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Top 10 Bizarre Phenomena Connected To Tragic Disasters

by Marcus Lowth
fact checked by Jamie Frater

It may simply be a way for the human mind to cope in the face of tragedy, but in the aftermath of various disasters worldwide, and sometimes in the days and weeks leading up to them, many stories of strange sightings and phenomena are reported. Whether they’re tales of evil entities released from the bowels of the Earth, strange lights in the sky, or even sightings of actual apparent flesh-and-blood creatures, they are seemingly very real to the people that tell them. While these accounts should perhaps be taken very much with a respectful pinch of salt, they are all very intriguing.

10 The Demons Of The Christchurch Earthquakes

In September 2010 and February 2011, Christchurch and the larger Canterbury area of New Zealand suffered two strong earthquakes. Hundreds of people lost their lives in the disasters, and the damage to infrastructure as well as homes was devastating. The Christchurch Paranormal Investigators claimed to have received an onslaught of reports of unusual sightings and experiences in the aftermath of both tragic incidents. Anton Heyrick, the group’s founder, theorized that perhaps earthquakes were responsible for unleashing long-gone spirits back into the world of the living.

One particular case was stranger than most and certainly stood out: Allan Bennetts and his wife, Sandra, had recently moved to the area and had renovated their home and restored it into their dream house. Several days before the first earthquake, Bennetts claimed that he received a visit from a strange gentleman dressed in black and wearing dark glasses. Both the Bennetts and Heyrick told of the account on the TV show Weird or What? and claimed that the man handed Allan an envelope that contained a black and white photograph of his house—in the 1930s.

For reasons he couldn’t explain, the photograph bothered Allan, to the point where he tore it to pieces a few days later. The following day, the first earthquake struck, and the Bennetts’ home suffered considerable damage. In addition, Allan claimed that the atmosphere in the house had changed. There was a “bad” presence residing there now.

One night, just after 3:00 AM, Allan was woken by a loud banging on his bed. Both he and Sandra then looked on in horror as “invisible” footprint indents made their way across the bed, before Allan felt as if he was being suddenly strangled by powerful hands he couldn’t see. Just as he thought he would die, the pressure was released, and the entity seemed to disappear. Heyrick’s investigation led him to believe a demon was present in the property, although the identity and indeed the significance of the stranger who gave Allan the photograph remains a mystery.

A very similar account was told several years later by Pakistani cricketer Haris Sohail, who claimed that he was attacked by a ghost in his hotel room while he slept. The hotel had been built after the 2011 earthquake, and the its staff stated that Sohail’s claim was the only they’d heard of any paranormal activity.

9 The Black Bird of Chernobyl


Photo credit: Mostlymade

The Chernobyl disaster in April 1986 is arguably the worst nuclear disaster of modern times. Strangely, if reports uncovered following the end of the Cold War are to be believed, many of the plant workers and residents of the nearby town of Pripyat reported seeing a strange, bird-like figure with red eyes in the air above the town in the days leading up to the tragedy. Even stranger, many of them reported receiving strange phone calls with only mysterious noises on the other end before the line went dead. Many also spoke of experiencing a sudden onset of nightmares.

The firefighters and emergency responders who were sent into the immediate vicinity following the explosion also reported seeing a strange winged creature flying through the air, weaving in and out of the smoke while they did their best to fight the blaze and rescue any survivors. To add even more intrigue to the alleged strange events, a strange cigar-shaped object was observed almost directly over the disaster site for several hours following the explosion.

The creature became known as the Birdman of Pripyat or the Black Bird of Chernobyl. Skeptics argue that it was simply a large bird.

8 The Mothman And The Silver Bridge Collapse


Photo credit: Tim Bertelink

What makes the story of the Black Bird of Chernobyl even more bizarre is that nearly two decades earlier, on the other side of the Iron Curtain in the United States, there were almost identical reports of a similar creature. The sightings seemed to lead up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on December 15, 1967, which claimed 46 lives. The creature had been seen flying around the bridge in the days leading up to the disaster and became known as the Mothman.

The sightings themselves dated back to the previous year, with the first known sighting occurring in November 1966, when five cemetery workers in Clendenin claimed they saw a winged creature fly over them and away over the trees. The first officially recorded sighting was that of Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette, who claimed to have all seen a “bird-like” creature with “glowing red eyes” flying low to the ground and appearing to follow their car. The incident was reported in the Point Pleasant Register newspaper. Just as the residents of Pripyat had reported, many people spoke of having received strange phone calls and of suffering from unsettling and intense nightmares. The sightings in Point Pleasant appeared to stop almost immediately following the collapse of the bridge.

