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Thursday, December 14, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 14: The Canadian Spiderbat


This write-up is dedicated to my friend, who goes by Jimbo. I hope you enjoy this wonderfully weird story, bud!

The idea of merging two animals into one is one that I must concede is quite amusing. Just imagine if I fused a puffer fish with a turkey or a walrus with a giraffe. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find it rather entertaining. Unfortunately, it isn’t always entertaining; there are those combinations that result in something rather horrific. Today’s story is one of those instances.

After having health issues for the seven thousandth time this year, I was lounging around on my bed doing what I do best: playing Pokémon. Once I realized that I should be preparing to write again, I decided to read. During this reading, I stumbled across the story of The Canadian Spiderbat. With a name like that, I knew I had to write about it right away. So, with a brain that’s still reeling from a week of recovery, let us take a dive into the unknown!

Airborne Arachnophobia, Laced With Maple Syrup

I initially found this story on the High Strangeness Wiki, though its origin is from Phantoms and Monsters. The article linked there is from April 1 of this year, though the story in question occurred in November 2017. I must say that the way the article is worded, I wonder if Lon Strickler, the man who owns the site, is referring to another article he wrote; I can’t find one from that period. However, I did find another story from Ontario involving a winged humanoid, so that was cool.

Sometimes referred to as the “Giant Canadian Spiderbat,” this story takes place in one of two places: Albert, Canada, or Alberta, Canada. I’m sure which, but I have this hunch it isn’t the former. Still, if anyone from the province of Albert can correct me, I would love to know!

Regardless of where it took place, this sighting occurred in November 2017 (as stated earlier). A person going by the alias “JK” emailed Lon about their late-night encounter. Personally, I’ll be referring to them as “Joe,” as I think it sounds a bit better, as I’ll be conveying their encounter in the third person. That said, I’d love to imagine that this was actually J.K. Simmons. He wants pictures of Spider-Bat!

Now then, Joe emailed Lon on account of hearing good things about him and his site; he also states that he gave the creature its name. Joe did this, and I quote:

Because of its spider-like mouth and bat-like appearance. Also because it sounds cool.

Inconceivably based.

At the time Joe sent this email, it had been roughly a week since he saw this creature. Said sighting happened at night (like any good cryptid encounter). After putting his farm animals to bed with the timeless classic bedtime story “The Little Lamb and the Slaughterhouse,” Joe walked by “an old, practically fallen-down barn on our property.” As he approached the dilapidated structure, he looked at it.

That’s when Joe caught a glimpse of something. It was large and bulky. That sounds more like Bigfoot, yet this thing is named the “Spiderbat,” and bats have wings. So what about that? Well, despite the name of this cryptid and what the sketch that serves as the header image for this write-up shows, Joe wasn’t sure if it had wings. Now, ain’t that just a cryin’ shame?

Before we continue, though, I want to zero in on this thing’s size. Later in the email, Joe says that the creature appeared to be too large to fit through the window it was perched at. It’s also here where he says that its eyes were “tiny and glistening white,” which is nothing like the ones in the sketch (which are closer to those of an owl). I wanted to mention this for two reasons. The first is that I believed it flowed better. The second is I have absolutely no idea why the sketch has something so radically different than what’s described in the story. Maybe Joe couldn’t get the details down the way he wanted it? I dunno; let’s move on.

Anyways, when Joe caught sight of this strange entity, it ducked into the barn extremely quickly. He later said it appeared that, whatever it was, it “cowered away” like it didn’t want to be seen. Sounds like he needs a Gengar with Shadow Tag to help him out.

Despite its apparent shyness, Joe wasn’t keen on sticking around. So, like a Spiderbat out of Hell, he bolted for his house. The entire time, Joe felt like he was being pursued by something. Luckily, he made it home in one piece. You know, I used to get this feeling when I lived at my old place; anytime I was home alone and I was upstairs, I’d swear that some demon or monster would kill me. It was especially bad whenever I’d finally go downstairs; I always got the feeling something came out of my parent’s bedroom and watched me as I went downstairs. It got so bad that I wouldn’t go upstairs without my dog because I was so adamant there was something evil upstairs. Anyway, my point is: I think there’s a term for this feeling, but I can’t remember it off the top of my head. Probably paranoia; I dunno.

Now that you’ve learned a bit about my crippling fear of being alone, let’s get back to the story; what little of it is left. I know it’s a short one; I’m as disappointed as I was when I saw Spider-Man 3.

Joe goes on to state that he still dislikes going outside on his own; I can relate, my Canadian friend. He also says that the barn still unsettles him a little. I cannot relate to this, as I’m pretty sure I’ve never been inside a barn. I did, however, go to school across from a farm, so I can at least attest to one thing: cow manure smells quite bad. Though I still think cows are adorable.

