Mothman, Rowan Bagley
The second installment in the Strange Happening Blog Series
Most people I know love Mothman, there’s just something about him that’s just so damn compelling. For me, it’s because he only seems interested in scaring couples making out in their cars and possibly collapsing a bridge, but I don’t think that was his fault. Anyway, let’s get into the creature that’s been dubbed Sexiest Crytid by the youths.
Mothman hails from Point Pleasant, Virginia where he was said to be sighted from November 15th, 1966 to December 15th, 1967. On the date of his first sighting, two couples reported that they saw a man-like creature with “ten-foot wings” and eyes that “glowed red” when the car headlights hit it. They also reported that it followed their cars as they drove by a former World War II munitions plant outside town known a “the TNT area”. In what I can only assume is a juiced version of this story, the couples claim that the creature persuaded them even as their cars reached over 100 mph. A few days later, a man named Newell Partridge told the Mason County Sheriff that he’d seen a creature in a field near his home and when he shined a flashlight on it, its eyes glowed “like bicycle reflectors”. He also blamed this same creature for the buzzing sounds his television was emitting and for the disappearance of his German Shepard.
Robert L. Smith, a wildlife biologist from West Virginia University, told reporters that descriptions of the creature resembled that of a sandhill crane. These birds can grow to be 4-5 feet tall, with a wingspan of 7 feet and red circles around their eyes. Sandhill cranes aren’t native to the area and this one may have strayed from its migration patterns, Smith said, and therefore wasn’t recognized by locals. But this is a scientific explanation and also boring, so I’m choosing to ignore it.
Although there’s absolutely no proof to support this, there’s an urban legend that the actual first sighting of Mothman was on November 12th, 1966 when five men were preparing a grave for burial the next day and claim to have seen a tall creature take off from a nearby tree. All five men have staunchly held to their claim that the creature wasn’t a bird and was instead humanoid. The graveyard was supposedly close to “the TNT area” where the two couples also claim to have seen the creature on November 15th. This area, an unnamed fisherman said in 1979, was used to store toxic chemicals as well as gunpowder and those chemicals had been leaking into the ponds since the plant was abandoned. Could this toxic waste have caused the birth of Mothman? An unnamed fisherman said it, so it’s probably true.
Mothman has appeared in pop culture since his first appearance and has reportedly been seen over 100 times since 1966. He’s been credited with supernatural events, such as the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15th, 1967 as well as foreshadowing the bombing of a Moscow apartment building in 1999. How he got from Point Pleasant to Moscow is unknown. He’s also been the subject of John Keel’s 1975 book “The Mothman Prophecies”, which was turned into a movie in 2002. Most significantly, however, is the Mothman Festival held in Point Pleasant every year in his honor. We love you, you fuzzy bastard.
The incredible Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, Virginia