Photo from Aliens Wikia
What is the Mothman?
The Mothman legend began in November, in 1966. Five men working in a cemetary near Clendenin, West Virginia claimed to have seen “a brown human being,” fly out of some nearby trees and over their heads. They said it didn’t look like a bird but a man with wings.
A few days later there was another sighting near an abandoned TNT plant by Point Pleasant, West Virginia. There were two young married couples that reported seeing some kind of creature as they were driving by. They said it had two large eyes that were attached to something shaped like a man and was about six to seven feet tall. They said that the creature spread it’s wings and followed them. They sped away, saying their car must have been going over 100 miles an hour. It kept up with their vehicle for awhile but eventually disappeared. (Prairie Ghosts)
Photo from Ranker (the couples who saw the Mothman in 1966)
On that same day there was more reported sightings. One of them being reported by a man named Newell Partridge. This happened earlier in the day before the two young couples reported their incident. He was watching tv when he said the screen suddenly went dark. Then his hunting dog Bandit began to howl on the front porch. When he went outside, he said he saw Bandit looking at his barn. It was about 150 yards away from the house. He turned a flashlight in that direction and said he saw two glowing eyes. His dog went after whatever it was and Partridge never saw him again. But he thought he possibly heard about Bandit in the newspaper a while later. There was a report from the two couples that saw the creature near the TNT plant. It said that when they first went to the plant, on their way there they saw a large dog laying on the side of the road. When they sped back down the same road after spotting the bird creature, the dog had been gone. Partridge had a terrible feeling that the dog they saw was Bandit.
After these sightings, a press conference was held. The witnesses got to share their stories. The sightings of the creature spread all over the world. The press actually gave the creature it’s name, “The Mothman.” The majority of people felt the same way, that this was a weird situation. The witnesses all seemed honest and sensible. The creature seemed very fictional but the sightings did not.
Photo from Road Trippers
The TNT plant became known as the Mothman’s lair. If the Mothman chose that place it was actually pretty smart. The area was several hundred acres and full of large concrete domes and tunnels (from World War II). It would be a great place to hide and get around without being seen.
Point Pleasant became a popular place for supernatural sightings. There was even reports of UFO’s and encounters with the Men in Black. Researchers and investigators swarmed in, hoping to find the Mothman. There was one more famous than all of the rest, his name was John Keel. John Keel is a famous author who has done research and written extensively about the Mothman and other supernatural topics. He published many books and there was some skepticism on his work but he has always been respected because of all of his greatly researched and well written books. (Prairie Ghosts)
Keel became the major chronicler of the Mothman case and wrote that at least 100 people personally witnessed the creature between November 1966 and November 1967. I think this is one of the reasons why this legend is so poplular. There are so many reports from so many different people. They all describe the Mothman pretty similar. It is a tall man-like creature with wings, that stands about 6-7 feet tall. Also it’s skin is a grayish-brown and it has glowing red eyes. The majority of witnesses were all seen to be credible as well, some even by police officials.
Photo from Cult of Weird
By December of 1967, most of the sightings of the Mothman had ceased. But Point Pleasant’s story wasn’t over yet. On December 15th in 1967, the 700- foot bridge connecting Point Pleasant to Ohio collapsed. This happened during rush hour. A lot of vehicles ended up in the Ohio River and 46 people were killed. People believed that the Mothman had been trying to warn people of the accident that was going to happen. The Mothman disappeared after the collapse of the Silver Bridge.
Photo from Wikipedia (Statue of the Mothman in Point Pleasant)
A few weeks after the collapse, a reporter by the name of Mary Hyre was visited by a strange man in all black. She said that he didn’t ask her about the collapse of Silver Bridge but of the recent UFO sightings. She told him that she did not have time to speak with him so she just handed him a folder of newspaper clippings that contained information about some of the sightings. That same day, a man described identically as the same man who visited Hyre, was reported visiting the homes of many of the witnesses. He asked them about the lights they had seen in the sky. He made them feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Many of the witnesses he spoke to, believed that he wasn’t who he said he was. They said he claimed to be a reporter from Cambridge, Ohio but had admitted that he didn’t know where Columbus, Ohio was (the two towns are only a few miles apart). A lot of people believe this was a sort of Men in Black situation. (Prairie Ghosts)
It is clear that the Mothman was no hoax. There was too many identical sightings for it to have been made up. There were over a hundred and the majority were from reliable witnesses.
There are more logical explanations for what the Mothman could be. Some suggest it could have been a large sandhill crane, that migrated from Canada. Some people think that some of the reported sightings could have also been owls. (Prairie Ghosts)
Either way, something obviously happened in Point Pleasant during that time. It was full of peculiar, newsworthy, and heartbreaking events. I don’t know if anyone will ever know the full truth. I guess that’s what makes this legend so intriguing and famous.