Mothman: What happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia?


"The Earth is a farm. We are someone else’s property.” - Charles Fort

On December 15th, 1967 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia the town’s Silver Bridge collapsed killing 46 people and forever changing the landscape of extraterrestrial and cryptozoological study. Leading up to the collapse of the bridge, residents of the small town reported seeing a strange, bipedal, winged cryptid that stood about seven feet tall and had a massive wingspan. Couples that visited the Lover’s Lane style hangout spots on the outskirts of the town had encounters with the creature and described it as blindingly fast and possessed horrible red eyes. Due to it’s moth-like appearance the creature was eventually given the name Mothman.

The first sighting in the area occurred a little over a year earlier by a group of gravediggers in the neighboring town of Clendenin, WV. They got a brief glimpse of the creature as it passed them by, appearing from a group of trees. A few days later, a group of teenagers had an encounter with the being outside of town as they hung out at a Lover’s Lane. It was able to maintain speeds of up to 100 MPH and omitted a horrifying shriek. All parties involved that night claim that none of them were on drugs of any kind and that what they saw was not a simple misidentification or any type of visual hallucination. Even before the first sighting of Mothman, there was an encounter with a peculiar individual by the name of the Indrid Cold. The pale, lanky man apparently had the ability to communicate with individuals telepathically as per the accounts of one Woodrow Derenberger. Also known as The Grinning Man, Cold seemed to be benevolent and had a huge grin frozen on his face. However, due to this interesting phenomenon, Derenberger deduced that Cold had to be an extraterrestrial of some kind before he unveiled his origins to him because of the unnaturally wide smile he possessed.

There was some very, very strange phenomena going on in Point Pleasant. Mothman honestly seemed to be the least of these people’s problems. Besides the fact that there was a seven foot tall winged cryptid on the loose, there was a host of strange government and paranormal activity taking place as well. Many of the townspeople reported being accosted by G-Menesque individuals that had strange mannerisms and oddly translucent skin. They spoke with a strange, almost robotic inflection and were keen on figuring out what the individuals had witnessed. If the person(s) indicated that they had in fact seen something, they were often hushed up and told that it was not in their best interest to continue speaking about what they had witnessed. Some people just assumed that they were CIA or FBI but it gets weirder. In the extraterrestrial community there exists a type of alien that fits this description. Aside from that, some of the residents of Point Pleasant reported having eerie, prophetic visions of destruction in the days leading up to the bridge collapse. Plus, there were numerous accounts and eye witness reports of UFOs, lights in the sky and animal mutilations around this time. So what the hell was the going on?

Another peculiar detail about this entire series of events is that there are some historical implications to this. Across many religions and cultures, there are reports of massive, winged harbingers or doom prophets said to symbolize calamity and destruction. Assyrian lore speaks of Pazuzu and Greek mythology mentions Thanatos. Both are depicted as winged doom prophets or spiritual harbingers that oversee the harvesting of human souls. Which would make the name Mothman all the more fitting as moths symbolize death. The Native American interpretation was a bit more benign. They referred to these types of creatures as Thunderbirds, gargantuan birds that had the power to bring forth meteorological changes like rain and of course, thunder. It is also said that the land is supposedly cursed due to the brutal murder of some Shawnee Indians in the 1700s. Whatever these people are and were seeing seems to be universal and etched into the mythos of several different cultures. While the names, lore and nuances may differ slightly, it definitely poses some interesting questions about what these people are seeing. Even as recently as the Twin Towers tragedy in 2001 there were some alleged sightings of the creature and this photograph surfaced soon after.

While Mothman itself is undoubtedly unnerving and downright creepy when it comes to it’s appearance, some people say that the creature is actually benevolent in it’s intent There were no deaths that were directly attributed to Mothman and the bridge collapse isn’t believed to be caused by it. It was merely warning the townspeople of the impending tragedy and the collapse itself is officially on record as being the result of structural damage. So if it isn’t here to actually cause the deaths, what does it want? Why warn people of tragedies that they couldn’t possibly avert? Assuming that the creature does exist in the first place.

The most common response for skeptics is that the creature that was seen had to be either one of two aviary species that are native to the area, the Sandhill Crane or the Barred Owl. Neither is sufficient in my opinion based on the accounts of witnesses like Linda Scarberry who would have had plenty of time to decide if this was in fact, just a bird of some kind based on the amount of time that had elapsed from the beginning to the end of her encounter. The creature was not seen in a passing glance and on at least two occasions, the creature pursued cars. This would give the victims ample time to look at the creature if it is capable of matching speeds with the vehicle in question. During what they believe is a harrowing encounter with an otherworldly doom prophet, I suppose it could be possible to misidentify one of the above species as Mothman due to say, fight or flight fear response,  but I find that to be unlikely because this wasn’t an isolated event. There were several sightings of the creature in the weeks leading up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967 and it is possible that some of the more “casual” sightings could have just been simple misidentifications. But all of them?

