Yes, Chernobyl’s 25th Anniversary But No Mothman Was Seen

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 26th, 2011

There is an acknowledgement that today is the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. But one important fact needs to be repeated. No weird winged wonder was seen before the accident, however.


Of course, the film The Mothman Prophecies was fiction based on a true story. In line with my Mothman book, the Sony/Screen Gems studio wanted to see it rushed to publication when the movie was released. I worked with the studio on that and their publicity, as John Keel was ill. I spoke to them on the phone often, kept in touch via emails, and was flown out to Hollywood to hold a news conference on their behalf, at their Los Angeles studio.

As you may recall, I appeared, along with John Keel and Mothman eyewitnesses, in the documentary, In Search of the Mothman (2002), directed by David Grabias. The documentary was shown on the Sci-Fi Channel before the movie appeared and then later bundled with the film in the special deluxe DVD. I had open access with the LA folks from June 1001 through March 2002, during post-production and after release.

This situation occurred as Sony/Screen Gems found John Keel was not able, physically, to do all the radio interviews and news conferences they needed. In my role, I was able to ask various “origins” questions, suggest edits in what I was shown of the draft footage for the documentary, and, for example, able to ask about the “Mothman-like” sketches shown the Debra Messing character in the hospital.

The general consensus was those sketches were completely made up and created by the art design department based on their nonspecific reading of the Keel book. They were not done to duplicate any one specific sighting, and were diffuse on purpose to give the shadowy sense of a Mothman-type creature. Director Mark Pellington’s whole idea was to never show the shape, exactly, of Mothman, but he went with the feeling of the red eyes and a nonspecific winged weirdie.

The hospital drawings, therefore, are as fictionalized as many things in the movie. That is an important point, often forgotten by those watching the film. I’ll say it again, the film is narrative fiction, based on actual events. It contains many elaborately fictionalized situations, such as Gordon Smallwood’s character, and contains little tidbits to support the storyline, such as the false “factoids” that Mothman appeared before the Chernobyl meltdown and the Galveston hurricane. But there are no records of Mothman at Chernobyl or Galveston or before any earthquakes. Since Mothman encounters did not happen in those locations, such unfortunate tales are ones that both Keel and I tried to remove from people’s mental “databases” as soon as the movie and documentary noted them in 2002.

Let me say this again. The famed big hurricanes in Galveston occurred in 1900 and 1915, long before the Houston Batman was seen in 1953. The movie also tries to link Chernobyl’s nuclear meltdown with precursor sightings of Mothman. Not true. There were no sightings. It was all made up for the movie.

The Mothman Prophecies movie was loosely based on fact, yes, and you can certainly see the essence of the real incidents in there from 1966-1967, but elements such as the Chernobyl precursor Mothman sightings are not based on any reality. For more on the original events, the film, and more, see: Mothman and Other Curious Encounters.

BTW, in 2008, there were plans to introduce an important species into the area near Chernobyl.


The goverment of Ukraine announced in 2008 that they intended to introduce a threatened species, the European bison or wisent (Bison bonasus), into the exclusion zone around the stricken Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

The plan was to create a nature reserve where the bison could thrive in the absence of humans.

The minister in charge of Chernobyl, Volodomir Shandra, said there were clean areas within the 30-kilometre radius where the pilot scheme could work.


The wisent is the heaviest surviving land animal in Europe, a relic of the Pleistocene megafauna of Eurasia. A forest dwelling species, wisent were first scientifically described by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758.

The last wild wisent in Poland was killed in 1919 and the last wild wisent in the world was killed by poachers in 1927 in the Western Caucasus. By that year fewer than 50 remained, all in zoos.


Schleich wisent replica.

Was the Chernobyl scheme successful?

Do they glow?

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

2 Responses to “Yes, Chernobyl’s 25th Anniversary But No Mothman Was Seen”

  1. red_pill_junkie responds:

    The Mothman movie is an acquired taste. I hated it the first time I saw it.

    I was expecting at least one clear view of the creature, but every time I get to see it again on TV, I like it even more.

    BTW Loren, were you never asked to make a small cameo during the shooting? That would have been cool. 🙂

  2. timi_hendrix responds:

    Hey Loren,

    Thanks so much for clearing this up.
    I was wondering about this very issue today!

    Hope you’re well.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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