Weird Wisconsin: Man Bat

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 4th, 2007

Beast of Briggs Road the Man Bat

Click on image for full size version

Wisconsin’s Coulee News has published a story on January 3, 2006, entitled: "Man Bat Tale Tops 2006 for Weirdness" by Randy Erikson. It gives a journalistic overview of the case, although Linda Godfrey warns me it does have some factual mistakes. Her website with this same incident is found by clicking here and the student newspaper’s story is a pdf here (go to page five of the document).

The article reads:

As we start another year, I know there are at least a few among us who will look back at 2006 and say, “Whoa, what a weird year that was!” In fact, 2006 might be the year that puts the Coulee Region on the map … for weirdness.

Beast of Briggs Road the Man Bat

By far the weirdest news of the year was something we haven’t reported on … UNTIL NOW! Now it can be told, the strange, bizarre and kinda spooky story of the Beast of Briggs Road, the Man Bat.

I have to admit that this won’t be news to some of our readers, especially those tapped into weird news sources. The encounter on Holmen’s Briggs Road between two area residents and a creature that combined features of a human and a bat was first reported in mid-October on a Web site published by author Linda Godfrey —

Godfrey got her start writing about weirdness back in 1992, after the New Year’s Eve 1991 sighting outside Elkhorn, Wis., of a strange man-dog/wolf creature, something akin to a werewolf. Godfrey, a part-time reporter at the local newspaper, had drawing skills in addition to her writing chops. Being a slow news week because of the holiday, she latched onto the story and gave it a big splash in the paper: The Beast of Bray Road.

“We thought people would just get a chuckle and it’d go away after a few weeks,” Godfrey said.

It didn’t go away, though. That was the start of something big for Godfrey, who soon was getting calls from other people who had seen similar beasts. Now that she’s got several books out on cryptozoological phenomena and general weirdness, plus Web sites devoted to those things, she’s gotten the reputation as the person to go to with strange tales.

And that’s just what those two area men did after their Sept. 26 encounter on Briggs Road. Maybe they would have come to me first if they’d known I’d investigated a report of a ghostly cat-headed snake demon during my tenure at the La Crosse Tribune.

But they didn’t, so their tale comes courtesy of the interviews and on-site investigation Godfrey did several weeks after the sighting. (Godfrey said she would contact one of the witnesses and ask him to contact me, but there has been no word so far.)

According to Godfrey’s account, a 53-year-old La Crosse man and his 25-year-old son were driving on Briggs Road in Holmen at about 9:30 p.m. on that Tuesday. Suddenly, a creature that resembled the demonic vampire out of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” or “Van Helsing” flew right at their windshield, flying straight up into the night sky just inches from striking the glass.

In a written description, the older man — who would only give Godfrey his Cherokee name, Wohali — said the creature had leathery wings like a bag, only these wings stretched 10 to 12 feet from tip to tip.

The creature had pronounced ribs, human-like legs with claws for toes and arm-like appendages tipped with claws. The creature’s eyes glowed yellow, and the face had a snarling expression, with rows of sharp teeth.

To Wohali, the creature seemed hungry. It also seemed angry to have been seen and gave an unearthly howl as it flew out of sight.

Both Wohali and his son became violently sick to their stomach, and Wohali remained ill for a week after the encounter. The son was so shaken up by the incident that he would not talk to Godfrey about it, she said, but Wohali was willing to relive the experience for Godfrey because he wanted people to “know what is out there.”

Godfrey isn’t so sure exactly “what is out there” on Briggs Road, but she hopes that news of the sighting will inspire others to come forward if they have seen a strange creature in the area.

“You can speculate until the cows come home — or until the werewolves come home — and you don’t know,” Godfrey said. “I don’t know and don’t claim to know what these creatures are.”

Wohali’s account and his sincerity convinced Godfrey that he had a “credible sighting” of something she has not heard described before. “He certainly has nothing to gain by making it up” — or talking about it, she said. “He believes the more he talks about it, the more power it gives the creature.”

One thing’s for sure: Godfrey plans to include the Briggs Road episode in “Strange Wisconsin,” one of several books she has in the works. She expects the book to be out by next fall.

Although she can’t explain the weird experiences people around the state have reported, Godfrey said she feels it is important that somebody record those experiences. The Man Bat of Briggs Road ranks right up there as far as notable weird experiences.

“I do think this sighting that Wohali had is an extremely interesting and exciting sighting,” Godfrey said. “I do think it should have some serious consideration given to it.”


One last thing…from Linda Godfrey:

I can’t help but link this sighting to the mid-90s encounter another man and his son had by the riverbank in LaCrosse while hunting for a lost dog. They saw what they described as a “lizard man,” covered in brownish scales and very reptilian-looking.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

16 Responses to “Weird Wisconsin: Man Bat”

  1. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Hmmm, the “distended ribs”, as they are described on Godfrey’s site, are an interesting observation to me. If something that large were able to fly under its own power, it would have to have a massive breast area (distended ribs?) to support the kind of muscles needed to flab its wings.

    It kind of reminds me also of some of the reported pterasaur from Texas (some of which were thought to fish in the much the same way modern fishing birds do) which is particularly interesting in light of Godfrey’s observation that reports of “reptile men” and even a winged “reptile man” have been collected from waterways in the vicinity of the sighting. But, then again, you also have the sickness and retching and other elements that point towards the more fantastic realm of Mothman (the flying), the Flatwoods Monster (the retching and illness) and their ilk.

