A pretty intriguing newspaper article was shared the other day in a facebook group I'm a member of. It was the story of a young man from Warwick who was cycling home after leaving his work. He was employed at a dog food factory, apparently for the graveyard shift since the event detailed in the article happened very early in the morning. In brief, here is the gist of his tale...
Paul Froggatt, a 26 year old from Warwick, was cycling home through Oakwood and Blacklow Spinney, a Warwickshire wildlife trust, after working a 12 hour shift. The time was approximately 5am on July 16, 2020 when he crossed paths with a giant, bipedal praying mantis he estimated as 7 feet tall. He fled from the scene after receiving a less than cordial telepathic message from the creature. His run in with this oddity of nature happened after he had already spotted a glowing, orange sphere in the sky. He stopped and snapped a couple pictures of the unidentified flying object, which left him feeling uneasy. It was then that he, unnerved by the presence of the craft, entered the wooded area. The typical chorus of birds he was used to hearing in this natural sanctuary was absent and it was "dead silent." The Mantis Man greeted him before Paul, possibly with soiled underpants, skedaddled, hastily making his way home.
Like I said, that's the quick take. I've included a link to the article from the Daily Star which tells Paul's story more fully. My typical response to this type of tale is one of wonder and consideration. Rarely do I immediately jump to disbelief. I usually think 'yep - there's another one'. Perhaps I'm a bit gullible? Not nearly cynical enough? I do have a growing library of books written by people like John Keel, Loren Coleman, Linda Godfrey and other collectors of bizarro encounters. I've read account after account of mind-boggling brushes with the unknown. These authors are as thorough with their reports as one could be, researching not only the claims, but also examining the integrity of the witness - their belief system, family life, their penchant towards illicit chemicals, etc. I personally have come to the conclusion that something is out there. A LOT of somethings. There are far too many run-ins with strange things beyond our comprehension. There are countless weird encounters, often by people who want to do anything but discuss their experiences. Statistically it seems implausible to refute them all. I've personally read way too much! I don't believe everything... but I'm getting really close. And that's where I am at present.
When I first saw the article, I was quite taken aback by all the comments people left in regards to it, and this was on a Cryptid-friendly fb page, by the way. These are the people who believe in Bigfoot and Mothman, aliens and dogmen, all these folks. Yet anytime a story like this is posted, it is met with more skepticism than any apparent actual interest. Maybe it's because this just happened... allegedly. Maybe it's easier for us to accept curious meetings with uncatalogued weirdos that happened in the past. We hear about UFO flaps in the 60's and think that somehow everyone then was so uneducated and naive that they misunderstood what they were seeing. But surely not in these modern times. We're too clever for that. Now, I know a lot of the comments in regards to this particular affair were made in jest - mostly that Mr. Froggatt had eaten some magic mushrooms or smoked something grassy. I get it. This is a pretty farfetched claim. I understand being skeptical. But maybe... he's telling the truth.
Here's my thoughts... This may all come out as a hoax in a week or month or in years. Paul may be pulling all our legs with this one. That's a possibility, of course. I personally would love it if the whole affair is investigated by one of our many great Fortean researchers. I would love a little more probing on this one (and not the non-consensual spaceship way).
Considering the Witness: The guy does look slightly traumatized in the photo. He also looks like he might partake in some extra curricular activities on occasion. Who knows? He is in his 20's after all, a decade of decadence and massive imbibing for many. And he has long hair! Some people would say that's a clear clue! He claimed, however, that when this happened he had not been drinking or smoking. I would lean more toward the conclusion that he hadn't, simply based on the fact that he was cycling home from work. I don't know, maybe in his workplace drugs run rampant and everyone is altered for their shifts. That's a possibility, I suppose.
Consider the Reception: Many times when people come forward with an unbelievable story such as this, they are tormented by their friends and family. They wish often times that they wouldn't have opened their mouths. In this particular case, Paul Froggatt said he was forced to quit his job because he was ridiculed by colleagues who lovingly dubbed him the "Mantis Man of Warwick." Perhaps he now thinks he should have stayed silent? For whatever reason, he felt compelled to share this encounter. Why? It could be that he was paid an exorbitant amount of money by the Daily Star for his story and photos, but that seems unlikely. Other than money, what would the motive be? It certainly doesn't establish your street cred!
Consider what you would do: If Paul is giving an accurate account of what he saw and it wasn't in fact a hallucination, he probably felt what many witnesses like him feel... a grievous yearning to get the whole thing off their chests and out into the open. A lot of witnesses never tell their story, afraid of ridicule, but they earnestly, deeply wish that they could share their experience with someone. Then maybe they come across a podcast where an investigator and cataloger of Inhumanoids like Nick Redfern or David Weatherly is speaking and they immediately realize they are not alone, not even close. They discover they are in good company with a wealth of normal, everyday people who have also seen something that doesn't quite jibe with the human experience. A club of people. None of who volunteered. What would you do? If there was no money in it, no cheering (but rather jeering) crowd... absolutely nothing to gain by doing so... Would you tell anyone what you saw? It's up to the observer obviously, but if you don't share your experience, the world knows of one less bizarre enigma, and you carry it with you, forever to burrow into your tiny, ill-prepared brain. Best to get it off your chest, no?
Thanks to Paul Froggatt for sharing his story and getting it off his chest. As always, you decide if it's just good for a giggle or if it's something worth a moment of consideration.
Oh! One more thought... This account is not the first involving a Mantis Man! Look it up.
Our friend, Paul, and his artwork.