Case File: Mothman
Location: Point Pleasant, West Virginia
Date: November 15, 1966 to December 15, 1967
Description: Point Pleasant is a city in Mason County, West Virginia, United States, at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. The population was 4,637 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Mason County and was the final home of Confederate Brigadier General John McCausland, the next-to-last Confederate General to die, who died at his farm at Grimm's Landing on January 23, 1927 and was buried in nearby Henderson. Point Pleasant is most famous for the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge, which killed 46 people.
History: Mothman is an unidentified creature reported as a large, seven-foot tall, grey creature with man-like legs, bat-like wings and horrifying red eyes. The creature is said to have no head with its eyes stuck to its chest and its arms are replaced by the wings, which are used to fly at over 100 mph.
It was first seen on the night of November 15, 1966, when Linda Scarberry, her husband, and another couple were in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, driving near the "TNT area," a local area that was used as a munitions factory and storage facility during World War Two. As they were driving, they saw something in one of the buildings that they described as half-man, half-bird, with glowing red eyes, and a wing span of eight to twelve feet. When the creature let out a horrific screech, they drove away. However, the creature remained in close pursuit, hitting the car's roof and reaching speeds of over 100 mph. It backed away as they approached the bright lights of the city.
The next night, Marcella Bennett was leaving her brother's house with her young daughter, when she saw the creature leaning against her car. She then ran screaming into her brother's house with her daughter. They locked the door and turned out the lights. They watched as the creature lurked around the windows with its glowing red eyes until it vanished.
A few days later, Tom Ury was driving near the TNT area when he saw the Mothman flying in the air. At first, he thought it was a helicopter. Then, he realized that it was a giant "bird". After circling his car a few times, the creature flew away. He was one of the few people to see it during the daytime. Over the next year, sightings of the Mothman increased throughout Point Pleasant. The national media descended on the small town, along with thousands wanting to get a glimpse of the creature.
Other strange occurrences soon began in Point Pleasant. Some residents reported finding their animals dead and mutilated. Some were drained of blood and had their heart removed. Some residents also received visits from the Men In Black. The men, believed to be from the government, showed up at witnesses' homes and tried to get them to stop talking about the Mothman.
Some believe that the Mothman may have been involved in the worst disaster to fall on the city. On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge leading out of town collapsed and fell into the river, killing forty-six people. One witness claimed to have seen the Mothman on the bridge shortly before the collapse. However, the cause of the collapse was later determined to be a structural failure.
No more sightings of the Mothman occurred after the collapse, and the bridge has since been rebuilt. Still, thousands of people visit Point Pleasant hoping to see the creature. Books have been written and a major motion picture has been made; the Mothman, real or imagined, is now more famous than ever.
Background: Some theorists believe that the Mothman was a government experiment gone wrong. Others believe that the Mothman was a mutant bird created by the chemical residue from the munitions plant. Prior to being a munitions plant, the area was a bird sanctuary. Some skeptics believe that the creature may have been a misidentified large sand hill crane, which is as tall as a man and has two red patches of skin that may be mistaken for glowing red eyes.
Extra Notes: The original airdate for the episode is July 26, 2002.
In the segment, Point Pleasant was incorrectly said to be in Virginia.
- Mothman on Unsolved Archive
- Mothman on Wikipedia
- Do Monsters Exist in America? - July 21, 1968
- Mothman! Point Pleasant legend turns 30 years old - November 28, 1996
- The Real Story of the Mothman Prophecies - December 6, 2001
- Three decades later, Mothman is still causing a stir - February 3, 2002
- Museum with all things Mothman opens in Point Pleasant - April 10, 2006
- Town benefits from Mothman legend - December 16, 2007
- Point Pleasant still benefits from Mothman - December 16, 2007
- New documentary takes a look at West Virginia legend - November 14, 2017
- Is the Mothman of West Virginia an Owl? - October 26, 2018
- The Legend of 'The Mothman': A Giant Humanoid Owl Haunting West Virginia - October 19, 2020