The Cryptid Zoo: Mothman

The first Mothman reports seem to date from the mid 1960s. Mothman has been sighted many places in Virginia and West Virginia, but the largest number of sightings happened in or near a place known as "the TNT Area," an abandoned ammunitions dump dating from World War II that is near Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

The TNT Area is mostly forest, dotted with numerous grassy clearings and concrete domes. It is also riddled with abandoned tunnels, most of which have collapsed, been sealed off, or became flooded with water. A wildlife sanctuary adjoins the TNT Area, and the whole region in and near the TNT Area is sparsely populated, with a great deal of nearly impenetrable wilderness. The system of dirt roads in the TNT Area form a popular hang out for hunters, lovers and naughty teenagers.

Mothman is described as being gray (or possibly brown) in color. He does not wear clothing, or if he does, it is tight-fitting, exactly the same color as the rest of his body, and blends in perfectly with his skin.
Mothman's insect-like face and huge red eyes are central features in most reports. This is copyrighted by those who own the copyright to the book cover art for 'Mothman: The Facts Behind the Legend' by Jeff Wamsley and Donnie Sergent Jr.
He looks like his body is generally human in shape, with two notable exceptions. He has huge wings instead of arms, and he has gigantic red eyes that glow. The details of his face and his feet have never been adequately described. Only one witness ever saw the face clearly, and she could only say that the details were horrible and monstrous. She had terrible nightmares and nearly suffered a nervous breakdown. Anyone who gets a close look at Mothman seems to suffer from extreme fear and psychological distress, sometimes lasting for months or years afterwards, all out of proportion to how scared they ought to be. In particular, people say that a sense of pure evil overcomes them when they see Mothman's eyes.

Mothman is perhaps four or five feet tall when standing. He can fold his wings and walk with a weird shuffle that many witnesses compare to a penguin. When he flies, he unfolds his wings and shoots straight up with great speed, then levels out to go wherever he wants to go. He has never been observed flapping his wings, not even on take-off. He just holds then straight and stiff. He can fly much faster than any bird should be able to fly, as measured by those victims who suffered from what seems to be Mothman's favorite activity: chasing cars.

Mothman sightings have been associated with at least two other cryptids. Gigantic thunderbirds with gray bodies and red heads were sighted in the same area at the same time by a few witnesses. There was also a bizarre hairy humanoid of the type that researchers call "big hairy monsters" or "hairy bipeds." This big hairy monster was quite weird because it was headless. The only footprints that have ever been associated with Mothman sightings are very bizarre, consisting of footprints that are unmistakably those of a dog mixed with a few classic Bigfoot footprints. However, these dog footprints have two abnormal characteristics. They are far too big for any known dog, and are pressed into the soil so deeply that they suggest the animal must have weighed several thousand pounds. So far, nobody has claimed to see the giant dog that is suggested by these footprints.

Since there only seems to be one Mothman instead of a bunch of his kind, and since he seems rather paranormal, these sightings are not of much interest to cryptozoologists. Cryptozoologists want to discover new kinds of creature, not hunt for ghosts and spooks. Those who have looked into the problem have suggested sandhill cranes, thunderbirds, or some variety of unknown bird or giant bat.

You can find out more about Mothman from the following sources:

Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide to North American Monsters. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Pages 93-95

Brookesmith, Peter, ed. Creatures from Elsewhere. London, Chartwell Books, 1989. Pages 28-30

Clark, Jerome. Unexplained!. Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1999. Pages 474-481

Coleman, Jerry D. Strange Highways: A Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained. Alton, Illinois: Whitechapel Productions Press, 2003. Pages 20, 30, 72, 123-127, 182

Coleman, Loren. Mysterious America: The Revised Edition. New York: Paraview Press, 2001. Page 23

Keel, John A. The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings. New York: Doubleday, 1994. Pages 4,7, 245-273
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The Mothman

Keel, John A. The Mothman Prophecies

Mothman Lives - The Official Mothman Website of Point Pleasant

Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Page 65, 218, 227-228, 311-312, 412

Sergent Jr., Donnie & Wamsley, Jeff. Mothman: The Facts Behind the Legend

Taylor, Troy. Mothman: The Enigma of Point Pleasant

Walsh, Dave. A Mothman Retrospective

Wamsley, Jeff. Mothman: Behind the Red Eyes.

Weidensaul, Scott. The Ghost with Trembling Wings: Science, Wishful Thinking and the Search for Lost Species. New York: North Point Press, 2002. Pages 153, 171, 175

Wikipedia, The. Mothman

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