Did Mothman Predict H1N1 Flu?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 8th, 2009


Mothman cover image by artist Bill Rebsamen, from Mothman and Other Curious Encounters. © Loren Coleman/William Rebsamen 2002.

It needs to be mentioned that another loose end about all of this H1N1/swine flu business exists: Yes, it is strange that sightings of a Mothman-type creature appeared in the rural areas of Mexico in March 2009 and before. I’m not saying it was a Banshee-like precursor to the flu outbreak, as in The Mothman Prophecies. All I am saying is that it is to be noted.

The Mexican State of Chihuahua was terrorized by the above ‘Man-Bat’ over the winter of 2009.

Okay, over the weekend, I did publish the following image:

At Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, just a block from the Jardin in the Centro, in Mexico, one may observe the many murals and galleries that line the arched walls.

One of the murals (above) is identified by the original source as the “Chupacabras mural.”

I noted the panic painted as occurring among the people when they saw this creature.

A frequent correspondent to Cryptomundo, Miguel (RPJ) who lives in Mexico City, was stirred to dig more deeply into the background of this image. (Investigations on such things are a process, and here is a peek inside an exchange about how this unfolds.)

He wrote:

Doing a little research it seems that the mural doesn’t really have a proper title, and I would love to know what was the source of inspiration for the artist —who was David Alfaro Siqueiros, a famous Mexican muralist that tried to assasinate Trotsky— since this is before any account of Chupacabras or Mothman.

BTW, the Centro Cultural Bellas Artes has a nickname, El Nigromante (the Necromancer).

I wrote him back, asking for some kind of clarification on the date of this mural, for I had discovered that, “The structure was built in 1775. But José David Alfaro Siqueiros lived from 1896 to January 6, 1974.”

The painting obviously was more recent that when the building was originally built, and Siqueiro created his murals mostly in the 1930s-1940s in Mexico, it seems.

Later, RPJ wrote:

[Undo] Searching more about the famous mural, it’s more possible that it was painted by one of the students of the Fine Arts School, than by Siqueiros or any other famous muralist….It’s incredible the lack of info regarding this mural. A true enigma in itself.

and also, he expanded on this separately,

Or maybe it was painted by Diego Rivera? He was born in Guanajuato, but I didn’t find the mural in a book I have about his work, so it’s unlikely.

From what I’m investigating right now, it seems that Siqueiros was asked to impart a workshop to teach muralism techniques in that school (The Escuela de Bellas Artes de Guanajuato) in 1948. I think the most likely explanation is that it was painted by one of the students of the school.

So, the floor is open to the art historians, Mexican art researchers, and muralists reading. What do you know of this strange subject for a mural in Mexico, its date, and any background information?

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.

27 Responses to “Did Mothman Predict H1N1 Flu?”

  1. Endroren responds:

    Actually, it looks like a Fruit Bat/Flying Fox, especially the face. Having encountered one before, I will admit that they can be quite terrifying if you aren’t used to them.

  2. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Among the mesoamerican cultures, including the Zapotecs & the Mayas, there was a cult of the ‘Bat God’ deity, the god of night & death.

    Maybe this was a source of inspiration for the artist?

    But I’m still fascinated by the choice of colors, particularly the red eyes, which we all know is a common denominator.

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    I think Endroren has something there. Some of those can get quite large, at least in the wingspan. The main population of the Hispanic realm(s) are quite superstitious, therefore something like a flying fox would terrify them. Specially living in the area(s) of the true vampire bats. Something the size of a healthy flying fox would make me wonder if it wasn’t a Dracula type vampire.

  4. Andrew D. Gable responds:

    Could it be connected with the sightings of the large bat-like creature in southern Texas?

  5. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Well, let’s see if anybody else draws bats like that.

  6. rbhess responds:

    Well, I don’t know from bats, but art history is one of my specialties. Off the top of my head I can’t concretely identify the image or the artist, but I’d highly doubt it’s Diego Rivera’s work. It just doesn’t look like anything done by him at all.

    It’s rather clumsy and clearly modern… I’d be very surprised if it’s older than the 1970s… looks like someone was trying to formulate a combination of classic Mexican mural art with some kind of updated, vaguely Renaissance color scheme.

