What is the Mothman?

Gunner Bryson, Staff Writer

The Mothman is a monster that has created a completely unique and interesting local legend.

The creature was reportedly seen from November 15th, 1966 to December 15th, 1967 by couples in the Point Pleasant area. On November 15th, 1966, two young couples, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette told law enforcement that they saw a large, grey creature whose eyes glowed red when the car’s headlight flashed onto the creature. They also described the creature as a “large flying man with ten-foot wings” that followed their car while they were diving near the site of an old WW2 munitions plant known as the “TNT” area by Point Pleasant residents. The first newspaper report titled, “Couple See Man-Sized Bird…Creature…Something” was published in the Point Pleasant Register and quickly garnered national attention. In December 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed and killed 46 people. This accident gave rise to the Mothman legend, with many believing that the Mothman was at the site of the collapse and foreshadowed or caused the tragedy. A book called “The Mothman Prophecies” was written about the sighting and the Silver Bridge collapse, which gave even more rise to the legend of the Mothman by connecting the Silver Bridge collapsing to the Mothman sighting. A movie was even made years later in 2002 that was loosely based on the book of the same name.

So, is Mothman real? The answer is sadly . . . no, Mothman is not real. The sightings that people describe are most likely birds; when people shine light on the bird’s eye, it gives the red-eye effect. Wildlife biologist Robert L. Smith at West Virginia University told reporters at the site that descriptions and sightings all fit the Sandhill Crane. The Sandhill Crane is very large, almost as tall as a man, and has a seven-foot wingspan. The crane even has reddish circles around its eyes. Even though the Mothman may not be an actual creature, it hasn’t stopped the people of Point Pleasant from celebrating the local legend. In 2002, the first annual Mothman festival was held and is still being held on the 3rd weekend of every September. In 2005, the Mothman Museum and Research Center was opened to the public and attracted even more visitors from all across the U.S. Even though the Mothman may not be real, its legend has made Point Pleasant a completely unique place in America.