A Timeline of the Lake Michigan Mothman Sightings So Far

There have been dozens of reported sightings of large, flying creatures in the Chicago and greater Illinois area—as well as Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin—dating as far back as the late 1960s. These sightings have been reported out of chronological order, so we've put together a timeline of the reports with links to the articles that describe them, in order to help you contextualize the sightings.  

One witness came forward with her own timeline of personal sightings, ranging from 1970 through 2017, available here.

A man in Indiana near the Prairie Creek Reservoir has also spoken to the Singular Fortean Society about a series of glowing orb sightings from 1981 to 2016 that could be related to the Lake Michigan Mothman phenomenon.

The current timeline:

  • October 27th, 1969—A young child is abducted from his home for an indeterminate amount of time by a “tall, winged humanoid” before being returned. UE; P&M

  • Mid-June, 1976—A man’s vehicle is attacked by a winged “black figure” with “glowing red eyes” in Waukegan, Illinois. UE; TSFS

  • 1981—A 13-year-old has an intense psychic encounter with a red-eyed winged being in Cicero, Illinois. UE; P&M

  • 1987—A man in rural Indiana sees a "human-like" flying creature with "glowing red eyes" that sparks a decades-long series of encounters. UE; TSFS

  • 1997—Separate witnesses encounter frightening winged gargoyles in Rock Island and Naperville, Illinois. UE; P&M

  • 1999—A woman, along with her husband and a girlfriend, witnesses a flying, red-eyed “gargoyle” in Rockford, Illinois. UE; P&M/TSFS

  • Summer of 2000—Two friends are surprised by a weird, winged entity at the Goshen Dam in Indiana. UE; P&M

  • June 21st, 2001—A witness and two friends see a "man with wings" flying over the Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee. UE; P&M

  • Summer of 2003—A young woman and her friend see an “owlman” outside the window of her house in Alsip, Illinois.

  • 2004—A 12-year-old boy and his friends see a winged man “all in black” near Panther Creek in Auburn, Illinois. UE; P&M

  • August of 2004—A woman sees an "all black…man with huge bat-like wings" fly over the park near her home in Rockford, Illinois. LB; P&M

  • July of 2006—A woman and her family see a "man with bat-like features" flying near their vehicle while driving in southern Wisconsin. UE; P&M

  • Summer of 2007—Two friends see a flying humanoid with “glowing yellow-ish eyes” at Prairie Creek Reservoir in Indiana. UE; P&M

  • Early spring 2010—A man sees a “four-and-a-half-foot dark-colored entity perched on the peak of his neighbor's roof.” UE; P&M

  • Late summer of 2010—Two teens see a winged "deerbat" while driving outside of Rockford, Illinois; a second sighting of something described as a “flying tar man” took place nearby around the same time. UE; TSFS/P&M

  • 2011—A suspicious winged entity is captured on camera, two roommates and their friends are terrorized by glowing eyes peeking through their window, and a college student sees a "man with wings." UE; UFOCH

  • Winter of 2011—A woman sees a flying humanoid with “greenish yellowish-like eyes” while driving near the Prairie Creek Reservoir in Indiana. UE; P&M

  • Summer of 2012—A witness driving towards the Indianapolis International Airport in Indiana almost collides with a “bat-like” being with “little red eyes.” UE; P&M

  • 2014—A man comes home from work to find a "Mothman-type insectoid" staring at his apartment building. UE; P&M

  • August of 2015—A man driving in Gary, Indiana sees a dark, grayish “prehistoric bird” with smooth, leathery skin. LB; TSFS

  • April 20th, 2016—A woman sees a hulking, hunched-over, winged being across the street as she takes the garbage out that morning. UE; TSFS

  • Early summer 2016—A woman sees a “prehistoric bird” after dropping her kids off at school in Gary, Indiana. LB; P&M/TSFS

  • August of 2016—A man sees a large, winged humanoid perched on a lamppost in Cicero. UE; P&M

  • August of 2016—A man driving in Gary, Indiana has his second sighting of a dark, grayish “prehistoric bird” with smooth, leathery skin. LB; TSFS

