'Flying Tar Man' Sighting in Rockford Strikingly Similar to Report of 'Deerbat' from Same Year


Lon Strickler of Phantoms & Monsters recently received a report bearing a striking similarity to one taken by The Singular Fortean Society in August of 2017. The report received by Strickler described an encounter with a large, black flying creature on a country lane outside of Rockford, Illinois in the summer of 2010—the same approximate time and location of the "totally black...big thing with big wings" described to The Singular Fortean Society last year.

I just found out about the flying humanoid sightings around Chicago. In fact, I'm going to get the book and see if there is anything related to what I encountered in the summer of 2010.

This took place in northern Illinois, not far from Rockford. My friend and I were just riding around in my car. As the day continued we decided to head out towards the country backroads. We were both 17 and this was the summer before our senior year in high school.

We had been riding around for several hours at night, and around 10PM we are on a gravel road I wasn't familiar with. It was a location that had lots of farmland all around and a few houses here and there. We were talking while I'm speeding along this gravel road. There was no drinking or drugs involved. The corn on both sides of the road was high.

I looked ahead and noticed that the road was about to dip, so I slow back. As I approached the dip, I could see the corn shaking to the right of me as the headlight hit it. We both stopped talking as we watched the corn. I thought it was probably deer about to sprint out onto the road, so I slowed down to a crawl. The corn was now shaking violently. We're staring at the corn waiting for the deer to jump out.

Then all of a sudden, the corn literally parts open just to the right of us. This 'thing' steps out. It was the size of a large man and all black. As it walked out of the corn it was well illuminated by my headlights. It leaped and opened these huge set of wings, and instantly went airborne. It quickly flew right in front of my car and swooped up into the air as it reached the other side of the road. I swear, the first thing that came to my mind was the 'Jeepers Creepers' monster! I didn't see any facial features, but the wings were very wide and looked like that of a giant bat!

I floored the gas pedal. My friend was yelling to get out of there! I drove as fast as I could, trying to maintain control on the gravel surface. We drove for a good 5 minutes before saying a word. The whole time we're looking around us, hoping that thing wasn't chasing us. We began to calm down and soon ended up on a road I knew.

As I thought about it, that thing looked like it was covered in shiny black tar. It had a weird sheen to it. The fact that it accelerated into flight so quickly had me stumped. My friend and I talked about it through our entire senior year and never did have a clue as to what we saw. We referred to it as the 'Flying Tar Man.' We didn't dare tell anyone else at school. I recently told my wife about it, but she's a skeptic and doesn't believe in the supernatural.

Anyway, after I heard about the sightings around Chicago, I figured I'd track you down and write about it. I live in Texas currently. Thanks for reading. Curt.

Strickler was able to contact the witness—who said his first name was Curt—via telephone on October 23rd.

"I called Curt today to discuss the incident," Strickler said. "This occurred in Winnebago County, north of Rockford, Illinois on a gravel farm road off of Rt. 70. He said he believes it was somewhere near Wempletown."

Wempletown is roughly 10 miles northwest of the sighting reported in 2017 to The Singular Fortean Society.

The two sighting reports have many similarities; including the creature's description, time period in which the sighting took place, and even a comparison made by the witnesses to the iconic monster of horror movie franchise Jeepers Creepers.

Attributes of both sightings are also common to the flap of sightings that took place in Chicago and around Lake Michigan in 2017 and 2018, along with the historical sightings that emerged as a result of that flap’s popularity.

"The description is similar to the winged humanoids reported to us in 2017," Strickler continued. "[Curt] told me that the height was about 6 foot, and that the body was very thin. He estimated that the wing span was about 15 foot. He also said that it definitely had arms and legs. The 'Jeepers Creepers' reference was also used by several witnesses from the Chicago area as well."

It should be noted that, while the report sent to Strickler may have come as a result of the more recent sightings, the witness to whom The Singular Fortean Society spoke had originally posted his story online in 2015.

Strickler was also able to verify certain details about Curt that, when matched up with details of the witness who reported the case investigated by The Singular Fortean Society, make it unlikely that they are the same person or even involved with each other in any way.

This string of flying creature sightings in the states surrounding Lake Michigan ostensibly began in the spring of 2017, but more historical accounts are being reported as more people become aware of the phenomenon.  Most of the sightings have taken place near the lakefront in Chicago within a few miles of Lake Michigan, although there are some reports coming from the suburbs surrounding Chicago and even farther afield.  The sightings generally take place in the evening or at night, often in or near a park, and around water.  Witnesses consistently describe a large, bat or bird-like creature—although in a small number of cases the creature was described as insect-like—and humanoid features such as arms and legs are often reported. In some cases witnesses have reported glowing, red eyes and an intense feeling of fear. Many of the sightings are of something seen only briefly or are described only as a flying creature with few details, which leaves open the possibility that a large bird or bird-like being could explain some encounters. 

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

You can view a timeline of the sightings so far here, and an interactive map here.

Tobias Wayland