First Sighting of the Mothman?
Not quite so clearly visible, but still definitely man-shaped, was the figure standing in the middle of the road ahead of a woman driving her father along Route 2 in the Chief Cornstalk Hunting Grounds of West Virginia, USA, in the 1960 or 61. As they got closer, the driver slowed the car. The two apprehensive witnesses saw that the grey figure was much larger than a man. The driver later reported what happened next: A pair of wings unfolded from its back and they practically filled the whole road. It almost looked like a small airplane. Then it took off straight up, disappearing out of sight in seconds. We were both. terrified. I stepped on the gas and raced out of there. We talked it over and decided not to tell anybody about it. Who would believe us anyway?
Who indeed? Although she did not know it, she was possibly the first witness of a winged, being later nicknamed `Mothman', which in late 1966 plagued the area of West Virginia called Point Pleasant. First to see it at that time were two young local couples, Mr and Mrs Roger Scarberry and Mr and Mrs Steve Mallette. Later on the night of November 15 they were driving through the `TNT area' where there was an abandoned wartime explosives factory. As they passed an old generator plant, they saw in the darkness two bright red circles, which looked like eyes. As the circles moved, the couples saw a man-shaped figure between 6 and 7 feet tall, greyish in color and with big folded wings; it was shuffling along on two legs.
Roger, who was driving, quickly turned the car in the direction of safety and they drove off at speed. But they saw the creature, or another similar one, standing near the road and as they went past it spread its batlike wings and began to follow them. Even though they accelerated to 100 miles per hour, the `bird' kept pace with them, without flapping its wings. Mrs Mallette could hear it squeaking `like a big mouse'. When they reported their experience at the sheriff's office, the deputy could see they were scared and he drove straight to the TNT area, but saw nothing strange.
The story was publicized and Point Pleasant immediately became a focus of attention for monster-hunters. Armed men searched the TNT area but did not find their prey. However, Mothman was still around: on the evening of November 16th he appeared to Mrs Marcella Bennett who was visiting friends living in the TNT area. She was sitting in the parked car when she noticed a figure in the darkness. `It seemed as if it had been lying down. It rose up slowly from the ground. A big gray thing. Bigger than a man, with terrible glowing red eyes.' Like the two couples on the previous night Mrs Bennett seemed hypnotized by Mothman's red eyes. As she stood there staring at it, she and her baby daughter were grabbed by a friend and dragged into the house.
During the following days, numerous people saw Mothman, or believed they did. How many of the sightings were caused by the `contagion' of news stories, we shall never know. The writer John Keel went to the Point Pleasant area to investigate at first hand. From the many reports he collected, he established that Mothman was between 5 and 7 feet tall, grey or brown in color and man-shaped but without any arms or head. It had luminous bright red eyes where a man's shoulders would be. The wings were folded back when not in use, and the wingspread was about 10 feet. The majority of sightings were made in November and December 1966; then Mothman was gone.
Research Topic: Mothman
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