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Chicago’s Current Mothman Flap “A Warning,” Says Expert

MJ Banias
June 7th 2017

Published by Mysterious Universe


What goes through a person’s mind when they come face to face with a monster? Over the last two months, a handful of Chicago locals are now able to answer that question.

On April 7th, a witness came forward to report the sighting of a large seven foot tall bat-like humanoid in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago. Sparking a reaction, many witnesses have begun to come forward with their own experiences. Approximately fifteen sightings of a ‘flying humanoid’ have been reported in the Chicago area.


Map of the current sighting locations. Click here to view the live map. (Image: Phantoms and Monsters)

The winged being, according to some witnesses, bears a resemblance to the famous Mothman of Point Pleasant, while others have described it as more bat-like in appearance. One researcher argues that it is probably just a large owl. While testimony concerning the appearance of this creature varies, one recurring theme seems to be consistent; the feeling of dread and doom that comes over the witnesses, and the sense that tragedy lies in its wake.

Enter Lon Strickler, an expert in the field of cryptids and founder of the popular website, Phantoms and Monsters. He has received multiple reports concerning the recent rash of sightings in Chicago and has been thoroughly investigating each one.

In an interview with Mysterious Universe, Strickler pointed to two sightings on his website that he states are the most compelling. The most recent incident, on June 3rd, occurred in the Lincoln Park area around 10:00 PM local time. The couple, who wishes to remain anonymous, just finished a late dinner and were out for a walk when they saw the strange being. According to the report,

“[it was] a 7-8 ft solid black humanoid with wide membrane wings, that resembled those of a huge bat. The wingspan was at least 12 ft. The head was prominent, and thinner than a human head. The back end of the body tapered to a point. No legs were noticed, but could have been tucked up under the body. The figure was gliding quickly along the length of the street heading east, then suddenly ascended into the night sky. Neither heard any sound. Both witnesses told [Strickler] that they felt a sense of foreboding and were still terrified almost an hour after the encounter.”

The second interesting case is an earlier sighting which occurred on March 22nd to a local truck driver and Chicago local, Billy Bantz. With the help of Strickler, Mysterious Universe was able to secure an interview. Bantz was delivering a shipment when he noticed something strange in the air,

“It looked like a flying Batmobile. I was sitting in my semi–trailer at around noon. I saw this object coming from Route 55 and Cicero. I saw it gliding, and, not too fast. No sound. I saw that it was not a drone, and the size of a large car. It climbed higher and turned twice…I can tell you that it glided just like a bird. It went almost straight up and I lost it in the clouds.”

Bantz believes that this incident has affected his life. According to Bantz,

“The more I speak of this, the worse my luck becomes. My mom died three weeks ago…I am not sure what to think at this point.”

Bantz, like the many other people who reported seeing a strange flying humanoid over Chicago, just wants to know what is going on.


Bantz’s drawing of his sighting. (Image: Billy Bantz/Lon Strickler)

As reports continued to come in over the months of April, May and June, hosts Vance Nesbitt and Jennifer Ann of the fledgling paranormal podcast, The Acrylic Ranch, went out on their own night investigations to try and catch footage of the monster. While they did experience some odd battery drains on their equipment, nothing conclusive was found. However, Ann believes there may be an eight-day pattern to these sightings,

“The way the dates are falling, I am going to guess that the next sighting will be either on June 14th or 18th. It could be a feeding pattern…”

In his interview, Strickler was unsure why Chicago specifically was experiencing a ‘flap’ of flying humanoid sightings, however, he did state,

“There are many opinions as to why these sightings are occurring, including a general feeling that unfortunate events may be in the city’s future.”

While nothing is certain, Strickler does believe something is lurking in the shadows of Chicago, and that it is an ill omen.

“At this point, I feel that this being may be attempting to distinguish a connection between locales within the city and future events. The witnesses have been very steadfast with what they have seen, and refuse to embellish on their initial descriptions. Each witness has had a feeling of dread and foreboding, which I believe translates into a warning of some type.”

