The Mothman of Point Pleasant

It’s a Kolchak or X Files topic. It’s one of those stimulating walk in the woods type of mysteries. You must go back in time. You must go into the woods to an abandoned munitions works or broken down old brick factory. It is the stuff of legends. It is the type of topic introduced by a fallen star streaking through the night sky while a radio plays on in the background with a pompous host saying there are no such things. Then suddenly there appears such a creature on the edge of your dark Mothman of Point Pleasantproperty, in the shadows, with his burning red eyes fixed upon your quiet country porch.

Unfortunately, most of us cannot put historical and X files investigation into practice. But with Seth Breedlove’s new documentary The Mothman of Point Pleasant you don’t have to. Seth takes us back to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, with some great cinematography.  This is where the Mothman legend began in November 1966. As the town historian says at one point, the town has not changed since then. Just remove the new cars and replace them with the old cars. Seth takes us on the rural roads where the incidents occurred and with great drone coverage puts the area in perspective.

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As far as I’m concerned John Keel mucked-up the story in his bestseller in 1975. The Mothman Prophecies included all sorts of occult weirdness and roped into the picture UFO reports and tales of the supernatural. Seth Breedlove is faithful to discuss it all, but in doing so he has done a great service to the critical mind. The stories can be easily dissected and set apart. The researcher can use his documentary as a very good starting point and go from there if they want to uncover the trail of what truly inspired the Mothman legend.

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As far as I can see the Mothman has labored under some ill fitting descriptives for a long time, not least of which is its moniker “Mothman.” It was described more as a giant, flying manlike bird, a description that sounds more like a giant flying mammal. Flying mammals are not unknown. The bat is an obvious example. But there are no known bats 6 feet tall with a 12 foot wingspan. This is essentially the Mothman’s dimensions. One witness even described it as a “gargoyle.”  This perhaps is the best description.

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The Mothman was said to have no long neck like a crane, but a head that sat on its shoulders. It didn’t flap its wings like a bird, but glided more than if flapped. From what witnesses could see, its wings folded back behind it like a bird, not in front like a bat.

Before all the hype in November of 1966, 5 grave diggers about an hour away from Point Pleasant reported seeing a giant flying manlike “whatever.” This was about on November 1. But to confuse the giant bat-like image 5 pilots at the Gallipolis airport said they saw a huge bird with a long neck and pronounced bill, almost as if they were describing a pterodactyl.

Seth Breedlove includes it all in The Mothman of Point Pleasant. As I said the contrasts help the investigator today. But it also shows how much of the truth still needs to be picked out from the legends. All of the reports cannot be accurate.  You cannot have a pterodactyl on one hand and a giant, flying bat-like mammal on the other.

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No doubt a lot of hysteria and pranks account for the multiplicity of sightings after the initial reports around the TNT Depot and Rural Highway 62 reports that began it all. One thing underscores this– after the tragedy of the Silver Bridge collapsing, the Mothman reports ceased.  People were simply too diverted with the grief to think about something like a “mothman” anymore. With Keel’s 1975 book, interest came back with a fury, but curiously the reports did not.  Nothing matches the frenzy of late 1966 and into early 1968. These 13 months stand unique in cryptid history and in the history of Point Pleasant.

Something truly frightened those first few witnesses. They described a tall, walking and flying manlike “bird” about 6 feet tall with 10 to 12 foot wingspan. No feathers were ever found by those who went searching. It seems whatever this was that it matched more of a mammal, like a bat, with hair and perhaps membrane-like wings. There is, of course, no known creature as a giant bat, not one that big anyway.

At best, we can only say they saw a “gargoyle.” And if “Mothman” is one of a few remaining of an unknown species of flying mammal, it is better to look into the legends and mythologies of many ancient people to see what fits. “Mothman” really doesn’t explain the reports. But something is accepted to have frightened those couples who first saw it. And this something has to be pursued, at least within the folklore of many peoples to see what matches. It is not a “mothman.”  It seems to be an incarnation of our night fears. Those same fears inspired our images of gargoyles. Those same fears have no doubt contributed to the description of this giant “bird.” But these fears don’t change the fact that something resembling a flying manlike bird was encountered and that it even chased motorists near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in 1966.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.

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