The story of the Chernobyl Mothman or the Black bird of Chernobyl sends a shiver across horror enthusiasts. The story goes that several of the employees at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s control room claimed to have seen the being known as the Blackbird of Chernobyl in the days before the tragedy.
Those who were unlucky enough to witness the creature reported horrible dreams and ominous phone calls from the KGB.
Many say that the Chernobyl Black Bird was a variation of the mythical Moth Man, whose appearance always portended an impending catastrophe. It has been more than 36 years since Reactor 04 at the Chernobyl nuclear powerplant exploded, and it seems that the more time passes since the disaster, the more the tales, folklore, and legends spread and capture the imagination of the public.
Additionally, there is an insatiable thirst for knowledge about the catastrophe, about both the known and the unknown, as a result of the enormous success of the television series Chernobyl, which streamed on HBO in 2019.
What Happened at Chernobyl on April 26th, 1986?
The Chernobyl operators were given the go-ahead to test their reactor by the Soviet government in April 1986. The test aimed to determine how long the spinning generator would continue to generate energy after the reactor was turned off before slowing down and ceasing to do so. The reactor was to be run at low power for the test.
A nearby utility company contacted the reactor’s operators just as they were ready to steadily bring the reactor to low power. A nearby coal plant had unexpectedly shut down, and the coal plant workers asked for the powerplant to work at full capacity to generate electricity.
However, the plant’s operators had reduced the power after peak hours, and going back was time-consuming. Hence, the plant operators decided to go ahead with the experiment. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the operators, there was a heavy buildup of xenon in the reactor.
You can ask any nuclear engineers why such a shutdown would cause an extremely high level of Xenon to accumulate in the reactor fuel. As xenon consumes neutrons, the chain reaction becomes increasingly challenging to sustain. As a result, the operators were stunned when power dropped way past the accepted levels, and continued to drop.
The operators pulled the control rods out farther than they would typically do to get the reactor’s power to the desired level. The reactor finally reached the required power level for the test. Sadly, the Chernobyl reactor was built in a risky way that allowed for the reactor to heat up more if bubbles formed in the water coolant.
This power instability began to manifest itself as water began to boil in specific areas of the reactor. One of the operators became aware of this extremely hazardous scenario and pressed the button to insert the control rods and shut off the reactor.
It’s called the AZ5, or the scram button. A scram, also known as a SCRAM, is an emergency nuclear reactor shutdown that is accomplished by stopping the fission reaction right away. The manual kill switch that starts the shutdown is also referred to by this term.
The control rods, however, had an even more catastrophic design flaw. Each rod’s neutron poison contained a little graphite point towards the bottom. This graphite does not poison neutrons (and is usually beneficial to chain reactions). The displacement of some water without the introduction of neutron poison that resulted from inserting the control rods for the first few inches while they were fully extended, tremendously increased the reactor’s power.
This caused the water to continue to boil, which added an unsustainable power influx. As a result, the reactor’s power shot way beyond acceptable (or even emergency levels), instantly turning all of the water into steam.
The steam pressure was so high that it destroyed the reactor building’s roof and blasted the reactor lid off, even though it wasn’t one of those steel containments. It was a sturdy concrete structure.
The fuel heated up and melted when there was no more cooling. In the reactor, standing graphite rods caught fire, creating an extremely hot graphite fire that started sputtering radioactive fuel fragments into the open air. Due to acute radiation exposure, it took more than a week to put out the fire, which claimed the lives of more than 30 emergency personnel.
The Chernobyl Mothman or The Black Bird of Chernobyl
The sole archaeologist to have ever worked at Chernobyl is Robert Maxwell of Sydney, who conducted two field trips there in 2010 and 2012. There is little Maxwell doesn’t know about Chernobyl, in both things of the physical and supernatural worlds. He is fascinated with the location in both a historical and archaeological sense.
“The story goes that many of the workers in the control room saw a supernatural being in the skies over Chernobyl in the days before April 26, 1986. Additionally, they reported they had seen this dreadful creature right before the explosion,” Maxwell recalls.
Because it is based on the experiences of individuals who perished from radioactive contamination, it has now turned into one of those myths that are challenging to trace.
“The Blackbird has also developed into one of those somewhat safe urban legends where, if you try to hunt for evidence, it might not be available because the workers are deceased or perhaps the sightings were never formally reported.
So, since there isn’t much history or archaeology to go on, anyone attempting to verify the veracity of these statements must, of course, accept them at face value. However, the tales continue to this day.
“The legend says that five workers at Chernobyl claimed to have seen a big, black, headless creature with enormous wings and fiery red eyes. Some Chernobyl workers reported having terrifying nightmares, while others reported receiving threatening phone calls,” says Maxwell.
