By Sean Casteel
- They are believed by many to be the agents of the “dark gods”! Their massive wings are known to cast a paralyzing shadow over the land.
- They exist alongside us in the “real world,” yet we know next to nothing about them.
- They appear to inhabit physical bodies, but they could be arriving from other dimensions through “window” areas or portals.
- What manner of creature is it that is called the Mothman? Is the winged interloper a harbinger of death? Or a cryptozoological entity who means us no harm?
- Some Native Americans believe that the Thunderbird was the creator of life on Earth. Do we owe our very existence to an elusive creature with an awe inspiring wing span and the power to call up all living things from the watery depths?
- Winged dragons are regarded in nearly every culture on Earth as benevolent entities, perhaps even mankind’s creators. But the Biblical/European view posits that dragons are evil. Join the lively moral discussion with writer and television personality Tim Swartz.
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Who among us hasn’t wished to spread their wings and fly? To cease to be earthbound and soar to the heavens?
But perhaps, in real-world terms, a person with wings might not be such a pleasant, liberating thing. “Weird Winged Wonders: The Twilight World of Cryptid Creatures” from Timothy Green Beckley’s Global Communications/Inner Light publishing house, offers important new insights into flying humanoids. The reader should understand that we’re not dealing with the classic images of winged angels as portrayed by artists down through the centuries. The book is about something much stranger, more “alien” and frightening.
A case in point would be the mysterious Mothman, popularized in recent years by the 2002 movie “The Mothman Prophecies,” which was based on a book of the same title by legendary paranormal researcher and author John Keel.
The book and movie tell a fascinating story of the appearance of the winged creature which is most frequently described as a human-looking figure with wings and two giant red eyes. The creature is reported as being six to eight feet tall; his wings are bat-like and sometimes folded against his back. After more than a year of scattered sightings by locals in the area around Point Pleasant, West Virginia that began in autumn of 1966, a tragic accident occurred. The Silver Bridge, vital to commuters in the area, collapsed during rush hour traffic in December 1967, killing dozens of people. Residents soon began to wonder if there was a connection between the Mothman’s many appearances and the massive bridge disaster. Did the winged man consciously function as a harbinger of death?
MORE RECENT SIGHTINGS OF THE MOTHMAN
In the years since the frightening events in Point Pleasant, the Mothman has continued his sporadic appearances around the world. But in 2017, in Chicago, a new and massive wave of Mothman sightings began that has as yet shown no signs abating.
Beginning in late March 2017, UFO and paranormal researcher and author Lon Strickler found himself tasked with receiving reports of Mothman sightings in the Chicago area. He quickly amassed 40 up-to-the-minute reports and wrote a book about his work, entitled “Mothman Dynasty: Chicago’s Winged Humanoids.”
Strickler admits up front that he is still a long way from answering the lingering questions he shares with the people who reported their experiences.
“What is it?” Strickler asks. “Where is it coming from? Why now? Is there a reason why the sightings are occurring in the general Chicago metro area? This current group of winged humanoid sightings is probably the largest since the Mothman encounters in the vicinity of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during 1966-67. Those sightings have become legendary, namely because the Mothman was seen as a harbinger of catastrophe after the collapse of the Silver Bridge on the evening of December 15, 1967. The bridge spanned the Ohio River between Point Pleasant and Gallipolis, Ohio, and the disaster took the lives of 46 people.”
Strickler quite naturally connected the dots between the Point Pleasant and Chicago sightings.
“There are many opinions as to why these new sightings are occurring,” he told a website called “Mysterious Universe,” “including a general feeling that unfortunate events may be in the city’s future. The witnesses have been very steadfast with what they’ve seen and refuse to embellish on their initial descriptions. Each witness has had a feeling of dread and foreboding, which I believe translates into a warning of some type.”
Interestingly, Strickler says he somewhat regrets making that speculative statement before all the facts were in. While the quote may one day prove to be true, he now feels it is better to let the data and evidence determine what the winged humanoids really are.
“The presence of unknown winged beings,” Strickler writes, “is probably as old as the human imagination. But after reading and listening to hundreds of eyewitness accounts over the past four decades, I have concluded that these beings are much more than fantasy. We’re determined to find the truth.”
BRAD STEIGER ON THE THUNDERBIRD LEGENDS
The renowned journalist of the paranormal, Brad Steiger, is the prolific author of numerous books, such as “Real Visitors, Voices From Beyond and Parallel Dimensions,” as well as the upcoming “Haunted: Malevolent Ghosts, Night Terrors and Threatening Phantoms,” which is due out in September 2018 and is available now for pre-order on Amazon.com. Steiger contributes a pair of chapters to “Weird Winged Wonders,” including one that recounts some of the Thunderbird legends that are a part of Native American culture.
“The Chippewa tribe has a tradition,” Steiger writes, “that, in the time-before-time-began, there existed a bird of supreme majesty that descended to Earth, which was then only a vast expanse of water. The bird’s eyes were fire; its glance was lightning; and the motion of its wings rippled the air with thunder. When its talons touched the water, the Earth Mother arose from the deep waters, bringing with her to the surface all manner of animals.
“Many other Native American tribes,” he continues, “have traditions that tell of birds as agents of creation, and the winged giants became objects of religious ceremony among many of the native people. The journal of an early Roman Catholic priest records that the first time the tribal members of the California mission that he served saw the representation of a dove over the altar, they asked if it was the Christian thunderbird.”
Steiger writes further that for hundreds of years thunderbirds were seen by not only Native Americans but also frontiersmen and settlers. Eventually newspapers began to take these accounts seriously enough to report them.
