; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, November 23, 2020

'O'Hare Mothman' Encountered By TRACON Air Traffic Controller

An O'Hare International Airport air traffic controller recalls his encounter with a tall red-eyed winged humanoid while on the job in July 2020.

The following report was forwarded to Phantoms & Monsters Fortean Research investigator Manuel Navarette of UFO Clearinghouse:

"I have worked at O’Hare International Airport for the last 7 years as a member of the Air Traffic Control team and in my time have overseen the flight operations in and out of the airport hundreds of times. In my time I have seen many strange things around the airport but none have been as spectacular as the sighting I had back in July of 2020. 

I was working the late evening at TRACON and had just walked away for one of our mandatory breaks. These breaks help us rejuvenate and also help break up the monotony of what can be an otherwise tedious routine and help prevent us from falling asleep. During these breaks I usually go out for a walk to help clear my head and a change of scenery. I was walking toward one of the terminal buildings when I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye and for some unknown reason I stopped and turned in the direction of the movement and noticed a large black shape coming to a rest on the ground near a light pole. This thing was at least 6-7 feet tall and jet black, it looked like a very big bat but was also very human-like in appearance. 

I noticed that it sported a very large and impressive set of black membranous wings that also looked like the wings of a bat. They were open to their full length and must have been at least 12 feet from tip to tip. The arms on this thing were very long and very skinny and ended in long bony fingers tipped with what appeared to be long talons. The legs on the being were comparable with the arms, long and skinny but I was unable to really look at the feet to see if they were also shaped similarly to the hands. I stood there and saw this thing for about 30 seconds as it seemingly looked around the ground. In the time I was looking no fewer than two others had come down the walkway and also saw it. If it had looked up, it would have clearly seen us all staring in bewilderment at it. It kept it’s head down, looking at the ground until an approaching service vehicle seemingly startled it and it looked up. That is where I saw that its head was short and squat but had a pair of piercing red eyes. It looked in the direction of the approaching vehicle and then began to flap its wings and took to the air. It disappeared above the building in the span of 1-2 seconds and was gone out of sight.

I have heard many of the stories of the supposed O’Hare Mothman from pilots and from other controllers and employees around the airport. I have heard tales of people seeing it in flight or perched somewhere and how it had glowing red eyes and looked like a giant man-bat. Many of my fellow controllers have told of either seeing it themselves or hearing from others who have seen it and it has been the subject of radio chatter on multiple occasions. I never gave much credence to these stories and even though part of me believed and hoped it was real, seeing it myself only helped me become a true believer. I personally know of three other controllers who have had sightings of this thing and just as many pilots who have either reported sightings in and around the airport. You can say it’s kind of built up an almost legendary urban tale sort of status amongst those who work at O’Hare.

I know that what I saw was real and want to get my story out there for others to hear and I want them to know that this thing really is out there somewhere and that trained professionals like myself have seen it and know that it does exist. I hope you find my report useful and if you wish to contact me, I would be willing to answer questions regarding this encounter."

Investigator Notes:

I reached out to the witness and was able to do a phone interview with him in regards to the sighting he submitted. I first began by asking questions regarding his background and the witness was more than willing to send me photos of his work credentials, helping establish his identity and that he did indeed work at O’Hare International Airport. The witness has been working at O’Hare for the last seven years and has been working rotating shifts for most of that time with the bulk of his shifts starting in the evening and rotating around to overnight shifts. The witness is a trained weather observer and a graduate of the FAA training academy with multiple years of experience.

The witness recounted his story as reported, no deviation on the story and when asked questions meant to cause deviation, the witness corrected the investigator and stood by the story as he reported. The witness reported that he was at the very most 20-25 feet from the entity and that he stood at the window observing it as it foraged on the ground. When I asked him what it looked like it was searching for the witness advised that he had no idea. The witness stated the skin of the wings was membrane like and resembled stretched out skin similar to that of a bat. I asked the witness if he felt any feeling of dread of impending danger as reported in similar sightings and the witness reported no such feelings present during or after the sighting. When I asked about the other witnesses who he reported also seeing, the witness stated that both were airport workers but he had no idea who they or or how to contact them. When I asked him about the reports that others have had, the witness stated that there are sightings of a winged being quite frequently, they are just never really disseminated to the public for a variety of reasons such as the witnesses not wishing to report them. He stated that people do talk about the sightings but many just never go forward with reporting them due to fear of ridicule, job loss or not having an outlet to report the sightings. I gave the witness my contact information and advised him that he is free to share the information with other potential witnesses wishing to come forward.

It is the investigators opinion that the witness is credible and that his report appears valid and worthy of further investigation. The witness was asked and he agreed to have other investigators contact him for follow-up questions.

Have you had a sighting of a flying humanoid or huge bat-like creature in the Chicago, Illinois metro area / Lake Michigan region? The entity has also been referred to as the 'Chicago Mothman', 'Chicago Owlman' & 'O'Hare Mothman.' Please feel free to contact me at lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com - your anonymity is guaranteed. Our investigative group is conducting a serious examination of his phenomenon. We are merely seeking the truth and wish to determine what eyewitnesses have been encountering. Your cooperation is truly appreciated. You can call me directly at 410-241-5974 as well. Thanks. Lon Strickler

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'The legend comes to life, centered on the 19th-century Bell family of Robertson County, Tennessee, near the town of Adams, along the Red River. From 1817-1820, the Bell family is tormented by an entity determined to exact fear and pain. This is a well-produced film by Small Town Monsters that details the folklore associated with this timeless Southern tale. I'm sure that you'll enjoy it.' - Lon Strickler