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The Mothman Legend

Exploring the Enigmatic Legend of the Mothman.

Welcome back to This Podcast is a Secret! Today, we are diving into the fascinating topic of The Mothman Legend. Join us as we unravel the mystery surrounding one of the most intriguing cryptids in American folklore.

Watch the full episode here -

The Journey Begins with John Keel

Our journey starts with John Keel, an American journalist and ufologist renowned for his investigations into paranormal phenomena. Keel's work spanned a wide range of topics, from UFOs and cryptids to psychic phenomena and government conspiracies. His seminal book, "The Mothman Prophecies," documents his experiences and theories surrounding the Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during the 1960s. We will lean heavily on this book throughout today’s episode.

The Backdrop: Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Our story really starts in the small town of Point Pleasant, WV. Nestled at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers, Point Pleasant had a population of about 5,500 during the 1960s, slightly more than today's roughly 4,500. Connecting Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio, is the Silver Bridge, built in 1928 and named for its aluminum paint color.

Also significant is the Clifton F. McClintic Wildlife Management Area, known locally as "the TNT area," located 5 miles north of Point Pleasant. During World War II, this 8,000-acre region was an ammunition manufacturing facility. Post-war, the area was partially abandoned and converted into a wildlife management area and landfill.

The First Sightings in the 1960s

On November 12, 1966, five gravediggers in Clendenin, West Virginia, encountered a bizarre creature they described as a "brown human being" with wings. This sighting marked the beginning of a series of strange encounters with what later became known as the Mothman.

The Mothman Chasing 57' Chevy

Just three days later, on November 15, 1966, in Point Pleasant, two young couples—Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette—had a chilling experience while driving through the TNT area. They saw a creature with two bright red eyes, large wings, and a human-like form. Despite speeding away, the creature followed them, leaving the couples terrified. This encounter was reported to Deputy Millard Halstead and quickly made headlines, earning the creature its name: Mothman.

Other Eyewitness Accounts

  • Newell Partridge's Encounter: On November 15, 1966, Newell Partridge from Salem, WV, reported seeing red, glowing eyes in his hay barn. His dog, Bandit, chased the creature and disappeared. Partridge later read about the Mothman sightings and connected it to his missing dog.

  • The Thomas Family and Marcella Bennett: On November 16, 1966, the creature was spotted near the Thomas home, terrifying Mrs. Marcella Bennett, who saw the Mothman up close. The encounter left her psychologically scarred.

  • Ralph Thomas's Home: On November 16, 1966, Ralph Thomas and his family saw a "funny red light" in the sky. Mrs. Bennett, a friend of the Thomases, had a terrifying close encounter with the Mothman.

The Silver Bridge Collapse of 1967

The Silver Bridge Collapse Newspaper Article

A significant event that cemented the Mothman's place in legend was the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967, resulting in the deaths of 46 people. Many believe the Mothman sightings were a warning of the impending disaster. John Keel's book, "The Mothman Prophecies," delves into this tragic event and its eerie connection to the Mothman.

The Men in Black

During the Mothman sightings, reports of mysterious men in black suits visiting witnesses emerged. These Men in Black (MIB) were described as inhuman, with strange mannerisms and behaviors. John Keel himself encountered these men during his investigations, adding another layer of mystery to the Mothman legend.

Theories and Explanations

  • Natural Explanations: Wildlife biologist Robert L. Smith suggested the sightings might be due to a sandhill crane, while Sheriff George Johnson believed it was a large heron.

  • Paranormal Theories: Some theories propose the Mothman is an alien, a supernatural entity, or an interdimensional being. John Keel introduced the concept of ultraterrestrials—beings from a hidden dimension existing alongside us.

The Mothman in Pop Culture

The Mothman Prophecies
  • Books: John Keel's "The Mothman Prophecies" offers an in-depth look into the sightings and his theories. The book is a mix of firsthand accounts, UFO sightings, and Keel's investigations.

  • Film: The 2002 movie adaptation of "The Mothman Prophecies" starring Richard Gere captures the ominous and creepy tension of the legend.

  • The Mothman Festival: Held annually in Point Pleasant, this festival celebrates the town's connection to the Mothman with guest speakers, live music, cosplay contests, and more.

Modern Sightings and Updates

The Mothman legend continues to evolve with modern sightings reported in various locations. In 2016, a man in Point Pleasant captured photos of a large bird-like creature. In Chicago, multiple sightings of a Mothman-like figure were reported between 2011 and 2020.


What truly captivates us about the Mothman legend is the sheer volume of sightings and the eerie connection to the Silver Bridge collapse. Whether you believe the Mothman is a natural phenomenon, a supernatural entity, or something else entirely, its impact on Point Pleasant's history is undeniable.

Stay tuned for more intriguing discussions on This Podcast is a Secret. And remember, if you ever see the Mothman, it might just be the harbinger of something extraordinary.

PS. Don't tell anyone about what you read here because, This Podcast is a Secret!

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