As Strickler continues his hunt for the elusive being; only time and more sighting reports will shed light on this story. While this may be nothing more than a giant owl looking for a new home, which seems the most reasonable hypothesis, many of the witness reports clearly describe a humanoid figure. Is this the return of the Mothman, here to warn Chicago locals of some impending tragedy? Or is it another cryptid drawn from a deep-seated cultural lore, not only haunting the skies but the minds of people as well?

Every monster will have its hunters, but more importantly, the legend that monster leaves behind. For every sighting reported, and every article written, the legend of Chicago’s flying creature will continue to grow. The stories woven together bring life to our deepest fears, regardless of facts and truth. Everyone loves a good monster story, so long as it remains just a story.

(Featured image courtesy of Lon Strickler)

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The U.S. Military Believes People Have a Sixth Sense

Apr 04, 2017
Published by TIME Magazine

George Clooney in “The men who stare at goats”

In 2014, the Office of Naval Research embarked on a four-year, $3.85 million research program to explore the phenomena it calls premonition and intuition, or “Spidey sense,” for sailors and Marines.

“We have to understand what gives rise to this so-called ‘sixth sense,’ says Peter Squire, a program officer in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism department. Today’s Navy scientists place less emphasis on trying to understand the phenomena theoretically and more on using technology to examine the mysterious process, which Navy scientists assure the public is not based on superstition. “If the researchers understand the process, there may be ways to accelerate it — and possibly spread the powers of intuition throughout military units,” says Dr. Squire. The Pentagon’s focus is to maximize the power of the sixth sense for operational use. “If we can characterize this intuitive decision-making process and model it,  then the hope is to accelerate the acquisition of these skills,” says Lieutenant Commander Brent Olde of ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department for Human and Bioengineered Systems. “[Are] there ways to improve premonition through training?” he asks.

According to the Pentagon, the program was born of field reports from the war theater, including a 2006 incident in Iraq, when Staff Sergeant Martin Richburg, using intuition, prevented carnage in an IED, or improvised explosive device, incident. Commander Joseph Cohn, a program manager at the naval office, told the New York Times, “These reports from the field often detailed a ‘sixth sense’ or ‘Spidey sense’ that alerted them to an impending attack or I.E.D., or that allowed them to respond to a novel situation without consciously analyzing the situation.”

More than a decade later, today’s Defense Department has accelerated practical applications of this concept. Active-duty Marines are being taught to hone precognitive skills in order to “preempt snipers, IED emplacers and other irregular assaults [using] advanced perceptual competences that have not been well studied.” Because of the stigma of ESP and PK, the nomenclature has changed, allowing the Defense Department to distance itself from its remote-viewing past. Under the Perceptual Training Systems and Tools banner, extrasensory perception has a new name in the modern era: “sensemaking.” In official Defense Department literature sensemaking is defined as “a motivated continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively.”

Over decades, wars change location and weapons design evolves, while man’s perceptual capacities remain relatively close to what they have been for thousands of years. Fifty years ago in Vietnam, Joe McMoneagle used his sixth sense to avoid stepping on booby traps, falling into punji pits, and walking into Viet Cong ambushes. His ability to sense danger was not lost on his fellow soldiers, and the power of his intuitive capabilities spread throughout his military unit. Other soldiers had confidence in this subconscious ability and followed McMoneagle’s lead. In a life-or-death environment there was no room for skepticism or ignominy. If it saved lives, it was real. Since 1972, CIA and DoD research indicates that premonition, or precognition, appears to be weak in some, strong in others, and extraordinary in a rare few. Will the Navy’s contemporary work on “sensemaking,” the continuous effort to understand the connections among people, places, and events, finally unlock the mystery of ESP? Might technology available to today’s defense scientists reveal hypothe- ses not available to scientists in an earlier age?

