Sunday, November 14, 2010

Enter Mothman

Magnet # 394:  Mothman on Car

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Me

Around this time forty-four years back, some very unusual occurrences were going on in and around the small community of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. And perhaps the most noteworthy occurred tomorrow, November 15 of 1966. Two young couples and a family member were out for the night and had traveled all over the area.  As they drove past the abandoned West Virginia Ordnance Works factory, which had produced TNT during World War II, they came upon a curious sight - it seemed as though there were two red lights glowing inside.  Intrigued, they pulled over to have a closer look, only to discover that the lights were the eyes of a terrifying manlike figure with rather large wings.  They sped away, only to have the creature chase them, even when they sped up over 100 miles per hour.  It left them alone once they crossed city limits and the horrified group went to the sheriff's office to report their ordeal.  The story might have been dismissed, but one small detail brought them a degree of credibility - they mentioned seeing a fallen German Shepherd beside the road during their flight, but it was gone when they later returned.  As it turned out, days earlier in the town of Salem,  over 90 miles away, a contractor named Newell Partridge had claimed to see a similar beast in the yard of his home.  His dog, Bandit, a German Shepherd, had gone after it and he hadn't seen it since, and never again would.  Others were also coming forward, telling about their run-ins with the figure, from seeing it to hearing its eerie screech, and before long, the city was in a fever pitch.  The press caught wind of the story and one reporter dubbed the monster "Mothman," as the Batman television series was popular at the time.  The name stuck and thrill seekers started flooding the area, particularly the former TNT factory, hoping to come upon Mothman themselves.  And they weren't alone.  Some citizens also saw what they believed to be "Men In Black," clandestine government agents connected to the bizarre, around their city.  A couple may have even paid a visit to Mary Hyre, the local correspondent for The Messenger, an Athens, Ohio newspaper.  She was at the center of the Mothman investigations and may have even had a prophetic dream about a disaster that was soon to come.  When she died suddenly in 1970, some wondered if her connection to the strange happenings hadn't doomed her.  In fact, there's even a Mothman Death List that includes her and others who were tied to the creature.

The Mothman phenomenon came to a head just over a year later, during the Christmas season.  On December 15 of 1967, Point Pleasant's Silver Bridge collapsed.  In a horrible twist of fate, the traffic lights were malfunctioning, packing the bridge with rush-hour traffic, so many more went down with it than might have under normal conditions.  The tragedy took 46 lives.  Soon, people were connecting Mothman to the event.  Some say they saw it hovering around before the collapse - others blamed it for the tragedy.  But there were those that felt Mothman had come as a harbinger to warn of the impending doom and perhaps save a few residents of Point Pleasant.  One story holds that a young girl spotted it outside of her bedroom window the night before, studying her with its unnatural eyes.  Her family was preparing to leave on a trip the day of the accident, and they would likely have soon been stuck on the Silver Bridge.  But her father suffered a headache so severe that he had to rest.  It wasn't long before he recovered, only to learn of the fate he and his family had narrowly avoided.  In the aftermath of the collapse, reports of Mothman sightings began to subside, but there are those who still claim to see it even now in Point Pleasant.  While its existence will likely never be explained, there are all sorts of theories about Mothman.  Perhaps it was an animal that was mutated by the chemicals at the TNT plant, the place it seemed to frequent.  Or it could have been a supernatural entity that has warned of pending dire circumstances all over the globe, even at Chernobyl.  Another line of thought is that it is a Thunderbird, a large bird-like creature that appeared in Native American culture.  It might have been summoned by a curse made by Chief Cornstalk, who had gone to warn American soldiers that another Indian tribe was planning an attack, only to be killed for his efforts.  There are those who have tried to pass it off as a Sandhill Crane or a weather balloon, but few have accepted that explanation.  And some have written it off entirely as a sort of mass hysteria.  But Point Pleasant is still gripped by the figure, which continues to fascinate audiences.  In fact, a film called The Mothman Prophecies, based on a book of the same name, hit theaters in 2002 and portrayed Mothman as almost an esoteric force that never really appears in tangible form.  It's more of a psychological thriller than a monster film, and it doesn't really do an accurate job depicting the stories of Mothman that those who claimed to encounter it circulated.  Still, it's much better than the ridiculous television movie Mothman that aired earlier this year on Syfy.  Here, it gruesomely slaughters a group of youngsters who accidentally killed one of their own and covered it up. I hope a more accurate Mothman film will one day be filmed that shows the creature but manages to refrain from becoming ridiculous.  And here's one suggestion for such a production - don't explain how this cryptid came to be.  Much of Mothman's appeal is its mystery - mess with that and risk losing the interest of fans of the unknown everywhere!


  1. Well I learned something new today. Somehow I had managed to be ignorate of the possible existance (or at least the legend) of Mothman.

  2. I don't know how you made it this long without a Mothman encounter!