Author J.M. Connor claimed in his book America’s Beastiary that there were over 100 sightings of the strange creature between 1966 and 1967. Others, though, most notably folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand, accused Connor of fabricating a lot of the reports, as many couldn’t be connected to an identifiable source. Interestingly, though, when the Ohio UFO Investigators reinterviewed those whom Connor had spoken to as part of their investigation, all told exactly the same stories as they had told originally.

7 Multiple UFOs And Humanoid Figures Following 2010 Chile Earthquake

During the night of a deadly earthquake in Chile in 2010, no less than 16 UFO sightings were reported in the immediate area by residents. UFO researcher Rodrigo Fuenzalida spent considerable time investigating the claims, including one from a couple who refused to stay in their apartment that night and instead opted to take their chances on the street due to an object they described as being as bright as the Moon hovering near the building. Other claims were very similar.

Perhaps even stranger was the sighting of large humanoid figures made by a group of coach passengers in Iquique. They described “luminous men,” who seemed to manifest themselves out of nowhere. Fuenzalida claimed that he had heard many reports of these mystery men, but that most people “do not dare report them, fearing that they will not be believed.”

Interestingly, another report surfaced on Internet discussion boards of a woman who, on the morning of the deadly earthquake, opened her front door only to stand in amazement at the sight of three, 2.5-meter-tall (8.2 ft) humanoid figures making their way into a body of water around a 100 meters (330 ft) away from her home. According to the witness, they were a dark blue color, thin, and slightly luminous.

6 Strange Sightings and Activity Following The 2011 Japanese Tsunami

2011 Tsunami Aftermath

Photo credit: Chief Hira

The earthquake off the coast of Japan and the tsunami that followed in 2011 was witnessed as it unfolded by the entire world. However, in the days and months following the disaster, many hours of news footage was poured over by UFO and paranormal researchers alike, with numerous strange anomalies and objects sighted. A cigar-shaped object was clearly seen hovering over the Fukushima Nuclear Plant, while a similar object was captured making its way over the land as the deadly waters overtook them. The week before the disaster, four strange objects had been observed and reported hovering over Haneda Airport.

In addition to UFOs and strange lights, numerous sightings of strange creatures were seemingly caught on camera, leading some to believe that the event had awoken beings from the spirit world or another dimension. As crazy as that sounds, several videos appeared that seemed to show exactly that. One particular video surfaced on YouTube that appeared to show a strange ghostly figure climbing from the water and making its way onto the roof of a building and vanishing. The video was examined by several experts, and it was learned that the footage was filmed along the Okawa River in Kesennuma by a gentleman named Kenichi Murakami.

It was determined that the video was real (in that the figure had not been superimposed) but that it was most likely an unknown vapor.

5 The Freiburg Shrieker
Germany, 1978

According to the legend, what should have been another day in the mines in Freiburg, Germany, in September 1978 turned out to be anything but for a group of miners, who on that day, narrowly escaped death. The story goes that as the miners turned up for work that morning, they discovered that the entrance was blocked by a strange, black, winged creature that appeared to be wearing a black cape around its body. The men began to approach the strange being but soon backed away once it let out a sound that sounded “like fifty people screaming.”

They waited at a safe distance for around an hour, unsure what to do, when they suddenly heard the sound of an underground explosion. The mine where they should have been working had collapsed in on itself. If they’d gone into the mine that day as they were scheduled to, they would have all been killed.

It appeared that the strange figure was preventing them from entering in order to save their lives. Although it couldn’t stop the collapse of the mine itself, it appeared to prevent an economic disaster from becoming a human disaster. In a further twist, it is said that many of the workers suffered from serious psychiatric problems in the months following the incident.

This particular tale has proven a difficult one for researchers to prove or disprove. There are alleged photographs of the workers at the mine, but none of the accounts mention what the mine itself was called. Freiburg had numerous mines at the time. Also, the people involved are only referred to as workers, with no actual names given. Given the bizarre nature of what was alleged to have happened and the fact that there were no deaths, it appears that no official reports were made of the incident.

4 The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami—A Result of Secret Experiments?

2004 Tsunami Aftermath

Photo credit: AusAID

The 9.0 earthquake that ravaged the coastal areas along the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, was the largest such event in 40 years and claimed 300,000 lives. Some people soon began to theorize that the earthquake was not an act of nature, but rather the consequence of military experiments being carried out deep under the ocean.

