Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spooky Stories #2 - The Mothman

I have no idea why I have a fascination with the Mothman phenomenon. Maybe because it's the very first case that introduced us to The Men in Black. Or perhaps it's because so many people in the area reported things to the police and the media. I'm thinking because it's an interesting mix of the paranormal, something alien, government cover ups, and prophecy. 

Below is the first post I did on the Mothman back in 2006. Enjoy!

What is the legend of The Mothman?

On November 12, 1966, five workers were preparing a grave at the cemetery near Clendenin, West Virginia. As they were digging, they spotted something flying over their heads. They described it as manlike with wings.

Just three days later, two married couples driving near an abandoned TNT plant in Point Pleasant, West Virginia had an encounter with a winged man creature with glowing red eyes. They described the creature as being tall, 6 or 7 feet. It's red bright eyes were "hypnotic." The witnesses panicked and sped away, only to see this thing again on a hillside. They watched it rise into the air and follow them. Their car was traveling at over 100 mph and "That bird kept right up with us," said one of them to Deputy Sheriff Millard Halstead. The creature easily followed them down Highway 62 right up to the Point Pleasant city limits.

That same night, several other Point Pleasant residents nervously spoke with local authorities about seeing this strange creature. What made it even more weird was the other phenomena that coincided with this winged monster. Televisions went out, electricity and motors stopped, strange and wild high-pitched screams accompanied sightings. One dog, Bandit, went missing as his owner slept with his rifle in his bed.

On November 16, Deputy Halstead held a press conference at the courthouse. So many law abiding and normally reliable witnesses came forward with their experiences. Deputy Halstead had grown up with these people, and he believed them. Reporters worldwide came to Point Pleasant and dubbed the creature The Mothman.

For 13 months, there were extraordinary sightings and scary incidents...The Mothman was making his presence known to the people of Point Pleasant. John Keel, a New York writer, chronicled the testimonies. He interviewed over 100 individuals that had witnessed The Mothman from November 1966 to November 1967. People also reported stories about strange lights in the sky and the infamous Men in Black visiting Point Pleasant residents. Keel's book, The Mothman Prophecies, became the basis for the movie.

As if UFOs, Men in Black, and The Mothman wasn't enough, many residents told Keel that they were experiencing strange psychic phenomena. Several individuals told himm of nightmares they had of The Mothman's red eyes followed by visions of tragic events. These events supposedly include the stabbing of the Pope, Robert Kennedy's assassination, and something terrible happening where many lives were going to be lost in Point Pleasant.

Unfortunately, on December 15, one of "The Mothman Prophecies" came true. The 700 foot bridge between Ohio and West Virginia in Point Pleasant collapsed. 46 people lost their lives that evening. One of the strange reports that evening prior to the bridge collapse was the sighting of lights in the sky. It was such a tragedy, and Keel reported that many of those that died were first-hand witnesses of The Mothman.

As quickly as encounters with The Mothman started, they ended shortly thereafter. There have been sporadic sightings in the area since then, but nothing paralleled those 13 months in Point Pleasant. The mystery and tragedy of Point Pleasant is far from forgotten, and many people associated with the incident and investigations have died in very sudden, tragic, and mysterious ways.

Just one story is that of Mothman investigator Susan Wilcox of Columbus, Ohio. Susan reported that she had witnessed a creature with wings near her home in 2001. She visited Point Pleasant often during 2001 and 2002 to do her research, but was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain tumor that mostly strikes children under 12. Ms. Wilcox passed away two months later. Her son, Brent Fair, was also a budding Mothman researcher had a sealed envelope with her research logs Susan had given him ten months prior to her passing. She left a note on the envelope that read, "B.R., Do not open until December 2002."

Susan Wilcox had died on December 8, 2002. The envelope contained her investigative logs of the Mothman phenomenon she collected from 2001 until her death.

Many say the land where Point Pleasant stands today is cursed by a Shawnee chief. On November 10, 1777, he lay dying from gunshot wounds from soldiers and said, "For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood.” A monument in Point Pleasant to commemorate that time period was later errected. In 1909, lightning struck the crane that was to place it. And on July 4th, 1921, the monument was destroyed by yet another lightning strike.

What exactly happened in Point Pleasant from November 1966 - 1967? What did all those people see? Was it a giant owl or crane as skeptics suggest?

Or is The Mothman real?


Matthew MacNish said...

Awesome. I mean, obviously tragic as well, but still. Totally fascinating.

David P. King said...

People really need to hear more about this. Big Foot and Lockness get way too much attention. :)

Rusty Webb said...

