An Owlman Picture in Lost Tapes.

The Owlman, also known as The Cornish Owlman or The Owlman of Mawnan, is a purported owl-like creature that was allegedly sighted around mid-1976 in the village of Mawnan in Cornwall, England. It was even featured in the Animal Planet mockumentary, Lost Tapes. It is highly suspected the owlman is a fictional story or has at least some fictional elements.

The owlman is sometimes seen as the English equivalent of the Mothman due to many similarities.

The creature is described as being humanoid in appearance and standing 6 to 7 feet tall, covered in either feathers or fur, which are silvery-gray or grayish-brown in color. It possesses massive bird-like wings and eyes that glow red.



A sketch drawn by June Melling.

The Owlman story began when paranormal researcher Tony 'Doc' Shiels was approached by a man, Don Melling, who had been visiting the area on holiday from Lancaster. Melling said that on April 17th 1976, his two daughters, twelve year old June and her nine year old sister, Vicky, were walking through the woods near Mawnan church when they saw a large winged creature the described as a "big feathered bird-man" hovering above the church tower. The girls were frightened and immediately ran to tell their father. According to Shiels, 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.

Two months later, at 10pm on July 3rd, 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. Sally Chapman said "The eyes were red and glowing. At first, I thought 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." The other witness Barbara Perry said "It's true. It was horrible, a nasty owl-face with big ears and big red eyes. It was covered in gray feathers. The claws on its feet were black. It just flew straight up and disappeared in the tree-tops".

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. 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.

The next day, three women saw the Owlman in almost the same spot. This letter from the witness, Jane Green of Southport appeared n the falmouth packet for July 9th 1979:

"I am on holiday in Cornwall with my sister and our mother, I too have seen a big bird-thing like that pictured... It was Sunday (4th) morning and the place was 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. My sister and I saw it very clearly before it rose up. It has red slanting eyes and a very large mouth.


The feathers are silver gray and so are his body and legs! The feet are like big black crab's claws. We were frightened at the time. It was so strange, like something out of a horror film. After the thing went up there were crackling sounds in the tree-tops for ages. Our mother thinks we made it all up because we read about these things but that is not true. we really saw the birdman, though it could have been somebody playing a trick in very good costume and make-up. But how could it rise up like that? If we imagined it, then we both imagined the same thing at the same time."

Because of two of the 1970s sightings involved 'Doc' Shiels, an eccentric who reportedly fond of hoaxes, researcher Jonathan Downes acknowledges that Shiels could have invented the Owlman. However, a further sighting took place in 1989, when a young man named Gavin and his girlfriend claim to have encountered the creature.

Independently of Shiels, Gavin and his girlfriend claimed to have seen something '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'.

In 1995, a single female tourist 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 Newspaper in Truro.

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