Mothman Statue, Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Mothman is a moth humanoid monster native to the area surrounding Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Believed by some to be a harbinger of doom, beginning in the late 1960’s the Mothman terrorized Point Pleasant with confirmed sightings from many of its residents. Much speculation remains over whether the Mothman is an extraterrestrial, a supernatural being, or merely a large owl-type bird. The Mothman is known for being a large seven foot tall gray human-looking figure with a ten foot wingspan and is characterized by having large, glowing red eyes.[1]

Etymology Edit

Although never being specifically described as moth-like, Mothman received his title when a nearby newspaperman began calling the monster “Mothman” in an effort to distinguish the disturbances in Point Pleasant from the, at the time, popular television series starring Batman.[2]

Moth comes from the Old English moththe, which is of Germanic origin and is related to the Dutch mot and German motte. It’s also related to the Old English word for “maggot” and is used to speak about larva and eating clothing.    

Folk History Edit

Sightings Edit

On November 14, 1966 the first Mothman sighting occurred. Two couples were driving down the road, approximately seven miles outside the main town, through a dump known colloquially as TNT Area. The vehicle was just passing an old power plant when the couples saw a figure “shaped like a man but bigger” hanging out on the side of the road. They later described it as a winged figure with illuminating red eyes. Not willing to investigate further the couples sped away from the scene. Yet as they were driving away they were terrified to discover that the figure was flying above them trailing their car and was emitting squeaking noises that sounded “like a big mouse”.[2]

Shortly thereafter, reports of Mothman sightings became more and more frequent. For example three days after the initial sighting two firemen went out to the TNT Area and confirmed a sighting. Another report that ocurred during the same time period claimed as some of the town’s residents, namely one Mrs. Marcella Bennett and friends, were out visiting their friends and claimed Mothman dropped in on them and followed them all the way on to the porch of their friend’s house. Many of the reports referenced the monster’s large, glowing red eyes. Despite numerous reports, perhaps hundreds, his exact existence remains unconfirmed.    

Conspiracies Edit

Of the larger conspiracies, Mothman is considered to be a supernatural harbinger of death and destruction, appearing before large disasters. On December 15, 1967 during rush hour, about a year after the initial Mothman sightings occurred, the Silver Bridge that connected Point Pleasant to Ohio collapsed dropping all of the cars into the Ohio River and killing 46. Believers claim that the bridge collapse is connected with the appearance of Mothman. He has yet to be sighted since the incident.[3]

UFO Relations Edit

Some people claim Mothman to be some sort of extra-terrestrial being due to his size and large eyes. He has been connected to visits by the Men in Black and little green men due to their similar unexplainable circumstances.

Relation to the Owl Edit

Others claim that Mothman is not a moth humanoid figure at all, but was actually some sort of large owl or bird. Some species of owls, specifically the barred owl, exhibit a large amount of eyeshine[4], which is what happens when light is reflected in the eyes of animals. That particular species of owl has also been confirmed to be native to Point Pleasant and is a rather sizable owl. If Mothman was indeed an owl, it would also explain the squeaking noises that he emitted.

Pranks Edit

One of the more arguable theories about Mothman’s existence is that he was merely a prank perpetuated by the townspeople.[4] What started as maybe one person dressing in costume turned into a larger prank as time went on. Most notably his glowing red eyes could easily have been red bike reflectors atop someone’s head.

List of Texts/Media Edit

·      In 1975 a book entitled The Mothman Prophecies[5] was released containing the author John Keel’s own investigation into the Mothman sighting and connection with the Silver Bridge. It detailed his own theories regarding UFOs and the supernatural as well.  In 2002 a movie[6], based off his book, with the same name was released and starred Richard Gere as the main character.

·      In 2010 the television network Syfy released the horror movie Mothman[7] based off of the Mothman sighting that occurred in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. What set this characterization of Mothman apart from the rest was the fact that in the movie the monster Mothman could only appear from reflective surfaces such as mirrors.

·      Mothman is also the name of one of the eight superheroes to make up the Minutemen in the DC Comics series Watchmen. His abilities include genius level intellect and wings that allow him to fly.

References Edit

  1. Coleman, Loren. Mothman and Other Curious Encounters. Paraview Press, 2002. eBook.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cohen, Daniel. The Encyclopedia of Monsters. New York: Dodd, Mead, & Company, 1982. Print.
  3. Taylor, Troy. "Mothman: The Enigma of Point Pleasant". n.p. 2001. Web. 19 Oct. 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 Nickell, Joe. "Mothman Revisted: Investigating On Site". Skeptical Briefs 12.4 (2002). Web.
  5. Keel, John. The Mothman Prophecies. Panther Books, 1975. Print.
  6. The Mothman Prophecies. Dir. Mark Pellington. Perf. Richard Gere, David Eigenberg, and Debra Messing. Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2002.Film.
  7. Mothman. Dir. Sheldon Wilson. Perf. Jewel Staite and Connor Fox. Syfy, 2010. Film.