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The Butterfly People of Joplin:



Several Reports of “Angels” Seen During a Devastating Tornado

An artists depiction of a butterfly person seen in Joplin during a devastating tornado. Image Source.

On the 22nd May, 2011 the town of Joplin, Missouri was hit by an F5 tornado that killed 161 people. During this horrific event and in the days following hundreds of people around the town reported seeing beautiful winged creatures, dubbed the “butterfly people”, protecting the people of Joplin. Was this just mass hysteria or sightings of a paranormal entity?

The 2011 Joplin Tornado

Some of the devastation caused by the 2011 Joplin Tornado. Photo Source.

On May 21 an area of low pressure developed over western South Dakota and a severe weather warning was issued. By the next morning a large area of the Midwest was under weather warnings predicting severe winds, large hail and tornados.

A massive F5 tornado developed and struck Joplin, Missouri on the evening of the 22nd. It grew to a size of nearly one mile wide during its journey through the city.

It was one of the deadliest tornados in US history, killing 161 people and destroying over 900 homes.

The Butterfly People of Joplin

Not long after the tornado had dissipated the people of Joplin began sharing stories of the strange things they had seen during the disaster.

Most of the stories came from small children who told eerily similar stories of seeing beautiful humanoid creatures rescuing people and protecting people from the storm. Some reported seeing the creatures take people up into the sky to “heaven”. Others saw the creatures covering people with their wings to shield them.

The stories came from people all over the city from different ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Mason Lillard suffered life threatening injuries during the tornado as the truck she was in was thrown 300ft by the tornado. She was pinned inside the vehicle with an inch wide metal rod that came through the roof of the tuck, penetrated through her shoulder and exited out the side of her body piercing deep into the truck seat.

As the storm was approaching Mason recalled seeing the butterfly creatures walking about in the streets. After the tornado had passed and she was pinned inside the truck she recalls feeling a touch on her shoulder and assumed it was her cousin. When she turned around to look she saw two angels in white robes, one with dark hair and one with blonde.

In another account of the butterfly people a mother and her daughter fled their vehicle to try find shelter from the tornado. They jumped into a culvert and braced themselves. The mother recalls seeing their car flying towards them as the tornado approached and closed her eyes expecting to be killed.

A few moments later she opened her eyes to see that the tornado had passed and her and her daughter were miraculously unharmed. The daughter than says “Weren’t they pretty?”. The mother was confused and asked “Who are you talking about?” The daughter replied “The Butterfly People. They saved us!”

Another popular story tells us of a grandfather and two young boys who were stuck outside during the tornado. The group huddled together on the ground and the winds were so strong that the soles of the man’s shoes were ripped off. They boys reported seeing butterfly people hovering above them, protecting them from the winds.

A Mural in Joplin painted after the disaster titled “The Butterfly Effect”.

Since the events of the 2011 Tornado a mural of the butterfly people has been painted in downtown Joplin. Butterfly artworks have popped up all over Joplin and the butterfly has become a symbol of hope and recovery after the tornado.

Theories About the Butterfly People of Joplin

The town of Joplin is a majority Christian population, being right in the bible belt of the United States. The majority of the town believe that the butterfly people were angels sent by God to protect the faithful people of the town from the tornado.

About on half of Joplin’s children received counselling after the tornado to help cope with the trauma. Clinical Director of the Joplin Child Trauma Treatment Centers said many of the children reported seeing butterfly people. She believes the children imagined seeing these creatures to help them process the horrific events they witnesses.

Other less mainstream theories have been floated as to the identity of the butterfly people such as interdimensional creatures, aliens or spirits that all came to try to save as many lives as possible.

Whatever the truth behind the identity of the butterfly people is it is definitely strange that so many hundred of people saw such similar paranormal creatures at the same time.

If you enjoyed this article you might like to learn about jumbees or the dover demon.

