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About eleven years ago a woman shared an interesting story with me. Late one June night she was walking along University Ave., a little after 10 PM and near 300 South when she saw a “gigantic black manta-ray” flying across the Provo sky. “This thing was four-hundred feet in the air, coming from the South-East and flying North-West. It had a fourteen-foot wingspan and its body and tail were probably twenty-five feet long. It flew directly over the Provo City Tabernacle (Now a Temple) eventually disappearing into the night sky.”


Update from Danny Stewart ? 2-24-2020

August of 2019, I was in the midst of an appointment with my ear nose and throat doctor at the Utah Valley Hospital (Formally Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.) for a pre-surgery appointment. While we were talking my doctor asked me what I did for a living. I explained to him what I do and he asked me to share one of my favorite stories, so I told him about the “Manta-Ray.” Naturally he thought it was extremely interesting, especially since my story directly related to some much needed light he was about to shed upon the mystery.

Sometime before they razed the old hospital, construction workers discovered a large colony of bats living in the crawl spaces at the top level of the old hospital towers. Apparently for years, hospital employees and patrons had been seeing a large group of bats flying to and from the top of the hospital towers at night, always/either from the South East to the North West, stopping at the tower, or leaving the tower and flying North West… The same trajectory as the Giant Flying Manta Ray!!

This revelation hit me like a ton of bricks! Of course!! “This is what people have been seeing for all these years!” “This is beautiful!” I said to out loud very giddily. I asked my doctor if I could use this information and he said of course, as long as he could remain anonymous, and so here we are!

You see...this is true cryptozoology! This is how it’s supposed to work! We aren’t always looking for a literal dinosaur in the lake, or in this case a “Monster” Manta-Ray soaring through the skies of Provo Utah! In this case people were seeing a colony of bats flying ‘to a fro’ and sometimes these bats took the shape of what people thought was a Giant Flying Manta Ray! I love that I am both the father and the unraveler of this piece of local folklore and even though we now know what this critter is/was it doesn’t make the story any less important to folklore.

ref: Phantoms and Monsters - Real Eyewitness Cryptid Encounter Reports - https://www.phantomsandmonsters.com/2020/06/giant-flying-manta-ray-of-provo-utah.html





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