In 1966, the residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia witnessed many strange and terrifing things. Little did they know that it was all leading up to a tragic event that would change their lives forever.
The Story begins on November 12, near Clendenin, West Virginia. Five men were in a local cemetery preparing a grave for a burial, when something that looked like a brown human being lifted off from some nearby trees and flew over their heads. The men were baffled. It did not appear to be a bird, but more like a human with wings.
November 15 - At 11:30 pm two young couples from Point Pleasant, Mr. and Mrs. Scarberry and Mr. and Mrs. Mallette, were driving through the TNT area of the old West Virgina Ordnance Works. They were looking for friends, but no one was out that night. All of the twisted back roads were deserted and the few houses amoung the Igloos were dark. As they pulled along side the old generator plant, Linda Scarberry gasped. They all looked into the darkness and saw two big bright red eyes, which were two inches in diameter and six inches apart. As the car stopped the eyes bobbed away from the building and they could now see they were attached to a some huge animal. They then sped away and shot through the gate, spun onto the exit road and headed for route 62. Suddenly they saw the creature again, standing on a small hill next to the road. As they drove past it spread it's batlike wings and took off straight up into the air. They were driving 100 mph and the red eyed monster kept up with them, without ever flapping it's wings. Panic-stricken they went directly to the Mason County Courthouse, charged into the Sheriff's office and reported their unbelievable encounter.
Above: One of the hundred Igloos found at the West Virignia Ordnance Works.
November 16 - Mr. and Mrs. Wamsley, Mrs. Bernett and her baby daughter were on their way to visit the Thomases who lived in a bungalow back amoung the Igloos. When they arrived they only found three of the Thomas children at home. After exchanging a few words, they headed back to their car. Suddenly a figure moved in the darkness behind the car. It seemed to be lying down and it rose slowly from the ground. The creature was grey and big, bigger than a man, with terrible glowing red eyes. Mrs. Bennette let out a cry, she was so horrified that she dropped her small baby. The child started to cry, but the mother was paralyzed and unable to move. She stood hypnotized by the blazing red eyes on top of the towering, headless, creature. It's wings slowly unfolded behind it's back. Mr. Wemsley grabbed the woman and her child and they all ran back into the house, and bolted the door. There was a sound on the porch and the two red eyes peered in through the window. Mr. Wemsley called the police but by the time they arrived the monster had vanished.
November 17 - A 17 year old boy was driving down route 7 near Cheshire, Ohio when a huge bird suddenly dove at his car and pursued him for a mile or so.
November 18 - Two firemen from Point Pleasant, Paul Yoder and Benjamin Enochs, were in the TNT area when they encountered a giant bird with big red eyes.
November 20 - Five teenagers were driving along Campbells Creek when they recieved the shock of their lives. Their headlights bounced off a man sized birdlike creature standing beside a rock quarry. It turned and scurried into the woods.
An elderly businessman in Point Pleasant found mothman standing on his front lawn. He stepped outside to see why his dog was barking and confronted a six or seven foot tall grey apparition with flaming red eyes. He stood transfixed for several minutes, unaware of the passage of time. Suddenly the creature flew off and he staggered back into his house. He was so pale and shaken that his wife thought he was having a heart attack.
November 24 - Four people, two adults and two children were driving past the TNT area when they saw a giant flying creature with red eyes.
November 25 - At 7:15 am Thomas Ury was driving along route 62, just north of the TNT area when he noticed a tall, grey manlike figure standing by the road. Suddenly it spread a pair of wings and took off straight up, like a helicopter. The creature flew over the car and began to circle. Mr. Ury sped away at a speed of 75 mph, with the red eyed phantom still flying above his car. Mr. Ury rushed into Point Pleasant and went straight to the Sheriff's office, still in shock.
November 26 - A woman in St. Albans a suburb of Charleston, West Virginia found Mothman standing on her lawn. It was standing beside her porch. It was fall with big red eyes that popped out of it's face.