  • Late September of 2016—A woman sees a "man-like" being with "pterodactyl-like" wings gliding across a highway outside of Whitewater, Wisconsin. LB; P&M

  • Mid-November of 2016—A man and his son see a large, dark flying humanoid while duck hunting in West Alton, Missouri. UE; P&M

  • February 8th, 2017—A man driving on interstate 294 sees what he thinks is a person turn into a large black bird. LB; P&M

  • March 16th, 2017—A witness encounters a large, winged being perched on top of a roof in the Tinley Park suburb of Chicago. LB; P&M

  • March 22nd, 2017—A semi truck driver reports strange medical maladies after spotting a flying humanoid soaring over a Chicago expressway. UE; P&M

  • April 10th, 2017—A woman walking her dog in Chicago's Oz Park runs into a paralyzing winged being. UE; UFOCH

  • Mid-April 2017—A man sees a humanoid "bat-dragon" near Mukwonago, Wisconsin. UE; P&M/TSFS

  • April 15th and April 16th, 2017—Three separate witnesses report seeing an unidentified flying humanoid over Chicago. LB, PH; MUFON

  • April 27th, 2017—A man fishing with his son on the banks of the Little Calumet in Chicago sees a weird winged being after hearing an eerie, unexplained sound. LB; UFOCH

  • May 5th, 2017—A man and his son see a bat-like creature while out walking in Calumet Park. LB; UFOCH

  • Within a week of the May 5th sighting—A family walking along the riverfront sees a flying humanoid cross over the William P. Fahey bridge. LB; UFOCH

  • May 19th, 2017—A group of friends see two giant bats perform aerial maneuvers near Adler Planetarium. LB; P&M

  • May 27th, 2017—A married couple witnesses a large, black, bat-like creature with glowing red eyes near the intersection of North Wrightwood Avenue and North Lakeview Avenue. UE; UFOCH

  • Also on May 27th, 2017—A woman and her boyfriend see a "large black flying man with wings" near 127th St. & Ashland Ave. LB; P&M

  • June 3rd, 2017—Two different couples see a large, bat-like flying humanoid in the Lincoln Park area. UE; P&M/UFOCH

  • June 17th, 2017—A jogger near the Navy Pier sees an enormous bat take wing and fly towards the water treatment plant. LB; UFOCH

  • June 23rd, 2017—A couple, along with a crowd of people, sees a large, black, bat-like creature with humanoid features near the Adler Planetarium. A second report received in early July confirms the sighting details of this report. LB; P&M

  • June 29th, 2017—A police officer, along with the officer's partner and a group of civilians, sees a "dark black shadow with wings" standing atop a building before taking flight in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood of Chicago. An aspiring journalist later comes forward to corroborate the officer's story. PH; UFOCH

  • June 30th, 2017—A security person taking a break outside of The Owl sees a bat-like humanoid flying over an empty lot across the street. LB; P&M

  • July 1st, 2017—A witness sees two strange, red lights in a golf course that closely resemble reports of the flying humanoid's glowing eyes. UE; P&M

  • July 20th, 2017—A car full of friends on Lake Shore Drive sees a "giant flying bat." LB; UFOCH

  • July 24th, 2017—A man sees an insect-like flying humanoid take flight from near the top of Willis Tower. LB; P&M

  • July 27th, 2017—A person headed home from work sees a large, bat-like creature perched atop a light pole. UE; UFOCH

  • July 29th, 2017—Two friends see a "huge black shape" gliding over the Albany Park/Lincoln Square area. LB; UFOCH

  • August 1st, 2017—A witness sees a flying humanoid over Elgin, Illinois. LB; UFOCH

  • August 2nd, 2017—A woman and her son are terrified by a "tall, dark humanoid" with membranous wings seen in a park near their home in Bolingbrook, Illinois. UE; P&M

  • August 4th, 2017—A woman and her husband photograph a "giant bat" in Melrose Park. On the same day, a witness walking with their children sees a similar creature in River Forest. LB; UFOCH/MUFON

  • August 6th, 2017—Two concertgoers see a bat-like flying humanoid with glowing red eyes in Grant Park following the Chicago Lollapalooza. UE; UFOCH

