Silhouette in the Sky

Mystery of Flying Humanoids and Other Cryptids

On April 26, 1986, the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine experienced a lethal nuclear accident. Several explosions culminated in an open-air reactor releasing radioactive contamination for nine days. In the aftermath stories circulated of a flying humanoid figure with glowing red eyes seen days before the incident.


The creature became known as the Black Bird of Chernobyl. It’s described in some instances as being humanoid, other times as a headless torso; however it’s reported as having giant wings that measure approximately twenty feet across.

Workers in the control room and power plant made known they had seen it weeks before the meltdown.

In hindsight, many believe that its appearance was a portent of the coming disaster. Those who laid eyes upon it described having horrific nightmares and receiving strange phone calls with only static on the other end.

Some liken it to the reports of Moth Man, most famously linked with the disaster at Point Pleasant, West Virginia when on December 15, 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed.


Over 336,000 persons were resettled, many of these and first responders died due to radiation poisoning. After thirty-five years, first-hand witnesses are hard to find. Especially those who claimed they saw it flying among the black plumes of smoke coming from the plant after the explosion.

Some theorized the figure seen was a black stork. It’s a rare bird, and with a wingspan of about six feet, and a body type easily identified as avian, it would be difficult to confuse it with anything but what it is.

The Point Pleasant incident is not the only one tied to weird sightings of a large, winged creature. On September 10, 1978 in Freiburg, Germany there was a collapse in the Black Forest Mine.

Early that morning when the first workers arrived they found a man standing at the entrance to the mine. He appeared to be wrapped in a long, black trench coat. Several of them approached the figure, only to be horrified when what they thought was a coat turned out be a pair of large wings that unfurled from its back. Then it shrieked several times, sending the men running back to their companions, who stood observing it. The figure then tucked its wings back in and continued to stand at the entrance.

Despite the surreal experience, the miners started to prepare themselves for the day’s work, keeping a wary eye on the creature. At 8 AM, the ground shook beneath their feet and an explosion rocked the mine. They ran to the entrance, where smoke and fire poured forth. The creature who was later dubbed the Freiburg Shrieker had disappeared.

An investigation into the incident concluded that if not for the delay of the sighting, 36 miners would have been killed. Several months later, reports filtered out that less than 30% of the workers continued working at the mine, and others went on to suffer from mental afflictions possibly connected to their encounter with the Freiburg Shrieker. Many were unable to return to work, dying young and in poverty; a similar fate shared by some who saw Moth Man.

There have been reports of a similar creature in Chicago since 2011. There was resurgence in 2017. It’s been seen along the coast of Lake Michigan and over O’Hare Airport as well. The descriptions are consistent with a winged, bat-like or insect-like creature with a humanoid appearance. The eyes are ruby red, yellow or reflective.

Are these creatures, like the banshee, portents of doom; are they perhaps there to serve as a warning which goes unrecognized? Or, perhaps they are drawn to the violent energy that is soon to explode in a moment at a certain place in time?

Perhaps they are only watchers.

​And now at Chernobyl something is flaring up from an inaccessible basement room. Ukrainian scientists fear that a fission reaction has started reoccurring. Over the years levels of radiation have been stable, but a spike to neutrons seem to occur after rainfall. There is no doubt that something still flickers in the buried uranium fuel masses.

Will the Black Bird of Chernobyl return?

Ukraine’s Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was destroyed decades ago in a horrific radioactive accident. But it turns out that nuclear reactions are still smoldering away inside, even now. (2021)

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