THE WEST VIRGINIA “MOTHMAN” CREATURE

by Alan Caviness



For a 13-month period between November of 1966 and December of 1967, strange events continuously occurred in the Huntington, Charleston and Parkersburg regions of the state of West Virginia. Reports of an unknown creature with glowing red eyes, large bat-like wings and a body larger in size but similar in shape to human were generated by over a hundred individuals in the area. Though the creature was quickly placed into the folklore category by a news reporter who gave the strange creature the name, “Mothman”, the witnesses were ironically highly credible people who were not seeking attention or fame or money. The area of highest concentration seemed to involve a small town called, Point Pleasant, where the town’s newspaper editor began receiving and publishing accounts of area sightings of the strange Mothman creature as well as flyovers and landings of unidentified flying objects.

Point Pleasant rests along the Ohio River where the Kanawha River connects. Across the banks is the state of Ohio. The frequent UFO sightings and creature sightings captured the attention of a field investigator who was already exploring cases of UFO sightings not far from the region. The investigator found things becoming more and more bizarre the deeper he dug into the matter. As time went by, various individuals including the investigator, himself, became personally involved in the mysterious events.

The editor of the local newspaper and several other individuals in Pt. Pleasant reported being visited by strange men dressed in suits and ties who were observed to be lurking about from time to time in their small town. At first, many thought these men must be government intelligence agents. Some of the witnesses indicated that they got the impression the men “were not from here”. During this time, the newspaper editor began having dreams of an impending catastrophe that had something to do with the river nearby and Christmas packages. This worried the field investigator with all the mysterious seemingly paranormal goings-on of the past many months.

In December of 1967, the impending catastrophe did indeed occur to the small town of Pt. Pleasant, West Virginia. The metal bridge connecting Pt. Pleasant to the Ohio town of Gallipolis suddenly collapsed taking with it almost 50 residents and their vehicles into the icy waters of the Ohio River. Very few survived the worst bridge disaster in U.S. history. Christmas packages were seen floating down the river.

Oddly, the strange series of creature sightings and UFO sightings subsided after the bridge collapse. Though, infrequent sightings of the strange Mothman creature have continued to occur over the years according to various individuals in the area.

The Mothman creature had been seen and reported by various individuals in the region----some of whom are still available to tell their tale. And, in recent years, a Mothman museum has been established to retain the memories of the strange happenings that for a time seemed to immerse the small West Virginia town into the world of the Paranormal. Located in the heart of Pt. Pleasant, the museum houses old newspaper reports, personally written letters from witnesses and investigators and all the stories associated with the strange, shadowy events of late 1966 to late 1967. It makes for an interesting place and helps with local tourism for the small town as well. Several TV documentaries have been made regarding the entire Mothman story some of which can be seen or purchased at the museum.

Because of the sightings of strange lights, the flying creature, premonitions and the eventual bridge disaster, many have concluded that the mysterious Mothman creature was an actual sign of impending doom. But what are certain are the facts that many residents there experienced bizarre happenings, strange lights were seen in the sky, strange “men-in-black” were seen in the area and, many residents lost loved ones forever.

A book was written by John Keel (the paranormal investigator) concerning the Mothman story and the events of 1966 and 1967. A movie, starring Richard Gere, was also made called, “The Mothman Prophesies”.

An annual festival has been arranged to commemorate the town’s strange past and is held every September. The crowds of several thousand continue to grow each year. People in attendance can actually talk to original witnesses, hear lectures from various paranormal researchers and can enjoy various festivities and good food for both days of the weekend. Tours to the areas where the Mothman creature was often seen are made available by the museum staff. And, various books, DVDs and other items can be purchased.

More information can be found at various websites on the Internet. For information concerning this year’s upcoming festival in September, please visit www.mothmanfestival.com.