  • August 9th, 2017—A couple are startled by a "large winged being...with bright red eyes" flying over Lake Shore Drive. UE; P&M

  • August 10th, 2017—A city employee sees a "giant owl" flying off of Chicago's Ohio Street Beach. LB; UFOCH

  • August 21st, 2017—A woman and her friends see a "large black bat" with "humanoid features" in Chicago just prior to the solar eclipse. LB; UFOCH

  • August 21st, 2017—A second sighting of a shadowy flying humanoid occurs in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. LB; P&M

  • August 22nd, 2017—A truck driver sees a large winged being with "thick glistening hair" flying over the Chicago suburb of McCook. UE; P&M

  • August 22nd, 2017—A monstrous bat with a 12' wingspan is seen in the same area of McCook as the truck driver's sighting from the same day. LB; P&M

  • August 22nd, 2017—A bat-like "flying Mothman" is seen over Pulaski Road in Chicago. LB; TSFS

  • August 27th, 2017—A retired police officer sees a "dark gargoyle" with red eyes in the Forest Park neighborhood. UE; P&M

  • August 28th, 2017—A delivery driver sees a "large man with wings" flying over the same area of McCook as the sightings reported on August 22nd. LB; P&M

  • August 29th, 2017—An avid bird watcher sees a "huge flying shadow" over a forest preserve near La Grange Park, a suburb west of Chicago. LB; P&M

  • Late summer, 2017—A woman in Rockford, Illinois sees a “tall and dark” humanoid with huge wings take flight from a neighbor’s yard about a block away. UE; P&M

  • September 7th, 2017—A family visiting Lincoln Park Zoo sees a "large creature with a giant set of wings" fly over them. LB; UFOCH

  • September 9th, 2017—A group of friends sees a "black demon with large wings" in Chicago's Little Village. UE; UFOCH

  • September 10th, 2017—Two witnesses see an unknown being gliding across the sky several miles away from each other in the Avalon Park and Douglas neighborhoods of Chicago. LB; P&M

  • September 11th, 2017—A woman sees a "huge bat-like being" circling buildings over Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood. LB; P&M

  • September 12th, 2017—A woman walking home from work sees a "black devil" in Chicago's Little Village. UE; UFOCH

  • September 16th, 2017—A pair of siblings are terrified by a bat-like creature in the Little Village. LB; UFOCH

  • mid-September, 2017—A man preparing for work in Michigan sees a large, winged being perched atop his neighbor's roof. LB; P&M

  • September 23rd, 2017—A man and his friends see a "large bird-like entity" over Chicago's DuSable Harbor. LB; P&M

  • September 24th, 2017—A family on their way home from mass sees a red-eyed, winged "goblin" that gave off of a "strong sense of evil." UE; UFOCH

  • September 26th, 2017—A nightclub performer sees a "man-bat" crouched on top of a light pole in Chicago's West Lakeview. UE; P&M

  • September 26th, 2017—A woman and her son see a "monster bat" in their backyard, before it flies off. UE; P&M

  • October 7th, 2017—A witness sees a large, winged being flying in the River North neighborhood. LB; P&M

  • October 27th, 2017—A couple is accosted by a "man-sized" flying humanoid while sitting in a car at Piotrowski Park. UE; UFOCH

  • January 27th, 2018—A man sees a creature similar to the "weird hybrid mix of an owl and a bat" seen the next day in Wilmington. LB; P&M

  • January 28th, 2018—A woman sees a "weird hybrid mix of an owl and a bat" outside of her home in Wilmington. LB; P&M

  • February 2nd, 2018—Three witnesses report a "tall man" with a "very large black pair of wings," and glowing, "ruby red" eyes in Oak Park. UE; UFOCH

  • February 15th, 2018—A man leaving a truck stop near the Wisconsin/Illinois border sees a "giant, skinny man with a large pair of wings and red eyes." UE; UFOCH

  • March 29th, 2018—An investigator photographs an "enormous" bird 40 miles west of Chicago. LB; P&M

  • April 10th, 2018—A woman sees a winged creature with "bat-like" wings near Oak Park. LB; P&M

  • April 10th, 2018—Two witnesses see an "owl man" on Chicago's south side. LB; P&M