November 27 - Mothman chased young Connie Carpenter near mason, West Virginia golf course. It also made an appearence that evening in St. Albans. Sheila Cain and her sister were walking home from the store when they saw and enormous "something" standing next to a local junk yard. It was grey, seven feet tall and had big red eyes. The girls screamed and ran home. The creature flew up in the air and followed them part of the way.
Even before the first sighting of Mothman, the sky over the Ohio river valley had strange things flying around it. Every night these colored lights in the sky would invade the area. These UFO's seemed to follow the same flight pattern night after night, drawing people from far and wide. Not everyone was excited about the UFO presence, a good majority of the residents in the Ohio river valley were terrified. There were many reports of strange events associated with the arrival of these mysterious visitors.
UFO's chasing vehicles - Not long after the first UFO sighting, reports began about vehicles being chased at hight speed. In some cases the UFO would land infront of the vehicle and engage the driver in conversation. The occupant of the UFO would ask very simple and strange questions, such as what the time was, who the drivers were and where they came from. No information of real importance was obtained. The occupants were described as human looking, wearing strange clothing and very weird behavior.
Power outages & phone manipulation - Often when UFO's were sighted, strange power outages, blown transformers, and damage to electrical appliances were reported. Also vehicles would completely lose power and anyone attempting to photograph the UFO's would experience camera malfunctions. Many UFO witnesses have reported recieving phone calls that when answered there would be no one on the line, beeping noises, mechanical voices or loud squeaking sounds.
Animal mutilation & disappearances - Ranchers began to notice their cattle missing or they would find them dead in the pastures. The dead cattle would be drained of blood and missing their eyes, tounge and organs. Dogs and other small animals were disappearing all over the river valley. The owners would see strange lights in the sky just before they vanished without a trace.
Many of the UFO witnesses reported feeling paralyzing fear at the time of their encounter and suffered from horrible nightmares for weeks after their incidents.
UFO witnesses and a local Point Pleasant reporter began to recieve visits and phone calls from strange men in black. These men would pretend to be Air Force officers, police officers, salesmen, reporters and ufologist to gain entry to witnesses homes. They would obtain information about the witness and their family, then warn against telling anyone about seeing the UFO's. These men in black were all described as having dark skin, pointy features, possibly oriental. They would wear clothing that did not fit properly and was not appropriate for the weather. They are all described as wearing shoes with very thick soles. They speak in a very sing-song manner, almost mechanical and in most cases have trouble speaking clearly. The majority of the people who have encountered these mysterious men all reported that they drive older black cars with blacked out windows. The vehicle would look brand new, even though they were several years old.
Almost two hundred years before Mothman was first sighted in Point Pleasant, the land around the Ohio river ran red with blood. As the residents of the American colonies began to travel west, they entered into war with the Native American inhabitants of the land. One of their most worthy advisaries was Chief Cornstalk, who later became an ally of the Colonials. Treachery, deception and murder would bring an end to the Chief's life and begin the Legend of the Cornstalk curse.
Seven Native American tribes formed an alliance to keep the white man from invading their territory. The Shawnee were the most powerful of the tribes and we lead by a feared and respected Chief named "Keigh-tugh-gua", which translates to "Cornstalk". As the Settlers continued to move further and further onto Native American land, the tribes began to make preperations to attack the white settlers near Point Pleasant. Word of the impending attack reached the Colonial Military leaders, troops were dispatched and a bloody battle ensued. The Native American tribes were no match for the Colonial troops and their muskets. The battle ended with 140 Colonial Soldiers killed and more than double the number of Native American Warriors. The tribes retreated west into Ohio. The Colonials then constructed a fort to protect the Settlers from further attacks.
As time passed Chief Cornstalk made peace with the Colonials. In 1777, he would send word to his new friends about the British coaxing the tribes into attacking the rebellious Colonials. The tribes began to mass along the Ohio river, intent on attacking the fort. Cornstalk did not desire to make war with the Colonials and he went to the fort on November 7, to negotiate peace. Before the war began Cornstalk told Captain Arbuckle, who was the Garrison Commander, that he was opposed to war but only he and his tribe were holding back from battle. He was afraid he may have no other choice. Cornstalk admitted to the Commander that he would allow his men to fight if the other tribes went to war.
