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The Mothman became fairly well known after the film The Mothman Prophecies was released. This was based on the book of the same name written by John Keel. The movie came with the usual ‘based on true events’ disclaimer, but exactly how true was it?
It was first sighted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in November 1966 and there followed frequent sightings until 15 December 1967 when the Silver Bridge collapsed into the river. You can view a transcript of the newspaper report on the sightings here.
Mothman was first viewed by five men who were digging a grave near Clendenin. They described it as a man like figure who flew close over their heads. On the 15th November 1966 Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette called the police after seeing a large white creature with glowing red eyes.
Many other sightings followed, some describing it as a ‘large bird with red eyes’. While the Sheriff believed the sightings were nothing more than an oversized heron, another man blamed Mothman for the disappearance of his dog and interference with his television set. Dr Robert L Smith at West Virginia University said that the sightings were probably of the Sandhill Crane who would fit the descriptions.
It was said that Mothman spoke to several townspeople, warning them of a great disaster that would shortly befall the town. The Silver Bridge collapsed soon after, killing approximately forty six people and after that Mothman was no longer seen in the town. Moments before the tragedy many people claim to have seen Mothman standing at the point where the bridge would collapse.
There have been numerous other sightings of the creature over the years with Linda Scarberry claiming hat she and her husband have seen Mothman ‘hundreds of times’. There are also reports that he was sighted before many other disasters such as the Tsunami in India, Chernobyl, the war in Iraq and September 11th.
So who was Mothman? Some claim that he was an alien and this is the explanation that author John Keel seemed to provide for the events in West Virginia. In his book he said that residents of Point Pleasant experienced precognitions, sighted UFOs and were visited by men in black, although he doesn’t specify whether they looked anything like Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones.
Skeptics continue to blame other factors, including the birds previously mentioned who were mostly unknown in the areas where Mothman was reported. There were numerous hoaxes perpetrated after the original reports with people tying lights to balloons and setting them free all over town.
Many people over the years have claimed to have explanations for Mothman, while others are convinced it cannot be explained. What do you think?
How do I recognise him?
The Mothman is said to be a large humanoid creature with red eyes and moth like wings.
Where will I find him?
He will find you.
How do I get his attention?
Reports about Mothman differ greatly. Some describe it is a completely alien creature who provokes severe feelings of fear and dread. Others say that it merely wishes to help humanity by warning them of events before they happen. A great number of reports have described Mothman as malevolent, a figure who enjoys tormenting and chasing people. They cite disappearances in the area around the time Mothman was seen and view it as a dangerous entity that may be directly involved in tragedies. So I guess he’ll find you.
How do I escape?
Mothman will leave when he’s finished.
Residents of Point Pleasant now hold Mothman festivals, an annual event that began in 2002. It features a 12 foot tall replica of the creature that was created by Bob Roach. The town is also home to the Mothman Museum and Research Centre, which opened its doors in 2005. The festival begins each year on the 3rd weekend of September and includes guest speakers and tours of areas where Mothman was sighted.
- Mythical Monday: In Search of the Mothman by Mae Clair (maeclair.net)
- Did Mothman visit the UK in 1963? (mysteriousuniverse.org)
- My obscure cryptid sighting: the goblin / devil / mothman / gargoyle. (theparanormalist.wordpress.com)
- The Mothman Prophecies (2002) [REVIEW] (thewolfmancometh.com)
- The Conjuring, and other supposedly true ghost stories (telegraph.co.uk)