20. The Mystery of Coney Island’s Flying Frog-Bat Person

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A New York Times article from the 1880s once described the strange sight of a man with bat’s wings and frog’s legs flying 1,000 feet above the ground over Coney Island. According to the article, there was “no doubt” that this was a man who had invented a pair of wings and legs to maintain flight. As we speculated before, it’s likely that the man in question was a preacher named “Mr. Talmage,” who led a mega-church in Brooklyn Heights and was known for his physical movements on the pulpit and writing about “Christian Gymnastics.”

The article claimed that Talmage “is now flying to and fro over Coney Island, preparatory to preaching a scathing sermon on the wickedness and indecencies of our bathing resorts.” No one truly knows the real deal behind this sighting, but it’s likely that the writer just wanted to slander Mr. Talmage, who was often accused of heresy and was involved in a church scandal that put him in the spotlight. But the mystery still remains.