On a chilly November night in 1966, two couples were driving towards a World War II munitions plant that West Virginia locals referred to as the TNT area. Both couples spotted a frightful winged creature with eyes that flashed red when exposed to light. The couples claimed that a large, menacing creature with a sizable wingspan followed their car as they sped away from the TNT area.
In the following days, a handful of Point Pleasant residents claimed to see the mysterious winged creature. One resident blamed the disappearance of his beloved dog on the mysterious flying pest. Authorities were stumped, although several local biologists suggested that there may have been an influx of owls or sandhill cranes in the area—both of which can appear to have glowing red eyes at night.
West Virginia newspapers began to refer to the mysterious creature as Mothman. Periodic Mothman sightings occurred in Point Pleasant until 1967, when a catastrophic bridge collapse killed 46 people. Several Point Pleasant residents claimed that they saw Mothman in the days prior to the bridge collapse. Numerous people believed that Mothman played a sinister role in the tragedy.
As Mothman became increasingly notorious, paranormal investigators and curious onlookers from around the world began to descend upon Point Pleasant. A Mothman statue, a Mothman Museum, and a Mothman Festival all pay homage to the town’s most mysterious figure.
Today, visitors can take a selfie next to a metallic Mothman statue which features glowing red eyes, eat a Mothman-shaped cookie at a local cafe, or view an authentic police report from the first Mothman sighting at the Mothman Museum. There is even a 24-hour Mothman cam that monitors the Point Pleasant town square in the great hope of documenting Mothman’s triumphant return.
The Mothman Festival—which takes place every year during the third week of September—allows Mothman enthusiasts to gather and discuss their theories about who or what Mothman actually is. Is Mothman an alien, the last of an otherwise extinct species of large birds, or a mutant crane that simply gave numerous residents of Point Pleasant a good scare? Surely a paranormal researcher waddling around in a Mothman costume can offer some insight.
In recent decades, Mothman has been spotted across the globe—from Russia to Chicago. If you’re searching for a Mothman shirt, figurine, or mug a trip to the Mothman Museum’s gift shop is a must. Mothman may have an international flight path these days, but Mothman central will always be Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Is Mothman an ominous supernatural creature who circles the globe waiting for disaster to strike, or is he a displaced crane who has fueled the imaginations of Point Pleasant locals for decades? The only way to truly make up your mind is to visit Point Pleasant yourself to consider the evidence. A curious incident in the mid-1960s which is documented in the Mothman Museum involving a group of men dressed in black descending on Point Pleasant X-Files-style may be enough to convince you that something unusual was afoot.