Mythical Monday: The Owlman of Mawnan by Mae Clair

It’s interesting to note that many of the creatures and legends that make it into my Mythical Monday posts are decades, often centuries old. That’s why I found the story of the Cornish Owlman so interesting. Sighted near the village of Mawnan, Cornwall in England, the Owlman is often compared to my favorite “cryptid,” West Virginia’s Mothman.

The first sighting of the Owlman took place on April 17, 1976. At that time two young sisters were walking through the woods near Mawnan church when they saw a large winged creature hovering over the church tower.  The girls were so disturbed by the encounter that the family, there on holiday, cut their stay short.

Mawnan Church, Kerrier district, Cornwall

Photo courtesy of Philip White [CC-BY-SA-2.0 Creative Commons License) via Wikimedia Commons

A few months later, two other girls were camping in the woods near the church. Fourteen-year-old Sally Chapman was outside her tent when she was startled by a hissing sound. Turning, she saw a man-sized, owl-shaped creature with pointed ears and red eyes. Sally, along with her friend, Barbara Perry, originally thought someone was playing a joke on them until the creature took flight, rising straight up in the air. They reported its feet were like black pincers.

More sightings were reported the next day, and on later occasions, in June and August of 1978. All sightings took place within vicinity of the church.

In 1989, a couple reported seeing 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.”

Another account, given in 1995 was supplied by a woman who was visiting the area from Chicago. She claimed to have seen a “man-bird…with a ghastly face, a wide mouth, glowing eyes and pointed ears.” She also said the being had “clawed wings.”

Some speculate the creature might have been an escaped eagle owl, a species that can grow to two feet with a wingspan of nearly six feet. Others favoring a supernatural angle, think the Owlman may be a phenomena conjured by Mawnan’s church unique location on a potential ley line; still others that the being could be connected to UFOs.

Whatever its origin, like most cryptids the Owlman remains an enigma, a mysterious being who occasionally—when mood strikes—shares our world. Don’t you find it interesting how many beings coexist with us, if reported sightings are to be believed?

18 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: The Owlman of Mawnan by Mae Clair

    • Hi, Daisy. It’s great to see you again! Hope all has been well. Yes, I thought it was interesting the occurrences aren’t that old. Usually, research leads me into shadowy folklore, so it was exhilarating to find something so current.


  1. Fascinating! Yes, there are parallel worlds populated by odd beings. The red eyes remind me of what Genevieve sees in Shadows of the Past.
    Also this shadow people are mentioned quite often lately. I have on Pinterest a pin about them. However, here, this owlman is absolutely scary. What if he is one of the more than 80 species of aliens that NASA reported as having been noticed? I greatly enjoyed this post. Thanks for sharing with us!


    • Hi, Carmen. Many think the Mothman could be alien as well, although there is a lot of speculation to the parallel world theory. It is amazing to think of all the possibilities out there. The Owlman was a new cryptid for me, but he immediately made me think of the Mothman.

      As for Shadow People, I’m familiar with them but haven’t done a Mythical Monday post on them yet. I have to work past the lump of fear I feel every time I look up their history and legend. Don’t know why, but they completely creep me out! *shudder*


    • And I’m terrified of heights. I’d be shrieking my head off, LOL. I always wanted to fly, but, er, not that way 😀

      Thanks for dropping by, Debbie. Always great to have you visit!


  2. You know whenever I think of “Mothmen” now, or recently when I sat down to re-watch The Mothman Prophecies, you pop into my mind, Mae. 🙂
    I wonder what the “owlman’s” purpose was, in allowing himself to be seen.


    • Emma, I can’t wait to have my own Mothman book out there. I’m 3/4 through the writing process. Slow but getting there. I like that you think of me when you hear the name of my favorite cryptid. 🙂

      I guess we’ll have to wait and see if the Owlman makes another appearance. It seems like he doesn’t mind being seen!


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