Following the discussion presented in my recent article Black-Winged Things: Monsters, Myth or Madness, I’ve been noticing more and more reports of flying humanoids and winged monsters popping up in the various Fortean news outlets. As I often tend to do when particular aspects of phenomenology come drifting along in droves this way, I’ve tried to step back, broaden my view, and consider the various aspects that remain consistent throughout. My purpose for this is to attempt to discern deeper meaning from the peculiarities of the reports and encounters, based on the glimmer of hope that some deeper meaning does actually exist, rather than just random data, chance happenings, or even misdirection that could stem from trying to unite unrelated events.

For instance, views pertaining to West Virginia’s Mothman creature and its perceived association with disasters are obvious, and have been well-stated in the various literature available on the subject. Since there is a similar, curious prevalence of winged entities in association with ill fortune elsewhere throughout history, we could easily enough say that winged beings are all harbingers of disasters to come… but is this truly the case?

Perhaps not, and even with my acceptance of the fact that, most often, apparent similarities are usually no more reliable than no similiarities, I cannot deny that so many reports of winged entities do tend coincide with bad luck, disasters, and general misfortune. This considered, maybe there is good reason why cultures the world over have depicted devils and demons with bat-like, membranous wings since the dawn of human culture.

One recent example of this appeared at Inexplicata, the blog of one of my favorite Latin American ufologists, Scott Corrales. In the article, titled “High Strangeness: Our Haunted Seas,” Corrales shared a harrowing instance of a winged “monster” terrorizing a group of refugees who, while en route to Puerto Rico, became stranded at sea:

One survivor told the journalist reporting the story that while the refugees fought for survival among the wind, waves and merciless sun, a “monster” with vast wings appeared before them. Overcome by dread, passengers huddled together to read from a New Testament that had been found in the vessel, but as they read from the holy book, its pages inexplicably vanished their hands.

“What was the strange winged monster,” Corrales asks, “a Mothman-type creature?” Again here, we see the similarity drawn between the monster and the dire circumstances. Hence, it should be duly noted that of the eighty passengers who initially became stranded, only 37 managed to survive. The notion was touched on by Corrales that, in this circumstance, perhaps the monster could have been an extension of the refugees’ own inner fears and collective hysteria; this theory is nothing new for students of phenomenology, however. Similar reports of “mass hysteria” were attributed to the Mothman encounters in Point Pleasant in the 1960s; more broadly, psychologist Carl Jung even supposed that the mystery behind the entire UFO enigma stemmed from people’s “collective unrest.” In truth, at least certain aspects of the Fortean mysteries of this world do stem from someplace within ourselves; but rather than being merely thoughtforms or hollogram-like manifestations wholly created by our own consciousness, could it be that mysterious beings, like the Mothman, are physical in some sense, but representative of an interactive phenomenon, in which we’re only half of the equation?

If this were the case, perhaps the appearance of wings on such beings represents something deeper; an archetypal substructure representative of looming fear and dread seated deep within the human psyche. What about our history, evolution, and rise to consciousness as a species would interpret certain forms–especially those with wings–as inherently evil?

UPDATE: Loren Coleman posted this recent story about a giant butterfly sighting in California over at Cryptomundo:

L.A. Mothman?

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Micah Hanks

Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at