Flying Humanoids over Chicago, with Lon Strickler

By Tobias Wayland

I don’t know what to expect when I call Lon Strickler.  The only thing I know about him is that some of the recent flying humanoid sightings in Chicago are being reported to his website, Phantoms and Monsters, and I’ve been covering this story since the reports started surfacing in April.  The phone rings a few times before a gruff-but-friendly voice answers—it’s Lon.  After a brief introduction, we jump right into it; we have a lot to talk about.

“I don’t really know what people are seeing,” says Lon, right off the bat.

That’s understandable, since the reported sightings defy all reasonable belief.  There have been ten sightings so far in 2017 of a bat-like creature haunting the lakefront area of Chicago, all within just a few miles of Lake Michigan.  The sightings tend to take place in or near parks at night, and whatever this thing is, it never sticks around for long, leaving startled witnesses and upset paradigms in its wake.

Lon doesn’t think the witnesses with whom he’s spoken are making it up.

“These reports have been very specific,” he explains.  “Even when I prodded them to embellish, they wouldn’t.  They haven’t embellished.”

“I don’t think people are imagining it, and they come from all different ranges of lifestyles.”

Separate reports have been sent to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), UFO Clearinghouse, and, of course, Phantoms and Monsters.  Lon tells me he’s been working with UFO Clearinghouse to investigate the sightings, but so far MUFON hasn’t been much help.  

“We’ve been trying to reach them through MUFON,” says Lon.  “Seems MUFON hasn’t been able to interview them as well.”

That doesn’t really bode well for the three sightings reported to MUFON, but I know from experience how difficult it can be to contact witnesses once they’ve submitted a report to the network; often, that’s all the involvement they want in an investigation. 

Lon and the investigators with UFO Clearinghouse have had better luck, though, and the witnesses with whom they spoke seem legitimate.  The stories they’ve told are remarkably consistent, and the proximity and pattern of the sightings are clear and measurable.  Lon says that his analysis of the data that we have makes him suspect that this thing—whatever it is—is moving north along the lakefront into the city and back south again.  That doesn’t explain how it seems to appear and disappear at will, or how more people haven’t seen something described as a 7’-8’ bat-like flying humanoid winging its way around the USA’s third largest city.

“At this point now, with the reports I’ve received, I don’t think it’s natural,” muses Lon.  “I think it’s coming from somewhere else.”

“I think it’s more supernatural than anything.”

Furthermore, Lon believes it’s possible that “people who witness it are predisposed to see it.”

“Certain people can see it, and certain people cannot.”

Lon thinks the creature that he’s calling the ‘Chicago Phantom’ could be multiple beings, or shapeshifting in some way, because witnesses alternate between comparing its appearance to that of an owl or a bat. 

“It could just be that people see things differently, too,” he admits.

It might be interdimensional, says Lon, and he informs me of several strange light effects he feels could be related.  There have been a few unexplained flashes of light reported in the city, and at least one sighting of the creature involves a strange green light over Lake Michigan.  Naturally, there have been a few UFO sightings over Lake Michigan already this year, although that’s not unusual for the area; and Chicago has had its share of UFO sightings over the years, such as the famous saucer seen over O’Hare airport in 2006.  More and more researchers are starting to speculate on an interdimensional origin to UFOs, and it’s not much of a leap from that to attributing the same to the creatures so often associated with them.

One thing is for sure, it’s the largest concentration of flying humanoid sightings since the Mothman phenomenon hit Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in the 1960s.  If you’re familiar with the Mothman case, then you are likely aware that many believe it was a harbinger of the Silver Bridge collapse of 1967.  I ask Lon if he thinks there might be a connection.

“Do I think it’s a harbinger?”

“I’ve talked to two well-known psychics, and they believe that there very well may be a disaster in Chicago,” he says.

“I’m an intuitive, and I pictured a major bridge collapse in 2017.”

Lon admits that he doesn’t know if his prediction is necessarily tied to Chicago, but given the recent sightings, he’s willing to speculate that it could be.

“People who are sensitive have contacted me and believe the sightings are pretty ominous,” continues Lon.  “People I trust and believe have received a vison that something ominous will happen in the future.  The month of August.”

It’s frustrating, he tells me, because predicting a disaster is like "being stuck between a rock and a hard place."  If you’re right, then people suspect you were involved, and if you’re not, then you can expect to be mocked.

“I don’t usually say anything,” he says.  “It really does work on you.”

But he’s saying something now, because he’s certain these sightings are for real; and if there’s a chance this is leading to a disaster in Chicago, then he can’t remain silent.  If you've seen something strange, then I hope you'll show the same courage and come forward.  

To report a sighting, contact Lon Strickler at, or call him directly at 410-241-5974.  

You can also find an interactive map of the sightings at Phantoms and Monsters here, and if you'd like to listen to a plethora of paranormal talk radio, then tune into Arcane Radio.