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Mothman Sightings and the Point Pleasant Silver Bridge Collapse

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With interests in science and nature, the author explores topics from a unique and sometimes controversial perspective.

The Silver Bridge collapsed on December 15, 1967.  The official explanation cited structural design flaws, but some believe a mysterious creature known as the Mothman brought about its destruction.

The Silver Bridge collapsed on December 15, 1967. The official explanation cited structural design flaws, but some believe a mysterious creature known as the Mothman brought about its destruction.

The Mothman Legend

The Mothman is a mysterious winged humanoid first reported by citizens of West Virginia during the year prior to the horrible collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant. Some say sightings of this creature foretell impending disaster. It is a supernatural omen, a harbinger of doom that appears before some catastrophe.

Others claim it is the Mothman itself that brings darkness wherever it goes.

Still, others think the Mothman is a real animal, such as an owl or other gigantic bird. Or. perhaps it is a new creature so far unknown to science.

In over 40 years since the beast first appeared, nobody has got to the bottom of the Mothman mystery. Of course, that means there’s little hope of achieving that within this article, but what we can do is look at the facts, and come up with some theories.

Let’s explore this Mothman and the stories surrounding it, and try to determine if it is friend, foe, or just some unknown creature trying to get by in our crazy world.

Mothman Encounters

The first documented alleged Mothman sighting occurred in 1966 when two gravediggers working near Clendenin, WV, reported a large, winged humanoid that flew from a nearby tree and glided over their heads. But it would be three days later, on November 15th, that this beast would begin to make a name for itself.

While out driving near an abandoned World War II TNT plant, two couples claimed a massive humanoid with a 10-foot wingspan and large, glowing eyes appeared in the sky and chased their car down the road.

That same evening a man living ninety miles away was roused out of his home by a strange sound. In his yard, he spotted two glowing eyes that belonged to no animal he was familiar with. His hunting dog took off after the creature, and the terrified man bolted back indoors. The dog was never seen again.

Local papers dubbed the creature Mothman. Soon lights in the sky were reported over the TNT plant, and theories began to surface that a terrifying beast may have chosen to take up the woods, tunnels, and abandoned buildings of the old plant as its home.

Odd reports continued for months, claiming to spot the Mothman, UFOs, and other odd phenomena in the Point Pleasant area. But it all came to a sudden halt just over one year later.

The Silver Bridge Tragedy

The Silver Bridge was built in 1928 and connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and Gallipolis, Ohio. On December 15, 1967, it crumbled into the Ohio River during rush hour, killing 46 people without warning. It was one of the worst catastrophes in American history.

Investigators blamed the poor design of the bridge structure, and the excessive loads, for the collapse. It was determined that the entire bridge fell apart because of the failure of one single link.

Mothman sightings came to a stop after the Silver Bridge collapse, leading to the theory that the Mothman and the bridge disaster were directly related. Some claimed to have spotted the Mothman near the bridge just before it fell into the river.

This theory was heightened by the 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel. Keel researched the Mothman phenomenon during the months prior to the disaster and believed supernatural forces were at work in the area of Point Pleasant.

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The book would later spawn the film of the same name in 2002.

If the Mothman and the Silver Bridge collapse are connected, what could that mean? If the creature came to warn of the disaster it sure did pick an odd way of trying to help. Or maybe the coming tragedy lured the creature to Point Pleasant. Was the Mothman a kind of Angel of Death, arriving in anticipation of coming doom?

Mothman Facts and Theories

When it comes to the Mothman, all we know for sure is citizens of West Virginia spotted something strange from November of 1966 until the Silver Bridge disaster in 1967. They called it a man-like creature, with glowing eyes and huge wings, and it had the ability to fly. Are there any real-world animals that might fit this description?

At the time of the sightings, one wildlife expert suggested that the Mothman may actually be a Sandhill Crane that had strayed from its ordinary habitat.

These birds can stand four feet tall and have wingspans in the range of seven-foot. Witnesses dismissed this theory, saying what they saw was surely no crane. It’s interesting to note that the Sandhill Crane is also blamed as the culprit in Jersey Devil sightings.

Owls are smaller birds but would account for the glowing eyes typical of Mothman sightings. The Barred Owl and Great Horned Owl are two possible suspects. Even if the original sightings were not of owls, it stands to reason that once people knew of the Mothman they may mistake a harmless owl for something more ominous.

Of course, there is the possibility that the Mothman could be some creature not yet identified by modern science, perhaps a rare species of bird or bat.

But what if the Mothman really is, as Keel suggested, a supernatural entity, one that either came to warn of the imminent collapse of the Silver Bridge, was lured here in anticipation of the event, or caused the tragedy itself?

In the decades that have passed people have claimed to witness this creature before all kinds of major disasters. Is the Mothman an angel, warning mankind of dark times to come? Is it a demon that leaves destruction in its wake? Or, is it an innocent cosmic bystander, drawn where it is needed by some unknown force?

The Mothman Festival

Whatever you might believe about this tale, there is one place you can spot the Mothman for sure. Every year in downtown Point Pleasant you can visit the Mothman Festival, a celebration of the creature that put the town on the map. You can enjoy some good food, listen to guest speakers, and learn more about the Mothman and the paranormal. You can even visit the world’s only Mothman Museum!

