Friday, October 21, 2005


Some believe a crumbling set of buildings outside of Point Pleasant, West Virginia are home to one of the most bizarre and terrifying creatures ever to walk the earth: half-man, half-bird, and a portent of impending disaster. Those who have seen the creature called it "Mothman."

In late 1966 a strange series of sightings began in and around the Point Pleasant, West Virginia, area known to locals as T.N.T. Originally a wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary, portions of the land were appropriated by the military during World War II for use as a munitions factory and storage facility. Abandoned after the war, the area became a popular hang out and party spot for local youth. It was here that two young couples first spotted a strange creature on the evening of November 15. Described as half-man, half-bird, the creature was said to have prominent red eyes, a horrific screech, and a wing span of eight to twelve feet. The couples drove away in a panic, with the creature flying above in hot pursuit of the vehicle, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph. As they approached town, the creature, apparently frightened by the bright lights, backed off and fled.

The next day a woman leaving the home of a relative around dusk saw what she thought was someone leaning against her car. As she approached she momentarily froze, for what she had first taken for a man was a creature, well over six feet tall, with glaring red eyes and feathers rather than skin. Terrified, she grabbed her four-year-old daughter and ran back into her brother's home. When she looked back, the creature had disappeared. A few days later a man driving near the TNT area would see the Mothman in the clear light of day, in full flight, when the creature, which he at first took for a helicopter, circled his moving car for several minutes.

Over the next year sightings of the Mothman increased in frequency. The national media descended on the small town along with thousands of the curious, all hoping to catch a glimpse of Mothman. Then other weird things began to occur. Residents reported finding their farm animals dead, drained of blood, and with the heart removed. The town also began receiving visits from enigmatic strangers dubbed "the men in black," who some believe hold the answer to the Mothman mystery.

Was Mothman a government experiment gone awry? Was the creature a mutant bird created by the effect of the chemical residue from the munitions plant on bird DNA? Or perhaps Mothman was, as some believe, simply an extremely large specimen of the sand hill crane, a native bird that stands nearly as tall as a man and has two red patches of flesh that might have been mistaken for eyes.

Whatever the explanation, the Mothman terrified all who saw it, and some even believe the creature is linked to the greatest tragedy ever to befall Point Pleasant. After nearly a year of Mothman sightings, the Silver Bridge leading out of town collapsed, killed 46 people. One witness claimed to have seen the Mothman on the bridge just prior to the disaster. Today the bridge has been rebuilt, and although Mothman hasn't been sighted for years, thousands still travel to Point Pleasant with the hope of spying the mysterious creature. Books have been written and a major motion picture made. Real or imagined, Mothman is more famous now than ever. Yet another reason to keep walking this big weird world of ours!

I'm Average Joe

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