At Naval Hospital Bremerton, in Washington State, defense scientists and military researchers are exploring cognition and perception in soldiers’ virtual dream states. Starting in 2011, as part of a research program called Power Dreaming, soldiers plagued by PTSD-related nightmares have used biofeedback techniques similar to those studied by Colonel John Alexander in the Intelligence and Security Command’s Beyond Excellence program, under General Albert Stubblebine. For today’s Navy, biofeedback has been updated with twenty-first-century virtual reality technology that did not exist 30 years ago. Sponsored by the Naval Medical Research Center, the Power Dreaming program involves a process called Cognitive Behavioral Treatment for Warrior Trainees. Participants are active-duty soldiers suffering from PTSD-related nightmares who are eligible to be sent back to the battlefield. The method, called redreaming, is alleged to be a learned technique that produces changes in the way one’s brain processes information. Its goal is to teach trainees to transform their debilitating nightmares into empowering dreams using bio- feedback techniques and computer technology.

Biofeedback, born in 1962, draws on the idea that the human brain (millions of years in the making) can benefit from seeing itself work in real time. Some of the life processes the trainee can see in real time are his brain waves, heart rate, muscle tension, skin conductance, and pain perception. The process goes like this: when the soldier wakes up from a nightmare, he gets out of bed and goes to a nearby government-issued computer. He puts on 3-D goggles and straps a Heart Rate Variability biofeedback device onto his forearm so that biofeedback can be integrated into the redreaming process. Hooked up to these two devices, the soldier opens a software program called the Book of Dreams. With a few clicks on the keyboard, he enters the virtual world Second Life.

Jacobsen is a journalist and the author of Phenomena, from which this was adapted, and the Pulitzer finalist The Pentagon’s Brain, among other books.

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Air Force’s X-37B Space Plane Lands in Florida After Record-Breaking Secret Mission


What has the X-37B been doing this time ? Image Credit: United States Air Force / Michael Stonecypher

By Mike Wall, Senior Writer | May 7, 2017

The record-shattering mission of the U.S. Air Force’s robotic X-37B space plane is finally over.

After circling Earth for an unprecedented 718 days, the X-37B touched down Sunday (May 7) at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida — the first landing at the SLF since the final space shuttle mission came back to Earth in July 2011.

“Today marks an incredibly exciting day for the 45th Space Wing as we continue to break barriers,” Air Force Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, the 45th SW commander, said in a statement. “Our team has been preparing for this event for several years, and I am extremely proud to see our hard work and dedication culminate in today’s safe and successful landing of the X-37B.” [The Mysterious X-37B Space Plane: 6 Surprising Facts]


The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 4 (OTV-4) is seen after landing at the Shuttle Landing Facility of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 7, 2017. The unpiloted space plane spent a record 718 days in space during its classified mission.
Credit: U.S. Air Force

The just-ended mission, known as OTV-4 (Orbital Test Vehicle-4), was the fourth for the X-37B program. All four launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the first three landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. But Air Force officials have said they want to consolidate X-37B launch and touchdown operations on Florida’s Space Coast, so today’s landing might be the first of many at the SLF.

“The hard work of the X-37B OTV team and the 45th Space Wing successfully demonstrated the flexibility and resolve necessary to continue the nation’s advancement in space,” Randy Walden, the director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, said in the same statement. “The ability to land, refurbish, and launch from the same location further enhances the OTV’s ability to rapidly integrate and qualify new space technologies.”

The Air Force is known to possess two X-37B space plane vehicles, both of which were built by Boeing. The 29-foot-long (8.8 meters) X-37B looks like NASA’s now-retired space shuttle orbiter, only much smaller; indeed, two X-37Bs could fit inside a space shuttle’s cavernous payload bay.

The X-37B launches vertically and comes back to Earth horizontally for a runway landing, as the space shuttle did.

