Cryptids and Legendary Creatures

The Man-Bat of Northern Mexico

ManBat2It was a chilly morning a few hours after midnight on Friday, January 16th 2004.  The young twentysomething police officer Leonardo Samaniego Gallegos was patrolling the neighborhood of Valles de la Silla in the municipality of Guadalupe, an eastern suburb of Monterrey.  Officer Samaniego was driving his patrol car down Aldama Street when he saw something big and black fall from a tall tree.  The big black figure did not touch the ground, but seemed to hover over it.  Samaniego turned on the patrol car’s high beams and before him in the short distance stood a humanoid with big black eyes, brownish skin and what appeared to be black clothing or fur.  According to the officer’s report, upon having the car’s lights shined upon it, the creature covered its eyes and became angry, and then lunged at the car.  It grabbed the patrol car and shook it violently.  In a panic, Samaniego spun the car in circles to try to shake off whatever had gotten a hold of his car.  He grabbed the police radio and desperately called for reinforcements.  The creature then started to smash his windshield at which point the young policeman shifted the car into reverse, gunned the engine, lost control of the vehicle, crashed it and was knocked unconscious.  When he came to, revived by paramedics, the creature had been long gone.  Samaniego was rushed to University Hospital and in addition to being treated for his physical wounds he was subjected to psychological and toxicological tests to determine whether he was under the influence when he had his supposed encounter.  All the tests came up negative.  The police department was left with a mangled car and the strange testimony of a very trusted officer.

manbat4Samaniego’s story spread quickly and it caught the attention of local news stations throughout the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon.  In an on-camera interview the next day the police officer recounted the horrible night, and gave a detailed description of the creature.  Newsmen wondered exactly what Samaniego had seen.  Was it a gigantic bird of prey?  A huge bat?  Was it some unknown or unclassified animal?  Was it a ghost?  Something otherworldly?  One interviewer even put forth the idea that it could have been some crazy person dressed up in a costume, although that would not account for the creature seeming to hover over the ground or the severe damage done to the police car.  At the conclusion of one of the news stories, the announcer asked the public to come forward if they had any information about that specific incident or if anyone had any knowledge of a big, black, flying creature seen at other times in the region.  The response to this plea was quick.  A resident of Monterrey and a member of the OVNI Club de Nuevo Leon, or, in English, the UFO Club of Nuevo Leon, came forward with a video showing a strange black humanoid-looking being flying over the hills just outside the city.  The station played the video on the air and afterwards many reports came in about what would later be called “La Bruja de Guadalupe” or, “The Witch of Guadalupe.”  Three policeman from the municipality of Santa Catarina, another suburb of Monterrey, claimed to have seen the creature several times flying over the Sierra las Mitras, the site of a natural wilderness preserve just north of town which is known for its jagged peaks.   Another policeman named Gerardo Garza Carvajal, of the same town of Santa Catarina, claimed to see a creature standing a meter and a half tall with dark feathers or fur and black claws in the town’s cemetery.  He thought it was a gigantic bird or ManBat3bat, but it had the face of a human.  In this sighting Officer Garza said that soon after the creature appeared it was joined by another one of the same size and type.  Garza ran to a guardhouse and locked himself there until the creatures left.  The theory that these are gigantic birds is supported by the eyewitness testimony of Francisco Peña who lives near the Santa Catarina Cemetery.  He claims that when the creatures make noise, they sound like, “laughing turkeys.”  Of all the stories coming out as a result of the newscasts, perhaps the most interesting came from a man named Manuel Sifuentes who is also a policeman for the municipality of Guadalupe and a colleague of Samaniego.  He describes a sighting that occurred almost 2 weeks before Samaniego’s.  According to Officer Sifuentes, he was leaving the police station on foot when suddenly a black creature with a large stick swooped down out of the sky.  He instinctively closed his eyes and according to his report, “I felt much cold as if I had gotten into a freezer full of ice.”  The creature did not do physical harm to him but he had felt that the creature’s energy had pierced his body.  It all happened so suddenly, but Sifuentes claimed that he was attacked by a classic witch and that the stick the creature had was more like a broom that it used to fly around.  He had the distinct impression that the “bruja” was a humanoid woman.  No other sightings in early 2004 had described the creature in quite this way.  In the wake of the flurry of news stories of Officer Samaniego’s initial sighting, Guadalupe’s mayor, Juan Francisco Rivera, in an attempt to calmly address the public on the issue, declared that officer Samaniego was a good public servant and had good character, but sometimes the stress of being a police officer or excess work might get to some people.  The mayor believed the young policeman thought he saw something, but “sometimes life puts us in weird situations that we cannot explain.”  However, the politician had no comment on the many dozens of other sightings throughout the area made by other police officers and average citizens alike.   The sightings of this huge, black, flying humanoid in the Monterrey area petered out within two years or so of the initial report.