    I can’t say much about Mexican mural subject matter, as I only know so much about it, but if you ask me, that looks more like some kind of winged demon than an ordinary bat, and I think it was clearly meant to depict something supernatural. This is another reason why I find it a tad suspicious. Not, to my knowledge, a common subject for the mural artists that I know of, from the 20th century in Mexico. Religious subjects and revolutionary subjects are common–but this looks like a more contemporary depiction of the modern Mexican interest in the paranormal and whatnot. I’d bet it’s VERY modern, and meant to be something of a joke.

  7. tampasteve responds:

    Clearly it is “condorman”….1981 called and they want their super hero back.

    Odd though, my vote would go for a stylized representation of the bat god mentioned above.


  8. Rangoon responds:

    Note the fear of the women in the painting. The men however are “mastering the demon” with their lariats. One has made a successfull throw from his horse while his comrade gazes with determination as he readies his to throw.

    If you look closely at the demons feet you can see that they look as though they could be hooves…making it a more classical image of satan.

    Perhaps the title was “cowboys mastering the demon”…

  9. AKDADEVIL responds:

    Just my thoughts:

    If the creature was meant to be a deity or a demon, would the artist really have drawn people fighting it off / lassoing it?

    It sounds like a bad quote from an even worse movie but: “If we can catch it, we may as well be able to kill it!”

    Hence I assume it was intentionally painted to represent some kind of living flesh and blood beast and not an entity of supernatural origin… Hell, the men in the picture don’t even look afraid to me, more like dog catchers, annoyed to have to deal with yet another strayer…


  10. Brothermidnight responds:

    definitely looks like a giant bat to me

  11. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    The mural is quite interesting, it seems the painter is depicting a “cyptid” (from fantasy) terrorizing a village. It could be inspited by a TV show, Monster Quest, Marvel Comics, a batman cartoon…

    The bat can represent a monster, the evil, or an ancient bat god (several tribes related with zapotecas and mayas worshipped a bat god as the night deity, it was called Camazotz. Modern cachiqueles from Guatemala still wear the bat symbol in their typical cotton jackets).

    Painter Francisco de Goya, for example, did a very nice collection depicting monsters, witches and Sabbaths in 19th century Spain.

    I once visited a friend who was renting a house with his mom. In his room, there was a painting that looked like from the 60s or 70s, it depicted an UFO which was floating over a guatemalan lake. I always wanted to know if it was an story behind the painting, but my friend knew nothing, because the painting was already there when he came with this mom.
    K. Adam.-

  12. psychic62 responds:

    It seems to me with them seeing flying aliens and these bat-like things, having earthquakes and swine flu, has anyone considered the mothman?

  13. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    I found some info on this website, which tells the history of the culture center Ignacio Ramirez “The Necromancer” in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, which is installed on an ancient building (a monastery), which later became a fine arts painting school where some famous muralists taught to their students.

    The painting has no signature or identification, it seems modern, but the exact date seem unknown. People commonly call it “lassoing the devil” (lazando al diablo).

  14. rl_esteves responds:

    Perhaps this is just an artist’s personal perception on some of the creatures loosed upon the earth when Satan is released in the end of days.

  15. archer1945 responds:

    Have to disagree with Endroren about this looking like a fruit bat/flying fox. If anything any fruit bat/flying fox I’ve ever seen looks more like a chihuahua with wings, they have very dog-like faces which is where they got their name ‘flying fox’. Now the vampire bat is a different story and has a very ugly face which looks like it should be on a demon or gargoyle. Which is more what this looks like.

  16. red_pill_junkie responds:

    I think it’s also worth pointing out the tradition in Mexican folk art to convey demonic-like figurines, specially in papier mache sculptures called Alebrijes.

    There’s also the very traditional burning of the ‘Judas‘, which are bigger papier mache figurines, during the Roman Catholic holy week.

    So, all I’m saying is that, we have to be mindful of the cultural context. There’s a tradition of depicting evil in a mundane and even playful manner in Mexico.

    Another possibility is that the figure is some kind of evil sorcerer or ‘nahual’, capable of shape shifting—remember: the ‘nickname for this particular Art Center is Nigromante or Necromancer. There’s a very old tradition of people fearing the evil brujos that could transform themselves into balls of fire —some ball lighting or UFOs can fall into this category. They could aslo transform into coyotes and other animals.

    And, as Loren pointed out from the beginning, it’s an interesting coincidence with the ‘Man-Bat’ recently sighted in Mexico this year, as well as other reports of red-eyed ‘brujas’ attacking police officers.