Most of the X-37B’s payloads and activities are classified, leading to some speculation that the space plane could be a weapon of some sort, perhaps a disabler of enemy satellites. But Air Force officials have always strongly refuted that notion, stressing that the vehicle is simply testing technologies on orbit.  [The X-37B’s Fourth Mystery Mission in Photos]


Technicians in protective gear work on the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle after its successful landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida on May 7, 2017. NASA’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building is visible in the distance at top right.
Credit: U.S. Air Force

“Technologies being tested in the program include advanced guidance, navigation and control; thermal-protection systems; avionics; high-temperature structures and seals; conformal, reusable insulation, lightweight electromechanical flight systems; and autonomous orbital flight, re-entry and landing,” Capt. AnnMarie Annicelli, an Air Force spokeswoman, told via email in March.

“Also, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), and the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (AFRCO) are investigating an experimental propulsion system,” she said.

Outside experts generally agree with the Air Force’s claims, saying it’s unlikely that the X-37B is doing anything aggressive or nefarious on orbit. Some observers have suggested that, in addition to the roles cited by Annicelli, the vehicle may be testing sensors for the National Reconnaissance Office, which operates the United States’ fleet of spy satellites.

Each X-37B flight has been longer than the last. OTV-1 lifted off on April 22, 2010, and spent 224 days in space; OTV-2 launched on March 5, 2011, and orbited Earth for 468 days; and OTV-3 began on Dec. 11, 2012, and lasted 674 days. (OTV-4 lifted off on May 20, 2015.)

Though OTV-4 set an X-37B program record, the mission fell far short of the overall mark for longest spaceflight mission. Some Earth-observing satellites have operated for decades, and NASA’s twin Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes are still sending data home, nearly 40 years after their 1977 launches.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on

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‘It was looking right at us’: Dozens of Yowie claims on South Coast


Resident Maria Speer’s sketch of the strange animal she saw six kilometers south of Eden.

Eden residents are continuing to debate the possibility of a Yowie in the area.

Following the report about the long history of the legend of Yowies, numerous people have contacted the Eden Magnet to speak out about their experiences.

One of these people was former Eden resident Mark Downton.

Currently living in Cooma, Mr Downton said he would never forget his encounter with a “strange creature” while travelling down Brown Mountain on his way back to Eden around 25 years ago.

The now 54-year-old said he was around 30 years old at the time and while he can’t remember the exact day of the occurrence, the vision of the ‘Yowie’ has been burned into his mind.

“Truthfully I am not scared of much but that was the most scary thing I have come across in my life,” Mr Downton told the Eden Magnet.

Mr Downton’s brother had fallen asleep at the wheel and the car they were in swerved off the road. While Mr Downton said no one was injured, they were unable to move the car out of the ditch.

Mr Downton’s brother hitch hiked back to Eden with plans to return and pick up Mr Downton and their fellow passenger. It was during this wait, when Mr Downton and his friend David were sitting in the car, that the ‘Yowie’ emerged.

“The birds were making noise but then suddenly it all went quiet,” Mr Downton said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life I will never forget.”

Mr Downton described a five and a half foot tall creature with broad shoulders standing on two legs. He said it was completely black and covered in hair, “like a gorilla”.

“I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t move. I was frozen on the spot. It was only 15 feet away and it was looking right at us.

“It wasn’t a human being, I know that much for sure.”

Mr Downton said the creature stood swaying in the spot for number of minutes before turning and walking away.

“A lot of people say things and make claims but this is very very true. It’s dead real and I won’t ever forget it.”

Over the following weeks and years Mr Downton attempted to get in contact with other people who had made similar claims.

“I have spoken to a lot of people over the years and during this time [the late 80s and early 90s] a lot people saw this creature.”

He said the creature was also spotted near Cobargo.

Questions raised over mysterious creatures


Hello, kitty: A photograph of a print left at the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment has turned the head of big cat handler Vaughan King. Picture: John Geragotellis


It’s funny how one mystery can lead to another.

As devoted readers would know, the Eden Magnet has been writing about the legend of the ‘gorillas of Eden’ recently.

Numerous people have contacted the paper sharing their encounters with these Yowies, but just as many, if not more, are highly skeptical.

The Yowie is a creature that has its roots in Aboriginal oral history. The mythological beast is said to be Bigfoot-type creatures that lived in the Australian wilderness.

