Updated: Dec 2, 2021
In 2002, I was first introduced to the legend of the Mothman via the film titled "The Mothman Prophecies," which is an adaptation of the book bearing the same name written by John Keel. The movie, which stars Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Will Patton, and Debra Messing is entertaining, though misleading to some extend. The real events, however, that happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia were more complex, eerie, and confusing than I had ever imagined the day I watched the film.
As the years have gone by, I have continued to read and watch documentaries and discovered more reported sightings of the "winged Man" who haunts the skies. I found myself starting to wonder about the truth of this like many people who studied this kind of phenomena. Is the Mothman truly real or just a figment of our imagination, something that lurks in the dark shadows of our minds?
If he is real, is he the informant, the dark angel warning of us disaster to come, or is he actually the bringer of destruction. After years of study and reading and researching, I couldn't seem to gather up an answer, nor even an opinion for myself. I concluded the only way to have resolution on the matter was to take myself to Point Pleasant and seek the monster myself and that is exactly what I did.
* Quick History Lesson *
From November 15, 1966 to December 15, 1967, the quiet town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia was besieged by strange occurrences. There were UFO sightings, reports of "men in black" figures going from door to door questioning citizens, paranormal experiences, weird dreams, and odd voices and static on phones etc. But, nothing quite gripped the town like the appearance of the Mothman, which coincided with all these events.
The first news paper report from that time about the Mothman, who, as of the time of the story had yet to get his name, was published by the Point Pleasant Register. The story was dated Nov 16th, 1966.
As the story goes, two young couples were in a car out by the old TNT area - this area is where they stored World War II munitions. These munitions were kept away from town in a remote area, inside of thick concrete domes, for the safety of the people, of course. This is where the young couples who were probably partaking in some smooching and whatnot, first encountered the Mothman. As they fled for their lives, they reported that a creature had chased them.
They reported it to have a 10ft wingspan and glowing red eyes. This was just the first of many other sightings in the area, many of which were reported by individuals who were considered to be respectable and trustworthy sources. On December 16th, 1967 just over a year after the first sighting, the Silver Bidge collapsed during rush hour traffic, resulting in the loss of 46 lives, two of whom were never recovered.
After an extensive investigation, the collapse of the bridge was found to be due to poor maintenance, and the fact that the bridge was carrying much heavier loads than it was originally intended to handle. The major structural failure came down to a single eye bar in a suspension chain. However, many in the Point Pleasant community found it difficult to ignore what they believed was the connection between the strange occurrences in their town and the collapse of the bridge. Had the Mothman tried to warn them?
Time to Go
We loaded up early that morning and hit the road. My husband and I were so eager to explore one of those places that had been on our list of things to see for a long time. On this day particularly, our enthusiasm was running more wild than usual, as this was our first adventure since the Covid restrictions and mandatory quarantine had been set in place. It felt good to go somewhere other than work and home.
I'll admit, crossing over the Bartow Jones Bridge sitting high above the Kanawha river made me a little bit nervous. To be fair, I've never been a big fan of bridges to begin with, but going to investigate a monster that was believed to be in some way associated with a bridge collapse that took 46 lives, was all that was needed to get me feeling nervous. The fact that it was a completely different bridge, totally unrelated to the incident was completely irrelevant to my anxiety.
As we came down into the town I spotted a Piggly Wiggly and my spirits were restored, momentary crisis was averted. Thank you Piggly Wiggly! (Am I the only one who gets excited about the PIG WIG?)
On the main street you'll find THE MOST popular tourist destination awaiting, the first official stop on our trip. No better place to get amped up about the expedition than The Mothman Museum. The museum is a must-see, it's detailed with thousands of pieces of evidence, which include handwritten accounts and statements to the police, newspaper articles, drawings, and even some memorabilia from the film, and of course articles, which give detailed information on the bridge collapse.
There is also more information regarding the "men in black" and the UFO sightings which are aspects of the case many are unfamiliar with. The museum also includes some unique Mothman merch, some of it is pretty adorable to be honest.
After we stocked up on memorabilia, Mothman root beers, and information, we headed out. Immediately, we spotted him! There he was, right before our eyes...
