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The year of 1952 was a very busy year for mysterious phenomena haunting the skies. ‘52 had been a peak year for UFO activity. The sheer number of reports of UFOs over the United States had resulted in the CIA forming a study group in its Office of Scientific Intelligence and its Office of Current Intelligence to review the UFO situation.

Even the White House had got involved, with President Truman seeking the help of Air Force Captain Edward Ruppelt via his Air Force aide to help him understand the UFO reports that had made been making newspaper headlines throughout late July of ‘52.

It has been be noticed by many paranormal and mysteries researchers that, when you have a peak of activity of UFO phenomena, as they were to become known, you also tend to find that there is a connection of other mysterious experiences. And the year 1952 and its nationwide UFO Flap was no exception.

In September of that year, six glowing objects had traced across the sky over West Virginia. One object, it was reported, had crash to the ground on a hillside near a small hamlet called Flatwoods in Braxton County. 

A group of residents from Flatwoods had quickly rallied together and formed a group to investigate the scene of the incident on the hillside above the settlement; and they set out on foot with their torches, up the hillside.

On the summit the group, led by Kathleen May and Eugene Lemon, reportedly saw a pulsing red light. As Eugene Lemon pointed his torch light in the direction of the pulsing red light they saw in the beam a huge gray-green coloured monstrous being. Having no visible arms or legs – and a head – or perhaps a helmet – that was shaped like the Ace Of Spades.

Lemon described the apparition as a “man-like figure with a round, red face surrounded by a pointed, hood-like shape”.

It had two intense blue lights giving the appearance of eyes. Accompanying the apparition was a foul smelling odour. At this point – perhaps due to the shock of seeing the entity, or maybe as a result of the repugnant odour – Eugene Lemon passed out and fell to the ground. His fellow witnesses ran to his aid and helped carried him away to safety, fleeing back down this hillside

All the witnesses were reportedly violently ill due to this experience; a dog that accompanied them and had run around the perimeter of the spectre, had struggled down the hill, vomited and died … there on the spot.

This incident, known as “The Flatwoods Monster”, is a classic tale of mysterious apparitions in the annals of ufology.

Reports of mysterious cryptozoological beings are rare among UFO reports but they are there. So too are geographically associated monster or creature sightings that are not accompanied by UFO reports. Whatever the truth about UFO sightings and their occupants, we are drawn to consider their relationship to the fringe mysterious creature sightings.

This is also seen with reports of Sasquatch or Bigfoot, where locations that spawn an unusually large number of UFO reports also seem to generate more reports of Bigfoot. While some draw the conclusion from this that Bigfoot and UFOs are directly related, it seems more likely that the direct relationships is with the location itself. Are these haunted places simply more prone to manifestation of the unusual?   

Peaks of unusual activity also tend to be focused in a window in time. Its seems certain locations are prone to activity and that activity periodically increases. An obvious question to ask is: “do these changes in activity of a location form a pattern?”

The Ohio River Valley area of West Virginia produced numerous UFO reports in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Yet, the most intriguing of the mysterious phenomena, experienced by hundreds of people in the region, from all walks of life, involved a mysterious, shadowy creature. Local people had witness the entity alone and in groups. Some had even been chased by it. 

Dark grey in colour, six to seven feet tall, with two penetrating red eyes inches across – described as beaming like laser beams by witnesses. The creature was winged, with a wing span of ten feet and was reported to fly, tailing witness as they ran in some cases at speeds in excess of one hundred miles per hour.

The true nature of this creature is still a mystery. It was known to the locals of the Ohio Valley as The Bird by some and The Bat by others. As news of the phenomenon spread, the national media named the cryptid as “The Mothman”; the media choosing perhaps to brand the entity with a term not already seen on TV or in comic books of the day.

Sightings of this kind were not limited to West Virginia.

It was 2:30 am on a hot June morning in 1953 and three people were sitting on a porch on East 3rd Street in Houston, Texas. Hilda Walker, who was twenty three, gave this statement:

“I saw a huge shadow across the lawn. I thought at first that it was a magnified reflection of a big moth caught in the nearby streetlight. Then the shadow seemed to bound upward into a pecan tree. We all looked up.”

The Houston Chronicle tells us that they saw a 6 to 7 foot tall grey man fitted with wings like a bat and surrounded by a dim grey light. At this point the youngest witness, fourteen year old Judy Meyer, let out a scream. The light died out and, according to Walker, “Immediately afterwards, we heard a loud ‘swoosh’ over the housetops across the street. It was like a white flash of a torpedo-shaped object.”  

The mystery “Bird” sightings that became known as The Mothman wave of sightings began a decade later in 1962 with the first thoroughly investigated case occurring in 1966.

