Lon Strickler of Phantoms & Monsters said he received a phone call recently from someone wanting to report a string of bizarre winged creature sightings that lasted at least from 1978 to 1988.
The person, who identified themselves as the friend of an eyewitness “who was born and raised in a northwest suburb of Chicago, Illinois,” would only specify the location of the sightings as “near the Des Plaines River.”
Strickler said that the eyewitness was reluctant to discuss their experiences and had their friend call him instead.
However, he was able to confirm the information he had received from the friend with the eyewitness via text following the interview.
According to Strickler, the eyewitness had “discussed multiple sightings from 1978 through 1988 while he lived there as a boy.”
The sightings would usually occur at dusk and would continue throughout the night and there were “at least two winged creatures always seen flying in a wide circle at an altitude of 500 to 600 feet.” The creatures were “silhouetted against the clouds that were backlit by the city lights.”
The creatures were described to Strickler as having “no head or neck that could be seen. They had long, thick tails but no legs or feet were visible. The huge wings had no feathers but were membraned, similar to that of a dragon or pterosaur.”
“Apparently, the neighborhood residents were well aware of the nightly sightings,” Strickler added.
There have been dozens of reported flying creature sightings in the vicinity of the Des Plaines River over the past several years.
Many of these sighting reports describe flying humanoids, but comparisons to pterosaurs or even dragons are not unheard of.
“This is not the first time that I have received a sighting report from the Chicago area that referenced a pterosaur or dragon-like winged creature flying in the skies,” Strickler said. “A North Chicago Portage Park community resident and his neighbor observed a huge dragon-like cryptid flying overhead while working in their yards on Tuesday, May 18th, 2021. That sighting occurred at around 1:30 p.m. local time in the vicinity of West Addison Street and North Austin Avenue.”
Because of its proximity to other sighting locations, the creatures described in this report could be related to the larger Lake Michigan Mothman phenomenon. Those sightings are commonly reported within a few-hundred-mile radius surrounding Lake Michigan, including every state bordering the great lake.
The sightings ostensibly began in the spring of 2017, but more historical accounts are being reported as more people become aware of the phenomenon. They generally take place in the evening or at night, often in or near a park or natural area, and around water. Witnesses consistently describe a large gray, brown, or black, bat or bird-like creature, sometimes with glowing or reflective red, yellow, green, or orange eyes, and humanoid features such as arms and legs are often reported. Some witnesses have reported feeling intense fear and an aura of evil emanating from the creature they encountered. Many of the sightings are also of something seen only briefly or are described only as a flying creature with few details, which leaves open the possibility that a misidentified large bird—such as a heron or crane—or some type of anomalous avian species could explain some, although certainly not all, of the encounters. A number of associated high strangeness incidents have also occurred alongside the creature sightings. These include reports of UFOs, other anomalous flying creatures and mysterious humanoids, parapsychological phenomena, and bizarre events experienced by those investigating the sightings.
To report a sighting reach out to us directly at The Singular Fortean Society through our contact page.
You can view a timeline of the sightings so far here.
A map of the sightings, compiled by Strickler, is available here.