The Mothman is a creature of undefinable origin, one of the most widely-recognized mythical beings in the world. The name “Mothman” is derived from the fact that this monster has moth-like wings, though its body is distinctly humanoid. Head-shape varies from one story to another, but this might be because one of the defining features of the beast is its glowing red eyes, which might distract witnesses from any other notable facial features. Anyone who looks into those eyes also becomes overwhelmingly paranoid, sometimes for months or years after coming into contact with the Mothman.
The Mothman is a fascinating creature in the sense that it does not seem to be bound to one particular place. It was first sighted in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, but has been seen as far across the globe as China and Afghanistan during and before disasters, natural or otherwise. It for perhaps this reason that the Mothman is now seen as a harbinger, a cautionary spirit warning of future misfortune. However, not all the tales surrounding this strange creature are along the same vein.
As stated before, the Mothman was first sighted in Point Pleasant in 1966. Five men were digging a grave in the cemetery when one of them happened to look up and sighted a winged humanoid-creature ascending from the tree-line. They all saw the creature and all described it the same way, stating that the color was brown and the wingspan of the being was massive, bigger than any large bird in the area, though of course the skeptics will still point toward a crane or an owl before accepting that it could have something unknown.
Throughout the next year the Mothman was sighted throughout most of West Virginia and its neighboring states. The most notable being an event that happened not three days after the grave-diggers’ story. Two young couples were driving out to the “TNT area”, an old TNT factory that was shut down after World War II. Because of its secluded locations, local youths used the factory as a sort of hangout, a place to dodge the judgmental eyes of their small-town peers and elders. The names of the couples were Roger and Linda Scarberry, Steve and Mary Mallette, and Steve’s cousin, Lonnie Button. The five of them were very familiar with the area and traveled this way often. But that evening when they pulled up to the factory gates something was amiss. At first they thought they were being approached by two red lights, but this assumption was quickly discarded when it came increasingly obvious that they were not looking at lights at all, but a great pair of eyes on a seven-foot figure, silvery in color, with massive wings folded behind it.
Roger, the driver, immediately floored it and sped down the street. Even though he hit speeds of up to 100mph, the creature kept pace behind them, blood red eyes gleaming in the rearview mirror the whole way back into town. According to the group of young adults it veered away as soon as they reached civilization. Naturally this combined with the grave-diggers’ sighting made the Mothman a source of terror and mystery, and the general alarm throughout West Virginia grew throughout the next year, where more than 100 Mothman sightings were reported. Some, of course, were mistakes or hoaxes, but there were several gems mixed in, the true unexplainable tales that accompanied the host of lies and blunders.
The most aggressive stories of this being seemed to involve teens and young couples having the roofs of their cars dented, smashed in, or their back windows shattered by the Mothman, although the creature never appeared to be intent on actually harming anyone. The bulk of the sightings were completely innocent and involved no form of chasing whatsoever. Someone would step outside, look up at a tree or the roof of a house, and there he would be, mothy wings outstretched to their full extent before it would rise into the air, fluttering off and disappearing from view.
One rather eerie occurrence took place around the home of one Newell Partridge, who said that his television set started emitting a strange humming sound and the signal became rather garbled and static-y. He then went outside to have a look at the antenna and reported that when he shone his flashlight into the neighboring field, it illuminated a huge pair of red eyes that rapidly retreated into the darkness. Once the creature was gone, his television set resumed normal function, although he said that he later discovered his German Shepherd was missing. The dog vanished without a trace and was never seen again.
In December 15th, 1967, the Silver Bridge across the Ohio River collapsed whilst full if rush hour traffic, resulting in the deaths of 46 people and injuries to many more. Two of the bodies were never found. The Mothman was seen flying overhead as the bridge fell, but interestingly enough, the Mothman sightings halt completely after this…. at least in West Virginia. Many people came forward after this event, however, claiming that the Mothman had warned them of this event in their dreams. Of course, nobody wanted to seem like an insane person, so these people kept this to themselves, trying to dismiss it as an ordinary bad dream, only to see on the news later that the bridge had collapsed. How frightening would that be? But not all Mothman sightings were accompanied by premonitions. Why is that? None can really know but the Mothman himself, but many have their own theories.
The general consensus is that the Mothman is some sort of benevolent spirit, a being concerned with the everyday struggles of humans and does its best to help out where it can. Others believe that the Mothman has extraterrestrial origins, linking it to several UFO sightings and an outbreak of Men in Black encounters that seem to accompany the Mothman wherever it goes. Whatever it happens to be, there is a lot of evidence that points to the creature having a more sinister personality.
While the majority of sightings surround minor disasters, such as the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapse in 2007, there are a few encounters that are a little more… strange. There are a few stories circulating about people who have been stalked by the Mothman, usually people who have read Mothman literature or watched The Mothman Prophecies movie. A startling number of people have reported receiving strange, empty phone calls each time they finished watching, and a handful have timidly put forth that they seem to be being stalked by the creature. In these instances the Mothman would visit these people in dreams, and most eerily, sometimes it would even assume the person’s identity through texts and instant messaging on the web.
Is this even the same creature? For something that behaves in such a fretful manner whenever there’s a forthcoming incident, the stalking of random innocent people seems strikingly out of place, unless you take into account the Men in Black. These beings are rumored to be extraterrestrials as well, and they always find those who stumble or actively seek information that makes them uncomfortable. If the Mothman has similar origins, would it not also seek those who seek knowledge about it? Or perhaps it is merely trying to warn of those that are too interested, fearing that the discovery of its true nature or intentions would wreak havoc among the human populous. We are not likely to ever know for certain.
Still, Mothman sightings prevail wherever tragedy strikes. Its specialty remains bridge collapses, but there are reports of Mothman sightings during much bigger events like the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and 9/11. Curiously, it did not haunt the streets of New York the year before the Twin Towers were struck, but there are rumors of a strange creature haunting the halls and land around the nuclear plant before disaster struck. While it seems to want to be seen and have its warnings heard, it does not appear to enjoy an excessive amount of attention all at once.
Despite its apparent shyness, the Mothman is still making appearances to this day. Of course, anyone who comes across such a strange being is going to react with fear, but anyone familiar with the legends surrounding the Mothman will know that there is more to be afraid of than this odd-looking creature. Granted, some encounters seem to be random, but the majority seem to lead up to an event…. and that event is rarely good.