In the Ohio River Valley, near the Chief Cornstalk hunting grounds, a father and daughter were amazed to see a huge man with wings fly into the air, in 1961.
A couple of weeks after Halloween, on November 12, 1966, five men working in a local cemetery near Clendenin, West Virginia, saw a “brown human being” take off from a cluster of trees, flying over their heads.
On November 15, a man-sized beast with large moth-like wings and big glowing red eyes, was reported in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, by the Scarberrys and the Mallettes. Driving by an abandoned WWII TNT factory, near Point Pleasant, the two couples noticed “two red lights” in the darkness by the factory gate. When the stopped their vehicle, they saw the lights were “the glowing red eyes of a large animal, shaped like a man, but bigger, flesh-colored, with big wings folded against its back.” Mrs. Scarberry remarked that its eyes dominated the head, and if you looked too closely at the eyes, they had a hypnotic effect.
Mrs. Scarberry went on to tell of the creature’s wing being caught, and the creature was attempting to free himself with its “really big” hands. She believed the creature was very scared. When it finally managed to free the wing, it ran into the abandoned building.
A few minutes later, when the Scarberrys and the Mallettes were driving down Route 62 on their way back to town to tell the authorities, the creature began chasing them. Flying above the ‘57 Chevy at speedometer-burying speeds, making odd squeaking sounds, the Mothman pursued them all the way to the city limits, then flew off.
The next night, a posse combed the area, looking for the winged man. Two couples living near the TNT plant, reported seeing the Mothman behind their parked car. It was in a recumbent position, before rising up from the ground. Large and gray, with glowing red eyes, it watched them through the windows from their porch, as they called the police.
A week later, Mothman was witnessed flying over the region, by four people. The next day, a witness reported seeing the creature standing in a field, before “it spread its wings and flew alongside his car,” until he reached the city limits.
One unusual sighting reported by Newell Partridge, a building contractor in Salem, included some odd details. He was watching television one night, when the screen went dark. A “weird pattern filled the screen,” and he heard “loud, whining sounds from outside.” Bandit, his canine companion, started barking and whining. When the contractor walked outside, Bandit was near the barn. When Partridge focused his flashlight in that direction, he saw “two red circles that looked like bicycle reflectors.” They were moving in the darkness, and scared Partridge enough that he went back into the house and didn’t come out until morning. Bandit was gone, and was never seen again.
During November and December of 1966, and all through the following year, there were actually more than a hundred sightings of Mothman reported from all over West Virginia. The creature was always described as having a ten-foot wingspan, large glowing red eyes, and an accompanying feeling of dread. One witness dropped her infant baby when confronted by the Mothman.
An increase in UFO sightings and “funny red lights” in the sky was reported in the area during the time of the Mothman, leading many to believe the creature might be an alien.
Point Pleasant is located between two wildlife management areas, and the empty TNT plant has “miles of subterranean tunnels” running under the buildings. What a perfect place for the creature to make its home while in the area!
After the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River collapsed, killing forty-six people, on December 15, 1967, because of a manufacturing flaw, the creature seems to have disappeared from the area. Many of the people who died had been principal Mothman witnesses, leading many to believe that the creature had been trying to warn of the danger. There are some who think it might have been responsible for the disaster.
Although documented sightings are not recorded after December 15, there were a few reports that officials “brushed off” because they were dealing with the bridge catastrophe.
In December of 1966, Investigator and Reporter John Keel talked to many witnesses in the area, and compiled information that included a number of poltergeist cases and other unexplained occurrences, such as cars stalling for no reason. Keel was certain all this activity was related to the Mothman sightings.
References/Sources/Additional Information and Reading:
Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters. NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998.
Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & The Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003.
Troy Taylor (2007). Unexplained America - "Mothman: the enigma of Point Pleasant". Dark Haven Entertainment. Retrieved on 2007-12-18.
The Mothman Prophecies, by John A. Keel, Saturday Review Press, 1975 and Tor Books, (paperback) 2002 ISBN 0-7653-4197-2
Coleman, L. "Mothman and Other Curious Encounters". (2002). ISBN 978-1931044349 or (ISBN 1-931044-34-1)
Keel, John A. "The Mothman Prophecies" (2007). ISBN 0-7653-4197-2