Who is Mothman?
Whether the creature itself causes tragedies or simply brings warning of the impending doom, there is not an inkling of doubt that sightings of Mothman seem to preface all breeds of calamity. Described by witnesses as a humanoid winged creature sporting enormous glowing eyes, Mothman has been the poster child of tourist attractions in Point Pleasant, West Virginia since the first sightings in 1966. The malevolent nature of this myth is what sets it apart from other cryptids such as Bigfoot or the Lochness Monster, as well as it’s enormous track record for witnesses. The featured picture was taken by a man who was visiting the Point Pleasant area who spotted a creature gliding between trees. He contacted the local news station after capturing images of a large creature on his cellphone. No one can confirm the picture’s validity due to the art of modern technology, but the man swore that they were in no way altered. Many locals fervently believe that these photos are genuine, with good reason. The history of Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant is lengthy, and has left a more than significant impact on the community.
The First Sighting
Curiously enough, the first recorded sighting of Mothman occurred in a graveyard in Clendenin, West Virginia. On November 12, 1966, five men who were treating themselves to the delightful fall activity of grave robbery, bared witness to a dark figure flying from tree to tree. I must admit, this first sighting is wonderfully cartoonish. I like to picture a ragtag squad of men, not unlike the crooks from Home Alone, spitting curses at each other as this ungodly creature soars over their heads. I’m sure they tripped over their own feet and into each other as they scrambled to get out of there. If you’ve ever been in a graveyard, especially at night, you know how goddamn unnerving they are. Even if you are a skeptic and don’t believe in ghosts, you can’t deny the fact that graveyards give off spooky vibes. How could they not? You are standing six feet above several deceased human beings, and Hollywood has trained us well to expect the worst in such situations. Anyways, these men—anxiously digging up Aunt Margret’s grave looking for gold teeth or something equally immoral—hear a loud whoosh, and with nerves already shot from the disturbing energy in the graveyard, all of their heads flip like meerkats towards the sound. What they see is an enormous human-like creature with expansive wings glide intimately (I’m sure Mothman gave them a quick wink as his fluffy six pack brushed over their heads) over them. They were scared so shitless that they did not hesitate to tell people not only what they saw, but additionally why they happened to be spending their Saturday night in a graveyard. You know, maybe Mothman was just providing a public service that night. Maybe he isn’t the malicious, death-bringer that some make him out to be; he’s like a friendly neighbourhood Mothman, keeping assholes from disturbing the dead and such.
The Mystery Machine
Unfortunately, the friendly-neighbourhood Mothman theory was challenged by an event only three days later on November 15th, 1966. Two young couples were out for a late night drive on a road near Point Pleasant, West Virginia and were chased by a creature that aligned with the robber’s description. Appearing in front of their headlights like a jump-scare in a horror movie, the creature they saw had the form of a man, was grey in colour, appeared 6-7 feet tall, and stared at them with eyes two-inches in diameter that glowed red in the headlights. Now, I don’t know if any of you have been driving at night and have had a small bird pop in front of your windshield, but I have and I can vouch that my heart stopped for half a second and that both me and the friend that I was with were convinced Death brushed us with his left hand that night just for giggles. The prospect of a man-sized bird/moth incarnate deciding to peer at me through my windshield late at night when my paranoid ass is already on edge is a big NO from me. The couples’ natural response was the get the hell out of there, so they ripped down this highway towards town at 100 miles per hour (for us non-Americans that’s over 160 km/h), only to realize that their new friend was keeping up to speed behind their vehicle. The creature again appeared in front of their car when they neared a traffic circle, surely striking more fear into the young adults (Pardon this interruption, but I just thought I should let you know these four did not, in fact, have a talking dog with them. I know this sound uncannily like an episode of Scooby-Doo, and that you’re wondering why they didn’t the just floor it, knock the guy down, unmask him, and tell him to cut it out. These kids were simply not meddling enough I suppose.) I begin to wonder whether or not Mothman was just trying to tell the group something. Why else would he (or she. Perhaps we’ve misgendered this creature of the night. Maybe that’s why he hates us.) be so persistent on making contact with the group? Sure, maybe it communicates with wing flaps or the slow blinking of its peculiar ruby peepers, but Mothman could have genuinely been trying to send a message. One of the witnesses stated that he would not have come forward with this experience had three other people not been there. That same night, a farmer was startled by strange noise coming from outside. Upon further investigation, he claims to have seen two glowing eyes that did not belong to any animal that he recognized. Upsettingly, his hunting dog took off after the creature and was not seen again (Dammit Scooby!). Five witnesses and one missing dog–the introduction of Mothman to Point Pleasant was more than convincing to the local community, and thus the haunting legend was born.
