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Grouping Cryptid
First reported April 17 1976
Last reported 2009
Country United kingdom
Region Mawnan Smith, Cornwall

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



Mid Seventies in Falmouth

During the mid seventies the area surrounding Mawnan Smith on the southern coast of Cornwall had become a very strange place, amidst other occurrences there were UFO sightings, reports of local domestic and wild animals acting strangely (reports of dog attacks had trebled and there were claims of people being held 'hostage' by feral cats). Then, at the beginning of 1976, the first reports of 'Owlman' started.[2]

First Sighting of Owlman

The church tower at Mawnan.
Drawing of Owlman made by twelve year old June Melling.
17 April 1976

On April 17, 1976 twelve year old June Melling and her nine year old sister, Vicky, were on holiday from Lancaster. Whilst walking through the woods near Mawnan church they saw a large winged creature hovering above the church tower. The girls were frightened and immediately ran to tell their Father.

Rather than going to the local newspaper, their father, Don Melling, sent a letter to local paranormal investigator Tony 'Doc' Shiels, a self proclaimed 'charlatan'[3] telling him of the strange apparition witnessed by his daughters. In his letter he informed Sheils that in his opinion this was going to be a monster hunt.

From the very outset people began to question whether Shiels had simply made the whole thing up. There were, for a start, several unanswered questions:

  • Why would a holiday maker whose daughters had been scared livid by an unknown creature decide to hunt down a local paranormal 'nut' rather than take the story straight to the nearest newspaper?
  • How could a creature the size of a man hover above a well known dog walking spot in broad daylight without being seen by anyone else other than two elusive girls?
  • Why wasn't there any further information?

Shiels offered that the family had become so perturbed by the sighting that they had abandoned their holiday three days early and that the father would not allow either of his daughters to be interviewed. Sheils was, however, provided with a drawing of the creature made by twelve year old June.[4]

Second Sighting of Owlman

3 July 1976 - Second sighting of Owlman

Two months later two other young girls on July 3 14-year-old Sally Chapman was camping with a friend, Barbara Perry, in woods near the church. According to her account, as she stood outside her tent, she heard a hissing sound and turned to see a figure that looked like an owl as big as a man, with pointed ears and red eyes. The girls reported that the creature flew up into the air, revealing black pincer-like claws. Sightings of this figure continued to be reported on the following day (when it was described as "silvery gray") and on two occasions two years later, in June and August 1978, all within the vicinity of the church (Bord, 1980).

The girls identified the creature and drew images separately under investigation, the images appeared to be similar enough to verify their story but different enough to rule out conspiracy.

The images drawn also matched an earlier image drawn by the older girl on first sighting.


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 gray with brown and the eyes definitely glowed."[5]


The most recent alleged 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 a newspaper in Truro.[5]

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.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Creatures from Elsewhere, Black Cat publishing
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b


  • Bord, Janet; Bord, Colin (1990). Alien Animals. Granada.   (pp135–139, 141)
  • Downes, Jonathan (1997). The Owlman and Others. Corby: Domra Publications. pp. 239. ISBN 0 9524417 6 4.  
  • McEwan, Graham J. (1986). Mystery Animals of Britain and Ireland. London: Robert Hale. pp. 224. ISBN 0-7090-2801-6.   (pp150–153)
  • Shuker, Karl (1996, 2002). The Unexplained. Carlton.   (p37)

External links

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