The Mothman is a legendary creature alleged to have terrorized West Virginia between 1966 and 1967, but more recent sightings have been reported from around the world.
Description of Mothman
Mothman is a winged creature said to have inhabited the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia between November 1966 and December 1967. It was also seen before and after those dates, but only sporadically.
The creature was named Mothman after the “Killer Moth” villain in the popular contemporary Batman TV series.
Most accounts depict Mothman as being between 5 and 7 feet in height, with wings and big, reflective, red eyes.
It is alleged that more than 80 people have died as a result of seeing, researching, or having some connection to Mothman.
Only one witness has been able to describe Mothman’s face, calling it monstrous. In general, witnesses say they felt a strong sense of evil when they saw Mothman’s eyes.
It is also noted that anyone who said they had a close encounter with Mothman suffered from fear and psychological distress afterwards, sometimes for months or even years.
The legend has influenced popular culture with various TV shows and books produced about the creature. The most famous is probably The Mothman Prophecies, a book by John Keel that was made into a movie starring Richard Gere.
There is also a Mothman festival and a museum, both in Point Pleasant.
In some circles, Mothman is thought to be a harbinger of disaster. The original set of sightings all took place shortly before the Point Pleasant bridge collapsed, killing 46 people.
Mothman had been seen near the bridge on many occasions. Was he trying to warn people about the upcoming disaster, or was he responsible for it?
The first media-reported sighting was on November 15 1966 by Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette. The four were driving past a World War II TNT factory a few miles outside Point Pleasant when they saw two red lights.
When they stopped the car and had a closer look, these lights turned out to be eyes which belonged to what seemed like a big animal. Roger Scarberry said the creature resembled a human being, was perhaps 7 feet tall, and had big wings folded on its back.
The group sped off in the car but saw the creature again soon after. As they drove past at high speed, it took off and followed them all the way to the city limits. Police checked the area but found no sign of the creature.
A poltergeist was apparently active in the Scarberrys’ home later that night, and Mothman is said to have been seen several times.
Plenty more sightings were reported throughout the rest of November, including by a farmer called Newell Partridge who had seen red eyes staring at him from his hay barn.
He had come outside because he had heard a loud whining sound, like a generator, which had changed in pitch and then suddenly stopped.
Newell’s dog was barking and clearly upset. The animal ran towards the barn, but the farmer was too terrified to follow. He returned to his house to get a gun, but remained in the house. The dog never returned to its master.
Mr. and Mrs. Wamsley, along with Mrs. Bennett and her daughter, Teena, had gone to visit their friends the Thomas’, who lived in a bungalow near the TNT factory.
Upon returning to their car, a figure slowly rose up from behind it. Mrs. Bennett described the figure as large and gray, with glowing red eyes. Shocked and frightened, they ran back into their friends’ house and called the police.
They said they could hear the figure walking around on the porch, and said it even looked through the windows at them. The figure had gone by the time the police arrived.
Dr. Robert Smith, then a wildlife biologist at West Virginia University, suggested that the general description of Mothman was very similar to that of the Sandhill Crane.
This crane is as big as a man, has reddish circles around its eyes, and has a seven-foot wingspan. Dr. Smith argued that the bird could have diverted from its normal migration route.
Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant were few and far between after the bridge collapsed, but reports of sightings began to come in from all over the world in the early 2000s.
A large, winged figure was seen just after the 9/11 attack on the twin towers. Subsequent sightings were made in England, Mexico, Canada, Poland and Brazil, among others.
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Julian Cheatle updated Mothman on 13 Sep , 2017.