; Phantoms and Monsters - Real Cryptid Encounter Reports - Fortean Researcher Lon Strickler

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Utah's Aerial Anomalies: Flying Giant Manta Rays, Winged Humanoids & Monster Birds

I recently received a telephone call from a couple in Provo, Utah who referenced the giant flying Manta Ray that has been seen in the area. I decided to go back a find other flying anomalies reported in Utah.

"I was visiting my then fiancé (now wife) in northern Arizona. I lived in Idaho at the time. I was making the trip back late at night and for those who don’t know, there are two major highways along this Idaho to Arizona route. US-15 that goes through Idaho into Utah and then US-89 that goes from Utah to Arizona. Now there is a mountain pass that connects these two highways, Rt-20, and this is where it all happened. (Giving location in case anyone is familiar with the area)

So my trip. I was headed back north and I was along this Rt-20, the road through the mountain. It was about 1 or 2 am and there was not much moonlight. Along this road there are a lot of deer and elk as you could imagine and you need to keep an eye out at night. That’s what I thought I saw at first. I saw a set of eyes in the distance, you know that yellowish bluish glare you see when your headlights are toward a deer, about eye-level of where I was seated in my car. As I got closer I saw the actual silhouette of this thing and I didn’t know what I was looking at. It looked to be 7 or 8 feet tall. I’m not good at estimating but this thing was big. All of the sudden, as soon as I think I’m going to get a good look at this thing, it spreads a set of gigantic wings and flies away. I pulled over and just watched it fly toward a heavily forested area toward the summit of the mountain. After that it was gone. I didn’t see it later that night or ever again on any of my travels.

I’ve tried to research into similar stories or any stories from that area but come up dry. The closest thing I could find are the stories of the Mothman but I’m not sure if it matches my description of the creature or if I was in the right environment. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are many Native American reservations around, the biggest being the Navajo reservation just being a couple hours south. That being said the next best idea is that it was a Skinwalker. Being Native myself, I understand skinwalkers in a “deeper” way and have had many encounters of my own that were much more explainable, if you want to call it that. I don’t think this was a skinwalker. When a skinwalker is around you get overwhelmed with this dark feeling/power. If you know, you know. There were no such “feelings,” just lots of confusion.

I just wanted to see if anyone has an experience with a creature like this or from this area. For more reference the closest towns were: Panguitch, Ut, Richfield, Ut, and Beaver, Ut." HG

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I recently received a telephone call from an eyewitness 'JR' who claims she observed a huge winged creature in Lihi, Utah.

This incident occurred in the summer of 2017, on a very hot clear day at approximately midday. JR states that she had stopped for a traffic light when she noticed several Sandhill Cranes flying across the sky in front of her. She says that she was about 150-200 feet away. Apparently this is a nesting area for Sandhill Cranes.

As she watched, she saw a large dark wing creature descending towards the cranes. As it got closer, she was astonished by the size. It was definitely avian in form, with feathered wings that she estimates spanned 20 feet are more. JR has a Biology degree and is well-versed in the local avian wildlife.

The monstrous bird literally snatched one of the Sandhill Cranes, rose up and ascended on a thermal. It quickly headed off and away from the area. JR said that she noticed a band of white color on the front edge of the wings. She likened the shape to that of a Golden Eagle, but that the body was smaller in comparison to the huge wings. She also said the massive bird was 'at least' 4-times the size of the Sandhill Cranes!

JR said that she noticed only one other car at the intersection and doubts that they witnessed the event. She contacted her professor and asked for his opinion. He was flummoxed and told JR that she must have misidentified the bird. She is positive at what she saw. JR has made many attempts to identify the cryptid bird, but has been frustrated. She found me on Google and called to retell her observation. Lon

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"I would say around June 2013, in Salina, Utah, I was walking under a street lamp with a friend. He was talking and I was looking at the stars as we walked. We walked under a street lamp that was also shining light upwards. Plain as day, I saw a flying humanoid (head, body, arms and legs almost like human) fly above the street lamp flying about 10 feet from the edge of the asphalt road, 30 to 40 off the ground, flying in the opposite direction as we were walking. The creature was traveling south on the west side of the road.

The height I would say is around the size of an adult human. It's arms, legs and body were athletic looking but looked like it hardly had any muscle. It had five fingers like us BUT had three toes. The toes narrowed down to a point, like a cone or triangle. It had two wings, one coming off each shoulder. The length of the wing was about the length of the creatures arm. The wings were narrow and had very little surface area. I did not see the creature flap its wings to fly. Its wings looked too small to support its body. Plus the body was parallel to the ground and was elongated like it was laying down while flying (the weight of the hips/legs/feet should have been sagging towards the ground). It had small hooks like things that came off from the creature's leg, mid-calf area and faced outward. I did not see any breasts or a penis. I don't know what sex it was. Hopefully it does not reproduce but I am sure it does.

I have told many people about what I saw that night, most people don't believe me. Although I did run into a guy that saw one, I'd say the same species of the creature. He was camping also around Salina, UT area. It flew down/ swooped at him and made a creepy noise." SE

My original post is below:

A witness reports seeing a 'gigantic black manta-ray' flying across the Provo, Utah sky. This sighting led to further reports of this bizarre cryptid.

