Tag Archives: small town monsters

252 – Terror In The Skies: Hunting Thunderbirds & Truth With Seth Breedlove

My skeptical take on the Chicagoland Mothman flap has confounded some, but thankfully Seth Breedlove from Small Town Monsters decided to include an interview with me in his new film anyway. Entitled Terror in the Skies, the documentary explores historic and contemporary reports of winged weirdies over Illinois. At the time of this writing, Terror in the Skies has recently become the # 1 documentary film new release on Amazon Prime.

So why did Seth include me in his newest movie? I definitely should have asked him that question! We’ll maybe because he understands that I’m not actually a noisy negativist, as we joke about in this interview. Maybe he understands that I really care about the advancement of the paranormal field and that’s why my expectations are high.

I do expect investigators to check witness statements against basic facts. Far from excluding the incredible, vetting witness reserves an important a place for the truth, above and beyond the everyday muck. If every claim is treated the same and given the same importance, you’ve uncovered nothing but mud. It becomes nearly impossible to tell what is real and what is a hoax.

If something truly incredible has occurred, you better believe those who protect the status quo will try to hide it in plain sight. Just how do they do that? Disinformation.

Authentic phenomena may have occurred during this Chicagoland Mothman flap, but how will we ever know? How will we ever find the proverbial needle in the haystack, if the haystack itself is entirely constructed of momentarily convincing replicas, but ultimately fake needles?

Seeking an authentic needle in a haystack of convincing look-alikes? Good luck! It’s a mess!

That’s how disinformation works. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It’s effective. And it may be what has occurred here.

Perhaps most telling is that not one supposed witness to the Chicagoland Mothman came forward to be interviewed for Terror in the Skies. Elsewhere in the film witnesses share testimony about Thunderbird sightings. Even so many years later, several witnesses still participated in Small Town Monsters’ Mothman of Point Pleasant, appearing on-camera to contributing their eye-witnesses statements. It bears remembering that over 100 witnesses bravely attested publicly to their encounters during the original 1966-67 flap.

So what could that one true anomaly in this mess of the Lake Michigan Mothman saga have been? What might at least one of the reported witnesses actually have seen?

Nearly 20 years ago I interviewed Wisconsin witnesses reporting encounters with strange creatures with impossibly large wingspans. Is history repeating itself? Might these manifestations follow a cyclical pattern? Is there a migratory route that spans Illinois, Wisconsin, and other states.

This certainly comes up in our conversation with Seth in several instances. For example, we discuss the 1977 Marlon Lowe Lawndale, IL case as well as a very similar newspaper report from 1909 in St. Charles, IL. In both cases, birds of unusual size attempt to carry away unsuspecting children playing just outside their homes.

The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin), May 3, 1909

Another example hits even closer to home. Kevin Walkowski, my very own cousin and Mike’s godfather had his own sighting in 1988. I interviewed him and contributed his story to several books including Weird Wisconsin. Kevin’s description which compared the wingspan of this massive bird to a Piper Cub plane still resonates in my memory and was echoed in a witness statement from the Illinois Big Bird flap of 1948 featured in Terror in the Skies.

Belvidere Daily Republican, April 26, 1948
Kevin Walkowski describes the size of a possible Thunderbird he spotted in the skies over Brookfield, WI in 1988. We recorded his recollections on video in 2015. I plan to make the full video available on at http://www.youtube.com/mothman. Subscribe to get a notification.

In fact, tales of such anomalies extend into the prehistory of the Midwest and can still be seen in petroglyphs and vibrant tribal traditions. Something strange flies in Midwestern skies. Keep your eyes on the skies and those patterns that repeat throughout history and we may just uncover something authentic yet extraordinary.

Watch me and Troy Taylor in Terror in the Skies. Listen to this episode. Then visit me, Mike, and Wendy Lynn at Troy Taylor’s Haunted America Conference this weekend. As usual, Mike and Wendy will be bringing the paranormal rock, and this year I’ll be speaking about Midwestern cases of poltergeists and demonic possession.

The song this week is inspired by Seth’s movie and the fantastic legends of the “Thunderbird”!

From the four winds
I’m flying
in your visions
i’m fighting
From the mountain you’ll hear my voice in the storm
voice of the storm

The battle’s harbinger
The spirit’s messenger
The cloudburst in my eye
To Honor the fallen and punish evil men
I am here to break the sky’

You can crush my bones
and you can pound my head
take me so far from home
and just leave me for dead
But when I spread my wings
with the lightning burn
I am the flood and fire
The Thunderbird

The serpent rises
I’ll attack
Terror in the skies
I’ll be back
On the horizon you might see my wings in the storm
wings of the storm

The battle’s harbinger
The spirit’s messenger
The cloudburst in my eye
To Honor the fallen and punish evil men
I am here to break the sky’

You can crush my bones
and you can pound my head
take me so far from home
and just leave me for dead
But when I spread my wings
with the lightning burn
I am the flood and fire
The Thunderbird