The second account of this tale is from 2007, and it claims that residents started to encounter a series of bizarre occurrences that revolved around reports of sightings of a mysterious creature, which was also described as a large, dark, and mutated creature with large wings and piercing red eyes.
People who were impacted by the phenomenon also reported having visions of the winged beast and nightmares.
Some of the employees told the facility’s managers about their strange experiences, but even if they had been willing to act, there wasn’t much these officials could do. Then tragedy struck in April.
The nuclear power plant’s reactor number four erupted on April 26th, and the city of Pripyat was evacuated two days later.
The Blackbird tales weren’t first reported until many years later.
It sounded remarkably similar to the Mothman sightings in the west since the employees reportedly characterized the Blackbird as a headless, large-winged, black creature with flaming red eyes.
Many individuals think that the Mothman, like the Chernobyl Blackbird, is a sign of impending disaster, just as the banshee was for many Celtic communities.
The frequency of sightings drastically decreased following the Chernobyl tragedy. The cleanup crew, though, continued to report seeing the beast. Strangely, those who saw the creature after the catastrophe died from severe radiation soon after, giving rise to claims that the beast only showed itself to those who were marked for immediate death.
There is no concrete evidence of the creature because all who witnessed it perished shortly after. This wouldn’t be the last cryptid to be reported, however, in the years that are to come. In fact, the Black Bird was only the start. A relatively small number of persons were permitted into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone after it was established. Many of these officials made strange sightings that suggested unidentified creatures were prowling the woods.
Further Sightings and Explanations
Nuclear physicist Andrei Kharsukhov from the University of Buffalo visited Chernobyl in 1997 to do in-depth research when the containment chamber appeared to have developed a radioactive leak, and he returned with yet another terrifying description of the disaster.
According to Andrei, “I got to the Chernobyl power plant early in the morning. I immediately went to the downed reactor’s sarcophagus, Reactor Four, to assess the radiation levels and look for any potential leaks.
“I immediately overheard someone yelling for help and saying that there was a fire inside while I was taking radiation and roentgen readings by the entrance.
“I hurried upstairs to alert security or locate an official, but they stated there was no way anybody else could have been in the reactor control room as I was the first person to open that door in three years …at least living. The alarm would have gone off automatically if someone had broken into the reactor, and they would have been quickly led out.
“I heard what I heard even though the door had several authenticating security measures in place and hadn’t been opened in years. Later that night, as we were dining close to the factory, the floodlights unexpectedly turned on. The only method to turn it on could be by physical switch manipulation, but the entire team was out to supper.
“We initially assumed it might have been a power surge, but just as we considered that the electricity returned. It seemed as though someone was paying attention to us and was responding appropriately. Chernobyl is home to something, and I don’t think it’s beneficial for anything.”
What is the Mothman?
In Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in November 1967, the first Mothman sightings were reported. More than 100 residents saw what they described as a six-foot (182 cm) tall beast with a wingspan of six to ten feet (182-305 cm), covered in hair or feathers, with intense, flashing red eyes.
Then, in December, at a busy hour, a chain suspension bridge connecting Point Pleasant and Gallipolis collapsed into the Ohio River, killing 46 people.
Before the bridge collapsed, some claimed to have seen the Mothman on the structure.
The bridge collapse and the Mothman sightings occurred at the same time, therefore it seemed inevitable that the two were connected.
Whether you choose to believe the tale or not, it is undeniable that the narrative of the bridge collapse and Mothman cannot be recounted without the other. Even a statue of the Mothman, which is now a well-liked tourist destination, can be found in Point Pleasant.
When a mine collapsed in Freiburg on September 10, 1978, killing numerous miners, The Mothman is also said to have been seen there. However, more than 20 miners who were scheduled to work that day reportedly left because they were alarmed by the appearance of a monster resembling the Mothman sitting above the mine’s entrance.
The “Freiburg Shrieker” was the name of this creature. The Mothman is now viewed as a “grim reaper” who appears soon before a tragedy.
Naturally, skeptics view the Mothman as a sophisticated hoax or an illustration of a widespread delusion. Many people think the reports were made up by Pripyat officials since they still have a problem with looters and want to keep people out of the radioactive area.
Maxwell claims that although some believe the Mothman to be a sign of impending doom, others believe the monster to be some sort of time traveler who keeps coming back to sudden, unanticipated catastrophes.
According to the legend, the Mothman or the Blackbird is merely drawn to the energy of disasters. For some, though, the Mothman is an entirely supernatural being that is lured to disasters, like a moth is drawn to a flame.
Because so few people are aware of the tales of this creature, it’s an interesting little spooky side note to the tragedy of Chernobyl. But it undoubtedly increases the creep factor.
If you liked the story of the Black Bird of Chernobyl, I bet you would love the tale of Guy Fawkes, the Man Who Almost Blew Up the Parliament, and the story of How A US President was Almost Cannibalized.
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