Posted by: Craig Woolheater on November 15th, 2013
Today marks the 47th anniversary of what is considered the first sighting of the Mothman in Point Pleasant, WV.
Eyewitness sketch of the Mothman by Roger Scarberry
The Mothman, a strange creature reported to haunt the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia between November 1966 and December 1967, was also sporadically reported to be seen prior to, and after, those dates, with some sightings coming as recently as 2005. Most observers describe the Mothman as being 5 to 7 feet tall creature with wings and large reflective red eyes, similar to the Garuda of Hindu lore. A number of hypotheses have been put forward to explain what people reported, ranging from misidentification and coincidence to paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories.
The Mothman was named in parallel to the villain “Killer Moth” in the Batman TV series that was popular at the time, was reportedly first sighted November 12, 1966. A group of five men were preparing a grave in a cemetery close to Clendenin, West Virginia when what they described as a “brown human shape with wings” lifted off from behind nearby trees and flew over their heads. However, this sighting was not made public until later, and the first sighting described in the media took place just three days later.
On the evening of November 15, 1966 two young married couples from Point Pleasant, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette, were out for a drive in the Scarberrys’ car. They were passing a World War II TNT factory about seven miles outside of Point Pleasant, in the 2,500 acre McClintic Wildlife Station, when they noticed two red lights in the shadow by an old generator plant near the gate of the factory. They stopped the car and were startled to see that the lights were the glowing red eyes of a large animal, “shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back,” according to Roger Scarberry. Terrified, the couples took off in their car, heading for Route 62.
Headed down the exit ramp, they saw the creature again, standing on a ridge near the road. It spread its wings and took off, following their car to the city limits. They went to the Mason County courthouse and told their story to Deputy Millard Halstead, who later said “I’ve known these kids all their lives. They’d never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously.” He followed Roger Scarberry’s car back to the TNT factory, but found no sign of the strange creature. According to the book Alien Animals, by Janet Board, a poltergeist attack on the Scarberry home took place later that night, in which the creature was seen several times.
On that very same evening, at about 10:30 p.m. Newell Partridge, a local building contractor who lived in Salem, about 90 miles from point pleasant, was watching television when he the screen suddenly went dark. He would later state that a weird pattern filled the screen and that he heard a loud whining sound coming from outside that raised in pitch before drawing silent, “It sounded like a generator winding up”. Newell’s dog, Bandit, began to stir and howl out of the front porch, Newell got up to investigate what was going on. When he walked outside, he noticed that Bandit was focused on the hay barn, about 150 yards from the house. Newell then turned on his flashlight and shinned the beam in the direction of the barn, upon doing so the light illuminated two red circles that looked like eyes or the reflectors of a bicycle tire, the sight of these glowing red eyes frightened him. Bandit, an experienced hunting dog who was also very protective of his territory shot off across the yard in the direction of the glowing eyes. Newell called for his dog to stop and come back to the porch but the determined dog paid no attention to his master.
Afraid for the life of his dog Newell ran back into the house to get his gun but was to frightened to go back outside. That night he slept with with his gun propped up agianst his bed. The next morning Bandit was no where to be found, Newell called out for his dog but to no avail. Two days later there was still no sign of Bandit when Newell read about the Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant. He read one statement in particular that may have explained the fate of his beloved dog. Roger Scarberry, one of the 4 people who originally saw the Mothman near the old TNT plant, was qouted by the newspaper as saying that they saw the body of a large dog laying on the side of the road moments before the Mothman appeared to them. Could this have been to body of Bandit?
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.