Singular Cerebrations: Of Mice and Mothmen
Raise your hand if you've heard the term 'flying humanoid' before. Go ahead, do it; just on the off chance that someone else is reading this at the same time as you, and you can turn that hand raise into a high five. If you have, and especially if you use it, then there's a good chance we can be friends.
There's been a flap of flying humanoid sightings in Chicago in 2017, eight sightings so far at the time of this writing. Witnesses report a large bat or owl-like creature, sometimes with glowing red or orange eyes, and usually evoking a sense of dread from those who see it. It's said to be generally man-shaped, between five and six feet tall, with a ten foot wingspan where a person's arms would be. Whatever this thing is, it loves to come out between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m., and it never sticks around for very long.
For those of you with a little fortean knowledge, this description will sound very familiar. You'll likely think immediately of Point Pleasant, West Virginia's famous Mothman. And who could blame you? The descriptions are nearly identical. Of course, it didn't take long for every paranormal news source--reputable or not--to make the connection and file this flap under 'Chicago's Mothman.' For what it's worth, I think they could be connected. But we've got to stop calling every single flying humanoid that buzzes passersby a mothman, and here's why: there's no such thing.
Point Pleasant's Mothman was named by a copywriter for the local paper who couldn't think of anything more clever than that, since Batman had already been taken. The creature the locals described wasn't particularly moth-like, and it didn't behave like any man I've ever met. But it was a flying humanoid. Unlike mothmen, flying humanoids certainly do seem to be a thing, and I think there's a chance that a flying humanoid could have been responsible for plaguing Point Pleasant 50 years ago.
You see, language is important. As long as we couch this creature in the language of mythology, we relegate its study and the stories told by those who've seen it to the realm of myths and legends. We need to strive for accuracy over entertainment, and if we're being accurate then we need to admit that nobody has ever seen a mothman--but it appears quite a few have seen flying humanoids.
Yours in Impossibility,