Point Pleasant, West Virginia
A portion of land is set aside for ammunition storage for World War II and later sold to a chemicals facility which leaks toxic pollutants into the nearby water, and mutates a bird or an animal into an astonishing monster. Fiction, right? The plot to a B-movie sci-fi film? Not so, according to just one possibility of the origin of the Mothman.
Many are familiar with the movie, The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and while the movie is somewhat fictional, it's not entirely so. For a year, between November 1966 and December 1967, the community of Point Pleasant was plagued by sightings of the monster dubbed as the Mothman.
So what is the Mothman? Some have suggested the mutation described above, some say it's a large bird or hawk mistaken as something else, some say an alien of some sort under government secrecy, and some suggest an angel of death.
Outside of Point Pleasant is an area of land known as TNT. Originally a wildlife refuge, it was used during World War II for supply storage. Mounds were built to conceal the secrets from the air, and they can still be seen today, overgrown and well-hidden. It was in this area that Mothman was first sighted.
In the 60's, TNT had become something of a teenager's lovers lane, and on November 15, 1966, two young couples reported seeing the creature. It's described as appearing half-man, half-bird either brown or gray, with a wing span of at least eight feet and red, glowing eyes. It should be noted here that while most sites don't explain it, Mothman's eyes glowed red when reflecting light, which makes sense. Shine a light at a cat in the dark, or note a deer at night the next time you're driving. Lots of animals have eyes that glow when lights hit them.
The creature was reported by hundreds of witnesses around Point Pleasant starting November 12, 1966 and ending December 15, 1967, the day the 700 foot Silver Bridge, connecting Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, OH, collapsed. It happened during rush-hour traffic and claimed the lives of 46 people, two of whom were never found. Of the victims, several had reported seeing Mothman.
In many communities when something deemed strange, or even ridiculous, is reported, people are often labeled as paranoid crackpots, but this wasn't the case with those who saw Mothman. Most held respectable jobs, were known for their honesty, and had been upstanding citizens for years. Police doubted very little of the reports. Statements agreed with each other over and over again, everything from the description of Mothman, his flight abilities (he took off straight up like a helicopter and flew at speeds reaching 100 mph, clocked when chasing vehicles driving that fast), animal disappearances and unfortunately, even mutilations.
There was also a belief that Mothman was an alien or government experiment brought about by genetic tampering. Most of this idea stemmed from other strange occurrences. Those dubbed as the ever-elusive MiB's (Men in Black) were seen and reported in town during that year, telling people to keep quiet. This warning not only included the visits from Mothman, but the odd, colorful lights sometimes seen and believed to be UFO's. The sightings of these strange lights virtually disappeared the night the Silver Bridge collapsed, too. Twelve colorful lights were seen hovering over the TNT area that night, and then vanished into the sky.
The collapse of the bridge plastered newspaper front pages across the country. Many blamed Mothman for the tragedy, and some felt he had appearred to warn of the coming catastrophe. Reporters and curiosity seekers invaded Point Pleasant and before the year was out, more visits by strange men.
One such encounter took place in the office of reporter Mary Hyre. A man claiming to be a reporter from Cambridge, OH, dressed in a black suit with a black tie, who spoke in an accent she couldn't place tried repeatedly to ask her questions. He had no interest in the bridge collapse, but wanted information on the lights. She was too busy to talk to him and handed him a file of the articles she'd written, which he disregarded, insisting she speak to him privately until she invited him to leave. Stranger still, later that evening, he spoke with several people in town and didn't seem to know where Columbus was, even though it was only a few miles from Cambridge.
Whatever Mothman was, it's shrouded in mystery and secrecy.
But, the story doesn't end there. Amazingly enough, it appears that Mothman isn't limited to real life. At the same time the movie, The Mothman Prophecies premiered in Australia, a bridge in Oklahoma collapsed! And even more bizarre, this anomaly happened a second time. Shortly after the premiere of the movie in India, a 335 foot bridge collapsed near Mumbai, formerly Bombay. These are likely isolated incidents since no sightings of Mothman himself were reported.
His presence isn't limited to Point Pleasant, though. As recently as April 2004, he's been sighted in Wise County, Texas, along with cattle mutilations similar to what happened in the 1960s in West Virginia. It's currently under investigation, and all we can do is watch and wait.