I don't know what to think. There really isn't narrative to all that though. It's a bit all over the place.

Jay Noel said...

Matthew: When I visited the area back in 2004, I wanted a local to take me to the site of the first sighting. But he refused. He said to the locals, it's all VERY real.

David: Yeah. The Mothman gets pushed to the backburner!

Rusty: I'm wondering if there's high lead content in the soil over there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

People saw something. Thanks for the rundown of events. Until now, all I knew of it was from the X-Files and that movie a few years back.

Leigha David said...

I believe I saw the Mothman covered on a show I used to watch when I was younger (can't think of the name). This thing gave me nightmares for months. >>

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I can do a follow up that shows a similar "myth" all over the world. People thought it was an angel coming to Earth just before a tragedy.

Leigha: Oh great, now you'll have more nightmares thanks to me!

Morgan said...

I've never even heard of this! Whoa...

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never heard of the Mothman before. Those stories are a bit creepy!

Carol Kilgore said...

I remember watching the movie, but not sure I knew it was based on true incidents. The movie was creepy, and now it's even more so. I wonder if we'll ever learn what the phenomenon is?

Leigha David said...

think I'll be alright. :p Actually, nowadays I find it rather fascinating.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

As a person that tries to keep his mind firmly grounded in reality, I'm going to say that there is probably a perfectly rational explanation as to what is going on in each of these situations. Plus, I don't believe in prophecies in real life because the future isn't a "set" thing. My problem with "prophecy" is that when you look at it from a "Schrodinger's Cat" perspective, the chances of it coming true are always 50/50.

Allow me to explain. You already know about the "Cat" experiment and that once you put the cat in the box, it's basically both alive and dead at the same time.

Well it's the same for prophecy.

If I were to prophesize that "Jay will die of a heart attack tomorrow" then I'm putting "Jay" in a box in which both conditions exist simultaneously.

Only when we look into the box does reality collapse into only one thing. So at sunrise, we take a look and see that Jay is alive or dead. It's really 50/50 at that point.

So that is my mathematical and scientific way at looking at these kinds of things. It's a 50/50 chance that anything predicted will come true until reality collapses at a point and someone takes an observation. There's nothing paranormal about that.

Jay Noel said...

Morgan and Eagle: Really? Glad I could introduce you both to the Mothman!

Carol: The movie was pretty good. Lots of Hollywood in it, but still creepy.

Leigha: Good. I'm relieved!

Michael: Unfortunately, there's also two major brain phenomena at work too: clustering illusion and apophenia (mind forming recognizable out of the haphazard - think Jesus toast).

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

@Jay: JESUS TOAST! BUT BUT... My yogurt has a picture of Mary in it!

Cynthia said...

I saw The Mothman Prophecies years ago. Intriguing stuff.

Pk Hrezo said...

ooo love the spooky stories! Mothman has always fascinated me. Hubby and I were just talking about it too. He's never seen the movies. I think I'll have to rectify that.
This stuff is never believable to me, but it's fun to think about.

Vero said...

Nothing like something unknown and irreproducible coupled with mass hysteria. :D

Anyway. I still love creepy monsters and sightings!

Jay Noel said...

Michael: I actually did a post a few years ago on Jesus toast.

Cynthia: I give the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars

Pk: Yes - have him watch the movie. I love the scene where Richard Gere is in the hotel room and makes a chilling discovery about the Mothman.

Vero: Mass hysteria is powerful.

M Pax said...

The fun of mysteries, I think, is not knowing and all of the speculation.

Ciara said...

I love fascinating tales of the unexplained. Of course, this one has tragedy, which I don't like. I prefer the less obvious ones like this.

Tammy Theriault said...

Hey Jay! I picked you for the Liebster Blog Award! Congrats and read about it on my blog tomorrow!!

Laura Eno said...

I never knew anything about Mothman besides the name. Thanks for the education - now I'm a bit spooked. :)

Melissa Bradley said...

I never knew anything about The Mothman other than the dismal movie. Sounds really tragic and creepy.

Mr. Shife said...

Love this stuff, Jay. Thanks for sharing with us. Have a good one buddy.

The Desert Rocks said...

OOh- good story. Don't they drink a lot of whiskey in those parts?

Julie Dao said...

That is so creeptacular. If I saw the Mothman, I would probably scream and wave around a fly swatter. That would probably piss him off a bit. I had no idea this myth was based on true stories!

Jay Noel said...

I'm thinking that there's gotta be a correlation between alcoholic consumption and Mothman sightings.

Miranda Hardy said...

I love reading stories such as this. It sparks the imagination. I don't know if its real or perhaps death visiting/warning them.

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