Owlman, sometimes referred to as the Cornish Owlman or The Owlman of Mawnan, was a cryptozoological creature that was sighted in the late 70s in the village of Mawnan, in Cornwall.
Reports of sightings
In the year of 1976, two young girls claimed to have seen a giant owl, hovering over the local church tower, on April 17, as did two other young girls in the same year, their encounter being on July 17. Specifically, as to the second encounter, Sally Chapman, age 14, was camping with a friend (identified only as Barbara) in some woods near the church, when, 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. Sightings of this figure continued to be reported, on the following day and on one occasion two years later, in 1978, all within the vicinity of the church.
In Alien Animals (1985), British paranormal researchers Janet and Colin Bord pointed out that Mawnan church is built in the middle of a prehistoric earthwork. They suggested that the church may be built on a ley line (a straight line that passes through and links several ancient sites), and speculated that the appearance of the Owlman may be a manifestation of earth energy in this place. However in a later book "Modern Mysteries of the World" 1989 they retracted this and stated that they believed that the sightings were probably of an escaped aviary bird rather than a paranormal phenomenon.
A more straightforward explanation may be that the Owlman sightings were of an escaped eagle owl (Bubo bubo), a species that can grow more than two feet long, with a wingspan of nearly six feet.
Perhaps the most comprehensive study into the Owlman was undertaken by Jonathan Downes, the founder of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, (the worlds largest cryptozoological organisation) in his book 'The Owlman and Others' (1997).
- Bord, Janet; Bord, Colin (1990). Alien Animals. Granada. (pp135-139, 141)
- Downes, Jonathan (1997). The Owlman and Others. Corby: Domra Publications, 239. ISBN 0 9524417 6 4.
- McEwan, Graham J. (1986). Mystery Animals of Britain and Ireland. London: Robert Hale, 224. ISBN 0-7090-2801-6. (pp150-153)
- Shuker, Karl (1996, 2002). The Unexplained. Carlton. (p37)