'Bat-like' Flying Creature Photographed in Chicago's Pilsen Neighborhood

A still image from the video. The circled portion shows the ‘creature’ captured on film.

A still image from the video. The circled portion shows the ‘creature’ captured on film.

Lon Strickler of Phantoms and Monsters received an emailed report today from a witness who said he saw a creature with "bat-like" wings flying over Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9th.

Hi Lon,

I hope this finds you well. I am attaching a few photos I have from a GoPro that I use on my way to work. I use a time lapse to both save memory and it makes longer bike rides easier to digest. The first photo is when I was first alerted to this a large, winged creature gliding in the sky. I was riding my bike to work and this frame was taken approx. 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, May 9 while I was stopped at a red light at Loomis/18th/Blue Island. I was heading south on Loomis. There was a strong headwind coming from the south and I recall fixating my gaze on the two flags above the library. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a man point up to the sky. At that moment I look to the area he is pointing and see what I refer to as the “batman”. There wasn’t much to report other than this creature was gliding the entire time I saw it, and maybe only saw it bend its wings half way.

I was not sure how long my visual would last, so I did my best of just holding my camera (which is a GoPro attached to my bike helmet) in the general area. At a later point, I do change to a live video and while this is happening, I am physically able to see the creature fly, however it did not catch on my GoPro. Another note of the GoPro is that it is taken from a wide angle and everything is much further than what it appears. The other pictures I am including are the best stills I was able to retrieve from the time lapse, the very first time I can tell I capture the winged being on video, and I also have included a size comparison of the being as a plane passes in the distance. Again, everything is unfortunately pretty underwhelming and small due to the camera I was using.

I did not stop to talk to any witnesses or point out the sighting to anyone near by. Mostly because I wanted to keep trying to keep the creature in view and I was also running late to work. There were no overwhelming emotion, other than slight amazement. A little background, I found your website late last summer during the peak of the batman sightings from last year. I mostly found it interesting so many different people claimed to see something otherwise inexplicable. I myself still don’t know what to make of it. I would be more than happy to let you rip the original copy. I think it is too large to send via email. I am free to discuss this sighting further.

Strickler said that he was able to speak to the witness about his experience.

"I talked to the witness by telephone," Strickler said.  "He stated that the size was about 6-7 ft. in length and a wingspan of at least 10 ft. The wings appeared to by bat-like in shape and structure. He also stated that there were seagulls and other birds flying around it, but were so small in comparison that these were not seen in the images."

The photograph featured at the top of the article is an enhanced portion of just one of several photos sent to Strickler--the remaining photos have not yet been cleared for release, but this article will be updated with them as soon as they are.  The Singular Fortean Society has contacted the witness to confirm the details of the sighting, and will update this article with the results of that inquiry when they are available.

The flying creature in the witness's photographs bears a strong resemblance to both the photo taken in Melrose Park last August, and those taken this past March by investigator Vance Nesbitt.  The witness in Melrose Park described what she had photographed as a "large black bat," while Nesbitt insisted that what he had seen was an enormous bird.

The "bat-like" flying creature over Morgan Park.

The "bat-like" flying creature over Morgan Park.

The Melrose Park "bat."

The Melrose Park "bat."

Nesbitt's enormous bird.

Nesbitt's enormous bird.

Pilsen is only a few miles west of Lake Michigan near Chicago's south side.  It is surrounded by neighborhoods out of which have come strange flying creature reports, including Little Village to the west and River North to the north; both of which are only a few miles away.

Update 5/11/18: In an emailed response, the witness said that he would describe the thing he saw as closer to "someone in a wing suit."

"When Lon asked me to describe the being, I didn't have a good description at the time," he said.  "The only thing that comes to mind now is someone in a wing suit."

Update 5/12/18: Investigator Tobias Wayland was able to speak to the witness over the phone.  He confirmed the sighting details reported earlier.  When asked to compare what he had seen to images of birds in flight, he said that it most closely resembled a heron, but that his impression in the moment was of a large bat or someone in a wing suit.  He has offered to send the Singular Fortean Society the chip containing the raw footage shot by his GoPro camera, and this article will be updated with images from that as soon as they are available.

Update 6/20/18: More photos recovered from the video would seem to show that the creature was some type of bird; although ultimately it has not been conclusively identified.

This is the latest news in a string of flying creature sightings reported around Lake Michigan.  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.  Many of the sightings are also 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