manbat6In another part of northern Mexico, in the rural parts of the neighboring state of Chihuahua, a similar creature has been sighted.  As the largest state in Mexico, Chihuahua, along with its namesake desert, boasts huge forests, deep canyons, rugged mountains and sweeping prairies.  Many parts of the state are still wild and somewhat inaccessible and would make perfect habitat for an unknown creature or creatures.  We see reports of the tall, dark, flying humanoid creature occur again in the year 2009 in a few small towns throughout Chihuahua.  Just west of the capital of the state, Chihuahua City, near the Sierras, in the town of La Junta, a young man was returning home from his studies along a very infrequently traveled road.  The date was March 6th, 2009.  He came across something hunched over in the middle of the road.  When the man’s jeep got closer to the hunched-over figure it stood up and what he saw was similar to the sightings in Nuevo Leon just a few years before:  It was a being standing upright, black, covered in fur, with a face similar to a human’s and with wings.  According to this eyewitness, the creature had two sets of wings and also red eyes.  When it started to leap toward the jeep, the young man sped up his vehicle and for 15 minutes, the creature flew next to him, looking into the passenger window.  The story made the newspaper, El Heraldo de Chihuahua, and much like what happened in the neighboring state a few years before, once the story hit the mainstream media, other people started coming forward with stories of other sightings.  Two women, Angela Mendez and Viviana Ledezma, both from a town south of La Junta called Miñaca claimed to have seen and heard the creature in an apple grove near the town’s cemetery.  This is only the second time that it was reported that the creature made noise.  In most of the sightings it is silent.  Although this gigantic man-bat might scare people, physical attacks on humans are almost nonexistent.  Animals are another story.  Many ranchers and other rural people have blamed the creature for destruction of livestock.  The phenomenon of cattle mutilation, which has occurred with some frequency in the American Southwest, has also occurred in northern Mexico and once the stories of the man-bat became public, many people put the blame of mutilated livestock on this mysterious flying creature.  A farmhand working a ranch near Huerta el Rosario claimed that he saw the creature struggling when caught up in some netting used to shield young plants from hail.  Within days of this report, at nearby ranches sheep had been found with their throats slit and their tails cut.

ManBat1Later in 2009 governmental authorities became involved to try to assuage the panic of the people in rural Chihuahua and to try to come up with some answers once and for all.  The police department of the town of Guerrero joined forces with the Civil Defense Department of Chihuahua to try to track down the creature.  The joint task force concluded that if this man-bat were real that it probably lived in the mountain wilderness outside of Miñaca but could never track down the elusive nocturnal creature or find any physical evidence of its existence.   Not a single track or a single tuff of fur was ever found.  After this formal investigation the sightings seemed to fall off and there hasn’t been a sighting in northern Mexico of these creatures for years.

manbat7The northern Mexico man-bat got the attention of Loren Coleman, an American cryptozoologist, someone who seeks to identify and describe cryptids, or legendary creatures and unknown animals.  He noted that the appearance of this being in rural Chihuahua coincided with outbreaks of the H1N1 swine flu in this region, but a direct cause and effect relationship did not necessarily exist.  Coleman and other cryptid and paranormal researchers have compared the northern Mexican man-bat appearances to the American “Mothman” sightings, which occurred starting in the mid- 1960s in rural West Virginia.  The Mothman was described as an upright-standing, flying humanoid with a large wingspan and red eyes, sometimes seen as being covered in either black or brown fur.  Like the man-bat of northern Mexico, a few eyewitness accounts of the Mothman caused widespread panic and possible copycat sightings.  Both were also subjects of serious investigations by authorities that came up empty.  Could these creatures be related or are we seeing a similar psychological phenomenon apparent in both cases?  Until one of these creatures is actually captured for further examination, the man-bat of northern Mexico will just remain an interesting unsolved mystery and the stuff of legend and the imagination.

REFERENCES (not a formal bibliography)

El Heraldo de Chihuahua
Various online sources

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *