More than a century ago a curious incident took place in the neighbourhood of Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, UK. Mr Boreham was a well respected man who lived in the area with his wife and three daughters. One evening as the family sat around a crackling fire talking to a neighbour, their tranquillity was shattered by a knocking sound followed by several screams and shouts. The friend of the family, a Mrs Hummerstone, who was closest to the door, ran out towards the kitchen and saw the servant girl, an Elizabeth Harris, trying to defend herself from a knife-wielding maniac named Tom Simmonds. The eighteen-year old Simmonds, who had once been employed by Mr Boreham, had been dismissed after being more than unsuitable for the job. Simmonds had also been dating Harris, but overcome with rage was now attempting to kill her after Mr Boreham advised the servant girl to see him no longer.
Simmonds rushed out of the house and then smashed a window with a chair and climbed through, stabbing Mrs Hummerstone in the throat on the way. Simmonds then brutally attacked Mr Boreham’s oldest daughter, stabbing her to death before slashing at Mrs Boreham and Elizabeth Harris. However, whilst in the throes of his murderous mission, Tom Simmonds suddenly ceased with his actions, dropped his knife, screamed and fled from the building.
A few hours later Simmonds was tracked down by police to an old barn where he was found shivering and staring wild eyed into blackness. Simmonds was to be executed but before his death he told a very strange story to the chaplain. He commented, that as he was about to slash Miss Harris with the knife something cold tapped him on the shoulder. When Simmonds turned he was confronted by a huge, dark coloured creature which had large wings. Although it’s face was human-like, it frowned heavily at him. Many would have perceived Simmonds rambling as the words of a madman, were it not for the other witnesses who came forward to speak of their own personal encounters with the winged monster. One local man, after hearing about the story came forward to say that after a bout of heavy depression he decided to commit suicide. Suddenly a winged humanoid appeared and its appearance alone forced the man to consider his actions.
Was this bizarre birdman a peculiar omen of the ethereal ? A darkly guised angel ? Or an obscure legend which many, many years later would become as Mothman but elsewhere in the world.