It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a….moth??
It’s hard to tell what’s flying around in the night sky, but in November of 1966, residents of Point Pleasant, West Virginia described a large gray creature with glowing red eyes to authorities. After the initial report, many others of a large man or bird-like creature with glowing red eyes came flooding into the police station of the small town. The county sheriff believed that the sightings were nothing more than an unusually large heron.
Further sightings and unexplained happenings started to be heard all around Mason County. A farmer told a story of a large bird-like shape in his field, that whenever he would aim the flashlight towards it, the eyes would light up red. He also blamed this creature for his family dog disappearing days after the appearance. Local wildlife biologist, Robert L. Smith, spoke with reporters and said the claims were more than likely just a sandhill crane that wandered out of its migration route. The description that the farmer provided closely resembles that of a sandhill crane, which is a large bird that is almost as tall as the average human, with reddish coloring around the eyes, and has a breathtaking seven foot wingspan.
In 2016, exactly 50 years after the first reports of a sighting in Mason County, a photograph that claimed to have captured the elusive Mothman was published by an anonymous poster. Many skeptics and scientists have disagreed that it couldn’t be anything more than a bird carrying a frog or snake away. One scientist, Sharon Hill, wrote that “there is zero reason to suspect it is the Mothman. There are too many far more reasonable explanations!”
Despite not having physical evidence besides a photograph depicting a Mothman, the small town of Point Pleasant holds an annual festival celebrating the terrifying creature. In 2002, they began holding the festival to bring visitors to town, and thought the legend of Mothman would be intriguing enough to do so and they were right. The average attendance of the festival is between ten and twelve thousand people per year.
The festival is held every year in September and features guest speakers, vendors, hayride tours of the area and a pancake-eating contest!
So what did the people of Point Pleasant actually witness following their car that night? Could it have been a bird of some sort? Or could it actually have been the infamous Mothman? The world may never know.