The following account was forwarded to me by Danny B. Stewart, who posted this information at his site at Utah Stories:

About eleven years ago a woman shared an interesting story with me. Late one June night she was walking along University Ave., a little after 10 PM and near 300 South when she saw a “gigantic black manta-ray” flying across the Provo sky. “This thing was four-hundred feet in the air, coming from the South-East and flying North-West. It had a fourteen-foot wingspan and its body and tail were probably twenty-five feet long. It flew directly over the Provo City Tabernacle (Now a Temple) eventually disappearing into the night sky.”

I didn’t put much credence into this sighting, but I decided to share it on my ghost tour anyway, The Original Provo Utah Ghost Tour with Danny B Stewart. It was a lark, plus there are similar stories of strange flying beings found all over the world, but this was a rarity for Utah a one-time event, or so I thought… In 2013 another woman presented me with an almost identical story, she saw something, in June of 2011, that was the same size, shape, and was flying the same trajectory. It even appeared around the same time as the other one.

Years passed, local “ghost” and “beastie” stories were told, and I began to grow tired of telling the Manta-Ray story. I was about to retire it from my ghost tour completely. But in September of 2018, I was standing in front of the Provo temple, giving one of my tours, actually talking about said-beastie, when one of the attendees began to look a little bewildered, almost...worried. My girlfriend and assistant Tara approached him and he says to her… “I saw it!” “Just recently!” “This Year!” He saw something much like the “Manta-Ray” climbing on the side of the old tower of the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. (I’m paraphrasing here and basing this on what Tara told me he relayed to her.) It was big and black in color, climbing on the side of the building like a bat would climb on the side of a barn door. It climbed to the top of the tower, leaped-off and flew into the night towards the north-west. I have tried to get more information from this gentleman, but he has been reluctant to share anything further.

Funnily enough, another person came forward a month later with another sighting or a “flying-ray” although this sighting was not in relation to the Provo beastie, Again, I was giving a tour and talking about the “Ray” when I saw a young man whispering (in amazement) to his girlfriend. I approached him as we were walking to the next ghostly-location and he told me he has seen something exactly like I had described while he was surfing in California. He said, “It was huge and soaring in and out of the clouds!” There was an overcast. He watched for over fifteen minutes as it would appear and disappear within the clouds until it flew out of his sight. He had never told anyone about what he had seen because he was afraid people would make fun of him. He also had nothing to base what he had seen on.

This is the case for many people who have experienced extraordinary events or have had sightings of what can only be described as “Ghosts” or “Monsters.” People all over the world are seeing and encountering things that have no place in their historical or mythological memory banks to fit in. So they sit on them.

Nevertheless, if these people are to be believed and if they did indeed see some kind of large flying animal above the Provo Utah sky then we have another beautiful cryptozoological mystery on our hands.

Update from Danny Stewart – 2-24-2020

August of 2019, I was in the midst of an appointment with my ear nose and throat doctor at the Utah Valley Hospital (Formally Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.) for a pre-surgery appointment. While we were talking my doctor asked me what I did for a living. I explained to him what I do and he asked me to share one of my favorite stories, so I told him about the “Manta-Ray.” Naturally he thought it was extremely interesting, especially since my story directly related to some much needed light he was about to shed upon the mystery.

Sometime before they razed the old hospital, construction workers discovered a large colony of bats living in the crawl spaces at the top level of the old hospital towers. Apparently for years, hospital employees and patrons had been seeing a large group of bats flying to and from the top of the hospital towers at night, always/either from the South East to the North West, stopping at the tower, or leaving the tower and flying North West… The same trajectory as the Giant Flying Manta Ray!!

This revelation hit me like a ton of bricks! Of course!! “This is what people have been seeing for all these years!” “This is beautiful!” I said to out loud very giddily. I asked my doctor if I could use this information and he said of course, as long as he could remain anonymous, and so here we are!

You see...this is true cryptozoology! This is how it’s supposed to work! We aren’t always looking for a literal dinosaur in the lake, or in this case a “Monster” Manta-Ray soaring through the skies of Provo Utah! In this case people were seeing a colony of bats flying ‘to a fro’ and sometimes these bats took the shape of what people thought was a Giant Flying Manta Ray! I love that I am both the father and the unraveler of this piece of local folklore and even though we now know what this critter is/was it doesn’t make the story any less important to folklore.

Danny B. Stewart is a researcher, performance artist, teacher, lecturer, and professional storyteller and he hasn’t seen the Giant Flying Manta-Ray yet, but whenever he’s in Provo, he’s always looking up.

Because of recent revelations involving the winged humanoids (The Unseen Ones), we are asking the worldwide public to come forward with your sightings & encounters. Contact us at
410-241-5974

Listen to our podcasts at the 'Beyond Explanation' YouTube channel

Have you had a sighting of a winged 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.' - Chicago / Lake Michigan Winged Humanoid Regional Interactive Map - 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

Thanks. Lon Strickler

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