In a piece published June 23rd for The Edwardsville Intelligencer, columnist John J. Dunphy recounted the experience of an acquaintance who said she had recently seen a mysterious winged creature in Alton, Illinois.
According to Dunphy, the woman, who remains anonymous, said she had seen a “strange creature” while walking her dog in downtown Alton, near the Dunphy Building, at around 1 a.m.
“She described it as tall, dark, and large,” Dunphy wrote. “It had a human face, which was white in color. Its eyes glowed and it had long black wings. She saw it fly.”
The woman reportedly “lost sight of the creature but spotted it later in a corner.”
Meanwhile, Dunphy wrote, “The dog she was walking growled at it, which would seem to confirm the creature’s existence.”
The columnist compared the creature’s white, human face to the record of Father Jacques Marquette, who wrote in his journal that he had seen strange pictographs on the bluffs near Alton in 1673 that had man-like faces.
Dunphy shared the woman’s account to social media, which yielded a variety of responses.
Some compared it to local legend the Piasa Bird.
Others made facetious remarks about how the story might be good for tourism.
And at least one person thought she had misidentified an owl.
However, there were those who seemed to take the woman’s experience seriously.
“I believe her,” one Oklahoma woman wrote. “She saw something unexplainable. Not human. She shouldn’t go walking around at night; especially since she knows she saw it.”
Another woman, a Facebook friend whose opinion Dunphy said he greatly respects, said, “After my experiences with the ‘white lady’ at Mineral Springs I would be inclined to believe she had some kind of supernatural experience.”
As noted by Dunphy, the former Mineral Springs Hotel in Alton is said to be haunted by a “white lady,” and lies just down the street from the area of the woman’s sighting.
It wasn’t long before commenters were comparing the sighting to those of Mothman, made famous by a series of sightings of a large, black, flying creature with glowing red eyes that took place in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia, beginning in November of 1966.
More recently, sightings of a similar creature have been reported throughout the Great Lakes region, most often in states surrounding Lake Michigan, although sighting reports have come from all over the United States, including West Alton and further into Missouri.
In 2016, a man and his son said they encountered a large, dark, winged creature while duck hunting near West Alton.
About 130 miles south of Alton, along the Mississippi River, come two other reports of weird, winged creatures: one from two sisters who said they saw what “looked like a body shrouded in wings” in late August of 2020, and another from a woman who said she’d seen a “black, humanoid figure with very large wings and legs” on October 8th of the same year. Both sightings took place within a mile of each other in the city of Cape Girardeau.
And roughly 70 miles south of Cape Girardeau, along a section of border between Missouri and Arkansas, close to Crowley’s Ridge and the St. Francis River, a man said that in January of 2021 he’d suffered a detached retina following his sighting of a “human-like bat.”