The mysterious ape-like creature can easily be compared to the North American Sasquatch or the Himalayan yeti.

While most people seem to discount the existence of the Yowie, considering it more likely to be a combination of misidentification, folklore and hoax, there are people around who have dedicated their lives to researching and finding Yowies.

One of these men is Paul Cropper. He contacted the Eden Magnet with his findings, and was the reason the paper ran the first story. But the response from the Eden community was unexpected. The online story was shared almost 30 times on Facebook, reaching an audience of more than 7800 people.

But as more and more people are coming forward with reports of Yowie sightings, another mysterious creature is being talked about a little further north.

On Tuesday, April 25, the Illawarra Mercury publish a report about a man claiming to have proof of a wild panther in the area.

An eight centimeter-long paw print left in the foothills of the Illawarra escarpment has piqued the interest of a roving big cat enthusiast, who believes it is proof of panther activity.

Vaughan King, 30, has deemed Austinmer’s Sublime Point track a panther-spotting hotspot and flagged plans for organized surveillance, including a program that would see 24/7 game cameras concealed in area bush land.

Mr King recently formed the Australian Big Cat Research group and is now focusing his research the footprint, which he said is very different to that of a dog.

“I immediately thought it looked like the hind foot of a leopard,” Mr King said. “A feral cat would never get that big; the animal that would leave that sort of print would have to be between 50-60kgs.”

So what’s the truth behind these claims? Can Yowies really exist and is it possible for a panther to be on the loose in the Illawarra?


Source – , Illawarra Mercury

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Tales of the ‘old hag’ continue to endure

Posted on Tuesday, 11 October, 2016
news-oldhagAn 18th-century depiction of sleep paralysis. Image Credit: John Henry Fuseli

A terrifying phenomenon known to cause paralysis and hallucinations at night is surprisingly common.

Have you ever found yourself in a half-waking state, either while falling asleep or waking up, and completely unable to move or cry out no matter how hard you try ?

Known as sleep paralysis, this distressing experience is thought to occur when a person is stuck in a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep. The inability to move is thought to be due to the muscle atonia normally induced during REM sleep to stop us physically acting out our dreams.

To make matters worse, some people also experience hallucinations while paralyzed which can include seeing an ominous figure in the room and feeling a strong sense of presence.

In some of the worst cases, this intruder can be seen and felt physically climbing on top of the helpless experiencer, resulting in a crushing sensation on the chest and difficulty breathing.

This particular experience has also come to be referred to as “old hag” due to how often the hallucinated figure is perceived to be an ugly old woman shrouded in black.

Fortunately though, aside from being terrifying, sleep paralysis in itself is generally harmless.

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The Clapham Wood Mystery


Clapham wood


The Clapham Wood Mystery is the name given to a collection of unusual events which are associated with the Clapham Wood, West Sussex, England, resulting in the area developing its own lore in popular culture. Events have included reports of people making unusual sights or experiencing unusual phenomena, and of family pets disappearing or sickening. There have also been several human deaths associated with the location. Since the 1960s the area has experienced a rash of UFO sighting, reports of people, experiencing nausea or the sensation of being pushed by unseen forces, or of witnessing patches of strange grey mist developing suddenly on pathways through the woods. Some people have also reported a strong sense of being followed. Studies with a gieger counter have revealed slightly elevated levels of background radiation in the area, which is surprising since the area is situated on chalk which is normally low in radiation. Early photographs of the wood appear to show a large crater or depression somewhere in the wood, though now the area is highly wooded and difficult to search.

Four deaths have occurred either in or close to the woods and have since become part of the lore surrounding it. The first death was in June 1972 when police officer Peter Goldsmith disappeared while hiking in the region. His body was discovered 6 months later. The second death was that of Leon Foster whose body was discovered in August 1975. He had been missing for 3 weeks. The third death was of Reverend Harry Neil Snelling, the former vicar of Clapham. He disappeared in October 1978 and his body was not found until 3 years later. English coroners ruled open verdicts in all three cases.

Jamie Frater

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