Fortean Photography: Chicago 2011 Flying Humanoid Sighting


Earlier this month, we took a look at a couple of photographs related to the recent Chicago flying humanoid sightings. Photographs of flying humanoids are rare, so we’re examining every one we can get our hands on; like this picture taken in Chicago in 2011.


There were actually three sightings in 2011, and one of these sightings occurred when a man was taking a photograph of a local landmark, and happened to capture a flying figure in the image to the left of the statue. The man had just been testing out his new smartphone, and did not notice the odd figure in the sky until he went home and looked at his phone’s camera roll to review the images.

In the spirit of things, why not examine this photograph as well?

The best quality photo I found online was posted on Phantoms and Monsters at 902 x 1600 pixels. The image resolution was 72 dots per inch (dpi), which is standard web quality. For reference, a high-quality image able to go to print is preferred to be at least 300 dpi.

As far as the metadata goes, there is no information. This image was either compressed by social media or has been reformatted so many times from the original that there is no information available. Photoshop can usually tell you if the image has been uploaded to Facebook. Although, the image size in pixels is a realistic size for a smart phone six years ago.

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Zooming in, I can already tell that this image is going to be more difficult to analyze than the two photos captured so far this year. The quality is just not there. I zoomed in three times and each time I did notice that the pixel quality of the figure is very similar to that of the rest of the image. There is a slight white edge around the figure but it isn’t distinct enough for me to think that it was photoshopped. This could be image compression or the smart phone’s camera attempting to pick up all the details which can cause slight imperfections such as this. There is some variation in the space surrounding the figure, but the figure is also over clouds so I think this is simply variation in the cloud cover

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I did also find an enlargement of this image online that must have been rendered from a much higher-quality image than the one I found.


This enlargement is foggy and blurry, but no square pixels are apparent here. In looking at this one I can see a slight white halo around the object, but the edge is very fine and soft. This can occasionally occur when cutting out an object and feathering the edge so it doesn’t appear jagged. With an object this small it is unlikely to see any treatment of the edge, feathered or simply cut out. The pixels aren’t different enough for me to rule it a hoax, either.  I’d love to be able to say I believe this image is authentic, but given my resources I cannot make any claims. However, based on what I was able to analyze, I would lean towards the idea that this image is real and not a hoax.

Maybe more images will come out of this flap, and maybe not; but if they do, we will be ready.

Unusually Yours,




Tobias Wayland