  2. MattBille responds:

    The name of Cherokee witness, Wohali, brings in a little tangential weirdness. First, Wohali means “eagle,” so we have wings involved from the beginning. Second, in a Cherokee tale from North Carolina (Loren, you’re going to love this one), Wohali made wings from groundhog skin and cane (bamboo?) splints for a little animal that wanted to play with the birds. Thus was created Tlameha – the bat.

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    Good stuff from you two. Thanks!

  4. joppa responds:

    With apologies to Bruce Wayne, the drawing looks more Bat-Man than Man-Bat. Could we have an out of place Livingston Flying Fox from the Comoros Islands? Several giant bat species from around the world could fit the description – and things look a lot bigger when the slap across you windshield.

  5. Darkstream responds:

    Interestingly, Man Bat is a DC comics character much like the beast described. Here is an illo and an entry at wikipedia on the character. Man-Bat originally appeared in Detective Comics #400, which was the June 1970 issue. Somebody involved with the story must have been aware of this character because it is an awkward word pairing, IMO, due to the notoriety of the term “Batman” which is already in existence. One would think that “werebat” or “a real Bat Man” or “a Bat-like Man” would be used instead.

    At any rate, interesting story. I think the student account is written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, btw.

  6. mystery_man responds:

    This account has Goblin Universe written all over it. The supernatural elements (the glowing eyes, the sickness) and snarling teeth. The dramatic description of the snarling, fanged face and the unearthly howl. The whole story smacks of a good, scary campfire yarn to me. The unique nature of the report and the imaginative description make me doubt this one.

  7. bill green responds:

    hey loren wow this definitely is a very interesting new article. thanks bill

  8. jayman responds:

    What, Man Bat with no Wonder Brat? 😉

  9. SouthEasternWendigo responds:

    Sounds like it could be a case of genetic tampering inspired by DC’s character the Man-Bat.

    You’d be surprised at what some scientists are up to. Gen-splicing may replace stem cell research’s controversy in the near future.

    Or, it could be something supernatural.

    Just like Bigfoot there are accounts of “bat like” humanoids throughout history. Legends from India tell of a creature that at first it resembles an old man, but as the travelers come closer it spreads its wings and attacks them and drinks their blood.

    If you guys could, I’d appreciate more information about this incident, and if more occur.

    Usually in these cases there are casualties of some kind.

  10. Rillo777 responds:

    Sure sounds like Dungeons and Dragons is getting a little too real these days, doesn’t it? I’d sure like to know if this thing shows up again.

  11. YourPTR! responds:

    Sounds amazing if true and unbelievable. Maybe it was a demon or something of that nature?

  12. crypto_randz responds:

    To prove if any of these man- animals exist, people who see these things never have a camcorder or a camera, it would be nice to acquire a body for science to examine.

  13. cosmic monster responds:

    I don’t think he’d have much time to photograph it if it’s shooting toward the truck in the middle of the night.

    My digital camera takes five seconds to power up, and I never take it with me anyway. I would’ve missed the shot, too.

  14. Lyndworm responds:

    Just this morning I saw a large bat. This is especially odd when you consider that I live near Chicago and have never seen a bat near my house. This bat flew over my garage.

    I know that it can be hard to judge distances and sizes of flying creatures, but I’d wager that it had a wingspan of between two and three feet and wasn’t more than fifteen yards away. I at first thought that it was a red-tailed hawk (they’re rare, but I’ve seen them around here before) because of the size and because the wings appeared reddish.

    I was crouching at the time and only saw it from the corner of my eye. Luckily it wasn’t moving very quickly, because I had time to stand up and take a better look. Though I had originally thought that the wings were red-orange, I noticed that they were in fact dark brown and hairless. The red color came from the sun shining through the skin.

    The head was semi-elongated and came to a point, and I couldn’t make out the ears as it was flying away from me. I don’t remember seeing a tail or finger-bones in the wings, but I remember that the legs weren’t attached to the wings.

    The thing couldn’t have been more than ten feet above my fifteen foot garage, close enough to my position that I could clearly see the skin at the edge of the wings ripple through the air.

    I wish I knew what it was. If anybody has information, I’d love to hear it. Thanks.

  15. debz responds:

    in july, 2006, our family was in the process of moving from milwaukee wi, to a small village in the kettle moraine state park, about 40 miles east. one night while four of us were in the car, we were amased to see a man like creature flying directly in front of us, also looking at us thru’ our windshield as we looked at it, as it flew by. it looked a greyish brown, very leathery appearance, with a head and face much like an old mans, with rhuemy looking eyes. it did not appear threatening in any way. the wings were huge and just like a bats. this creature was at least 6 to 7 feet in length. we also observed its ribs, it was very lean in stature. we don’t tell many people of this, i mean we even wondered if we’re nuts, but we seen what we seen, and it was right in front of us, very vividly. i had never heard of such a creature before this, and have since found online similiar sightings, however our sighting did not look “hungry” or mean, it actually had a sad look about it, basically looking like a sad old man with grey/brown skin that could fly. actually i feel priveledged to have seen such an amasing creature. has anyone else seen this creature? i would love to hear and learn more about this extrodinary creature. thank you.

  16. Prengels1 responds:

    Omg, Im not even kidding about this, but like… Briggs Road is BEHIND my house, my Birthday is on September 24, My birthday party was September 26. We were outside camping and hanging out. We saw lights flashing, this weird scream, people gagging, and something screech so loud it peirced our ears… I still can’t believe this is true.

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