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Mothman SIghted Before 2007 Bridge Collapse in Minnesota




The aftermath of the I-35w Bridge Collapse in 2007. Image: Wikipedia

Just like the infamous Silver Bridge Mothman sightings, witnesses claim seeing a strange, 7ft tall flying humanoid in the weeks before the collapse of the I-35W bridge in 2007.

The Collapse of the I-35W Bridge

The I-35W Mississippi River bridge (also known as Bridge 9340) was a large bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that carried Interstate 35W over the river. It was built in 1967 and was one of the busiest bridges in Minnesota, with thousands of cars using it every day.

Sadly, on August 1, 2007, during the evening rush hour when hundreds of people were driving home from work, something terrible happened. The bridge suddenly collapsed, causing a lot of damage. Sadly, 13 people died, and 145 were injured.

Investigators later found out that a part of the bridge, called the gusset plate, had failed. The gusset plate was worn and the stress of the extra cars on the bridge caused it to break apart.

Right after the collapse, people and emergency workers from nearby areas rushed to help. They worked hard to rescue anyone who was trapped and to take care of the injured.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation quickly made plans to build a new bridge called the I-35W Saint Anthony Falls Bridge. They finished building it just over a year later, and it opened in September 2008.

Connections to the Silver Bridge Collapse

The Silver Bridge Collapse

For many cryptid enthusiasts, hearing of a bridge collapse immediately brings Mothman to mind. The Silver Bridge was a suspension bridge spanning the Ohio River, connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis, Ohio. On December 15, 1967, during rush hour, the bridge suddenly collapsed, sending cars and people plunging into the icy waters below. The disaster claimed the lives of 46 individuals, making it one of the deadliest bridge collapses in American history.

In the months leading up to the tragedy, residents of Point Pleasant reported sightings of a mysterious creature dubbed the “Mothman.” Described as a large, winged humanoid with glowing red eyes, the Mothman sightings fueled speculation and fear in the community.

Following the Silver Bridge collapse, some people began to link the sightings of the Mothman to the disaster, suggesting that the creature was a harbinger of impending doom. This connection led to the Mothman becoming a legendary figure in cryptozoology and popular culture.

Both the Silver Bridge collapse and the I-35w collapse were caused by structural failures in the bridges. In the case of the Silver Bridge, the collapse was attributed to a single eyebar in the suspension chain that failed due to metal fatigue. In the I-35W collapse, a design flaw in the bridge’s gusset plates, combined with increased weight from construction materials and traffic, led to the catastrophic failure.

Mothman Sightings Connected to the I-35W Bridge Collapse

Dark Reocrds covers the I-35w brdge collapse

The I-35w collapse Mothman sightings differ from the Silver Bridge Mothman sightings in their frequency. Dozens of people around Pleasant Point reported strange sightings and unexplained paranormal or extraterrestrial activity in the months leading up to the Silver Bridge collapse. The sightings surrounding the I-35w collapse were mush less common.

On August 10, 2007, George Noory hosted the “Coast to Coast AM” program, where he spoke to several callers sharing their encounters with cryptids. Among these calls was one reporting a sighting on June 27th near Stewartville, Minnesota. The caller described seeing a 7-foot-tall, winged humanoid creature with a massive wingspan, roughly the width of her Ford vehicle. The sighting occurred approximately 90 miles from the I-35w bridge, just over a month before the bridge collapse.

There are references to multiple other sightings online but they seem to have been removed from the internet. A WIRED article from the time talks of numerous blog posts on the topic but the link no longer works. This article by Singular Fortean also alludes to their being multiple sightings but doesn’t provide references.


So it seems we just have the one account to work with here. It’s possible that the George Noory’s caller was just someone making up a story and looking for a bit of attention. The fact that the account didn’t come out until after the collapse of the I-35w bridge does take from its credibility.

It is also possible that the caller simple saw a large crane or other bird and misidentified their memory as the mothman following the bridge collapse.

What if it was Mothman?

If it was Mothman that was seen before the collapse of the I-35w bridge it leads us to more questions than answers. Is this Mothman the same creature that was seen before the Silver Bridge collapse? Could Mothman actually be a species of creature that is drawn to human disasters, particularly bridge collapses?