If you’re feeling a little more daring, you can get out at night and search for the Mothman himself. Even though sightings have never again reached the level they attained back in 1966 and 1967, the beast is still spotted from time to time.

Like many mysterious creatures, the Mothman may never reveal its secrets. But to the people who have encountered it, there is no question that this monster is real. As for the rest of us, all we can do is wonder and speculate. That is until we have our own Mothman sightings!

Mothman Poll

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


abhinaba palit on May 26, 2020:

i think it can be a creature from an alternate dimension like a parallel universe or it could be a new unknown species of bird or bat.

janet on February 13, 2020:

personally i think moth man is a friendly monster possibly from a alter net dimension or a mutant. he has never been known to harm anyone or anything. he most likely is trying to protect humans due to his supposive warning about the silver bridge collapsing s

Bob on January 22, 2020:

Angel? Or something more sinister? Tragedies happen. Warnings come to those that listen closely. Hopefully, warnings continue to come. That way more lives can be spared. Listen and watch. Who knows? You could be next to receive a warning about a tragedy about to happen. Why not believe. Could be an angel in disguise. Could be the other side. Someone that passed on beforehand. I love the book. The movie too. Also been to Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Never seen a Mothman. That does not mean they do not exist. Happy hunting.

Nacluada on January 08, 2020:

I think the Mothman is friendly because he never hurt anybody and he was lonely and probably what to play think about it

Charlie on January 15, 2019:

I thank the moth man is there to warn people some thing bad is going to happen so he is not a threat it’s like he can see the future

Jon on December 17, 2018:

It is probably a creature from a nearby dimension, one that feeds on fear. But that was not one of your options.

Kat on November 16, 2018:

I'm sorry Elizabeth, but I think the mothmans curse book is fiction. I took a look at it and it's based in reality but the story isn't real.

Marcellious Atalamus on August 16, 2018:

I think that he is a jesus man

Justin walker on August 15, 2018:

Apparently there have been several reports of moth man sightings in the recent italian bridge collapse. In doing my research i have come across the number 90 three times. I think im on to something, or possibly purely coincidental. Must dig deeper

Rachel on May 15, 2018:

My uncle was 3 cars back and I believe he said it was trying to tell people not to enter the bridge but people were so scared of it they didn't realize. He never talked about it but he saw it with his own eyes. It flew and slapped people's windows trying to warn them.

hubba hubba on November 09, 2017:

i think hes there to kill

discover on July 04, 2017:

i think that there is still all lot to discover about the moth man

Elizabeth LonGoth on April 04, 2017:

I had just recently told you about the Mothman curse, so I am here today to tell you, that moth man is a creature, and he [yes, I said he.] did all of this, he asked for the curse from a witch, back in around the 1900's. he just wanted to prove his point, by making a curse, and making people die, in order to prove his point about people being selfish. the historical evidence of what happens to people are cursed, and wear the moth pin, is that whoever wears the moth pin, has a choice. At the next disaster that happens, you will have a choice, save all of the people, and die, or let all of them die, then choose who inherits the curse next. And if you commit suicide, and die, then mothman chooses who is going to inhearate the curse next. Mothman shows up at every disaster, and he just watches. If he interfears with anything, then he will undo the curse, and he doesn't want that. he shows up at every disaster. he hasn't missed one. he cant speak, interfere or touch the living or anything at all. he does not make the disasters happen, he just watches. He warns only the people who have the moth pin that he made and it is cursed to hold the burden of lives. beware of this pin. If you see mothman, flee from that place. at least go to a different state, no where near there, that means a disaster is coming, and you definatly want be there for it. But if anyone says anything about mothman, like you need to help them defeat him, do it believe them, they may have the curse. The other way that you can defeat him for good, is that you can touch HIM. try it. if you dare. I know I will. find out more information reading the book: Mothmans Curse. Thanks for reading my comment!!! I will update you more when I find some!!!

Elizabeth LonGoth on April 04, 2017:

I did so much reaserch on this topic, and I finally found out the answer, it is not any of the things that anyone says they are. read the book mothmans curse, and you'll see what he really is, and what he can and cannot do. you will also find out that he used to be a real human named Edger, untell someone cursed him, but he asked for it. he gave the curse to one person , with the moth pin. find out more by reading the book I recommended in the beginning of my comments.

robert on February 22, 2017:

I think the mothman wants to help people to let them know danger is near

Phillip on December 11, 2016:

I believe it's a demon that hungers for chaos. Every so often it has to feed that hunger by causing massive disasters. Thus killing many humans in the process.

Alisha on October 08, 2016:

Everyone wants to believe that Angels are beautiful of shimmering white. I don't believe that is so

gus lynott on August 24, 2016:

in world wars...aliens kept tabs on us...there is no difference with mothman...just another alien...its not a spirit if its not afraid of dogs killing them

Robert Eldred on December 15, 2015:

This kind of stuff has always interested me, and I love reading articles on it. I think I'm gonna have to do more research into this subject.

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