On November 12th, 1966, two gravediggers working in a cemetery in Clendenin WV spotted a massive figure moving rapidly through the trees overhead, they described this figure as a “brown human being”.
Just three days after this incident, on November 15th 1966 two couples from Point Pleasant WV, Roger and Linda Scarberry, and Steve and Mary Mallette, were driving just outside of town in the McClintic Wildlife Management Area, more commonly known as “the TNT area” due to it being the site of a former WWII munitions plant, when they claimed they saw a large gray creature following their car, they said that it’s eyes glowed red when caught in their headlights. They described it as a “large flying man with ten-foot wings”.
During the next few days, more and more people began reporting similar sightings, including two volunteer firemen who saw something that they described as a “large bird with red eyes”. County Sheriff George Johnson believed that the sightings were just due to an unusually large heron.
Contractor Newell Partridge believed otherwise and told Sheriff Johnson that they had shined a flashlight at a creature in a nearby field and its eyes glowed “like bicycle reflectors”. Partridge also blamed the creature for the buzzing noises coming from his TV and for the disappearance of his German Shepherd.
A wildlife biologist named Robert L. Smith from West Virginia University told reporters that these descriptions and sightings seem to fit the sandhill crane, whose size can vary from about 2 ft 7 in to roughly 4 ft 6 in (80 – 136 cm) and with a wingspan of about 7 feet (213 cm), the sandhill crane also has reddish colored circles around their eyes. It’s possible the bird wandered out of its normal migration route and went unrecognized because it wasn’t native to the region.
During this time the Batman TV series was very popular and although this villain never appeared in the show it’s thought that newspapers were influenced by the name “Killer moth” from the Batman comics and decided to go with the name Mothman.
About 8.3 miles (roughly 13km) away from the area where the Mothman was first sighted was a bridge known as The Silver Bridge and on December 15th 1967, the bridge would collapse due to a defect in a single eyebar 330 link and the weight of rush-hour traffic, this collapse caused the deaths of 46 people, two of which were never found. It’s also noted that the defect was a crack only 0.1 inches deep (2.5mm), the bridge was carrying more weight than what was originally intended and it was also poorly maintained.
The bridge was eventually replaced in 1969 by the Silver Memorial Bridge. This incident would be the start of the Mothman legend, some believe the Mothman was the cause of the collapse while others believe he was trying to warn people about the disaster.
In 1975, an author named John Keel wrote a book titled “The Mothman Prophecies”, it’s Keel’s belief that the sightings were bad omens about the bridge collapse. Keel also claimed that residents of Point Pleasant experienced premonitions of the Silver Bridge collapse as well as UFO sightings and even supposed visits from the men in black.
There have been many other sightings of this mysterious bat-like creature in other places besides Point Pleasant, in the days leading up to the disaster at Chernobyl, several workers in the control room claimed to have seen a creature known as the “Black bird of Chernobyl”. It’s said that this creature rose above the horizon of Chernobyl and Pripyat before the reactor explosion, those that saw the creature described it as a bird-man like being with big black wings and glowing red eyes, those that saw it also claimed they had terrifying dreams, headaches, and would receive threatening phone calls from unknown callers. (couldn’t find anything confirming this, some sources say it was calls where no one was on the other line).
Another disaster that was preceded by a mothman sighting was the collapse of a coal mine located in the black forest mountains near the city of Freiberg in Germany. On the morning of September 10th, 1978, coal miners approached the entrance to the mine to begin their work day when they noticed a man wearing a dark trench coat, standing in front of the entrance. Unsure of who this man was or why he was here, they began to approach him to investigate when they were stopped just a few feet away from the man as what they thought was a trench coat flew open and formed a pair of massive wings.
As the miners looked on in shock at what they were seeing, this creature reportedly let out a series of extremely loud shrieks that eyewitnesses described as sounding like 50 men screaming combined with the sound of a train’s emergency brakes. The workers fled from the entrance and once at a safe distance they observed this creature that would later be named the Freiberg Shrieker, as its wings folded back around its body and it stood motionless at the entrance to the mine.
It is unclear why the miners didn’t immediately report the creature to the local authorities and instead began to busy themselves with cleaning the area outside of the mine as they had hoped the creature would eventually go away so they could get to work. After about an hour of waiting, at around 8 am a massive underground explosion rocked the mine and shook the ground, the miners rushed over to the entrance to discover the shrieker was gone and a huge plume of smoke and flame poured from the entrance of the mine.