So here is my crackpot theory on what this thing is if it does in fact exist. M-brane theory (and I’m about to massively oversimplify this) essentially says that depending on the vantage point from which one is experiencing or viewing time, time could look and feel completely different. This was briefly touched upon in the 2002 film adaptation of John Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies which is based on his account of the Point Pleasant incident. Renown philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche said that “Time is a flat circle” meaning that history repeats itself because it has no other option. However, Nietzsche was hardly alone in this assertion and he most certainly wasn’t the progenitor of this idea as it permeates several ancient philosophies across the globe. Time seems to operate in cycles and the human body itself follows things like circadian rhythms and other time-based functions, but if we scaled this up, we could see that the Universe itself follows these same patterns via day and night cycles and planetary orbits. This can be a somewhat arduous process, especially if we are trapped in a period of time that we find particularly disheartening but something looking down on us from a higher dimensional vantage point, wouldn’t process time the same way as we do. It would be able to look at our view of time and see that it is a flat, disk-like entity, that can be experienced in an omnidirectional manner, instead of a solely linear one. To us, a wristwatch is used to track time linearly and the watch itself has a finite space contained within glass situated on our wrists, but if I took say, a micro-organism and placed it inside of the watch, the space that it perceives would be much larger due to it being encompassed in area that is so much larger than itself. This thing could be some sort of inter or extradimensional being that has the ability to relay the messages about the future to individuals because our future is it’s distant past. Wow. Here is one video and here is another that discusses the M-brane concept in greater detail.

Now I have no idea why it would warn us of impending doom if we can’t alter the outcome in the slightest. Perhaps it doesn’t have to reveal these events to us at all but chooses to as a some strange form of grief counseling? Sounds crazy I know but if this thing does exist, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t play by the same rules that we do in regards to, well, anything and foresight would make the tragedy sting a bit less. If these things are harvesting souls, where is it taking them? Does it know? Or a better question would be, does it even care? And if that is what it’s doing, why don’t we see more of them? This would go right along with the aforementioned M-brane hypothesis. We don’t see them frequently because they’re higher than us on the spatial plane.

The TNT plant just outside of Point Pleasant acts as a hot spot for origin stories of the Mothman. Another theory posits that there are places on the planet known as “thin spots” where the barrier between this life and the next is weaker which allows other beings to past through it and the TNT plant is situated on one of these spots allowing it to use it as some sort of portal . But the one theory that has the most Earthly implications is that Mothman is an ultraterrestrial being that is the result of government experimentation since the creature was believed to be holed up at the site on the outskirts of town. This would also explain the Men In Black’s (if they were simply idiosyncratic humans) interest in this case and all things considered, would make government involvement quite plausible. 

I’m going to put my money on it being a combination of ideas. That this thing is an extradimensional being that used the TNT site as a makeshift portal to warn individuals about the incoming tragedy in order to help in the grieving process. Somehow, the government got wind of this and sent it’s “special” investigators to see what was going on and neutralize the situation. After the bridge collapsed, Mothman was never seen around Point Pleasant again. It makes a ton of sense that after it relays it’s messages, it leaves and only returns if needed again. One final thought that I have in regards to The Mothman Prophecies film. When the main character finally speaks with Indrid Cold and asks “what do you look like?” it replied with “it depends on whose looking”. If it is some sort of embodiment of death, this thing could theoretically look like anyone or anything. This raises the very interesting question of why it chose that appearance knowing that it would scare the daylights out of anyone who encountered it and if this is true, it could be among us at this very moment.

This could all be a complete hoax with the bridge collapse just so happening to coincide with said hoax. It would be a very, very impressive and extremely callous hoax if it was one or if it is a coincidence, it would possess infinitesimally small odds based on the amount of activity that happened during that span of time. But which seems more plausible, a small town conspiring to blow up a bridge killing several of it’s own townspeople, paying numerous Men In Black style agents to occupy a town to further the charade of extraterrestrial visitation and keep up a lie for decades to create a tourist destination or, that in this vast abyss we call the Universe, that maybe, just maybe there exists creatures that we do not quite understand and that they cross our paths from time to time? I can’t prove or disprove the creature either way but what I do know is that this masterpiece is the perfect theme for such an enigmatic creature.

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