Report of 'Red-Eyed Gargoyle' from 1999 is Latest in Slew of Historical Reports to Come out of Rockford


Lon Strickler of Phantoms and Monsters recently received a phone call from a woman in Rockford, Illinois, who said that in 1999 she witnessed a flying, red-eyed “gargoyle,” along with her husband and a girlfriend.

"The incident occurred during the summer, in the early evening when there was a full moon. The trio was relaxing on the friend's front porch, which was located on Willard Ave. W, near Auburn High School and Cottonwood Airport in Rockford, Illinois," said Strickler of the group's experience.

"During a conversation, the friend stopped talking and began to stare across the street," he continued. "[The witness] looked in the same direction, and noticed a dark gray winged humanoid slowly flying near a large tree. [She] stated that it seemed like the being 'was in slow motion' as it glided toward the tree. The friend said 'do you see that?' The witnesses were close enough to notice that it had small cat-like ears and intense red eyes. There were no other facial features visible. It was quite muscular throughout the body and had two defined legs, and had arms that attached to the wings."

"She stated that the winged humanoid was seven feet in length with a wide wing span. The wings were like those of a bat with a leather-like membrane," Strickler explained. "Apparently the being perched in the tree, but again took flight. This is when [the witness's] husband took notice. The winged being was gliding towards a pair of large pine trees, as its legs were 'kicking up and down' while in flight."

"The being flew between the 2 pine trees, and then suddenly 'vanished.' [The witness] said 'gargoyle,' and her friend acknowledged 'yes, a gargoyle," he said.

"After the incident, [the witness] stated that they seemed to have forgotten the encounter until a year later when she asked her friend if she remembered the sighting. Her friend said she had, but had also forgotten the incident," added Strickler.

Similarly to other sightings, the witness was led to make a report after seeing that others had already come forward with their experiences.

"[The witness's] son told her about the recent reports and suggested she call me," Strickler said. "He was also aware of the winged humanoid sightings in the Chicago area."

The Singular Fortean Society was able to contact the witness by phone, and she repeated the story told to Strickler with no variation or embellishment.

The witness did add that a friend of hers had told her, after hearing her story, that she had once seen a “big bat” hanging upside down from a tree near Rockford’s Nelson Bridge.

Ultimately, the witness was unsure of exactly what she had seen in 1999.

“People ask me if it could have been a demon,” she said. “I don’t know. I don’t know what I saw, but I’ll never forget it.”

Three other historical reports and one more modern one have emerged out of Rockford since last year; including one from 2004, two from 2010, and one from 2017. A similar report came from just 60 miles north of Rockford in Mukwonago, Wisconsin in 2017.

Rockford is about 75 miles northwest of Chicago’s downtown and 60 miles west of Lake Michigan.

This is the latest in a string of flying creature sightings around Lake Michigan that 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 in every state bordering the great lake.  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—sometimes with glowing or reflective red, yellow, or orange eyes; humanoid features such as arms and legs are often reported. The word gargoyle is sometimes used to describe the creature. 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.

An interactive map of the sightings is available here.