Barbara Perry's sketch of the Owlman of Mawnan, 1976.
Barbara Perry's sketch of the
Owlman of Mawnan, 1976.

Owlman, sometimes referred to as the Cornish Owlman or The Owlman of Mawnan, is a purported cryptid that was supposedly sighted in the late 1970s in the village of Mawnan, Cornwall. The Owlman is sometimes compared to America's Mothman in cryptozoological literature.1

Reports of Sightings

  • On April 17, 1976 two young girls, June Melling, 12, and Vicky Melling, 9, the daughters of Don Melling, a holidaymaker from Preston, claimed to have seen a "huge great thing with feathers, like a big man with flapping wings" hovering over the local church tower at Mawnan in Cornwall.23
  • On July 3, 1976 14-year-old Sally Chapman was camping with a friend, Barbara Perry, in woods near the church. According to Sally, as she stood outside her tent, she heard a hissing sound and turned to see a figure which she said: "was like a big owl with pointed ears, as big as a man. The eyes were red and glowing. At first, I thought that it was someone dressed up, playing a joke, trying to scare us. I laughed at it, we both did, then it went up in the air and we both screamed. When it went up you could see its feet were like pincers". Sally approached Doc Shiels the next day and described what they had seen. Doc then asked them to draw pictures of what they had seen.45
  • On July 4, 1976, as Doc Shiels was talking to Sally Chapman and Barbara Perry, the Owlman was witnessed by two more girls.6 In a letter to the Falmouth Packet Jane Greenwood of Southport described that she and her sister had seen something "in the trees standing like a full-grown man, but the legs bent backwards like a bird's. It saw us and quickly jumped up and rose straight up through the trees … it has red slanting eyes and a very large mouth. The feathers are silvery grey and so are his body and legs. The feet are like big, black crab's claws.7
  • In June 1978 a Miss Opie saw "a monster, like a devil, flying up through the trees near old Mawnan Church".89
  • In August 2, 1978 the creature was reportedly witnessed by three unnamed French students from Camborne Tech. According to Doc Shiels, the landlady of the boarding house in which they had been staying in Redruth told him that the three girls had been frightened by something "very big, like a big, furry bird with a gaping mouth and round eyes".10
  • A further alleged sighting took place in 1989, when a young man and his girlfriend claim to have seen a creature "about five feet tall… The legs had high ankles and the feet were large and black with two huge 'toes' on the visible side. The creature was grey with brown and the eyes definitely glowed."11
  • The next sighting is from a single witness in 1995. She reported a "man-bird… with a ghastly face, a wide mouth, glowing eyes and pointed ears" as well as "clawed wings". The woman, a student from Chicago, described her experience in a letter to the Western Morning News in Truro.12
  • Also in 1995, a young girl along with a cameraman, his assistant, and the girl's mother, encountered it while searching. The assistant claimed to have been knocked down by a "large, bird-like creature" and the girl was lost twice in which was found both times by either her scream or a "hissing noise." This encounter later appeared on Animal Planet's Lost Tapes show.

Popular Culture

  • The Owlman appears in The Secret Saturdays episode "The Owlman Feeds at Midnight." The Owlman is depicted as the god of a cult formed from the villagers that it brainwashed.
  • In the Animal Planet show Lost Tapes, the Owlman was the subject of the "Death Raptor" episode.

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