A Legend is Born
From thereon in, numerous sightings occurred within the time frame of 1966-67 as an obsession with the ‘Mothman’ grew in the Point Pleasant area. It was all good fun until the tragic collapse of Silver Bridge of Point Pleasant on December 15th, 1967. The collapse occurred during rush hour, and claimed the lives of 46 people. In shock, people began to connect the Mothman sightings with this tragedy. Had this ominous creature instigated the destruction? Had it come to warn the people of it? Rumours and theories began to occupy people’s minds, raising more concerns and questions. This was the first of several tragedies that theorists began to link to Mothman sightings. Reportedly, actual Mothman sightings stopped after the collapse of Silver Bridge, which fed the theory that Mothman’s presence was either the harbinger of destruction, or an ominous warning of coming doom. Theories around Mothman grew even glummer when sightings were reported to have occurred in Chernobyl shortly before the nuclear meltdown there. Workers at Chernobyl supposedly saw a dark creature fly over the plant, and other witnesses claim to have seen a ‘black, bird-like creature with red eyes’. The creature earned the title “the Black Bird of Chernobyl”. Before you get too excited, I have to share that the Chernobyl sightings hold little to no validity. These rumours surface after a fictional movie about Mothman in Chernobyl was released in 2002, and many cryptozoology-based websites published events in the movie as true. Remember kids, fact checking is non-debatable.
The most recent occurrence, and perhaps the most chilling, happened on April 10th in 2009 in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where a “very tall entity” covered in fur with red, bloodshot eyes appeared. A young student claimed that this creature chased him for 15 minutes, and another man said that he saw an odd lump on the side of the road, only for it to stand up and with great force reveal two large wings similar to that of a bat’s, and when the witness attempted to flee by speeding away, the creature kept alongside the passenger side window and peered in at the driver (at this point Mothman is just a supernaturally powered troll who likes to comically chase people around long enough for them to shit their pants before zooming off into the night). These, and a couple more sightings, occurred prior to the Swine Flu outbreak.
More recent and credible claims include the heartbreaking event of 9/11. Multiple reports of a large bird-like figure five days prior to the appalling attacks on the Twin Towers scuttled online; these rumours were the first alleged Mothman sightings in more than 31 years. To add to the bizarreness, some claimed to have seen Mothman’s silhouette or face through clouds of smoke and debris after the attack. Given, people were most definitely in complete and utter shock so it would not be surprising if their minds were playing tricks, but the fact that Mothman had scarcely been mentioned for three decades prior still provokes thought.
Had enough yet? There’s still more. Months before the bridge on Interstate 35 in Minneapolis, Minnesota collapsed, a handful of witnesses reported seeing a Mothman-like shape hanging out near the bridge. 13 people died, and around 145 were injured.
Friend, For, or Bird?
So here lies the question; is Mothman real? More specifically, where is the rationale behind the hundreds of sightings of this entity that preceded disaster? Skeptics pin the phenomena on mere coincidences, or the idea that people could have been trying to rationalize tragic accidents and attacks by fabricating a mythical monster. The human brain undoubtedly is capable of weird shit when in shock. I can see both sides of the argument when it comes to a cryptid such as Mothman, but the part that gets me is that these sightings are not randomly dispersed; they are systematically inclined to increase in the preface of tragedy. Many skeptics argue that Mothman is simply a Sandhill Crane (although they are not common at all in the Point Pleasant area).
Here’s a Sandhill Crane:
And here’s the statue of Mothman in Point Pleasant:
The evidence is here. Sandhill Cranes do not have abs, and therefore cannot be the legendary Mothman.
Ha. If only it were that simply.
In all seriousness, I do see a minuscule amount of plausibility to the Sandhill Crane theory, but the better part of me wants to believe that Mothman is in fact a supernatural entity. Additionally, given the descriptions of Mothman, if it were a bird it would have to be either an anomaly or a genetically mutation—Sandhill Cranes are only known to be 4-5 feet tall with a wingspan of 5-7 feet. Even on the larger scale, these birds do not measure up to the witness accounts.
We may never have the answer, and I am okay with that. Some things are better left unanswered, as if we knew the answer to everything what would we talk about? The shrouds of mystery around the Mothman brings such character to humanity, proving that we really haven’t changed much since our days of fearing witches and the gods above. Many citizens of Point Pleasant do genuinely believe that Mothman is a supernatural entity, whether a demon or a creature from an alternate dimension, who is here to warn the human race of coming disaster. In fact, they have festivals for Mothman, a museum, and numerous other tourist attractions that celebrate the creature’s existence. People have studiously researched Mothman, writing and publishing their findings. He has become a popular figure in the eyes of cryptozoologists, and certainly one of the most captivating cryptids out there. What is your take on this being? Was he conjured by the minds of many, or do you think this creature truly exists? What is his purpose, and does he present a threat to humanity? I personally believe he’s a pretty chill dude just doing his job, that is, letting us humans known when bad shit is about to go down. As cool as I think he is, I would not want to see him knowing that it entails great misfortune and loss. But I urge future witnesses to snap a pic, or even ask for a selfie if you get close enough.
This is simply what I have collected through my research and the opinions I’ve built on it. Feel free to comment your take on this phenomenon, or add important facts that I may have missed out on considering there is so much to this case. See you next week.