The Legend of the Mothman: Agent of Destruction or Harbinger of Doom?

By | January 26, 2019

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Drawing of the mothman in The Mothman Prophecies (2002. Source: (

In 2002, Richard Gere starred in The Mothman Prophecies, the film adaptation of the 1975 novel by the same name. The novel was written by John Keel and chronicled his investigation into the numerous sightings of a strange birdlike creature in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The creature was dubbed the “mothman” due to its appearance and the popularity of the television series Batman.

Keel, who had a history of fascination with the supernatural, arrived in Point Pleasant in December of 1966, about a month after the sightings began. His investigation involved interviewing witnesses who claimed to have personally encountered the creature. According to Keel, there were at least one hundred witnesses between November 1966 and November 1967. They described the creature as between five and seven feet tall with human legs and bat-like wings. It made a sound which one witness described as sounding like a woman’s scream. In addition to the witness accounts of mothman sightings, Keel also collected reports of phone and television disruption, poltergeists, and UFO sightings, all of which he believed to be connected.

While the Point Pleasant sightings gave the mothman its name, it wasn’t the first time the creature had been spotted. In January 1926, a creature referred to locally as the “man dragon” was witnessed hovering over Xiaon Te Dam in Southeastern China. The dam later collapsed, and 15,000 people were killed.

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Point Pleasant welcome sign. Source: (

The Point Pleasant incident began in the neighboring town of Clendenin, West Virginia, on November 12, 1966. Five gravediggers witnessed what they described as a “brown human being” flying over their heads. The next sighting occurred three days later near Point Pleasant. Roger and Linda Scarberry, and Steve and Mary Mallette reported encountering the creature as they drove past an abandoned TNT plant. They described it as being six or seven feet tall, with bright red eyes, and a wingspan of ten feet. According to their testimony, the creature followed them, keeping up with their car as it exceeded one hundred miles per hour. But that wasn’t the only sighting that night.