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Lauren Lautzenheiser English Comp II Julie Jelinek November 14, 2010 Mothman Imagine you are driving down the road one night, on a deserted road, and all of the sudden you see a huge figure with wings and glowing red eyes. What would you do when it starts to fly at you and keeping up with you as you drive away at over 100 mph? This exact scenario happened to two couples a€? parkinga€? at the TNT area (the area where explosives were made and stored during WWII) just outside of Point Pleasant, Virginia on the night of November 15, 1966 (Mothman Sightings).

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One of the first sightings in the Point Pleasant area of the, what would later be named, Mothman, was by two couples. Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette were out late that night doing what many couples at that time did. They went a€? parking. a€? The first thing they saw was the two red glowing eyes. Then, his dark figure came into view. Roger later told the police, a€? It was shaped like a man, but bigger. a€? Startled, they drove off with the Mothman in hot pursuit. They were going over 100 mph and it was keeping up with them zig-zagging above the car.

When they got back to town, they noticed it would not go within the city limits were it was illuminated with street lights (Keel). Many people have seen the Mothman and every account had a similar description of him. People described him as dark in color and large, about seven feet tall. He had a torso of a man with leathery wings that spanned a good ten to twelve feet across. He had no distinct facial features except for his red, glowing eyes. Mothmanmystery. com says that a€? the eyes in 99% of the sightings are described as being bright-red and hypnotizing. a€?

Many people freeze and feel helpless in the Mothmana€™s presence (Mothman Sightings). The Mothman is an extraordinary flyer. According to mothmanmystery. com a€? It was able to appear as if from nowhere and take flight with equal ease. a€? It is also said that it lifts straight up into the air and flies without even flapping its wings (Keel). Marcella Bennett, another witness, said that when it took off it made a noise like a€? a woman screaminga€? (Mothman Sightings). At first, the Mothman did not have a name. People simply called it either a€? The Birda€? or a€? Red-Eyed Thinga€? (Point).

Once the story broke and spread, an anonymous copy editor gave him his well-known name, Mothman. John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, says the editor a€? gave it a name, spun off from the Batman comic character who was then the subject of a popular TV series. a€? John Keel, a researcher and writer of the paranormal and unexplained, arrived in Point Pleasant in December 1966 after hearing about the encounters with the Mothman. He would visit the town off and on over the next thirteen months. He began to gather reports about the Mothman and soon realized that he was not the only unusual thing occurring there.

There were reports of UFOs, strange phone calls, televisions malfunctioning, and, the most unusual, Oriental looking men dressed in all black telling people to keep quiet about their experiences. Keel noticed that many of the eye witnesses to the Mothman and UFOs were experiencing burns on their skin and red, swollen eyes known as a€? eye burna€? or klieg conjunctivitis (Day). UFO sightings became a nightly occurrence in Point Pleasant. Keel himself reported seeing them as well. According to (Day), a€? Keel claimed to see so many of these lights that he lost count. a€?

When Jeremy Pitchford of Point Pleasant was interviewed, he said that it would not be anything to go outside and see lights in the sky at night at that time. Along with the Mothman and the UFOs, came the men in black. These men started visiting Point Pleasant soon after the stories spread. These men would come dressed in black, ill-fitting, brand new clothing and most often would be driving a black vehicle. They looked oriental with olive skin and had pointed features. Some physical oddities to these men were their very long, tapered fingers and their bulging eyes (Keel).

Some people who encountered them even said that they would not blink (Day). Another oddity that was noted is that they took amazement in very simple things. On one occasion, one of these men in black picked up a ballpoint pen and looked it over and messed with it like he had never seen anything like it before. He giggled like a kid and stuck it in his pocket (Pitchford). These men came and asked questions. Sometimes different men would come and ask the same questions to the same people multiple times a day (Keel). They also did not want anyone to tell about their experiences.

Connie Carpenter, a Mothman witness, was almost abducted by one of these men in black. He pulled up to her house as she was leaving and asked for directions. When she got close to the car, he tried to pull her in. Soon after that she found a note on her porch. Jason Day describes it as saying, a€? BE CAREFUL GIRL I CAN GET YOU. a€? The Mothman sightings, UFO sightings, and men in black encounters all seemed to come to a halt on December 15, 1967. This was the day that the Silver Bridge, that spanned the Ohio River connecting Ohio and West Virginia, collapsed.

It was named this because it was the first bridge in the country that was painted with aluminum paint (Silver). Many people of Point Pleasant believe that it is all connected (Day). It was a cold winter night in Point Pleasant the night the Silver Bridge collapsed. According to many citizens, the traffic light at the bridge was malfunctioning all day. It was about five oa€™clock in the evening and many people were doing their holiday shopping. Thirty-seven vehicles were crossing the bridge; thirty-one of those fell into the river. Forty-six people died and nine were seriously injured (Silver).

The cause of the collapse was later identified as a faulty number thirteen eye-bar. There was a minute crack in it that was created when it was manufactured. Over time this crack began to grow. Even upon detailed inspections at the time of construction, the crack would not have been found. When the eye-bar snapped it created a huge noise. According to corrosion-doctors. org, people near the bridge said that it sounded a€? like a shotguna€? and it a€? fell like a card deck. a€? Citizens believe that all of the unusual occurrences in Point Pleasant were linked to the collapse of the Silver Bridge.

Witnesses told the police that they saw the Mothman on the bridge before it fell. Some people even said that they saw the men in black hanging around Silver Bridge days before it collapsed. People also cannot ignore the fact that eye-bar thirteen failed thirteen to the day after the first sighting of the Mothman. Also, to cement the idea, all the sightings of the Mothman, UFOs, and men in black seemed to cease that day (Day). Point Pleasant is not the only place the Mothman has been seen. There have been many sightings around the world (Phillips). People believe that when you see the Mothman, disaster is soon to follow.