To round this story off on an ominous note, Joe claims that every now and then, he hears noises coming from within the barn. In his own words:

It sounds like somebody setting down a pile of wooden planks over and over.

Joe admits that it could be an echo, but he’s unsure of that. He also posits that it may be his mind playing a trick on him, though he says the sound is “too unnaturally real.” Finally, Joe ends the email off with a fittingly creepy sentence:

I feel like the barn is watching me whenever I pass it.

Big Barn is watching you, dear reader.

With that, the main story ends; it’s short, and on its own, it’s a run-of-the-mill “I saw something weird” tier story. That said, I wasn’t satisfied with just ending here, so let’s discuss what I found when I did some “research.”

Snooping Around For More Information, Laced With Maple Leafs

Yes, it’s time for this section again; the section where I talk about how I did some investigating (by which I mean: I used Google and Bing)... sort of. Really, there isn’t much else to go off of, though I did find a Tumblr post that said the creature was 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall. That’s considerably shorter than I imagined this thing to have been, and I have no idea where the person got this information from. Either way, it’s a fair bit shorter than most winged humanoid cryptids that I know of (such as Mothman and Owlman, both of whom are usually said to be around 7 feet/2.1 meters tall).

Where things get interesting, in my eyes, is with this episode of Cryptid Technical. I’ve never listened to this podcast, but it was posted on December 2, 2020. Meanwhile, Dark Poutine had an episode on Canadian cryptids that was posted on June 21, 2021; the description mentions the Canadian Spiderbat. Before both of these, a Twitter (or X, if you really want to call it that) account named Rhubarb’s Art did a drawing of the creature; it was posted on August 4, 2020.

I don’t know if I overlooked a post from Lon Strickler where he talked about this case or if another prominent cryptid enthusiast talked about it. All I know is that this story predates the article Lon made earlier this year, and I really wish I knew if he was the one who put the spotlight on it or if someone else did. It’s possible Lon did (or does) have an article that featured the creature, and I simply didn’t find it; it’s possible one of the two podcasts I mentioned is a lot bigger than I know.

All of that said, that’s the only thing that really caught my attention with this. I don’t know of any additional details or sightings (well, of this specific cryptid), so it appears it was a one-and-done. So, on a rather uneventful note, the story of the Canadian Spiderbat comes to an end. I had a ton of fun telling it—that means anything. It was a strange little tale, and those are always great to relay to you all. Though, without further ado, let’s dive into the theories, and boy, are there a fair number of them.


1. A hoax

Let’s get the least fun theory out of the way; my apologies to any and all skeptics reading this article. I simply don’t have it in me to play non-believer today.

I’ve said it more times than I care to count, and many others have said it before me and will say it in the future. People will fabricate things for fame, money, or mere attention. Sometimes, they’ll do it for a combination of the three. In the end, it doesn’t matter; all that matters is that they aren’t exposed. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.

In the case of this theory, Joe wanted attention. He kind of got it as the story made it onto some Wikis and a few podcasts. Though I doubt this theory was the case, as Joe himself said, it was likely that he was seeing things. Still, to leave this theory out would be criminal as, in my eyes, it’s always a possibility when dealing with a cryptid.

2. Mothman

Although he’s a native of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, never let it be said that Mothman hasn’t been seen in other areas. Whether that’s because he needed a vacation or because he has a multitude of siblings, I don’t know. What I do know is there are others who purportedly look like him. So many, in fact, that I could make a list of them—and this would be a part of said list.

As ludicrous as it may sound that a cryptid would “travel” to another location, a few have been said to have. Outside of Mothman, I can name two off the top of my head: The New Jersey Devil and El Chupacabra. How this traveling happened is beyond me, but at least with El Chupacabra, you could argue that it snuck aboard merchant ships and relocated to a new territory. The Jersey Devil is something that I cannot explain unless it wanted out of Jersey. Which, to be fair, is a totally valid desire.

In all seriousness, creatures like Mothman have been spotted across the world; the most famous of these is The Black Bird of Chernobyl, which some outright claim was Mothman. Sighted shortly before the infamous nuclear meltdown, the “Black Bird” was seen by several workers at the doomed power plant, with some suffering nightmares after seeing it. As far as I’m aware, it was never seen after the catastrophe.