Tell us your theories in the comments.

If you enjoyed reading about Mothman and the I-35w bridge collapse you might be interested in our article on the original Mothman story or the blackbird of Chernobyl.

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The Awful




The Awful cryptid as described by Vermont residents in 1925

In 1923, several residents of Berkshire and Richford, Vermont reported seeing a creature resembling a griffin, with a 20 foot wingspan and a serpentine tail.

“The Awful” Cryptid Sightings of 1925

Berkshire and Richford, Vermont are peaceful countryside towns located between Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog, near the Canadian Province of Quebec.

In 1925 several residents of these towns reported encounters with an unusual flying creature.

The creature was described as being similar to the mythical Griffin, with a grayish color, a 20-foot wingspan, a snake-like tail, and big claws capable of holding a medium sized dog. These strange sightings caused panic among the locals who came to dub the creature “the Awful”.

The first sightings of the mysterious creature were reported by two sawmill workers in Richford. As they crossed the main street bridge, they saw a very large beast on the nearby rooftop of the Boright building, glaring at them. According to the tale, one of the men was so scared that he had a heart attack out of fear. He had to be carried home but eventually recovered. However, for weeks afterward, he had nightmares about the creature, waking up his family with screams during the night.

In the following months, locals kept reporting sightings of this mysterious creature, causing fear and panic among residents. Farmers shared stories of it flying over their fields, and others saw it landing on their house rooftops. One resident, Oella Hopkins, experienced this when she was hanging laundry outside. The family dog got upset and started barking, and when Oella looked, she saw the creature, known as The Awful, perched on her farmhouse roof, staring at her. Terrified, Oella ran inside and hid under her bed for hours.

Later Sightings of “The Awful”

By the end of 1925, sightings of the creature became less frequent and almost stopped completely by 1928. Even though people thought it had disappeared, some locals claimed to see it every now and then since the 1920s. One such person was Lisa Maskell from Montgomery, who said she spotted the creature near Trout River when she was a child. When she saw a drawing of a pterodactyl later on, she thought it looked like the creature she saw and believed it resembled The Awful.

In 2006, there were a few new reports suggesting that The Awful might have returned to Northern Vermont. In October 2006, a person wrote in the County Courier about a respected person in Richford who saw the creature suddenly appear and grab a big black crow from a pine tree. The witness was surprised and said the creature flew around his house three times.

After this article, more people shared sightings. A woman remembered seeing the monster when she was about ten. It was in a tree near the Trout River, watching them with its strange beak, reminding her of a pterodactyl.

A dowser named Edith Green said people in Richford have been nervous about the creature for a long time.

An older man mentioned that the creature has been seen often in the Gibou area for the past 25 years, even recently. Locals usually leave it alone, and it leaves them alone, with a few exceptions.

A resident of East Richford said the creature has been spotted recently around the Slide Road area. He mentioned you can often hear it before seeing it, making a strange, low screaming sound and the flapping of its large wings when it’s close.

Despite its scary appearance, the creature was never known to attack people; it seemed more like it was just watching. There’s one account mentioning it flying over Berkshire Field near Lost Nation Road and appearing to hold a baby or a small animal, although it’s more likely to have been an animal.

William DeFalco covers the story of The Awful

Possible Explanations for the Awful

Assuming the reports of the Awful are not just a hoax or an old wives tale what else could be going on here? It’s possible that soe type of rare, large bird is lurking in the wilds of Vermont and is only seen very rarely due to a lack of numbers. The Awful could simple have been a particularly large owl or Eagle.

If paranormal in origin, the Awful does bear a small resemblence to the Mothman of West Virginia. Perhaps it continues to lurk in the shadows, waiting to come our and warn residents of impending doom.

What do you think about the Awful? Tell us your theories in the comments.

If you enjoyed learning about the Awful you might also be interested in the Lechuza, a strange owl-like creature or the Prime Hook Swamp Monster.

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