The Mothman was reported to be seen in Mexico City days before the major earthquake in 1985 (Spooky). He was also claimed to be seen in Chernobyl, Ukraine before a nuclear accident back in 1986 (Mothman Prophecies). John Keel has his own explanation of the Mothman, UFOs, and the men in black. In his book, he describes it as this, a€? I have adopted the concept of ultraterrestrials a€“ beings and forces which coexist with us but are on another time frame; that is, they operate outside the limits of our space-time continuum yet have the ability to cross over into our reality. €? In the movie The Mothman Prophecies, Richard Gerea€™s character came to the conclusion that these beings are more advanced than us. When he posed the question of, a€? Why dona€™t they just come right out and tell us whata€™s on their minds? a€? Alan Batesa€™ character states to him, a€? Youa€™re more advanced than a cockroach. Have you ever tried to explain yourself to one of them? a€? In London, 1969, a creature was seen in the Highgate Cemetery. The creature was given the name Highgate Vampire from The Hammer House of Horror that became popular in that area.

A curious note about this is that the description of the Highgate Vampire matched the description of the Mothman. He was even described to have the prominent feature of the Mothman, the glowing, hypnotizing, red eyes. People believe that the Mothman and this Highgate Vampire are one in the same creatures (Mothman Sightings). There are people who dismiss the claims of a Mothman existing. One explanation that people have come up with is that the witnesses saw a Sandhill Crane (MOTHMAN! ). A Sandhill Crane is tall and has crimson feathers on its head.

When in flight, it is comparable to a man six feet tall (Sandhill). Another explanation is owls. There are different species of owls that are indigenous to the area. A good number of them are large and their eyes look red at night. A prime example is the great horned owl. One other explanation is pranksters. People have come forward and confessed to being the culprit behind the Mothman (Nickell). Something to think about with the prankster idea is of the first sighting. How could someone, for one, fly and, for another, keep up with a car going 100 mph?

These explanations are discussed and viewed at the worlda€™s only Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. In 2002, The Mothman Prophecies movie was made that was loosely based on the book that Keel wrote. In 2005, the Mothman Museum opened. Displayed here are props from the movie, original newspaper clippings, written descriptions of the Mothman sightings directly from the actual witnesses, license plates pulled from the river the day the bridge collapsed, and other fascinating things people have donated to them. There was one day that Linda Scarberry decided to visit the museum.

Jeremy Pitchford was working that day. She sat on a stool and spoke to the museum visitors. Jeremy said that at one point, Linda looked off in the distance and said, a€? Why did we have to see that thing? (Pitchford)a€? Just down the street from the museum is the twelve foot tall statue of the Mothman. It was created by a local sculptor by the name of Robert Roach. It was unveiled to the city in 2003. It is made of stainless steel and has red, glass eyes that appear to glow when the sun hits them. A few blocks down from the statue is a memorial for those who lost their lives the day the Silver Bridge collapsed.

There is a plaque telling the story of the incident, and in the sidewalk are bricks with the victims names carved into individual bricks. November 1966 to December 1967 was a devastating time for those who lived in Point Pleasant. Some people believe that what happened is really and others do not. They keep the memory alive through the museum, statue, and Silver Bridge memorial. The important question is not, a€? Did this really happen? a€? because it is obvious that something happened to these people. The important question posed to everyone is: What do you believe it was? Works Cited Day, Jason. The Mothman Phenomena. ” The Ghost Database. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www. ghostdatabase. co. uk/articles/point>. Keel, John A. The Mothman Prophecies. New York: Tor, 2002. Print. “MOTHMAN! ” AMERICAN HAUNTINGS: WHERE DEAD MEN STILL TELL TALES. 2001. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www. prairieghosts. com/moth. html>. “Mothman Prophecies True Story – John Keel, Silver Bridge, Indrid Cold. ” Movie-O – Movie Trailers, DVD Releases, Reviews, Showtimes… Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://www. chasingthefrog. com/reelfaces/mothmanprophecies. php>. “Mothman Sightings in London. ” Mothman Mysterya„?.

McGuinness Publishing, 31 Mar. 2005. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. <http://mothmanmystery. com/>. Nickell, Joe. “”Mothman” Solved! Investigating on Site. ” The Mystery Chronicles: More Real-life X-files. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, 2004. Print. Phillips, Mark. Welcome to the World’s Only Mothman Museum! Web. 13 Nov. 2010. ;http://mothmanmuseum. com/;. Pitchford, Jeremy. Interview. 4 Nov. 2010. Point Pleasant Register. “Couple Sees Man-Sized Bird… Creature… Something. ” WestVA. Net – West Virginia – WV. 2007. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. ;http://westva. net/mothman/1966-11-16. htm;. Sandhill Cranes, Sandhill Crane Pictures, Sandhill Crane Facts – National Geographic. ” Animals, Animal Pictures, Wild Animal Facts – National Geographic. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://animals. nationalgeographic. com/animals/birds/sandhill-crane>. “Silver Bridge Collapse. ” Corrosion Science and Engineering Information Hub. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://corrosion-doctors. org/Bridges/Silver-Bridge. htm>. “Spooky Story Four: The Mothman Returneth. ” The Phoenix. 24 Oct. 2006. Web. 15 Nov. 2010. <http://www. blazingtalons. com/2006/10/spooky-story-four-mothman-returneth. html>.


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