Mothman: What You Don't Know ...by Bill Knell
When The Mothman Prophecies book came out in 1975 I bought it. I always enjoyed the work of Fortean writer John Keel and had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with him at a few UFO Conferences in the 1980s and 1990s. He knew what caught the attention of people interested in the unexplained, as well as those who knew little or nothing about it. That's the challenge any writer covering the paranormal faces. This story is a particularly difficult one to tell. It not only involves the seven foot tall flying humanoid creature called The Mothman, but Men In Black, a bridge collapse, UFOs and strange phenomenon experienced by witnesses.
Many paranormal investigators now look at this creature as a harbinger of disaster. Keel eluded to that in his book. At that time it was just a theory. Kudos to Keel for that theory and for taking an extremely complicated series of events and turning them into to a cohesive narrative. I am reasonably certain that The Mothman has been appearing for some time. There are tons of stories about large, unusual creatures seen throughout the world that go back centuries. However, this story centers around the 1966-67 appearances in and around the Point Pleasant, West Virginia, area.
As a Paranormal / UFO Researcher I always prefer cases with eyewirness, physical, photographic or environmental evidence. In many instances it's easier to rule out any number of explanations up front with one or more of those types of evidence present (including paranormal ones). Make no mistake... I am not a Debunker. What I am is Objective. For example, I am willing to consider any reasonable explanation as long as it is in harmony with all the available evidence. I am unwilling to chalk up the Mothman incidents to folks seeing a bird, like a crane. I also refuse to ignore this creature just because I cannot scientifically account for it.
In 1966-67 there were well documented UFO and Mothman sightings in West Virginia. In March of 1966 a woman from Point Pleasant and several other people said they saw saw a "glistening metal disk" hovering just above a school playground in the afternoon when classes were still in session. When her kids came out of school heading for her car she looked at them. When she looked back the UFO was gone. On November 6, 1966 two men from Point Pleasant were returning home from work on I-77. They saw a UFO that they said looked almost like a "stove pipe" in the area of Parkersburg, WV.
The odd UFO was above their vehicle, then moved out in front of it and landed forcing them to stop. A man came out dressed in black and asked them who they were, where they were going and what time it was? As they answered him he smiled and kept his arms folded, then walked back to the object. It rose back up into the sky as soon as he was inside. At least one of the men found it impossible to sleep and suffered from Insomnia for some time. Later that night another man had the exact same experience. All of them reported the encounter to the police.
On November 12, 1966 Kenneth Duncan and four other men were working as gravediggers in Clendenin, West Virginia. The men heard a noise like tree branches moving in the wind. What they described as a "brown human being" with wings flew by them. Duncan later reported the sighting to police. On November 15, 1966 two couples in one car were driving past an old explosives factory which was a kind of Lover's Lane near Point Pleasant. They described the creature as being seven feet tall with glowing red eyes and wings folded behind its back.
Roger and Linda Scarberry were in the vehicle with Steve and Mary Mallette. Linda Scarberry had no doubt this was a real creature saying, "You could see the muscles in its legs..." Needless to say, they got outta there and headed back to Point Pleasant on Route 62. Mothman took to flight and followed them until it suddenly changed direction and flew away out of sight. The couples drove directly to a police station to report their encounter. Their story ended up in newspapers. They were four of the over one hundred eyewitnesses that saw or encountered the creature in that area between 1966 and 1967. Their story doesn't end with the newspaper article.
People who saw Mothman developed physical or emotional problems, drug and alcohol addictions, and experienced strange phenomena. Roger and Linda Scarberry were plagued by beeps and weird background noise that sounded like a record played at a faster speed than it was supposed to be for about a week after their encounter. They moved into the basement apartment of Linda's parents. In May of 1967 they divorced. The same thing happened to others that encountered Mothman. They heard weird noises, had electrical problems, got strange phone calls, experienced physical sickness for no apparent reason, became mentally ill and many divorced. No one in that area reported a UFO or Mothman sighting or encounter for fame or fortune as far as I can tell.
The descriptions of Mothman were nearly identical. They can be summed up by this description: "It was gray, apparently featherless, as large or larger than a big man, had a wingspread of about ten feet, took off straight up like a helicopter, and did not flap its wings in flight. Its face was a puzzle. No one could describe it. The two red eyes dominated it." A creature that fits the same description was seen in Brooklyn, New York from 1877 to 1880, and in India where it was called the Garuda. For centuries Native Americans told tales about the Thunderbird. Its appearance included loud noises, buzzes, and rumbles. Dakota Natives describe a creature which has "terrifying red eyes and a long tail." They call it Piasa.
The reports in the Point Pleasant area rolled in with over 500 calls to a local newspaper about Mothman, UFO sightings and strange phenomenon that witnesses experienced afterward. Two firemen who saw a large, birdlike creature with red eyes brought credibility to the stories. Everything culminated with the December 15, 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge which crossed the Ohio River in Point Pleasant. The steel suspension bridge was painted silver and built in 1928. The malfunction of traffic signals caused the bridge to be overloaded with traffic that was standing still. A stress crack in an eye-bar caused a domino affect that brought down the bridge.
The collapse caused vehicles to fall into the Ohio River which was 60 feet deep in that part of the channel. When the bridge's superstructure fell it pinned many vehicles to the river bottom. 46 people died. After the bridge disaster the Mothman sightings and encounters stopped in that area. Since then it has been seen in many places in conjunction with increased UFO activity, and almost always just before a major disaster. There were sightings near Three Mile Island before the Nuclear Power Plant suffered a partial meltdown in 1979 that resulted in the release of radioactive gases and radioactive iodine into the environment. Sightings also occurred before the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks in New York City and before the natural and nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
Note from Bill Knell: I have often speculated that Aliens might come to Earth and release creatures from other worlds to see how they react to the environment, creatures and beings of Earth; or for their own, unknown reasons. I would chaulk this event up to Aliens. I believe that Aliens are also responsible for Bigfoot, Mothman, Lizard Man and the Flatwoods Monster events. In most cases those creatures appeared in conjunction with UFO Sightings. That may also explain how they disappear so suddenly and cannot seem to be caught. Iowa is a state where frequent UFO Sightings have occurred over the years. Additionally, other phenomenon such as cattle mutilations and missing animals have been reported in Iowa and neighboring states. These are linked to UFO Sightings as well. Some people reported missing animals during the Van Meter VISITOR sightings.