Still, creatures like the Black Bird and Mothman have been spotted, so it stands to reason that this may have been one of those. Of course, that hinges on whether or not you believe in the existence of such things and whether or not you believe Mothman is truly a harbinger of doom. Given this creature was seen only once, and no sort of horrific catastrophes occurred afterward (that I know of, at least), I think it’s safe to say it wasn’t Mothman, at least, not in his popular lore form. Anyway, I’ve lingered on this theory for long enough; you get the point, so let’s move on to the next one.

3. An alien

I heard a rumor that if you say the word “alien” five times in front of a mirror in a dark room, Fox News will arrive at your home to do an interview about illegal immigrants. Spooky stuff.

Mothman has very heavy ties to UFO lore, but I won’t go over it here. That deserves a write-up of its own; it’s also not the central focus of this theory, but I thought it warranted mentioning. No, the main point of this theory is that this was, through and through, an alien.

Aliens, throughout the years, have been described in a great many ways. From the iconic Greys to robotic flowers, giant brains with limbs, and the most beautiful humans you could ever imagine. Aliens are as diverse as Earth’s ecosystem, so the idea of a weird owl-humanoid with a spider’s mouth isn’t what I’d call “weird.” At least, not when putting forth the idea that this was an extraterrestrial.

However, when it comes to sightings of aliens, they’re usually accompanied by UFO sightings. As far as I can tell, this sighting was nothing more than a one-off encounter of the winged humanoid kind. If I’m wrong, then I’m clearly worse at research than I initially thought and need to go back to playing Pokémon. Come along, Aegislash; it’s time to go pick on Hex Maniacs again so I can buy more Full Restores.

4. Some other cryptid

This theory is as it says on the tin; it was some other cryptid. In other words, it was store-brand Mothman. I told my mom I wanted Mothman, but she said we had Mothman at home. I wasn’t sure if this qualified as Mothman, but its mere presence has brought about disaster in my life, so I guess it does!

There isn’t much to say that wasn’t said during the Mothman theory; you could copy and paste everything there and replace “Mothman” with “winged human.” Just nix anything referencing the whole “harbinger of doom” aspect with, “Oh dear God, it’s a flying humanoid!” Though I’m not that lazy, I wish I was since it would save me quite a bit of time when writing. Efficiency is not my strong suit.

For this theory, I’ll be ignoring winged humanoids because it’s very clear to me that this wasn’t a human of any sort but rather some sort of large bird. Lucky for us, that isn’t a novelty; giant avians have been seen for a long time. The legend of the thunderbird is easily the most well-known; if you’re into cryptozoology, you almost certainly know of the lost thunderbird photograph.

It’s possible that what Joe saw was some unknown species of large giant owl or some other bird of prey, like a large eagle. While the spider-like mouth is on the odd side, it’s possible it was carrying prey, and that made its mouth look deformed. Or maybe that’s just how its mouth looks. I won’t judge, especially when I’m certain the thing I’d be judging could kill me with ease.

Of course, it’s possible that this was some sort of winged humanoid, but I’m skeptical. Still, some people claim to have seen gargoyles. Maybe next year, we’ll go over a story or two about them. For now, I’ll leave it up to you to go down that rabbit hole on your own. Now, onward to the next theory!

5. An owl

Before I even get into the theory, may I just say I find it wild how two of West Virginia’s most iconic cryptids have been pinned on owls. The Flatwoods Monster and Mothman have both been explained as being cases of misidentifications, specifically of owls. I dunno why, but I find that wild.

Given Mothman was a theory earlier, I feel it would be dumb to leave out the explanation of an owl. The tallest owl in North America is the Great Grey Owl (see the image below). At 2 feet (0.6 meters) to 2 feet, 9 inches (0.8 meters), this beautiful avian is quite an impressive sight.

Though it’s shorter than what Joe claimed to see, it’s also possible he mistook the owl for being far bigger than he thought, given the distance and the fleeting moment he saw it. Of course, there are a few issues with this explanation. Obviously, owls don’t have spider-like mouths. However, the sketch Joe made doesn’t exactly look like a spider’s mouth either. To me, it looks like a screwed-up beak. Or, as I said in the theory above, it was carrying food, and it ended up creating what Joe took for a spider’s mouth.

There’s also the matter of the eyes. Owls have much more prominent eyes than what the Spiderbat had. Not only that, but owl eyes glow yellow, not white. Deer, elk, coyotes, dogs, and wolves do, but none of those are anything like what Joe saw. Though I guess if you mangle the faces of those animals, strap some prosthetic wings to their back, and pull a Weekend At Bernie’s with them, they might. It would take a fair bit of effort, though.

Of course, I could be misinformed by the Internet, and owl eyes—or at least some species—may glow white. As it stands, this theory has a fair bit going for it and a fair bit going against it. You could say that Joe mistook the eyeshine due to his fear; I leave it up to you like I left the gargoyle rabbit hole up to you.