Australian researcher Joe Vialls postulated in his article “Did New York Orchestrate The Asian Tsunami?” how “easy” it would be to do this via an explosion deep under the water. Canadian professor Michel Chossudovsky also drew attention to the fact that it appeared as though the US Navy was “fully aware of the deadly tidal wave” in advance and that it sent warning to its base on Diego Garcia. Incidentally, although being right in the path of the deadly tsunami, the base reported no damage or casualties.

There have also been reports of strange lights and UFO activity in the region for years, with several reports made in the immediate lead-up to the disaster in 2004. Commercial fishermen of the region both noted strange aerial phenomena and reported that their own radio channels regularly become jammed while they are at sea.

3 Strange Lights And Objects Seen Before 2013 Oklahoma Tornado

On May 20, 2013, a deadly tornado measuring 3.2 kilometers (2 mi) wide ripped its way through Oklahoma, leaving 91 people dead in its wake. Buildings, and in some cases entire streets, were completely flattened, as if they’d been erased from existence.

Less than 48 hours earlier, there were multiple reports of strange, glowing objects and lights in the sky over Moore, Oklahoma. Some witnesses even went as far as to describe them as a “fleet” of UFOs flying slowly over the area in formation. Initial theories were that the strange lights were nothing more than paper lanterns, but following the devastating tornado, many ufologists began to think their appearance wasn’t a coincidence, even declaring that they may have been some kind of warning of the upcoming events.

There were reports of similar sightings the previous year in Oklahoma according to the National UFO Research Center, including one report from Moore that mentioned a “fireball object” that was sighted in June 2012. The vast majority of the UFO incidents reported in this area of the United States all seem to mention strange lights as opposed to palpable objects.

Whether or not the lights witnessed in the days before the tornado strike in 2013 were mere coincidence or not is still a mystery. Skeptics will tell you it obviously was, while other researchers will say that there has to be a connection.

2 Winged Creature Seen Before I-35W Bridge Collapse

I-35W Bridge Collapse

Photo credit: Mike Wills

What some people claim was the same creature seen 40 years earlier in the aforementioned Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant was sighted on and around the I-35W Bridge in the weeks leading up to its 2007 collapse, in which 13 people were killed and over 100 injured. The incident is regarded as one of the worst disasters in Minnesota’s history, and what makes it worse is that the tragedy is largely seen as a result of a simple lack of upkeep as well as failure to spot design flaws in the bridge itself.

Several days after the collapse, the Coast To Coast AM radio show took numerous calls from people in the area who claimed that they had seen a strange winged creature near the bridge in the weeks beforehand. One caller described seeing what she thought was a Bigfoot-like creature that appeared to have a large stick in its hand, while another stated that they saw a creature with a huge wingspan roughly the size of a family car. Both sightings were claimed to have been in late June, around a month before the collapse of the bridge.

There were similar sightings in Minnesota in 1968. Larry Hawkins claimed to have seen a “hairy hominoid” while driving along the road. Brad Steiger investigated and wrote about Hawkins and others’ claims of strange sightings in the area. Strange aerial phenomena were also sighted in 1968.

1 Strange Sounds And Phenomena During Hurricane Katrina And Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012 were both equally tragic and destructive, with each causing many deaths and extensive damage to infrastructure. Both hurricanes were also allegedly linked to strange lights being seen in some of the hit areas in the days before the destructive storms.

In New York in the days prior to Hurricane Sandy, many people spotted strange lights overhead in the sky. Brooklyn Net basketball player Deron Williams, perhaps being the most high profile witness, claimed publicly that he saw a “green flash across the sky” in the hours following the deadly storm first hitting the city. There were also reports of strange sounds—similar to a metallic hum—being heard. This caused some to suggest that Sandy may have been the result of government experiments concerning weather modification. The HAARP program in particular was named the apparent culprit. A tenuous connection was even drawn to one of the program’s early training exercises concerning how to respond to such an event that had been given the name “Project Sandy” as far back as 1997.

Similar lights to those seen in 2012 were also witnessed in August 2005 leading up to Hurricane Katrina. There were reports of a fleet of UFOs off the coast of Louisiana. In the days following the disaster, a bizarre cigar-shaped craft was spotted moving over the ravaged areas as if surveying the damage. Even more bizarrely, in the years following Katrina, many made reports of not only UFO sightings, but of alien abductions that were carried out while Katrina was in the process of tearing New Orleans to shreds.

Marcus Lowth—writer at Me Time For The Mind—
Me Time For The Mind on Facebook—

fact checked by Jamie Frater
Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a passion for anything interesting, be it UFOs, the Ancient Astronaut Theory, the paranormal or conspiracies. He also has a liking for the NFL, film and music.

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