On September 1st 1966 a local newspaper in Greenville, Mississippi received a report that “a man with wings” was circling the town. By the time the newspaper reporter arrived there was nothing to see. However, the reporters discovered that a number of different people claimed to have also seen this mysterious flying humanoid in the sky.

Flying humanoids are sometimes more clearly attributed to UFO activity. The follow case, while having some quite typical UFO experience theme, the appearance of a humanoid levitated outside sixty four year old Cyril John’s bedroom window at about 4:45 am one April morning, is striking in its apparent contradiction of widely held views about the nature of the UFO phenomenon.

“I woke up because there was a strange orange light pulsating in the bedroom. It was coming from outside and it was pulsating off the walls.”

He lay in bed for several minutes before he eventually got up and looked out of the window. The sky was orange he reported to researcher Randle Jones-Pugh. Immediately outside his window were two silvery objects enclosed in the area of coloured light. One was like a very large easter egg, four feet in diameter and was swinging back and forth moving above and behind the chimney of the house opposite. Moving like a pendulum fifty to sixty feet away from him. 

“Then I saw an object like a man in a silver boiler suit about forty feet above my window. It was very large – at least seven feet tall – and it hung stationary on a level with the ‘Easter Egg’. It’s attitude was in the position of a free-fall parachute jumper with arms and legs outstretched. It hung motionless in the sky. It hovered face-downwards for about twenty-five minutes and all this time the ‘egg’ was moving back and forth. The “egg” then moved up above roof-level and glided away sideways as did the figure. When they went away there was no further pulsating light. I did not switch on the house-light and my watch did not stop”

“Was the figure actually skydiving?” Pugh asked. “No, he was stationary – motionless” John told him.

On November 15th 1966 two young married couples were driving through a disused World War Two munitions factory, now famously known as the TNT Area, located seven miles from the city of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. As they passed an old dilapidated power station they saw a strange figure standing at the side of the road, staring back at them. 

Witness Roger Scarberry told researcher John Keel, “It was shaped like a man but bigger. Maybe six and a half or seven feet tall. And it has big wings folded against its back. But it was those eyes that got us.”

“It had two big, red eyes, like automobile tail-light reflectors. For a minute we could only stare at it. Then it just turned and sort of shuffled towards the open door of the power plant. We didn’t wait around.”

With Mr Scarberry driving they fled the scene and headed back along Route 62 back to Point Pleasant. As they made their way down the road Mrs Scarberry cried out “It’s following us!”

Mr Scarberry reported that they driving at over one hundred mile per hour to escape. Yet all four witnesses said that “The Bird” kept low over head of their car, wings spread out to about 10 feet and it was able to keep pace with them seemingly without effort as its wings were not flapping. Yet it apparently did make a noise. Mrs Mallette reported the sound that it made as “It squeaked, like a big mouse”.

The creature followed them all the way to the city limits where, as the driver, Mr Scarberry tells us, “we noticed a dead dog by the side of the road there. When we came back a few minutes later the dog was gone.” They drove straight to the Mason County Sheriff told they bizarre story to the on duty deputy. The Deputy Millard Halstead vouched for the witnesses credibility as he had known them all their lives and they had never been in any kind of trouble. He really believed they had seen something and that something had terrified them. He return to the site of their encounter at the TNT area with the four witness that night but they saw nothing. However, at the location the police radio emitted a strange sound before the deputy shut it off.

This began the Mothman wave in however it by no means was the first encounter. Nor have they been limited to the Ohio River Valley, but there area was clearly deserving of being one of special paranormal scientific interest.

It was late one autumn evening in November 1963 when four teenagers were walking home from a dance near Sandling Park in Hythe in the county of Kent, England. As they walked home they reported that they saw an oval of bright light descend out of the sky and land in a thicket just off their path. John Flaxton told authorities “It seemed like we were being watched. I felt cold all over. Then suddenly we saw a huge dark figure shambling out of the bushes towards us.” Needless to say the four youngster fled. Under interview all four witnesses described a creature had wings like a bat and had no visible head.

The UFO flap that occurred in Pembrokeshire, Wales in the spring of 1977 produced numerous flying humanoid sightings.

Many sightings of this mysterious creature have been reported. A personal friend of mine was witness to a similar sighting of a bat-like creature leaping from rooftop to rooftop in the town of Ilkley in West Yorkshire. Ilkley has a long history with unusual phenomena too. From UFO sightings and the strange green alien beings photographed by off-duty policeman on Ilkley moor to older lore involving the caretaker of Ilkley spa bath witnessing dozens of fairies bathing in the waters early one morning while he was opening up. The fairies, upon being discovered, fled from the baths up the hill onto Ilkley Moor.

© Anthony Beckett 2019

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