Monarch Butterfly Likely to Blame for Recent 'Mothman' Photo out of Chicago


The Singular Fortean Society was contacted on August 14th by a source out of Chicago wishing to report a suspicious photograph found on social media site Reddit. The photograph, taken of skywriting done over the Lollapalooza music festival, appears to show a weird winged creature captured on accident.

The photograph shared to Reddit.

The photograph shared to Reddit.

The source provided a link to the Reddit thread wherein the photograph was posted, and investigator Tobias Wayland was able to make contact with the photographer.

The photographer confirmed the date and location as August 4th at the intersection of Lyman Street and Throop Street. The "butterfly thing", as described by the photographer, did not appear in any of the other photographs taken of the skywriting.

Emily’s enlargement of the object.

Emily’s enlargement of the object.

Photography analyst Emily Wayland enlarged the photograph, and upon review, the object captured does appear to be a monarch butterfly; most likely a male, based on the presence of pheromone sacs.

It likely flew in front of the camera briefly during the process of taking pictures, and forced perspective makes it appear as a larger object farther away, rather than the smaller object that it is.

This is the latest news in a string of ‘Mothman’ sightings from within a few hundred mile radius surrounding Lake Michigan, including every state bordering the great lake. These sightings ostensibly began in the spring of 2017, but more historical accounts are being reported as more people become aware of the phenomenon. Sightings of weird winged beings around Lake Michigan have been reported at all hours, often in or near a park, and around water. Witnesses consistently describe a large, gray or black 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; 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. Sightings of anomalous avians, including thunderbirds and pterosaurs, are often reported in or near the same locations as those wherein witnesses have reported winged humanoids.

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.

If you enjoyed this article 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.

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