The Commander took Cornstalk and two other men hostage. The Colonials believed they could use the great Chief to keep the other tribes from attacking. Their plan worked as the tribes would not risk putting the respected Chief in danger. Although being a hostage, Cornstalk and the two other men were treated well and were given comfortable quarters, leading many people to wonder if the Chief was a hostage or part of the plan to prevent war.
On November 9, Cornstalk's son came to the fort to visit his father and was also detained. The following day two soldiers out deer hunting were attacked, with one of the men being killed. When his corpse was brought back to the fort, the other Soldiers were enraged. Acting against orders, they broke into the quarters where Cornstalk and the other men were being held. Even though these men had nothing to do with the Soldiers death, they were executed out of revenge. As the Soldiers burst throught the door, Cornstalk rose to meet them. He stood facing the Soldiers with such bravery that they had to pause momentarily before shooting him eight times. His son and the two other men were then killed right before his eyes. As the great Chief layed on the floor dying he placed a curse on the land. He looked up at the murderers and said: "I was the borderman's friend. Many times I have saved him and his people from harm. I never warred with you, but only to protect our lands I refused to join your enemies in the red coats. I came to the fort as your friend and you murdered me, you have murdered by my side my young son. For this may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature, may it be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of it's people be paralyzed by the stain of our blood". After speaking these words he died. The bodies of the other men were dumped into the river, but Cornstalk was buried near the fort on Point Pleasant over looking the river.
In 1794, the town of Point Pleasant was established near the site of the old fort. Cornstalk's remains were removed in 1840 and placed on the grounds of the Mason County Courthouse. In the late 1950's the Chiefs remains were moved one last time to Point Pleasants Tu-endie-wei park.
1907-The worst coal mine disaster in american history took place in Monongah, west Virginia on December 6, when 310 miners were killed.
1944-In June, 150 people were killed when a tornado through the tri-state area.
1967-On December 15, the Silver Bridge collapsed killing 46 people and injuring 9.
1968-A piedmont Airlines plane crashed near Kanawha Airport, killing 35 people.
1970-On November 14, a Southern Airways DC-10 crashed into a mountain near Huntington, West Virginia killing 75 people.
1976-In March there was an explosion at the Mason County Jail in Point pleasant. Harriet Sisk was under arrest for the murder of her infant daughter. On March 02, her husband came into the jail with a suitcase full of explosives. Both the Sisk's were killed, along with three law enforcement staff.
1978-In January, a freight train derailed at Point Pleasant, dumping thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals. The chemicals contaminated the towns water supply and the wells had to be abandoned.
1978-In April of the same year, the town of St. Mary's was struck with tragedy when 51 men who were working on the Willow Island Power Plant were killed when their construction scaffolding collapsed.
Is the Cornstalk Curse responsible for all these tragic deaths?
There is one last thing to consider. Did Chief Cornstalk summon an old Native Spirit known as the Thunderbird?
Could the creature known as Mothman really be the great Thunderbird Spirit that is found in cave drawings and Native American Legends for hundreds of years?
Left: Drawing from a witnesses discription of Mothman. Right: Cave drawing of a Thunderbird.
The Silver Bridge was constructed in 1928, connecting Point Pleasant, West Virginia to Kanauga, Ohio. It got its name from the aluminum colored paint used. It was the first Eye-Bar suspension bridge of it's type in the U.S.A.
At 5:00 pm on December 15, 1967 the bridge collapsed claiming 46 lives and injuring 9. The Christmas rush applied an extra load to the 40 year old bridge causing a cleavage fracture in one of the Eye-Bars. This was followed by a ductile fracture near the pin. Unable to support the weight of the entire bridge, the south chain also snapped. The structure only took about one minute to completely fall into the river below.
The residents of Point Pleasant believed the Mothman was an omen or possibly even caused the bridge to collapse. Many resident had strange dreams about people drowning in the river with Christmas presents floating in the water.
Was the Mothman attempting to warn the residents of Point Pleasant about the bridge collapse or was the red eyed phantom the cause of this tragic disaster.