It is believed that Mothman has always been on Earth, among us, or that he came from some other dimension. Namely, it is a mysterious creature, a flyer with red eyes. Mothman was seen in Ukraine a few days before the Chernobyl disaster, so it is believed that this strange creature hints at catastrophe.
There are a lot of reports and eyewitnesses who have seen Mothman, and it all started in November 1966 in the American town of Point Pleasant. It was November 12th. In Clendenin, West Virginia, five people at a local cemetery were horrified when they saw something resembling a brown human rising from a nearby forest and flying overhead.
The Fascinating Legend Of The Mothman
The story of Mothman is even stranger than that of Jack with the spring heel. The events described in John A. Keel's Mothman's prophecies run, in short, as follows: In 1966, four young lovers go out for a ride in West Virginia claiming to have seen an extremely unusual flying animal hovering over their car, frightening them.
Over the next year, dozens of people in the area claimed to have seen the creature; there were also reports of UFOs, people in black, up contacts or two, and creepy phone messages from strangers. The events apparently ended with the demolition of a local bridge in 1967, killing dozens of people.
Keel and another writer, Gray Barker, have written it all in several extraordinary books. Keel's book was adapted into a 2002 film starring Richard Gere. It's controversial whether it's a book or a movie that most closely resembles what happened.
The Origin Of The Legend
The original report came from two 18-year-old married couples from Chevy in 1957. They were cruising wooded places where dull local children gathered to drink, spend and raise hell (think American Graffiti). The terrain of the abandoned warehouse used to store ammunition in the 1940s was one of the more popular places to socialize.
When they noticed two red lights in the shadows near the factory door, they stopped the car in an attempt to see what it was all about.
Seeing a massive creature with bent wings and shining eyes, they thought they had met a dragon. The frightened couples fled far from the factory, and a moment later, they saw the same creature on a slope near the road. The creature spread its wings and flew into the air, then followed their car going over 100 miles per hour. They managed to escape him, doubting whether it was one or more identical creatures.
There, they told the local sheriff, a "bird as big as a man" chased their car, and his eyes reflected the glow of their headlights. Journalists picked up the sheriff's report inciting widespread hysteria and numerous hoaxes; one villager blew up an owl to pieces with a shotgun after being frightened by its shining eyes, and a gang of construction workers tied balloon lights in hopes of inciting a UFO.
People were confused. The creature was not like a bird but more like a man with wings. A few days later, numerous observations and surveillance of nearby forests were held. The whole region was in awe.
A few nights later, members of the local fire department investigated the warehouse area and reported watching a large creature they definitely identified as a bird. The wildlife biologist speculated that the sand crane - a bird with a wingspan of seven feet and a reddish color around its eyes - may have strayed from its migration route.
Others blamed the hysteria for seeing various species of owls with large wingspans that were common in the area. But rational explanations quickly moved away from sensationalist media coverage.
A press conference was held in the county courtroom, and the teenagers were encouraged to repeat their story. A local journalist named the creature Mothman (a tribute to Batman's enemy Killer Moth in the then-popular TV series Batman). The national media spread the story across the country.
Keel And Barker
Entering two UFO writers who specialize in spinning wow cash: John Keel and Gray Barker. Keel was better at his craft, selling Science Digest and Playboy articles, while Barker worked mainly on the edges, releasing a mimeographed newsletter he called The News Plate. They both recognized Mothman's reports from West Virginia as the basis for a potentially profitable business.
Keel settled into the Point Pleasant Motel to gather details and interview locals. The two men discussed the idea of working together on a book about it, and Keel agreed to share his notes. Barker produced several sample chapters in which Keel portrayed himself as a "mysterious character"' and invented a mythical connection between Mothman and the tragic but unrelated collapse of a local bridge.
Keel later rearranged and smoothed the story into a first-person narrative that brought him into the role of a "journalist," liberally salted by his paranoid fantasies about UFOs, men in black conspiracies, and other paranormal oddities.
