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For decades, Houstonians whispered about its own version of the legendary Dark Knight.

However, many say this urban legend may share more in common with Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster than with Superman or Wonder Woman.


The legend of Houston’s “Bat-Man” started on June 18, 1953, according to the myths.

In the early morning hours of one dark Houston morning for instance, three neighbors in the Heights claim they saw a large bat-like creature, enveloped in a halo of light.

The three witnesses, 23-year-old Hilda Walker, 33-year-old Howard Phillips, and 14-year-old Judy Walker, said they saw the being sitting on Walker’s front porch on the warm June night.

They all described seeing a shadow fall across the front lawn, seeing a creature standing over six-feet tall with wide, bat-like wings.

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Professional cryptozoologist and former Houston resident Ken Gerhard is perhaps the most studied person on the sightings, reportedly investigating the Houston Batman for years.

He said he recorded several sightings of similar creatures across Texas and Mexico, and is writing a book on the phenomenon.

“It’s a very chilling encounter,” Gerhard said in an interview with a local TV station about a 1953 sighting. “Subsequently, (the witnesses) were so horrified by their experience that they contacted the local police.”

Several believe there are logical explanations for the sightings:

For instance, a local bat colony used to stand near the house where the bat-like man would frequently be spotted.

Another explanation could be shadows from a streetlight.

The sighting could, of course, also be a hoax or practical joke played by a prankster.

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In any case, Houston is home to its fair share of bats – and not just in the Astros dugout, and not everyone is convinced the Bayou City is a place Bruce Wayne likes to spend his summers.

“If there were a bat as tall as a man, his wing-span would have to be 18-feet or more from wingtip to wingtip. It’s not something that you would easily mistake,” Suzanne Jurek, a zookeeper and bat specialist at the Houston Zoo, said in an interview.

Reports of a giant spotlight atop City Hall casting a giant bat-shaped shadow across a passing cloud remain unconfirmed.

The truth is out there, Houston.

Houston’s “Batman” is one of the city’s urban legends, but some say he’s no hero Rare Media Library
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