The scary tale of the Mothman will make you think twice about venturing outside at night, especially if you live in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. When the humanoid bird flew into this small town, its unsuspecting residents had no idea the ensuing paranormal events would lead them to a horrific tragedy.
Mothman, Omen of Tragedy
It all started on November 12, 1966, some 80 miles southeast of Point Pleasant in a cemetery. Frightened gravediggers reported seeing what appeared to be a man with wings flying over the trees of the graveyard. The men described the unearthly creature as being around seven feet tall. The birdman had a massive wingspan unlike anything they'd ever seen, and his bright eyes were equally unnerving.
This was the same description the police received only three nights later (November 15, 1966) from two local young couples. Around 11:30 pm, Roger and Linda Scarberry, along with Steve and Mary Mallette, were hanging out at the abandoned World War II TNT factory seven miles outside of the town. Suddenly, they spotted two glowing red eyes peering out from one of the tunnel entrances. They saw what appeared to be a seven foot tall man staring at them in the dark. Screaming, the couples sped out of the factory with Roger behind the wheel. To their horror, the man unfurled huge wings and took flight, chasing them most of the way back to town.
The couples rushed to the police station and reported seeing a large gray, flying man with 10 foot wings. Besides being frightened, the couples kept talking about how seeing the creature gave them a tremendous feeling of dread. This was just the beginning of the reports of what was later dubbed Mothman. For the next year, over 100 eyewitnesses filed reports with the police of seeing the Mothman and strange lights in night sky.
(In this video, news reporter John Keel, noted for his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies--made into a movie in 2002--talks about his experience with these lights associated with the Mothman.)
Scarberrys Attacked Later That Night
One very interesting aspect of this story is often overlooked, but is found in Janet Board's book, Alien Animals. Board describes that the TNT factory encounter continued once the Scarberrys returned home. She tells how Roger and Linda were attacked by what was described as a poltergeist, and that the couple saw the same birdman creature lurking outside their home.
Mothman Peers at People Through Window
The story of Raymond and Cathy Wamsley, Marcella Bennett and her baby daughter, Teena, along with friends, Virginia and Ralph Thomas, is one of the most panicking close encounters with the Mothman! The Thomas home was located among what were called "igloos." The igloos were concrete dome warehouses the military built at the TNT factory and were connected by an underground tunnel network. These buildings were designed to blend in with a massive 2,500 acre animal preserve and bird sanctuary.
According to the report filed with the police, upon arriving at the Thomas home, the Wamsleys and Marcella noticed a gray shadow with large, red eyes squatting by the Thomas car. The creature stood up to a frightening height. Marcella Bennett was so frightened that she fell onto the ground with her baby underneath her, paralyzed with fear. Marcella recovered and scooped up her child, then ran for the house.
As soon as the three adults bolted into the house, Cathy Wamsley rushed over to the phone and called the police. They stood inside the house, helplessly watching in terror as the creature walked up onto the porch, pushed against the door, then peered at them through the windows. By the time the police arrived nearly fifteen minutes later, the creature was long gone with no evidence left behind of its stalking.
Mothman Sightings Increase
The town of Point Pleasant was quickly overrun with the news media and curiosity seekers. As the days unfolded, more and more sightings were reported, but many believed those reports were the result of mass hysteria. Soon, UFO reports flooded the police station, and the townspeople lived in fear for the next 13 months. A.B. Colvin, a Point Pleasant photojournalist, reported sightings of the Mothman in 1967 and again in 1973. He wrote a book, The Mothman's Photographer, that included nearly 40 eyewitness accounts.
On November 25, 1966, Thomas Ury was visiting family in Point Pleasant and on his way home to nearby Clarksburg. Traveling on route 62, Ury saw a flying object over a nearby field and thought it was a helicopter. The object flew closer, and he states it was a large bird with a 15-foot wingspan. The bird circled above his convertible multiple times, drawing closer each time, and then finally flew away.
In 1966, eyewitness, Faye Leport was riding in the passenger seat of a car driven by her brother. She reported that Mothman suddenly appeared beside the car and ran alongside them, keeping up with the car's speed.
January 11, 1967, several people saw Mothman flying over the Silver Bridge. There were numerous reports throughout the year of the creature flying near the town bridge. An airplane pilot flying with friends reported seeing Mothman flying in the sky with them and traveling 70 MPH without his wings extended.
Some of the disturbing details from those who saw Mothman include:
- Reports that Mothman had a human face, described as a wrinkled human face with a round-shaped nose
- People experienced static and interferences with TVs, electricity, and vehicles
- UFO reports to the police were as numerous as those of Mothman sightings
- Mothman flew straight up like a helicopter
- Witnesses who looked into Mothman's red eyes later suffered from conjunctivitis and sunburns
Deadly Collapse of Silver Bridge
On December 15, 1967, the last sighting of the Mothman placed him at the town's Silver Bridge that spanned the width of the Ohio River. The bridge collapsed that evening, and 46 people lost their lives when their vehicles plunged into the icy waters below. It soon became a popular belief that the Mothman had been an omen of the horrible tragedy that struck the town 13 months after his arrival. An investigation revealed that the bridge collapsed due to a defective single link in the suspension chains.
Worldwide Mothman Sightings
Sightings of Mothman come from all across America and countries around the world. A 1986 sighting of Mothman was reported just before the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Some claim to have seen such a creature flying near the Twin Towers on the morning of September 11, 2001. A photograph of what many believe is a bird distorted by depth of field made the internet rounds. In 2016, a man who had recently moved to Point Pleasant captured a few photos of what appears to be a very large creature with wings and long human-like legs.
Mothman's Appearance Warning of Impending Disaster
With numerous sightings of Mothman before disasters, this strange creature is viewed as a bad omen. One popular conclusion is that Mothman arrives as a warning that disaster is imminent.