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 early 1980s. In addition, a report of two red lights similar to some descriptions of the creature's eyes were reported several miles southeast of Chicago in Indiana in the midst of the 2017 flap. 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:
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
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
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
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; a sighting that would be repeated in August of 2016. LB; 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 sees a dark, grayish “prehistoric bird” with smooth, leathery skin for the second time. 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. LB; 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 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
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
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.
UE (Unexplained): These sightings are unexplained, either due to insufficient information, the potentially paranormal nature of the events described, or both—they represent the best likelihood of a Mothman-like entity.
PH (Potential Hoax): These sightings are the likeliest to have been deliberate hoaxes—the information given has been proven to contradict verifiable facts.
P&M (Phantoms and Monsters): These sightings were received/investigated by Lon Strickler of Phantoms and Monsters.
UFOCH (UFO Clearinghouse): These sightings were received/investigated by Manuel Navarette of UFO Clearinghouse.
TSFS (The Singular Fortean Society): These sightings were received/investigated by Tobias and Emily Wayland of the Singular Fortean Society.
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.
If you enjoy these articles and would like to support the Singular Fortean Society, please consider becoming an official member by signing up through our Patreon page—membership includes a ton of extra content and behind-the-scenes access to the Society’s inner workings.