Interest in sightings of mysterious 'Mothman' creature remains high
POSTED: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, July 28, 2012 - 8:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — There are many strange and unexplained happenings in Ohio, one of which is the legend of Mothman near the Ohio/West Virginia border.
In Point Pleasant, the mystery surrounding Mothman is everywhere.
There is a statue and a museum devoted to the 7-foot-tall winged man with glowing red eyes the size of baseballs.
The huge, bird-like creature is said to move at amazingly fast speeds.
In southern Ohio and northern West Virginia, the legend is still as strong as it was 45 years ago.
It has become part of the personality of Point Pleasant.
The first witnesses to the mystery were two young couples who were hanging out near the town's power plant in November of 1966.
The couples said Mothman chased their car at incredible speeds.
The women were said to have been hospitalized for shock.
Jeff Wamsley gives tours, showing people where the legendary Mothman was spotted at least 100 times between November 1966 and December 1967.
He also runs the Mothman Museum.
The witnesses all described the same thing: a faceless, red-eyed creature who seemed to have a message for them.
What was the message?
Carolyn Harris runs a local diner, and her sister saw Mothman.
Most people who saw Mothman, including her sister, won't give interviews about what they saw.
"It flew over the top of her and she looked up and she said, 'When I seen them big, red eyes...we were out of the car. Can't tell you what the rest of it looks like,'" Harris said.
"There was a lot of respectable business people, you know, young kids, older people, elderly, but the people I talked to, they said were afraid. People would laugh at us and, you know, think that we were crazy, but they say, 'We saw what we saw,' and some of them said that it was a large bird of some sort. Others said it wasn't a bird," Wamsley says.
How can any of the legend be explained?
Critics said the sightings are really misidentified planes, owls or just pranks.
The area is near chemical plans and military ammunition storage.
It's an industry on the Ohio River that didn't have the kind of environmental regulation that is in place today.
"Somebody was up here fishing one day, saw this fluorescent green stuff coming out of the water," Wamsley said.
Could it have been a type of mutated bird, or was Mothman really there to warn the residents?
More strange sightings occurred until a bridge collapse in December 1967 killed 46 people in the town.
Two of the victims were never found.
The collapse was so extreme it set federal regulations on bridge construction.
The Mothman sightings stopped that day, too.
"I believe they saw something, yeah. I don't doubt their stories one bit, what it was, but I know they saw something that was out of the ordinary," Wamsley said.