    As for the date of the painting… at least we can establish it cannot be earlier than the turning of this colonial convent into an art school, during the 1940s; the school was founded in 1938 by Felipe Cossio del Pomar, and was aimed mainly for American students.

  17. Ferret responds:

    I’m intrigued by the fact that the creature has no arms, just like the creature reported in Mothman sightings. Just because the mural may out date reports of Mothman and Chupacabras dose not mean that it couldn’t have been inspired by the same creature.

  18. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    it’s not the mothman cause look at the bat

    the mothman don’t have round ears.

    the month man may be a bat though, but why mothman? batman? should be more eligible

    remember megafaunas? well whats to say they don’t go extinct. and until now their alive. no matter what you believe in, the past had healthy atmosphere. you can say that by looking at it now, we have factories. in the past we didn’t. so that says animals grew large. IF these megafauans didn’t go extinct. they must of shrunk. so if they are large now, in the past they’d be gigantic.

    the small ones would be large in the past, the large would be gigantic in the past, so Bigfoot now, would of been the real king kong in the past. literally.
    you find a 30ft Reptile. and if it’s 30ft now…. it would of been godzilla sized in the past.

    so my point is this may be a large bat instead of a moth!!!!!
    and a mothman would be strange if it’s related to moths? so somehow moths breeded with other moths that caused the babies to form legs? unless mothmans are the ancestors of moths? Large bats i think are common now… i say this cause i remember reading large bats in africa, mexicto (above), i think malaysia? and Png????

  19. Fhqwhgads responds:


    The picture you show is of the Dance of Death. It’s not about evil, it’s about the universality of death — something that is all too easy to put out of mind.

  20. AlbertaSasquatch responds:

    I think it looks like a scene out of…are you ready for it…..Brokebat Mountain!

  21. Grymhood responds:

    There is an old legend of a creature called the “Spring Heeled Jack“. It is a
    humanoid that resembles this creature a bit.
    Spring Heeled Jack comes from Europe though, can’t think of how it could travel to Mexico. Maybe stowed away on a ship?

  22. Remus responds:

    Just wanted to comment on Ferret’s observation. The wings ARE the arms. This is the norm for all large flying creatures (mammals, birds and saurians). If it had additional arms that would give it six appendages. As far as I know, no line of animals in history has this configuration other than the insects.

    Fun to speculate though…

  23. DWA responds:


    How many sightings of these critters per year? Same size? Same appearance or close to? Witnesses unimpeachable?

    Cool painting. But much else has been done with bats. This isn’t much of a stretch. I’m not trying to lasso an expedition based on this.

    Not saying we can’t have fun with it. Just saying that there’s nothing here that justifies looking beyond what we see, right here.

  24. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    Andrew D. Gable, i highly agree that it can be from texas too.

    mexico is always and will always be
    connected to texas, california..etc. 😀

  25. red_pill_junkie responds:

    mexico is always and will always be
    connected to texas, california..etc. 😀

    …I think you meant to say that Texas & California are always and will always be connected to Mexico….RIGHT??? Don’t make me go all ‘Pancho Villa’ on you, vato! 😉

    PS: One thing is certain: we still don’t know how the virus came to Mexico, or whether it originated and jumped to humans here. But if we end up finding out that the virus passed somehow through Chihuahua on its way to Veracruz & Mexico city… well, things are going to get pretty interesting.

  26. cryptidsrus responds:

    Mothman has a long tradition of “prophecy,” as Loren well knows. Personally I believe it is a type of “Watcher,” sent by Who Knows to occassionally warn us of potential disasters.

    The suggestion that this might be a “Spring-Heeled Jack” come to Mexico is interesting but does not match the evidence. The most obvious being that Mothman FLIES while Jack LEAPS.

    That was uncalled for. What does “Pastor Swope’s chicken” have to do with the mural and/or Mothman???
    He saw a cryptid-like bird and everybody had to be wiseguys and dismiss it as a “chicken.” Even after he insisted he was sure it was not a chicken. He grew up on a chicken farm, for goodness sake!!!

    You’re trying to be funny, I suppose. I can handle that. But at least make sure it’s relevant to the topic at hand.

    Anyways back to the topic at hand—
    Good post, Loren. The strangeness of real life never ceases to amaze me.

  27. tropicalwolf responds:

    In the words….of the poster…in Mulder’s office….

    “I want to believe”

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