The Crawfordsville Monster refers to an alleged creature reported by residents of Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1891 and subsequently identified as a flock of killdeer.
On September 5, 1891, the Crawfordsville Journal reported that two ice delivery men sighted "a strange phenomenon" that hovered in the air above their location, describing it as a "horrible apparition" that "filled them with dread."
A similar sighting was reported by a Methodist pastor and his wife. The Crawfordsville Journal described it as "about eighteen feet long and eight feet wide and moved rapidly through the air by means of several pairs of side fins.
It was pure white and had no definite shape or form, resembling somewhat a great white shroud fitted with propelling fins. There was no tail or head visible but there was one great flaming eye, and a sort of a wheezing plaintive sound was emitted from a mouth which was invisible. It flapped like a flag in the winds as it came on and frequently gave a great squirm as though suffering unutterable agony."
The Indianapolis Journal repeated the story, as did other newspapers across the country, including the famous Brooklyn Eagle. The Crawfordsville Postmaster was deluged with mail, and reports of the sightings generated both ridicule and a number of believers. Two local men, John Hornbeck and Abe Hernley, "followed the wraith about town and finally discovered it to be a flock of many hundred killdeer." The Crawfordsville Journal suggested that Crawfordsville's newly installed electric lights disoriented the birds, which caused them to hover above the city. The Creatures' wings and white under-feathers likely resulted in misidentification.