One example offered by Steiger was from a Bedford, Iowa newspaper in 1887. A man named Lee Corder encountered a flying serpent writhing and twisting, with protruding eyes and a forked tongue. Great scales, which glistened in the sunlight, covered its huge body, which appeared to be flat and nearly a foot in width.
The newspaper account described Corder as a man of “unimpeachable veracity,” and goes on to say that he, and those with him, watched the flying serpent with “awe and astonishment” as the creature landed in a cornfield a few rods distant with a dull thud. The witnesses professed to be so frightened that none of them wished to block its path. It was permitted to pass on its way “unmolested,” and no one attempted to halt its wish to return to the sky.
Three years later, in another Iowa town, Independence, citizens reported seeing a monster with wings, a monstrous head with horns, and a mouth like an alligator’s. Its body was greenish in color and covered with shiny scales; its eyes glared like an electric arc light; and it yelled in a tone that sounded like a combination of the roar of a lion and the scream of a wildcat.
WINGED DRAGONS FROM ANCIENT TIMES
Another author in Timothy Green Beckley’s impressive stable of writers is Tim Swartz, who has authored numerous books for Beckley as well as being featured on the History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” series. For “Weird Winged Wonders,” Swartz has contributed a chapter on Winged Dragons and Other Airborne Oddities.
“Dragons throughout history have both fascinated and terrified people,” Swartz writes. “They are among the most popular and enduring of the world’s mythological creatures. Dragons have a long and rich tradition that continues through to modern times in books, films and television. The dragons in ‘Game of Thrones’ are a good example of how these ancient beasts have thrived in modern pop culture. Scientists say that dragons never existed, yet there are numerous reports of interaction with dragons that cannot be ignored.”
Swartz explains that it’s not clear when or where dragons first emerged. Some scholars speculate that the discovery of fossilized dinosaur bones may have been the genesis of ancient dragon lore. What is known is that practically every society had them in their mythologies. For much of human history, dragons were thought of as being real as well as either useful and protective or harmful and dangerous.
The King James Version of the Old Testament contains at least twenty-two citations for dragons, Swartz informs us. The majority of Old Testament references to dragons are derived from the Hebrew word ‘tanniym’ or ‘tannim.’ This word can mean a jackal, serpent, sea serpent or even a land or sea monster.
Swartz then quotes from the Book of Isaiah, 30:6, which reads, “The burden against the beasts of the South, Through a land of trouble and anguish, From which came the lioness and the lion, The VIPER AND FLYING SERPENT, They will carry their riches on the backs of young donkeys, And their treasures on the humps of camels, To a people who shall not profit.”
Another Old Testament verse, Deuteronomy 32:33, declares that “Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.”
“I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls,” reads Job 30:29.
The Biblical references to winged reptiles depict primarily negative creatures, but there have been more positive interpretations. An ancient apocryphal document called “The Apocalypse of Abraham,” found only in the Slavonic language and dated to the First Century C.E., clearly depicts the serpent which tempted Eve as a winged dragon.
“And they were standing under a tree in Eden,” the document reads, “and the fruit of the tree was like the appearance of a bunch of grapes on the vine. And behind the tree, standing something like a dragon in form, but having hands and feet, just like a man’s, and ON HIS BACK SIX WINGS ON THE RIGHT AND SIX ON THE LEFT. He was holding the grapes of the tree and feeding them to the two I saw entwined with each other.”
Swartz then discusses the idea that flying serpents or dragons are found in the cultures of people throughout history and are usually considered to be benevolent creatures and in some cases are the ancestors of man.
“This is why the European view of the dragon as evil is unique,” Swartz writes. “The evil nature of dragons is prevalent in Jewish literature such as the Mishnah, the part of the Talmud which is the commentary on ethical behavior. Images of dragons are especially frowned upon according to the ancient rules.”
Another scholar of ancient mythology, this time of the Greek persuasion, is writer Hercules Invictus, who provides an excellent overview of winged humanoids who existed among the gods and demigods of Olympus. Creatures in the Greek traditions whose supernatural powers include the ability to take flight on their own enormous wings are more numerous than you might expect and Hercules does an excellent job of cataloging them in “Weird Winged Wonders.”
WEIRD WINGED WONDERS AS COVERED BY A WEALTH OF WRITERS
Timothy Green Beckley has again assembled a wealth of writers, this time to cover various aspects of winged wonders down through history and into our present day. Beckley writes the book’s introductory chapter as well as pieces on the Jersey Devil and winged cats. He also presents the work of several contributors who examine the subject of weird winged wonders from many different angles and present dozens of case histories of winged phenomena, both good and evil.
This article would not be complete without listing them all. They are the aforementioned Tim Swartz, Lon Strickler, Brad Steiger and Hercules Invictus. Also included are Jonathan Whitcomb, Allen Greenfield, Steve Ward, Nomar Slevik, Scott Corrales, Albert Rosales, Paul Dale Roberts and Paul Eno. In the interest of full disclosure, I myself have written a chapter on the Chicago Mothman sightings and the work of Lon Strickler that is included in the book.
“Weird Winged Wonders” is a welcome addition to the literature of the paranormal. The subject of winged creatures in ancient myth and modern folklore is fascinating but often overlooked, and Beckley’s unique ability to carve out a piece of supernatural territory that deserves wider coverage is again on display here. You should avail yourself of the opportunity to educate yourself on the legends of gods and demons who take flight on the wings of mystery.
Available from Amazon.com or Amazon.UK or directly from the publisher – firstname.lastname@example.org