  • April 12th, 2018—Two elderly women witness a dark winged being vanish in West Lakeview. UE; P&M

  • April 13th, 2018—A couple in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are terrified by a bat-like flying humanoid with "large glowing red eyes." UE; P&M/TSFS

  • May 1st, 2018—A man's parents see a "large winged humanoid" flying above the trees behind their home in Wheeling, Illinois. LB; P&M

  • May 9th, 2018—A man on his way to work captures a "bat-like" flying creature on his GoPro camera; he later describes it as "someone in a wing suit." LB; P&M/TSFS

  • June 25th, 2018—Video of a “large flying creature” is captured on home security camera in Rantoul, Illinois. LB; P&M/TSFS

  • August, 2018—Investigator Mark Hagan twice sees a “bat-like creature” with glowing red eyes near Hammond, Indiana.

  • Late September, 2018—A man and his family see a flying creature with the body of a “large monkey” and wings “similar to bat wings” from their porch in Gary, Indiana. LB; P&M

  • October 26th, 2018—A married couple sees a winged humanoid resembling a “large owl” in Alsip, Illinois. UE; UFOCH

  • December 26th, 2018—A man driving with his wife near Prairie Creek Reservoir in Indiana sees a “bat-like” flying humanoid with “an obvious face.” UE; P&M

  • January 19th, 2019—A man narrowly avoids colliding with a four-to-five-foot-tall “grayish” creature with “large wings…similar to bat wings” while driving in Gary, Indiana. LB; P&M

  • February 22nd, 2019—A man in Woodstock, Illinois sees a large, winged being “covered in dark fur” illuminated by the headlights of his car as the being crosses the street in front of him. UE; P&M/TSFS

  • February 25th, 2019—A woman driving to work near Darien, Wisconsin is terrified by a near-miss with what she called a “flying witch”. UE; P&M/TSFS

  • February 28th, 2019—A man outside of the Jewel-Osco in Woodstock, Illinois, sees an "unusual being" with wings and "bright green eyes" charge at him from the McHenry County Fairgrounds. UE; TSFS

  • March 6th, 2019—A woman is awoken in the early morning hours by a “sinister” and “monster-like” growling outside of her home in Woodstock, Illinois. UE; TSFS

  • March 7th, 2019—A woman driving in Woodstock, Illinois is startled to see an “extremely tall” being with “fur and wings” run in front of her car. UE; P&M

  • April 12th, 2019—Ghost hunter Craig Nehring collides with a “miniature mothman” while driving his semi truck near Wittenberg, Wisconsin. UE; TSFS

  • July 5th, 2019—A witness sees a “pterosaur” while driving home in Wheaton, Illinois. LB; P&M

  • Late September, 2019—A woman sees a toddler-sized “bat creature…running like a gorilla” across Meadow Hill Road near Barrington, Illinois. UE; P&M

  • October 5th, 2019—A ride-share driver sees a "tall creature" with "bright red eyes" and "large wings” near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. UE; MUFON, P&M


  1. LB (Large Birds): These sightings are the most likely to be a misidentified modern avian species or potentially anomalous large birds—think owls, herons, and cranes; or even pterosaurs and thunderbirds.

  2. UE (Unexplained): These sightings are unexplained—they are potentially paranormal according to the nature of the events described and the evidence currently available, and represent the best likelihood of a Mothman-like entity.

  3. PH (Potential Hoax): These sightings are the likeliest to have been deliberate hoaxes—the information given has been proven to contradict verifiable facts.

  4. P&M (Phantoms and Monsters): These sightings were received/investigated by Lon Strickler of Phantoms and Monsters.

  5. UFOCH (UFO Clearinghouse): These sightings were received/investigated by Manuel Navarette of UFO Clearinghouse.

  6. TSFS (The Singular Fortean Society): These sightings were received/investigated by Tobias and Emily Wayland of the Singular Fortean Society.

  7. MUFON (The Mutual UFO Network): These sightings were received/investigated by field investigators with the Mutual UFO Network.

To report a sighting, reach out to us directly at The Singular Fortean Society through our contact page.

An interactive map of the sightings is available here.

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