The Mothman: W.Va.’s winged wonder
Most observers describe the Mothman as a man-sized creature with large reflective red eyes and large wings. What is he? Where is he? Are people still seeing this odd creature flying about?
The odd events connected to the Mothman began on November 12, 1966 near Clendenin, West Virginia. Five men were in the cemetery that day, preparing a grave for a burial. Something that looked like a “brown human being” lifted off from some trees and flew right over their heads. The men were surprised as it did not appear to be a bird, but more like a man with huge wings. This was just the beginning of the Mothman saga, West Virginia’s oddest and most documented creature sighting!
The following week, on November 15th, 1966, two young couples in the Mason county town of Point Pleasant West Virginia, were out for a car ride late at night. The Scarberry’s and the Mallettes, were traveling in Scarberrys’ car and were driving through an abandoned World War II TNT factory area. This area is about seven miles north of Point Pleasant. They noticed two red lights in the shadows as they stopped the car. They reportedly discovered that the lights were the glowing red eyes of a large animal, “shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back,” according to Roger Scarberry. In terror they drove toward Route 62, where the creature supposedly chased them at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. Over the next thirteen months, hundreds of Mothman sightings came forth. Reported sightings were made by teachers, law enforcement, housewives and pilots. It seemed everyone in the Mountain State and even in Ohio and Kentucky, were looking anxiously to the woods and fields for Mothman to appear again.
Many would come to believe that the sightings of Mothman, as well as UFO sightings and encounters with “men in black” in the area, were all related. Some spoke of a government cover up. Researchers, and “monster hunters” descended on the area but none were as famous as author John Keel, who wrote the book “Mothman Prophecies” which was the basis for a movie. UFO sightings continued in the area, people gathered along the Ohio River to look at the “lights” and sat in the woods to watch for the Mothman. Many say the grim conclusion of the Mothman tale ended in disaster.
On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge that spans the Ohio River from Point Pleasant West Virginia to Ohio collapsed. It was full of traffic and the accident resulted in the deaths of forty-six people. Investigation of the wreckage pointed to the cause of the collapse being the failure of an eye bar on the bridge but there were rumors that the Mothman had been seen flying near the bridge before it fell into the icy Ohio River.
Many say that the Mothman’s appearance was an omen of death and bad luck. Point Pleasant has had more than its fair share of fires, floods and accidents. Some point their fingers at Chief Cornstalk and his alleged cursing of the areaand some claim that it is the Mothman’s fault. It is interesting to note that some people still claim to see the Mothman while others say he disappeared after the bridge collapse in 1967.
The Mothman is truly one of West Virginia’s bizarre and mysterious tales and will continue to be for many more generations. To visit the area for yourself, stop by The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, www.mothmanlives.com, or hang out at the annual Mothman Festival held every September. I prefer to visit the area “off season” in late October or November. The woods seem to be more alive with a funky kind of energy there. Bring a camera and some binoculars..just in case!
Sherri Brake is a paranormal researcher, author and Haunted Heartland Tour owner. You may email her at SherriBrake@gmail.com or visit her website at www.HauntedHistory.net