaced on February 19, 2009. Mike Lockley, then the editor of the now-closed Chase Post newspaper – which covered the Staffordshire, England town of Cannock – stated that nothing less than a flying man-thing had been seen soaring over and around the nearby Cannock Chase woods! And, now, to the heart of the story: “Five locals have contacted the Post after witnessing the figure traveling, seemingly unaided, over houses at around 11am on Sunday, February 8. One described it as a ‘Superman’ moment – a clear case of ‘to Chadsmoor and beyond,’” said the newspaper. Mike Lockley added: “But eagle-eyed Boney Hay villager Clive Wright believes those who reckon they witnessed something supernatural are talking a load of kryptonite. The 68-year-old, who spotted the flying man from the living room window of his Sunnymead Road home, believes the pilot was traveling with the aid of a jet pack – a strap-on engine made famous in the 1965 James Bond movie, Thunderball.”
Elliott O’ Donnell was an acclaimed authority ghosts and life after death, and who penned dozens of books on supernatural phenomena. Born in 1872, he continued writing until his death in 1965, at the age of ninety-three. O’Donnell also had a deep interest in reports of strange creatures, as the following 19th century account from O’Donnell demonstrates: “Henry Spicer, in his Strange Things Amongst Us, tells the story of a Captain Morgan, an honorable and vivacious gentleman, who, arriving in London in 1841, puts up for the night in a large, old-fashioned hotel. The room in which he slept was full of heavy, antique furniture, reminiscent of the days of King George I, one of the worst periods in modern English history for crime. Despite, however, his grimly suggestive surroundings, Captain Morgan quickly got into bed and was soon asleep. He was abruptly awakened by the sound of flapping, and, on looking up, he saw a huge black bird with outstretched wings and fiery red eyes perched on the rail at the foot of the four-poster bed. The creature flew at him and endeavored to peck his eyes. Captain Morgan resisted, and after a desperate struggle succeeded in driving it to a sofa in the corner of the room, where it settled down and regarded him with great fear in its eyes. Determined to destroy it, he flung himself on the top of it, when, to his surprise and terror, it immediately crumbled into nothingness.”
And, finally, going way back in time, there’s this: Scotland’s River Nairn flows by the site of a historic April 16, 1746 confrontation. Its name: the Battle of Culloden. Scottish lore tells of how, on the night before the violent battle began, a huge, monstrous, bird-like beast was seen hovering and flying above the battlefield. Known as the Skree, this Mothman-style creature had eyes that blazed red, and large and membranous wings like those of a hideous, devilish bat. The creature was seen as a decidedly ill-omen, a precursor to the death and tragedy that loomed on the horizon for the forces of Bonnie Prince Charlie and those of George II. It was a battle that brought to an end what was known as the Jacobite Rising.