Is the Mothman an Omen of Coming Disaster?

Mothman newspaper illustration
News coverage of the "Mothman" has continued for years after the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

America has a long history of sightings of winged humanoid creatures.

In 1877, newspapers reported that one such monster was frequenting Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, performing aerial acrobatics for an astonished audience. These incredible sightings continued until 1880. 1

In 1897, more than a hundred people in Mount Vernon, Illinois, including the local mayor, clearly witnessed a humanoid figure flying through the air. 2

Some have attributed these bizarre sighting to eccentric inventors, attempting flight with homemade contraptions. However, since the first human-powered flight was achieved many decades later, in 1961 by Derek Piggott, it is doubtful that there would have been so many unknown successes in a time when the first functional aircraft had yet to be invented. 3

These inexplicable sightings of winged humanoids continued into the 20th century, but in 1966 what had up until then been curious phenomena took a sinister turn.

Mothman visits Point Pleasant, West Virgina

On the night of the 15th November 1966, two young couples from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, were driving around the so-called TNT area, thus named due to the area having served to manufacture arms in World War Two. They had parked near an old generator plant when they alleged to have witnessed a huge “flying man” that was approximately seven feet tall, with large “ten-foot” wings on its back, and two enormous red eyes, that had a reflective quality to them. The four stated that they were pursued by what they originally thought was an animal, which managed to keep pace with them even as their car speed away at 100 miles per hour.

Later, when they reported this to the police, an officer accompanied them to investigate the location. The officer did not find any creature or winged man, but his police radio did receive a strange transmission at the location, which, in his testimony was described as sounding like a “tape recording being played at very high speed”. The next morning, the police relayed the incident to the newspapers, who in turn dubbed the creature the “Moth-man”. 4

A statue of Mothman, sculpted by Bob Roach, now stands in Point Pleasant. (Image credit: Jason W / Wikimedia Commons)

Mothman is seen by hundreds of witnesses

Within three days of this sightings, eight people came forward reporting various similar creatures.

Over the next year, this grew to hundreds, with local reports claiming that the Mothman would occasionally screech as it flew overhead. A local news reporter stated that they had received over 500 phone calls relating to the Mothman between 1966 and December 1967. In particular, many witnesses attested to seeing the Mothman on the Silver Bridge, which connected Point Pleasant to the state of Ohio. Reported in December 1967, the sightings lasted for many days. No one knew why it had chosen that particular spot, but when the bridge collapsed only a few days later, on 15th December, the Mothman was declared an omen of the deaths of those forty-six who had died in the accident.

Silver Bridge collapse
The Silver Bridge collapsed while it was full of rush-hour traffic. Analysis showed that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it had originally been designed for and had been poorly maintained.

Did Mothman predict the collapse of the Silver Bridge?

Writing in 1975, John Keel describes interviewing over one hundred witnesses of the Mothman. Many of these people told of experiencing vivid nightmares, as well as strange telephonic disturbances, leading up to the collapse of the bridge.

One person who suffered from terrible bad dreams was a Mrs. Thomas. She described to Keel how, in her nightmare: “There were a lot of people drowning in the river and Christmas packages were floating everywhere in the water.”5

Mothman sightings greatly decreased after the disaster. This only cemented the belief that the strange winged creature was somehow connected with the tragedy. 6

Is Mothman a global phenomenom?

Extraordinarily, it is alleged that the Mothman did not serve only the residents around the Silver Bridge as a terrifying presager of doom. According to many accounts, this strange paranormal entity has been present before some of the worst disasters that have occurred in living memory.

If one looks globally it could be said that the Mothman is related to mass sightings of a “man-dragon” in China, which occurred before a deadly dam disaster in 1926. Many decades later, a similarly described winged entity was supposedly sighted in Mexico before the outbreak of swine flu. Described as a “man-bat” with glowing red eyes, the Mexican Mothman bears striking similarities to early reports of the Chupacabra, leading one to question just how widespread Mothman sightings are. 7

It cannot be denied that the mystery of the Mothman is global and persists into the present day. Whether it is a case of post-event fabrication, or an actual paranormal entity with powers of premonition, however, is up for debate.

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About Erik 33 Articles
A life-long dabbler in the paranormal, Erik researches other-worldly phenomena to sate his curiosity. A habitual fence-sitter, he is of the opinion that only through science can the reality of the paranormal be confirmed. Some of Erik's main interests are demonic possession, occult groups and the possibility of parallel dimensions.