Barker's habit of 'drunkenly choosing' Keel's motel room at odd hours to mumble incoherent messages was then re-imagined by Keel as a series of 'mysterious phone calls' by strange, extradimensional beings. Predictably, when their loose partnership fell apart, it was Keel's book on the mass market of Mothman's prophecies and not Barker's self-published Silver Bridges that would continue to have the most influence (and dollars).
The Mothman Curse
Several strange events arise from this unusualness. One meme that runs through Mothman's literature is that this creature is a harbinger of disaster. It was said to have appeared before the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and the Chernobyl disaster.
Therefore, anyplace where you see this thing is doomed! ... except for places that had disasters without previous Mothman reports or reports without a catastrophe that followed.
A more customized service is "Mothman's death list," supposedly a curse that befalls anyone who sees Mothman - you will die in a year. Surprisingly, Linda Scarberry, one of the original quartets in the car, was still alive and well many years later. Oops. Many people have died over the years; after all, it was more than 50 years ago, and natural causes are taking their toll.
The legend of Mothman is rich, and there are various versions. According to Keel, stories of who and what he might vary from alien visits to a two-hundred-year-old curse cast on the area. Either way, several different events seem to be related to Mothman.
During the war, an ammunition depot was built in the vicinity of Point Pleasant, where there was a bird sanctuary. When ammunition stocks were sold to various companies after the war, empty homes remained where young people gathered and partied. The area became known as TNT, and many Mothman-related events took place there.
Several "sightings" were reported in the vicinity of the Ohio River. Eyewitnesses describe a creature that looks "like a man, but is much larger, has wings and can fly, its eyes are like two big red spotlights and make whistling sounds."
Reports multiplied, and this attracted thousands of visitors who came every night hoping to see this strange creature, record something about it or even catch it. Many were convinced that this creature was not from Earth. Some thought it was an angel trying to convey a message to us, and others devised a theory that a bird mutated living near chemicals.
Over the following months, there were more and more reports. Some people saw, heard, or felt the presence of that being in the form of fear that overwhelmed them. Many mentioned the premonition of catastrophe that accompanied the "sightings."
Despite sight-seeing reports for more than fifty years, Mothman remains a significant tourist attraction. This may be weird entertainment, but people still spend dollars; the town of Point Pleasant even has a Mothman festival (3rd weekend in September, Mothfans).
The Movie: Mothman's Prophecies
Mothman's Prophecies was made into a feature film in 2002, though primarily based on Keel's book. Bearded, a free pipe smoker, has been transformed into the super-attractive Washington Post staff reporter Klein (Richard Gere), happily married to his super-attractive wife (Debra Messing). Then Kleins crashes his car one day, and his wife dies, but not before she tells him that Mothman is guilty.
What follows are a bunch of strange experiences. Klein inexplicably finds himself in West Virginia, being replaced with spies, getting ridiculous phone calls, and connecting with sexy female police officer Connie Mills (Laura Linney). He heroically rescues her in the inevitable collapse of a bridge. Through it all, you can see the shadowy character of Mothman flying around in a way that suggests that they are responsible for all this strangeness.
For example, before the bridge collapsed, Connie Mills had super weird dreams. She floated in the water surrounded by presents as a voice called out to her: "Come back, number 37." The film strongly suggests that Connie would indeed have been the victim of the drowning of Bridge No. 37 if Keel / Gere had not been there to save her and that Mothman (don't ask how) somehow made it all possible.
The two main characters stare in horror into the night as menacing music plays on the soundtrack. The film ends with the frightening conclusion that Mothman (who they already knew was real) is real! And he's a good guy! The couple realized that their recent experiences were extraordinarily significant and confirmed that Mothman was real (and dedicated to helping save people during the demolition of bridges in West Virginia).
The final texts ominously cite that "the collapse of the Silver Bridge was never explained." However, that is not true. The incident was found to be caused by a failure of the eyebar in the suspension chain.