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THE MYTH OF THE MOTHMAN
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The Mothman.



The Mothman may be something that’s not heard of a lot today but back in the 1960s, this creature caused great speculation, excitement, and terror. And although the Mothman was soon well-known around the world, he only appeared in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia. And while those who first saw the Mothman most likely were terrified of the creature, it was soon thought that he was present to warn others in the area of immediate danger that could take many lives. The Mothman was only seen for a short time, from November 12, 1966 until December 1967. Since that time, there have been many speculations about the Mothman, and just what the creature is. Some go with the theory that it was an actual creature that warned humans of impending danger, while others believe that it was simply another creature that had a mistaken identity.

Exactly what the Mothman looks like is unknown, as it seems that no one has gotten close enough to recognize even its most basic features. It is most often described in a masculine sense, and it’s thought that the Mothman has the same stature and height as a man. What’s different from the Mothman and a human man however, are many things. The first is that it has glowing red eyes and giant wings like that of a moth, but that span several feet each. Varying accounts have described the Mothman as having a head that the eyes are set into, while others say that the Mothman has no head, and that its eyes are sunken into its chest. The Mothman doesn’t speak but rather, has a very loud shriek that can be heard up to a mile away. The colors of the wings on the Mothman are said to vary and it’s possible that underneath the wings, it has skin that is either gray or light blue. And while most believe that the Mothman does have skin covering its body, some also think that the skin is covered by a very fine fur.

The Mothman was first seen on November 15, 1966 when two young married couples, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette, were out driving late at night. They were near the abandoned World War II TNT factory, which is known as the West Virginia Ordnance Works. They noticed that in the shadows by the old generator, there were two red glowing lights. They stopped the car to look at what they thought was a very large animal, bigger than a man, that had large wings folded against its back. They became terrified by what they saw and started driving towards Route 62. But they later reported that it was difficult to get rid of the creature because it chased them for some time, at speeds that were over 100 miles an hour.

The next night, several people from town took guns and weapons and combed the area surrounding the TNT plant, looking for the creature. However, the creature was no longer at the TNT plant. Instead, he was around the igloos that were also abandoned but that were located near the TNT plant and also erected during World War II. A couple by the names of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley were traveling with their friend, Mrs. Marcella Bennett, and her baby daughter, Teena. The four of them were traveling to go see their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Thomas. After their visit they were heading back to their car when a creature appeared from behind the vehicle. They described the creature as though it was lying down behind the car and slowly rose up as they approached. They quickly went back to the house with the creature following closely behind, although it didn’t seem to be chasing them. Instead, Mr. Wamsley called the police from the safety of inside the house while the Mothman watched through a window from the porch.

Apart from these stories, there were many other sightings of the Mothman. On November 24, 1966, four people reported that they saw the creature flying above the TNT area. And on November 25, Thomas Uly was traveling along Route 62 when he saw what looked like the creature that had recently been reported standing in a field. This time the creature though did nothing except for spread its massive wings and fly away. Another sighting was then reported again on January 11, 1967 and then again at different times throughout that year.

The Silver Bridge is a suspension bridge that connects Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis. The bridge spans across the Ohio River but collapsed on December 15, 1967. The collapse was found to be due to a faulty suspension chain and the Mothman wasn’t seen for some time after the destruction of the bridge. This led many people to believe that the Mothman was a creature that’s purpose was to warn others of impending danger, and not to terrify. But, the last of the Mothman was not to be seen just yet.

Brendan Fraite saw the Mothman when he was going to see family that lived in Point Pleasant. As he was driving along his way, he saw something huge and human-like lying across the road. He stopped the car and got out so that he could get a better look. But, upon doing so he found that the creature was not at all human. He drove back into his car and ran over the creature before driving away. Looking back in his rearview mirror, he saw the creature fly away but he still drove to the police station to tell them of his story. The police did go to the scene but they didn’t find the creature. Instead, they found a lot of dried blood spread out across the road. Brandon thought that it was in fact the Mothman, and the police were inclined to agree with him. But that was the last time that the Mothman was ever seen in Point Pleasant.

The term “Mothman” was first coined by an Ohio copyeditor when first writing about the related events. It then became part of the title of The Mothman Prophecies, a book written by John Keel outlining the chronological order of events of Mothman sightings, and the inclusion of the collapse of the Silver Bridge. The book was then the basis for the 2002 movie by the same name that starred Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Debra Messing. John Keel believed that the account of the Mothman was a paranormal creature. However, others had a much more practical and what seemed reasonable account of what and how the Mothman came to be.

One of the earliest theories about the Mothman was that the “Mothman” was actually just a Sandhill Crane. The Sandhill crane was an animal that was of particular problem in the surrounding areas at the same time that the Mothman was reported to be seen. Sandhill cranes have wings that span about 7 feet, and they stand at about 5 or 6 feet tall. Sandhill cranes were also known for emitting loud, piercing shrieks, just like the Mothman. And the red glowing eyes were said to have just been an effect of lights and flashlights that were most likely used when people went in search of the Mothman.

Today, whether in celebration or just remembrance, there is a Mothman Festival held every year in Point Pleasant. There are many different events held at the festival, including guest speakers and a tour of the most prominent places in Point Pleasant that has been known for Mothman sightings, such as the old TNT plant.


The Mothman

The Mothman mythology.

 The myth of The Mothman.