It was later determined that had the miners been at their designated posts inside the mine, all 36 of them would have died. This particular encounter is hard to confirm as the exact location of the mine as well as the name of the mine and its workers are unknown. A reddit user by the name of ToranDur did a little digging into this story and found that the name of the city was possibly a typo as the only city in Germany with that name is actually Freiburg im Breisgau and there are only three mines in that area that were used for mining assorted metals and minerals rather than coal and according to wikipedia there are no reports of a mine disaster in that area during 1978.
There have even been sightings in the south eastern foothills of China near the Xiaon Te Dam, almost overnight, people began reporting seeing a large, black-winged figure that would eventually be called the Man Dragon, rumors of this creature began spreading around the small farming communities located around the dam, some say the creature was seen hovering above the dam.
On the afternoon of January 19th, 1926, at the peak of the sightings, the dam had a massive structural failure and collapsed, spilling over 40 billion gallons (151 billion 400 million liters) of water onto the villages below. When the water finally drained the death toll was over 15,000, unfortunately all records of the sightings as well as the collapse were destroyed by the ruling party at the time.
There are also numerous other sightings of a possible Mothman in Chicago, one story goes like this:
I’m writing this out after taking a day or two to really, really think out if I wanted to report this and tell others of what I saw the other night in Oz park here in Chicago. I finally decided that writing this out and submitting it would be therapeutic to me and might hopefully help identify what it was that I saw and maybe help someone else avoid the same thing.
I live in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in the city of Chicago and live about 1 ½ blocks from Oz Park. When the weather is nice, I usually go outdoors and to the park to jog and walk my dog. The night of April 7th was no different, it was mild and the cold weather had finally subsided so I decided to give the treadmill a break and go outside to jog and let the dog get some fresh air.
As I came to the corner of Burling St and Webster Avenue where I cross the street to the park, my dog began acting very peculiar and acted like she didn’t want to go to the park. This is very strange as usually my dog goes absolutely nuts when we go to the park and has the time of her life running and sniffing. On this particular evening, she acted like she was mortified to cross the street and enter the park.
As we crossed the street and came up to the area where the basketball courts are located and the start of the trail that goes around and through the park, my dog was practically being dragged as she resisted wanting to continue. After much effort, I finally got her to finally cooperate and begin the walk.
I started walking East toward the Oz Garden, a route that is my usual when I come here to walk or to jog. As we walked toward the garden, I noticed that many of the birds you usually hear in the park were all but silent and that the only noise you could hear was the usual city noise from the surrounding neighborhood
As we rounded the sidewalk to head south with the garden to my left, I heard what could only be described as the flapping of wings. I really didn’t give it a second thought as I assumed it would be some passing Canadian Geese that I’ve seen in the park recently. As we came toward the clearing where you would find the Baseball fields, something caught my eye and what I saw still scares the crap out of me. I saw a large man, probably 7 feet or taller standing on the ground. It was solid black, but what really stood out were the large, and I do mean large pair of wings that were folded behind him. These wings stood taller than the man by at least a foot and a half and jutted out of his back.
I could not see it’s face as it had its face turned away from me and probably didn’t notice me at first. It finally turned and noticed me and I saw the bright, ruby red eyes that appeared to glow from within. It was at this time that it turned and faced me and I got to see what it really looked like.
It was about 7 feet tall, and instead of clothes, it looked like a giant half man, half bird kind of thing. It reminded me of the character Birdperson from the show Rick and Morty, only a LOT scarier! This thing stared at me for about 15 seconds, which felt like an eternity and then in a loud whoosh it unfurled its wings and screeched really loud, and jetted into the air.
These wings looked almost bat-like and were at least 10 feet across from tip to tip. I felt like this thing could see right through me, read me, it knew what I was thinking, like it could stare right into my very soul. It was the most terrified I have ever been in my life. It rose into the air like a bullet and I heard it screech once more before losing it from my view as it rose above the trees and possibly the buildings. It was at that time that I realized that I had yet to scream or react in any way. I was just numb, numb from my head to my toes.
I finished my walk early and walked home, all the while trying to see if I could see it again once I got to the street.
It was the scariest thing I have ever experienced and it led me to look up giant mutant birds online and eventually came to sights talking about similar sightings that other people have had and eventually to where I could post and report my own sighting.
I don’t want you to think that I am crazy, I’m just a normal person who had a weird and strange experience. I do not abuse drugs or take any kind of hallucinogens or anything like that. I know what I saw was real and that I saw it in Oz Park, in Chicago, Illinois. I don’t want publicity at all, I just want to tell my story and to warn others who might jog or walk the trails of Oz Park.
I never felt like I was in any real kind of danger, if I did not provoke it. But, I felt that this creature could have ripped me limb for limb if I had approached it or threatened it in any way. Maybe it was passing through like the Canadian Geese do when they are migrating. Either way, I hope that we never get to meet face to face again.