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Monster Spotlight: The Mothman

Monster Spotlight: The Mothman

Countless frightening and mysterious creatures haunt our minds and folklore. Among the most notable is the winged, red-eyed, and elusive Mothman. Spotted near unspeakable tragedies and radioactive areas in the 1960s and beyond, the creature has been described as the harbinger of death, an alien experiment, or merely a product of mass hysteria. Read on to learn about the mysterious and infamous Mothman—what, or who is this creature?

The Mothman: First Sightings

Initially documented in the late 1960s in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the Mothman has been connected to several tragedies and numerous sightings ever since. In Mothman's first sighting, a large, winged, and shadowy figure flew over the heads of five men digging a grave. Mere days later, another sighting would grip the small town and turn this one-off sighting into a legend. Two innocent couples were chased by a terrifying creature at high speeds in their car just days after the initial report. Both couples relayed more haunting details about the being, saying it had a wingspan of at least ten feet with glowing, red eyes. The witnesses were driving around an abandoned WWII TNT site, which caused many to question the origins of the creature and whether it was the result of an experiment gone wrong. To embody the public's confusion over these sightings, the first newspaper headline to reference the Mothman read, “Couples See Man-Sized Bird…Creature…Something”.

The Mothman and Tragedy: The Silver Bridge Collapse

Every monster has its M.O.—vampires suck blood, zombies feed off the living, and the Mothman supposedly causes and foreshadows unspeakable tragedy. In an almost synchronized dance, sightings of the Mothman came to a screeching halt after over 46 people lost their lives in a bridge collapse tragedy over the Ohio River. The Silver Bridge buckled underneath the pressure of extreme traffic due to the holiday season. Two of the bodies were never recovered. Given the proximity of Mothman sightings and the collapse, many believed that Mothman sightings were a harrowing and grisly warning of what was to come.

The Mothman: Further Sightings and Folklore

Even though Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is the home of the Mothman's first sightings, the Mothman has been spotted in several places worldwide. Many speculate that they've witnessed the Mothman near areas of devastating tragedies like the Chornobyl nuclear blast and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Between 2011 and 2017, 55 sightings were reported in Chicago alone. As a result, many Chicagoans are calling for statues of the Mothman to replace those of Confederate soldiers around the city.

A significant part of our society is our monsters—creatures that continue to baffle, frighten, and fascinate our daily lives and folklore. The Mothman captured our attention in the late 1960s with a few harrowing sightings and an unspeakable tragedy killing many innocent people. Whether or not the Mothman was a giant bird or the angel of death, there is no doubt that its legacy will continue for generations to come.

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