6. A case of imagination running wild

Imagination is a really crazy thing. I honestly think it’s the explanation for a lot of things, far more than we’re likely willing to admit. That isn’t to say that every single weird thing can be blamed on one’s imagination; I simply think those shadows you see are, more often than not, your head playing tricks on you.

Go outside late at night and pass an old, decrepit structure. Some may be enticed to explore it; others, not so much. Regardless, your imagination may take the shadow of something for a creature, or your fear creates shadows where none really are. For this theory, Joe saw something that wasn’t there; his fear and paranoia made him see things.

I’ve talked about this theory in the past, as I’ve had this happen to me before. I see things that aren’t there when I’m alone or nervous. Fear is a normal thing to feel, and while it may seem implausible to see a full-fledged entity solely due to fear, it can happen. Especially if you potentially wonder what could be inside an old, unused structure. It is odd that he only saw it once, though. You’d think his imagination would keep up the fright. Lazy imagination; get back to work!

7. Justin Trudeau

I always knew there was something fishy about him.

My Take

This is a story that I’m a bit torn on. In spite of what I said earlier about not wanting to play non-believer, I think that Joe mistook an owl for this so-called “Spiderbat.” Simultaneously, I think it could have also been his mind playing tricks on him. As I said earlier in this write-up, I’ve had plenty of instances where I thought there was some evil presence in my old home when I was home alone. It’s easy to rile yourself up; I’d actually encourage you to try it when you’re alone. Lie to yourself that someone or something is with you when you’re home alone. Even if you know you’re alone, you can fill yourself into believing otherwise.

Now, at the same time, I must admit that the appearance of this creature is certainly something else. I’ve never seen an owl with prey in its mouth in person, so I can’t say for certain what it’d look like in person. My eyesight is quite poor, and I need glasses to see clearly, so there’s a good chance that all I’d see is some blurry form that’d be looking at me like an angry New Yorker. Or maybe I’d be looking in a mirror; hard to tell most of the time. 

That said, I can speak from experience that things can definitely appear larger when you’re feeling fear. I’ve told the story of when I saw a house centipede; I was terrified and thought it was far bigger than it was. The same goes for when I saw spiders. Fear can mess with your perception of something you’re scared of. Couple that with the creepy appearance of the barn and with it being dark, and I think Joe may have mistaken a Great Grey Owl for something much bigger.

Of course, I wouldn’t rule out some undiscovered species of odd-looking owl—or some other unknown avian. I mean, there are tons of animals we haven’t discovered. Maybe there’s a funky-looking owl in Alberta (or Albert) that’s waiting to be found. Whether or not it has a spider-like mouth, however, is something I’m quite skeptical of. Though, hey, there’s a caterpillar that looks like Donald Trump’s hair. So weirder stuff has happened in the animal kingdom.

In short, I think it was either a case of Joe’s mind playing tricks on him or an unknown species of owl. I doubt it was a hoax, I sincerely doubt it was Mothman, and I think the idea it was an alien is absolute nonsense. Unless the alien was left behind like ET, I cannot fathom this being an alien.

I must admit, though, typing that makes me want to rewrite a script for a short film about this thing being left behind in Alberta as an extraterrestrial fraternity hazing ritual. It would star the alien version of Seth Rogen as the Spiderbat. It would also be about as funny as anything Seth Rogen has ever made, by which I mean it would be as funny as slamming your toe into a table leg is a joyful experience.

Anyway, on one final note, I want to say that I do think it’s possible this was Justin Trudeau. The Prime Minister truly is sus. All politicians are, really.


Some of my favorite cryptid stories are those involving winged humanoids; they’re equal parts fascinating and terrifying. Something about an entity that’s so close to being human yet sporting something that’s incredibly non-human strikes a sense of intrigue and fear in me. I love it as much as I hate it. It also fills me with a bit of jealousy because, while I have a fear of heights, I would love to have the ability to fly.

I must admit that I was a bit disappointed I couldn’t find anything else on the creature. I do know that sightings of creatures like Mothman are not limited to just the United States, but I know of none that look anything like the Spiderbat. I was tempted to include a section dedicated to that, but I knew if I did that, this write-up would get derailed fast. The last thing I wanted was for this piece to bloat to over 10,000 words. While I know some of my friends wouldn’t mind that, I didn’t want this to be anything more than a focused article on this one cryptid. Though God willing, I will get around to Mothman and friends sooner rather than later.

With that said, I would love to hear what you all think this was. Was it a case of misidentification, a winged humanoid, or Joe’s imagination? Let me know below and, as always, stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!

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