Who is The Owlman?: The Myth and the Monster’s Return to Glasgow

The UK has some of the most eerie and unnerving folk tales to be found in the world. And if you’ve been to a few of Popcorn Horror’s film events; you’ll know that we are big fans of folk inspired horror. As part of Glasgow Horror Fest, we have screened the multi award winning Dogged and spooky documentary Bella in the Wytch Elm – both based on UK myths and legends.

This year, another UK folk icon is coming to the big screen in Glasgow. Glasgow Horror Fest: BITE SIZE will be screening The Black Gloves, from Scottish indie horror house Hex Media; which sees the terrifying Owlman return to the screen in the studios second adaptation of the legend. But who is The Owlman? Here’s ten things you should know about the beast, to get you up to date with the story.

1. The Owlman originates in Cornish folklore, with the first sighting thought to be in  Mawnan, Cornwall in 1976. A creature with the traits of both a man and a bird was spotted by two terrified young girls, and later investigated by paranormal researcher  Tony “Doc” Shiels. When the incident occurred, police asked the children to produce drawings of what they had witnessed – with both illustrating similar features.

2. Most accounts of Owlman sightings were young women, usually under eighteen. The mostly all described him as a flying creature about five feet tall, half man, half owl with glowing red eyes, silver feathers and crab-like claws. Some also reported hearing a crackling static noise as the creature flew away.

3. The Owlman was mostly spotted around the 13th century Mawnan Church, which was said to be a sight used for ancient rituals long before the church was built. The creature was spotted on top of the church tower, in the churchyard amid the gravestones, and in the woods behind the church.

4. The Owlman was spotted again shortly after the first sighting in 1976. In July of the same year, two 14-year-old girls decided to go camping in the area, but spotted a giant owl of human-size ‘with glowing eyes’. This sighting brought the case to public attention, and brought media attention to the sightings.

5. Sporadic claims of “Owlman” sightings in the vicinity of the church circulated in 1978, 1979, 1989, and 1995, and according to legend, a “loud, owl-like sound” could be heard at night in the Mawnan church yard during the year 2000.

6. The back door entrance to the church is covered with ominous hand prints, as though people have been scrambling to open doors while fleeing from something in the yard.

7. In  1995, a woman from Chicago who was vacationing in Cornwall wrote to the Western Morning News reporting that she had seen a “man-bird … with a ghastly face, a wide mouth, glowing eyes, and pointed ears.”

8. The team at Hex Media have gained viral fame with their series of pranks featuring The Owlman character. You can watch one here where the creature surprises intruders in an abandoned hospital.

9. Hex Media introduced their take on the character in their debut film Lord of Tears. Lord of Tears tells the story of James Findlay, a school teacher tortured by childhood memories of a strange and unsettling entity – a figure dressed like a Victorian gentleman but with the head of an Owl, and elongated limbs with sharp claws.

10. The second film in the series is The Black Gloves – screening at Glasgow Horror Fest: BITE SIZE. The Black Gloves tells the story of a psychologist obsessed with the disappearance of his young patient, and the menacing owl-headed figure that plagued her nightmares. His investigations lead him to a reclusive ballerina who, just like his patient, is convinced that she is about to die at the hands of this disturbing entity. In the bleak Scottish highlands, Finn counsels his new patient, under the watchful eye of her sinister ballet teacher. He soon finds himself entangled in a ballet of paranoia, dark agendas and a maze of deadly twists and turns, as the legend of the Owlman becomes a terrifying reality.

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch The Owlman’s return to the big screen at BITE SIZE. Book your tickets now!

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