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The Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia is memorialized in a twelve-foot high statue in Point Pleasant.

Despite a great deal of publicity, researchers have not come to a conclusion as to its nature. Although its name suggests something of a humanoid moth, those dozens or more people who saw it in the late 1960s originally described it as being something more like a bird than a moth.

The earliest reported sighting was in 1961 when a father and daughter were driving through the Chief Cornstalk Wildlife Management Area late at night when they came upon what they first believed to be a person standing in the middle or the road; that is, until the creature displayed a set of wings that reached to either side of the road, and flew away.

It wasn't seen again until November of 1966, when two young couples were driving around a former military munitions facility on the edge of Point Pleasant one night. They saw what appeared to be bright red eyes shining in the darkness. Then a figure the size and shape of a very tall man stepped into the light, and spread a set of very large wings. When the couple tried to escape in their car, the creature flew after them at speeds approaching a hundred miles an hour, emitting squeaks that were described as being like that of a huge rodent.

Over the next year, several people reported seeing the creature around Point Pleasant, and a Charleston news reporter dubbed it "The Mothman," and the name stuck.

No one has been able to describe the face, as the red eyes dominated, nor was anyone able to describe whether it was coverered with fur, feathers or scales, perhaps because it was only seen at night. Descriptions of Mothman varied, but most eyewitnesses said that it was five to seven feet tall and much broader than a man. It had a ten-foot wingspan, and eyes that glowed red in the dark.

Some eyewitnesses said that it seemed to fly without flapping its wings, yet it was able to achieve high speeds, keeping pace with cars traveling up to a hundred miles an hour. On the ground, it was said to waddle while walking, and stand erect while at rest.

The only noise it was heard to make was described as a shrill squeak, like a rodent or a squeaky fan belt.

Although it was first sighted in 1961, most of its sightings took place during about twelve months in 1966 and 1967. It was seen mostly in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia, although there were sightings in Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi, although the sighting outside of West Virginia and Ohio deviated from the others in that the eyewitnesses seemed to describe a very large bird, with little resemblance to other descriptions of the creature. One eyewitness reported seeing two Mothmen together.

Sightings occurred both during the day and at night. The last sighting was about one month before the Point Pleasant Silver Bridge collapsed into the Ohio River on December 15, 1967, killing forty-six people. This led to people believing that the Mothman was a harbinger of death, which was further encouraged through a 2002 film, The Mothman Prophecies.

A ten-foot statue of Mothman was unveiled in Point Pleasant on September 23, 2003, as a means of capitalizing on cryptozoological tourism. Then-Mayor Jim Wilson said of the tourists who have come to the area since the movie was released, "I don't care why they're coming as long as they're here. If they want Mothman, then we'll give them Mothman."



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