It’s Halloween season, and who doesn’t love a good spooky tale?
The following local myth I do not find too scary but, rather, interesting. It’s the local legend of the Point Pleasant “Mothman.”
Two young couples on Nov. 15, 1966, in Point Pleasant, W.Va., reported the first sighting of the “Mothman” -- reportedly having a 10-ft wingspan and glowing red eyes. This creature followed them in an area outside of Point Pleasant that was the home of an old World War II munitions plant. Following this sighting several more reports were made to the local police of similar sightings.
A year later, Dec. 15, 1967, the deadliest bridge collapse in U.S. history happened. The Silver Bridge connected Point Pleasant to the munitions plant outside of town. The bridge collapse killed 46 people. The proximity of this unfortunate event and the sightings of the “Mothman” turned any “Mothman” reference into a bad omen.
There are several possible explanations for the original Point Pleasant sightings. The “crane theory” is likely the most plausible cause. But most in this region would dismiss it since cranes are not native to the region. Early reports, though, called the “Mothman” as “bird-like,” with a focus on its red eyes. So, the theory is it’s a large Sandhill Crane. The crane is a large bird with close to a 10-foot wingspan and red around its eyes. Although the bird is not common in these parts, some believe it would be easy to mistake the crane for the “Mothman.”
“Mothman” has grown from local legend to an attraction people all over the country visit to see. Point Pleasant has a local museum and a festival for skeptics and believers to see if they can catch a glimpse of the “Mothman.”
Real or myth, hopefully someday we’ll find out.