The Cornish Owlman

The Cornish Owlman (sometimes "Owl Man") is one of the stranger and lesser known cryptids. Unlike many of the more famous "monsters" in the field of cryptozoology, it appeared only in one specific place for a very short period of time. There is no body of folklore surrounding it and there have been very few recent sightings. It could easily be dismissed out of hand were it not for the curious circumstances surrounding it.

What is the Owlman?

The Owlman was seen during the years 1976 - 1978 in the county of Cornwall. More specifically, it was seen in the vicinity of the Mawnan Village. Some of the sightings were reported to the well-known cryptozoologist Tony "Doc" Shiels who reportedly coined the name "Owlman".

The first sighting took place on April 17, 1976 and was reported by two girls, June and Vicky Melling. They reportedly saw a large, feathered "bird man" hovering over the Mawnan Church on Morgawr's Mile. The sighting left the two girls so frightened that the family cut short its holiday.

Similar sightings were reported over the next two years and a picture of the Owlman emerged: a partially feathered man sized owl with pointed ears and clawed feet. It was a silvery grey colour with slanting red eyes. Some people have seen similarities between the Owlman and the better known mothman.

There were several sightings of the Owlman between 1976 and 1978, all in the vicinity of Mawnan Church, after which it seems to have disappeared. There have been one or two reports since then but not many.

Strange Days

What makes the Cornish Owlman story so interesting is that it didn't take place in isolation. The sightings happened at a time when many weird things were going on in the area.

During the spring of 1976, the weather in Cornwall went through extreme shifts between unusual heat waves and cold snaps. Animals behaved strangely - there are reports of packs of dogs, cats and birds terrorising people. In addition there was an upsurge in UFO reports. Add to all of this the fact that Mawnan Church is reportedly situated on a ley line and the whole thing becomes worthy of investigation. Something weird was happening in the area at the time.

The unusual goings on in Cornwall at the time can be connected to the Owlman story in many possible ways. To a skeptic, it suggests a possible wave of mass hysteria. After the first sighting was reported the prevailing atmosphere of weirdness could have induced others to believe they saw something similar.

Another possibility is that there really was something strange in the region at the time, possibly some form of freak earth energy or other power. This could possibly be connected with the unusual weather and animal behaviour. If this were the case then even if the Mothman sightings were hallucinations they would remain interesting as another symptom of whatever was really going on at the time.

Of course, the irresistable connection is with the local UFO flap. Is it at all possible that the Owlman was actually an alien visitor passing through, or possibly an alien pet that had somehow escaped?

As a footnote, it's interesting to compare the Cornish Owlman with the West Virginia Mothman.