Well, maybe not exactly him! The Mothman Statue is stainless steel and was sculpted by Bob Roach in 2003. This statue is pretty infamous amongst Mothman lore and if you plan to visit, this is an additional must-see stop.
He is located to your left upon exciting the museum, just follow the sidewalk - you can't miss him. After a million poses with the statue, it was time to head out of town, and try to find our way to the old TNT Area, the place where the story began.
We had picked up at map at the Mothman Museum on how to get to there, and I definitely recommend picking up one - which is another reason the museum is a good first stop - before heading out to the TNT Area. Also reading information really sets the mood for the adventure.
If you plan on coming to this area, a couple things to note: the TNT Area is not marked on normal maps and is somewhat remote. We missed our turn for this area once and drove past the area where you need to park and walk. Also I found this area just a little bit sketch, so STAY WOKE.
The instructions from the museum stated that we should cross the guard rail with the paint on it. After slowly creeping down this dirt road, we concluded this only slightly sketchy looking spot would be our stopping point. We parked off the side of the dirt road and proceeded back into lands unknown.
To the left down the path, which was an overgrown gravel road, was a pond, trimmed in wild flowers with a variety of birds chattering away. It was actually quite lovely and kind of tranquil. As we proceeded onward, to our right we noticed this peculiar looking path. It was so overgrown that we couldn't exactly tell what it was, but we knew we were within in vicinity of the old TNT bunkers, and somewhat cautiously we entered. It was abandoned, empty, and covered in graffii. There was trash left inside, but honestly we did not have a single ominous feeling about it. However, likely due to my significant binge watching of True Crime and many murder documentaries, I was more on edge about an undesired encountered with people than a gaint winged man. All that considered, I'm not saying it would be too dangerous for you to venture off there alone. I am saying, however, that some of the materials which I had noticed in the bunkers, gave the appearance that it was a place where possibly some illegal drug activities take place. So, like anywhere you go traveling, use your good smarts and tell someone where you are. We continued to explore the area, only to find much of the same, and unfortunately, we were running out of daylight with still a lot to do on the agenda. The secrets of the Mothman live on for another day.
Although I didn't encounter the creature, I did attempt to do some "calls." These calls were my own personal interpretation of what I think he might sound like. Looking back, if any other tourists were in the vicinity, I imagine them hearing what sounds like a human being devoured by a pterodactyl is very terrifying. To that, I am sorry!
Although there were no signs of the Mothman, the trip was still wonderful. Point Pleasant is quite lovely all on it's own. Take away the mystery and the notoriety, and you're left with a beautiful community absolutely worth visiting.
It's a quaint little town, very quiet and slow moving, a nice place to relax. Point Pleasant, WV sits on the shoreline where the Kanawha River and the Ohio River converge. Due to the flooding threat, there is a flood wall that follows along the shoreline. Here you'll find a biking and walking path, with ample seating, what appeared to be an amphitheater, and beautifully painted murals and statues of many prominent figures throughout Point Pleasant history. In town, there are a variety of local shops that sell hand crafted and locally made goods. There is also a winery, and a variety of eateries that consist of both commonly found fast food chains, as well as local fare. My husband and I spent a good amount of time exploring Fort Randolph and the Tu-Endie-Wei State park which is home to an 84 foot granite monument commemorating the frontiersmen who fought and died in 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant.
My personal recommendation is to get a nice coffee at the Coffee Grinder, and then take a stroll down the biking and walking trail.
From here, you can watch barges go up and down the river and have good views of the bridges.
You can Also learn about Chief CornStalk, who died in 1777 at Fort Randolph while on a diplomatic visit. He and three others were murdered there by militia men who were retaliating for the death of a militiaman who was killed in the vicinity by natives. It is believed by many that because Cornstalk's death was murder, and not one of dignity and valor, he placed a curse on the land. This curse is used to explain of the unfortunate events that have taken place in Point Pleasant. Some believe the Mothman is a by-product of this curse.
Amazon Prime is a good resource for some interesting documentaries about such.
This one made me giggle. I love the whole "came in contact with".
* Honestly I'd pee my pants if this thing really got after me *
Don't Judge my Covid Hair!
Have you been to Point Pleasant? If so, comment below and tell me a little bit about your trip. Have you seen the Mothman? Do you believe? Share your thoughts.
As always guys, keep it safe, keep cool and stay curious.