The Mothman: jinx or talisman?


Butterflies. When we think of these pretty winged creatures we all associate them to an ethereal rainbowy world filled with flowers and happiness, but did you know that they’re also damn duckin creepy? For example, the wonderful black and orange Monarchs are some kind of vampires ’cause they get nourishment from the blood of the carcasses they find on their way.

As Damien Hirst exposed in some of his artworks, there is a big bond between butterflies and death, but what if I tell you that also moths don’t joke around?

It’s like the going out with two very different sisters: one is nice, extroverted ‘n cheerful, the other is seductive, dark ‘n mysterious – and what they do have in common is a weird relationship with death, which – in the moths’ case – lies in the fact that they are supposed to be the incarnation of dead people souls.


Now, if you are into mystery and paranormal things – breathe deeply ‘cause this could be your moment of glory – you’ll surely know the Mothman; on the other hand, if this is the first time you hear about this buddy, just know he’s a creepy as hell 2 meters (6.5/7 feet) tall winged man with the zoomorphic facial traits of a moth with two lovely glowing red eyes.

This legendary biped broke into the scene between 1966 and 1967 at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where it terrified the poor inhabitants of the city by flying over their heads at speeds up to 160 km/h (100 miles per hour) without being stopped by the police not even once.



Original drawing of the creature done by one of the misfortunated spectators



OK, I know what you may be thinking: <<It’s just a big bird fluttering in the sky, making people pee in their pants>> but, hell NO!
On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge which connected Point Pleasant with Kanauga, Ohio, collapsed into the waters of the Ohio River during heavy rush hour traffic, killing 46 people. The legend (and you know, behind any legend there’s always some truth or a generous dose of acids) says that shortly before the disaster the Mothman was spotted chilling on the bridge. From that moment on it gained the fame and role of a harbinger of doom bringing darkness and disasters wherever it goes (to be honest, it could be said exactly the same of some people).

After the West Virginia sightings many others were reported all over the country, with their related disasters (9/11 included), and the fame of our “big boy” grew in a quick becoming a phenomena studied from paranormal researchers from all over the world.


This wave never stopped and in 2001 was produced a worldwide distributed film entitled “The Mothman Prophecies” (with big shots as Richard Gere and Debra Messing) – based on John Keel’s book. At this point the Pt Pleasant community finally decided to take advantage of this situation, turning thy old KFC of the city into a visitors centre – embellished with a 12foot tall polished steel statues at the outside, first exhibited in 2003.

On 2002 went on stage the first edition of the Mothman Festival a yearly occasion to celebrate the myth of this jinx on the third weekend of September. At this kind of syfy street fair people and families can deal with free attractions ad events, vendors, cosplayers, live bands, but most importantly there is the chance to joying guided tours powered by locals and conferences on topics on everything from Mothman, UFOs, Bigfoot and the paranormal.
In 2005, finally opened the Mothman Museum and Research Center, a kind of consumerist cabinet des curiosités where are displayed some of the film props, things belonged to the creature’s spotters and of course souvenirs.



credits: Margaret Sabec/WOUB




If I would have to imagine a goosebumps ending for this story, walking in the shoes of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, I would say that the real monster in here is speculation, used to create an economic advantage from the loss of 46 people.
Know more at:

Mothman Festival Facebook page






Alessandra Sciarrino



Featured image via Mothman Museum