The following account was reported to Tobias Wayland at The Singular Fortean Society. Tobias, and his wife Emily, are also members of Phantoms & Monsters Fortean Research:
The Singular Fortean Society was contacted recently by a woman wishing to report her 2001 sighting of four winged humanoids in Berwyn, Illinois. The witness said that she was directed by one of her sons to view the Small Town Monsters documentary Terror in the Skies, and after watching the ‘Chicago Mothman’ portion of the film, decided she wanted to disclose her sighting to investigator Tobias Wayland.
She initially contacted Wayland via Facebook Messenger, where they were able to schedule a phone interview.
"In 2001 we were in my backyard in Berwyn, which is next to Cicero, just outside of Chicago. We were having a picnic in the backyard. It was about nine or ten o’clock at night. Now, it scares me to talk about this, because I don’t want to bring bad juju on myself," she said over the phone. "I was in the backyard cleaning up and I look up in the air—it was a beautiful, moonlit night, just a couple days before 9/11—and the moon’s out but it’s kind of cloudy, I’ve got tiki torches in the backyard and those really big balls that light up like half a block. I’m by myself, outside, cleaning and gathering stuff off of the table, and I see four humongous—they looked humongous—people, they looked like men, and they were all black and they had big wings, I mean HUGE wings. The wings were not feathery, they were bat wings or demon wings. I looked at them and there were four in a row, and they looked like they were standing up [horizontally] as they flew. They were muscular, they were big, and I looked up and went ‘Oh my God, what the [expletive] is that?’"
The witness offered that she’s “sensitive,” in the sense of having a natural affinity for psychic phenomena.
“I’ve got these weird gifts and they’ve always been scary to me; I never understood them,” she said. “I found out after years of therapy and talking to priests that I’m blessed, and you can either learn to use it or suppress it. I chose to suppress it, because it’s scary.”
That sensitivity might help explain what came next.
"They didn’t hear me, they were too high up to hear me, but two of them looked directly at me, and when they looked at me, they had red eyes," she said. "I freaked out, because they looked directly into my eyes. I ran into my house, and I was starting to cry because I was freaking out. My cousin, who has since passed away, said ‘What’s wrong? What happened? What’s the matter?’ But I was too afraid to speak; I just wanted to go back outside to make sure they were gone. I went out there and they were gone. They never came back. I was afraid for weeks after that to go outside."
Like many witnesses, she shared her experience with a few people, only to be mocked. Still, she stands by her story.
"This was not my imagination. I don’t do drugs and I don’t drink. This blew my mind; completely blew my mind. I told some people at work, but of course they laughed at me. They taunted me; thought I was crazy. To this day, I know what I saw. I won’t let anyone try to manipulate my story or tell me I was hallucinating," she said.
Several years ago, over a decade after the sighting, one of her sons mentioned to her the significance of the date and its proximity to the national tragedy of 9/11.
The witness’ testimony and corresponding weather data tentatively indicate the night of the sighting to be September 8th, three days before the terrorist attacks.
"My son, who’s 32, said to me ‘Mom, this is really odd, but did you ever think that 9/11 happened right after you saw [those winged creatures]?’ I said, ‘No, I never thought of that.’ He said, ‘You saw four of them, right?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Right in front of each other like perfectly aligned, and they were huge with humongous wings. They were out to do something; you could tell they were on a mission. You got the [Twin Towers of the World Trade Center], you’ve got [the Pentagon], and you’ve got [Flight 93] that crashed in a field.’ I said, ‘Oh my God, I never thought of that. I never ever thought of that,'" she said of the possible correspondences.
Many believe that sightings of 'Mothman,' as red-eyed, winged creatures are often called, are portents of tragedy, although this belief is contested within the paranormal community.
Regardless of the veracity of that connection, the effect this experience had on the witness is undeniable.
"I never even knew Mothman existed, never heard any of the stories," she said, "There’s a lot of stuff that I never dabbled in, ever. Which is scary, because you’ve got nobody to talk to, and you’re afraid to talk to people. You’re afraid to say what you’ve seen. I never called the police; I was so scared."
Berwyn, Illinois, is approximately 10 miles west of Lake Michigan, and within a few miles of Cicero and Little Village—both of which have seen numerous reports of weird, winged beings.
(Image courtesy of Emily Wayland / Singular Fortean Society)
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