Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Mothman

The Mothman is the name given to a creature reported in the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia between November 12, 1966

A seven-foot-tall, well built, humanoid monster with giant red, glowing eyes and huge brown wings, a creature who can ascend to the skies from a standing position, and fly at astonishing speeds, and who mutilates pets and instill instant fear in the hearts of all those who see him.

Yet, for over a year in the mid 1960s more than 100 otherwise reliable residents of a small West Virginian town distinctly saw the horrifying figure that terrorized their community. They saw ‘Mothman’.

The weird events connected to the Mothman began on November 12, 1966 near Clendenin, West Virginia. Five gravediggers were in the local cemetery that day, preparing a grave for a burial, when something that looked like a “brown human being” lifted off from some nearby trees and flew over their heads. The men were baffled. It did not appear to be a bird, but more like a man with wings. A few days later, more sightings would take place, electrifying the entire region. It was not until three days later that the creature really terrified the community with a close encounter.

On 15th November, two young couples were driving together near the McClintic Wildlife Preserve, just outside Point Pleasant. The area was known to locals as ‘TNT’, because it had been used as an explosives depot during the Second World War and there were many abandoned chemical and industrial plants in the vicinity. Late in the evening, the two couples approached an old generator plant and saw that its door appeared to have been ripped off. It was then that they noticed two huge red eyes shining out of the gloom at them. These hypnotic, staring discs were attached to what they said was ‘shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six or seven feet tall. And it had big wings folded against its back’.

As the creature approached, the young group sped off, but as they looked back they saw it take to the air, rising straight up without flapping its wings. It had a giant 10- foot wingspan, and kept pace with the car despite the vehicle reaching speeds of 100 miles an hour. Eventually the group reached the Point Pleasant city limits, where their aerial pursuer turned away and disappeared.

The couples drove straight to the local police station and reported what they had seen. They told Deputy Sheriff Millard Halstead that it followed them down Highway 62 and right to the Point Pleasant city limits. Although local police found nothing at TNT, they accepted the young people had seen something.

Over the next few days reports of a giant ‘bird’ terrorizing locals came into police headquarters with increasing frequency. Car passengers had experienced the creature swooping down on them, and the reception on television and radio sets were being disrupted across the region. One man whose television failed lived in Salom, 90 miles from Point Pleasant. Newell Partridge, a local building contractor who lived in Salem (about 90 miles from Point Pleasant), was watching television when the screen suddenly went dark. He stated that a weird pattern filled the screen and then he heard a loud, whining sounds from outside that raised in pitch and then ceased. “It sounded like a generator winding up” he later stated. Partridge’s dog, Bandit, began to howl out on the front porch and Newell went out to see what was going on.

When he walked outside, he saw Bandit facing the hay barn, about 150 yards from the house. Puzzled, Partridge turned a flashlight in that direction and spotted two red circles that looked like eyes or “bicycle reflectors”. They moving red orbs were certainly not animal’s eyes, he believed, and the sight of them frightened him. Bandit, an experienced hunting dog and protective of his territory, shot off across the yard in pursuit of the glowing eyes. Partridge called for him to stop, but the animal paid no attention. His owner turned and went back into the house for his gun, but then was too scared to go back outside again. He slept that night with his gun propped up next to the bed. The next morning, he realized that Bandit had disappeared. The dog had still not shown up two days later when Partridge read in the newspaper about the sightings in Point Pleasant that night.

Perhaps the most chilling story concerning Mothman happened on 16th November 1966. A young mother was driving to see some friends, who had one of the few houses close to the TNT compound. She said she had seen a ‘funny red light’ in the sky, and, as she arrived at her friends’ house, heard something rustling near her car. ‘It seemed as though it had been lying down. It rose up slowly from the ground.

A big grey thing. Bigger than a man, with terrible glowing eyes,’ she said. Horrified, she grabbed her small daughter and ran into the house, locking the doors behind her. The creature followed,creeping onto the porch and staring in the windows. The police were called, but by the time they arrived, Mothman had disappeared.

Over the next year, Mothman was seen by many witnesses including firemen and pilots. At 17.00 on 15th December 1967 the Silver Bridge linking Point Pleasant to Ohio suddenly collapsed, 46 people died as a result, and the residents of Point Pleasant were forced to deal with real horror rather than mythical beasts. Their creature’s reign of terror paled into insignificance and he was forgotten. However, many people still believe the bridge disaster may have been Mothman’s terrible final act.

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