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Monday, October 10, 2005
My Favorite Monsters #4: Mothman
For about a year in the late 60s, the city of Point Pleasent in West Virginia was terrorized by a strange beast. Mostly it seemed to just chase people around in their cars or look in windows at them. It was described as a bird-like creature as tall as a man, with glowing red eyes in its chest. The incidents probably would have been largely forgotten by history as just another example of the weirdness scares that seemed to pop up regularly during the height of Cold War paranoia, except for two things. One, paranormal journalist John Keel went to investigate the sightings and became intimately involved in the events (one could almost say to the point of tainting any possibility of real research ever getting done) and two, in December 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed, killing forty-six people, an event believed to have been "predicted" by the Mothman. The explanations for what Mothman were range from the terrestial (a mutant owl), the extra-terrestrial (Aliens!), and the other dimensional (beings from a higher plane of reality inserting themselves into our three dimensional time space continuum in order to conduct experiments on us--and, oh man, do I wish I were making that last one up).
It's all bunk, of course. Oh sure, something happened in Point Pleasent. But what we're probably looking at here is the most well documented case of mass hysteria affecting a small regional area, egged on by a glory-seeking "investigator" desperate to become part of the story, and people traumitized by a disaster searching for some kind of rational explanation for what befell them. He looks really freaking cool though.
A Mothman retrospective, with a gallery of covers of Keel's book The Mothman Prophecies (I have the one with the Frazetta cover) The only problem with this site is that it seems to think that the damn book is any good at all. It's not.