The Mothman Story of Point Pleasant, West Virginia on November 12th of 1966 and the Infamous Collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1967
The Legend of the Mothman sighting stories that have passed on through the townspeople of West Virginia that cold night in 1966 have left an indelible mark upon those who experienced this mysterious and powerful cryptid.
West Virginia is not a stranger to inexplicable events and phenomena with the appearances of the Flatwoods Monster and Indrid Cold, a strange grinning entity of a man who seemed to wear a reflective green or blue suit and had an unnatural grin upon his face; watching and observing people in the town. The townsfolk also observed strange outsiders they refer to as ‘men in black’ in the town.
The dark mystery and testimonies that surround the Mothman is by far one of the most intriguing stories I have researched. It has been noted that the appearance of the Mothman creature foretold of an impending disaster.
We are happy to share with you our adventure, photographs, accounts and stories that have been collected in the Worlds only Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. It was truly a special afternoon with some of the Synfuel’s Team. The CEO Paul Baskis and I and COO Matt and Carol Wilson enjoyed sharing this adventure and exploring the history and charm of the small town and its folklore.
The Mothman was popularized in the 1975 book by John Keel ‘The Mothman Prophecies’. The 2002 movie starring Richard Gere was based on Keel’s book. The book describes Keel’s account of the strange telephone calls, reports of mutilated pets and the tragic December 15, 1967 Silver Bridge collapse across the Ohio River.
One of the most famous accounts happened on one cold November evening in 1966 when two young couples, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallet told the local police that they sighted a large grey creature with large eyes that “glowed red” reflected by the car’s headlights. They said it appeared as a “large flying man with ten-foot wings”. They said it followed their car while driving outside of town in an area known as the ‘TNT area’ of which was a former World War II munitions plant.
The West Virginia Ordnance Works (TNT area) is North of Point Pleasant and during the World War manufactured dynamite and ammunitions. The land surrounding the Ordnance is mostly forested with grassy clearings that house thick concrete domes they refer to as ‘Igloos’. These Igloos stored barrels of gunpowder. There are many abandoned tunnels that have since collapsed or have been sealed off.
Following that evening, other people within the town started to report similar sightings. One story was of a group of five men preparing a grave in a cemetery for a burial when they saw something eerily strange they could not explain. It seemed to lift off and above the nearby tree line and was a large, brown winged creature. All of the men agreed and stayed to their story that what lifted off beyond the trees was no bird. It appeared to be a humanoid.
Within the museum we found a treasure trove of historic newspaper clippings, testimonies, and memorabilia from the strange happenings in the 1960’s and the tragic Silver Bridge collapse. There were even relics and props from the famous movie, ‘The Mothman Prophecies’ including the original art sketches that were created depicting the Mothman.
One of the many original eyewitness accounts in the museum was from Roger Scarberry who was one of the first couples to see the Mothman. His story starts as follows~
“Tuesday night about 12 O’clock while riding in the TNT area we came upon this thing. It was in the shape of a man with wings. This thing stood about 6 feet tall with wings on its back. It was a light grey in color with red eyes about 2 inches in diameter 6 to 8 inches apart. When we came up over a rise in the road in front of the power house Steve saw these large red eyes. He pointed the eyes out to me and when we all looked it was going around the corner of the building.
This thing runs awkward with its wings out to its side. After we stopped and looked at each other I took off out the road toward the highway. When we came to the traffic circle and turned south on 62 we saw it again. It was on the bank on the left side of the road. This is where we could see it best. But when the car lights shown on it moved its wings out to the side and went straight up into the air.
We didn’t see it again until we were on the straight road in front of the experiment farm when it came over the car. I speeded up to 100mph and it glided over the car till we came to the curve at the armory. Then it was gone.
We came on into town. This thing must have been afraid of lights because it wouldn’t come in to town. We went downtown and stopped. We wanted to tell the police. But when we were going to go back up to see for sure that it was still up the road. But when we were going up through town we decided we decided we didn’t want to go back up. So I turned around at the gate at the C.C. Lewis Farm. When I turned around a dead dog was lying along the road. As I turned and started back down the road this thing came out from behind where the dog was and went back over the car and out through the field on the other side of the road. Then we went down to Tiny’s Drive- In and told Gary and the Police what we saw. Gary and the Police followed us back up the road where we saw it again. The dog was gone. From there we went to the field but didn’t see it again. So we went down to the town. Then we went with the Deputy Sheriff back to the Power Plant and stopped. We sat in the car and saw dust or smoke coming up from the coal yard beside the plant. From there we went back and got in the car and went home. The next day we went back to the power plant and looked around where Steve saw it again in a Boiler inside the plant. Then Wednesday night it was seen at Thomas’s home the same night and found a footprint this thing had made. Thursday we went up to the plant with reporters and went through it. While we were inside Steve shuts the door. When we were outside we heard a loud noise. We went back inside and the door was open.
What this thing looked like it is about 6 feet tall with large wings on its back. It has a shape of a man. It has two red eyes about 2 inches apart. A wing spread of 10 feet. This thing whatever it is, is definitely not a crane or goose or balloon or any of the things it has been called. I have seen it and know what it looks like.”
R. Scarberry stated, “I’m a hard guy to scare, but last night I was for getting out of there.”
For thirteen months the Mothman creature would be would be seen in Point Pleasant. It is estimated that there were over 100 sightings. It has been reported that some of the townsfolk were harassed by Men in Black who discouraged them to not speak about the creature. John Keel’s book claimed that the people of Point Pleasant town experienced precognitions that included premonitions of the collapse of the Silver Bridge.
The Silver Bridge was an eyebar-chain suspension bridge built in the year 1928 and named for the aluminum paint color. The bridge carried U.S. Route 35 over the Ohio River that connects Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Gallipolis, Ohio.
The day of December 15th of 1967 the townspeople would be met with a horrific tragedy as the Silver Bridge collapsed under the weight of too much traffic. There were 46 deaths and two people were never recovered. The collapse was a failure in a single eyebar in a suspension chain. The defect was just 0.1 inches (2.5mm) deep. It was just not meant to carry the weight it was carrying compared to when it was constructed many years ago.
I hope you enjoy the photographs to follow and make sure to follow my blog at https://duskflyervisionart.wordpress.com/blog/ to see more of our adventures on historical places and happenings. Thank you
Copyright October 21, 2020 by Tommie Flannery Baskis