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Mystery of the Mothman | Unexplained Cases (2024)

Written by: Rick Garner
Case Filed: 2/19/24
Executive Producer: Rick Garner


One of the cases we’ve always wanted to open is that of the Mothman. When it comes to urban legends, this guy takes the proverbial cake. He checks off all the boxes: cryptid, paranormal, interdimensional. And if not for this winged red-eyed creature, Point Pleasant, West Virginia might only be known for a tragic bridge collapse that occurred on December 15, 1967. The Silver Bridge collapsed during heavy rush-hour traffic, claiming 46 lives. Sightings of Mothman in 1966 and 67 linked the creature to the cause of the collapse, but an official investigation determined stress corrosion cracking in an eyebar led to the disaster. I had the chance to meet and speak with Steve Ward at the world famous Mothman Museum. On the subject of Mothman, Steve is an expert. Well, this is the world's only Mothman Museum. And it came about because of the sightings that took place back in the middle 60s. There were John Keel, who was a journalist from New York, came down about five times that year, between November ‘66 and December ‘67. It wasn't the first sighting, but the first really major sighting that took off what took place on November 15, 1966. Two couples, the Scarberas and the Mallets, were up by the TNT area. Now, the TNT area is about nine miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and it was an area where they made explosives for World War II. It was a huge complex in the 40’s, dismantled shortly afterwards. There were some remnants left in the 60’s, including the old north power plant. And that is where these two couples first saw this creature…apparition…whatever you want to call it. It was about 6-7 foot tall, kind of humanoid appearance, 10-foot wingspan, and red glowing eyes, and it chased their car into Point Pleasant. So, that's where it kind of started. That particular sighting was picked up by the wire services all over the world. So, as a kid in Michigan, I was in junior high in November of ‘66 and I read about it in the newspaper because of the way the wire services picked it up. And this is even before Mothman had a proper name. He was just called “The Bird” and I suspect it was some creative copy editor because of the Batman TV show being popular at the time dubbed this guy Mothman. So, that's how it started. John Keel talked to a little over 100 people that year that saw this creature and had pretty much the same physical description, although some people just seem to see a big bird of some kind. Its behavior was very odd. It didn't always flap its wings. People that saw it had an outbreaks of poltergeist phenomena when they got home. Sometimes it seemed to appear like an apparition in people's bedrooms. Very, very strange circumstances. Some people even had missing time that saw it. Jeff Wamsley, who is the curator and owner of the museum was six years old when all this happened, from the sightings of the Mothman to the collapse of the Silver Bridge about 13 months later. He was actually in his basement at the time, playing, and he actually heard the crash of the bridge at the time. But over the years, his father had collected some information on the bridge collapse and various articles and so forth. Jeff picked up with that over the years and eventually in 2006 he established the Mockman Museum, originally on the other side of the street in a much smaller building and since then it's moved across the street. It keeps growing, it keeps expanding. He has more stuff that he can't even fit in here. It has many great displays on things like the Men in Black, the first major sighting, John Keel and so forth. It has articles that chronicled the coverage of the bridge collapse when they didn't know how many people had perished on the bridge when they were still searching for bodies. The survivors. It has all kinds of sightings of the Mothman, the UFOs that occurred at this particular time. So, it's just really very comprehensive. It just really covers the whole aspect of what had happened. It also has information on Mary Hyre. She was the reporter that was a friend and colleague of John Keel and she was the one that had a column called “Where the Waters Mingle” and that she was the one that was reporting on stories about the Mothman, UFOs and even the infamous Men in Black. I wondered, of course, if Steve had ever encountered Mothman? I have never seen The Mothman. I have spoken to some of the original witnesses. I spoke to Linda Scarberry who was one of the ladies in that car that was chased in November '66. Very credible lady. She's no longer with us, unfortunately. I also have spoken to Fay DeWitt who is still with us. She has been seen many times in many documentaries and she was not mentioned in "The Mothman Prophecies" by John Keel. But you will recognize her because she often says, and this is sort of her catchphrase, "It had the biggest, reddest eyes you ever did see." Another very credible lady. I also talked to Tom Ury. Now, Tom Uy didn't see the Mothman per se but he saw a giant bird he couldn't identify with about a 10 to 12 foot wingspan. Robin Bellamy is another lady. She was 10 years old. They were driving down the Ohio river and alongside the Ohio River, she saw it standing there. More recently, I spoke to a lady named Linda Sigman. She saw it when she was about 16, about 12 miles north of here. It was April of '67. She was with her boyfriend, kind of out in the country. First thing they saw some kind of a large bright orb or something like that. It's a long story but they took off. She was looking outside the window and she saw essentially The Mothman - a wing creature. He did not see it. And she also experienced some missing time during that period. So, I've spoken to some very credible people that saw something. His heyday was in the middle 60s even though other people have seen something like it since then. There have been many, many winged creatures or apparitions or whatever seen all over the world. There was the Houston Batman they called it in the 1950s. There was the Wisconsin Manbat in the 90s. Father and son saw this big, ugly batlike thing that brushed against the car window and when they got home they both contracted some kind of a illness - they were very nauseous. John Keel believed that these things might actually be emanating from the same source. He talked about things like transmogrifications of energy and he thought that perhaps these things just simply came from the same source but somehow manifested differently in a very temporal sense. A paraphysical sense. So, if he was on to something, then perhaps we are talking about the same thing with different appearances. Very difficult to condense John Keel's ideas in a few paragraphs but there is something very elusive, very ethereal about some of these things. They don't seem to be just flesh and blood. It is possible that there is something to do with the rivers - the flowing of the rivers - that does sort of magnify or amplify this kind of phenomena. Who knows? It's just very, difficult. It's important to try to find patterns and connections and parallels and you will find that when you look at these things. All these things seem to connect together. They don't seem to be separate entities, so to speak. So, it's quite a mystery but we need to keep an open mind to try and determine what is has really going on. So, is Mothman just an urban legend? A creature created out of imaginations and a need to explain a horrific bridge accident? Or is it like many unexplained instances - something that sounds too unreal to be real but it is? I remain skeptical but I also know with every urban legend, there’s at least a shred of truth. Reporting for Unexplained Cases, I’m Rick Garner.
ABOUT UNEXPLAINED CASES: The Unexplained Cases team is focused on preserving history while documenting the strange, paranormal and unexplained. What separates Unexplained Cases from other paranormal groups is that Darren Dedo and Rick Garner, who today are recognized as early pioneers of the “ghost hunting”genre, have over 35 years in broadcast radio and television news and have won a Southeast Regional Emmy and Associated Press awards. Over the past few years, the UC team has grown to add Michael Chinn as Lead Investigator and Researcher in addition to having the privilege to collaborate with several renowned paranormal investigators, including A&E’s Ghost Hunters Daryl Marston, Mustafa Gatollari, Brandon Alvis, Brian Murray, and Richel Stratton, as well as Malia Miglino from YouTube’s “Macabre Mondays” and “Grave Hunter”. SUPPORT US: Paypal | Patreon | Channel Member | GET MERCH: Teespring | GET EQUIPMENT: Spirit Box SB7 | SBox Ghost Box | K2 EMF Meter | Mel Meter | REM Pod | EDI+ Meter | Laser Grid and Tripod | CONNECT WITH US: Youtube | TikTok | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn |
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