New Rash of Mothman-Linked Deaths

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 15th, 2007


I am sorry to report that details are just beginning to trickle in of a new wave of deaths and near-misses tied to the Mothman researchers, museum staff and festival people in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. (Click here for a historical overview of other similar deaths. For more on the logic behind making an openminded focus of this kind of data, see my extended comment below in response to some early critics of this specific blog.)

Many of these people impacted have become friends in the last five years, so these incidents are becoming more difficult to note. However, it is with some duty to history and the data tha I share what appears to be this latest rash of tragic events. My sources of information are from the folks there.

Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum director Jeff Wamsley (above) holds his most recent book. With him is museum co-worker Todd Wiseman, an Ohio University film student.

Let’s begin with a near-miss that has touched Jeff Wamsley, the author of Mothman: The Facts Behind The Legend with Donnie Sergent, Jr., and Mothman : Behind the Red Eyes. His wife Julie was in a mid-February car crash when she hit a deer (3rd one in the past few years); minor damage to the front of her SUV, no injuries and it happened in Crown City, Ohio. This seems to have happened about the same time in February 2007, when a member of the cast of the Mark Pellington-Richard Gere movie, The Mothman Prophecies, died exactly five years after the national release of the film. For more details on that death, click on “Cyrus Bills”.

Mothman Museum

Artist John Frick (above) of Cumberland, Maryland, stands under his and his brother Tim’s creation, a 10 ft Mothman replica that hangs from the ceiling of the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.


Sadly, we have learned that Mothman Museum artists John and Tim Frick recently lost their sister to a tragic unexpected death.

Sci Fi Investigates Mothman

The Mothman Festival co-founders are Wamsley and Carolyn Harris, owner of Harris’ Steakhouse, a diner on Main Street. Harris’s father, 85, died not long ago, and then news came that Carolyn Harris’s niece died in a head-on car crash.

Sci Fi Investigates Mothman

Meanwhile, Bob, the owner of th Point, the store next to the Mothman Museum, next to the Mothman statue (above), has had a heart attack.

Mothman Museum

Finally, in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, Patty Oxyer, 46, died on April 9, 2007. She use to be a great supporter of the Annex rock band of which Jeff Wamsley is the lead guitarist. See her obituary below.

Patricia M. Oxyer

The Gallipolis Daily Tribune

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 8:30 PM EDT

Patricia M. Oxyer, 46, of Cheshire, passed away on Monday, April 9, 2007, at her residence. She was born Dec. 10, 1960, in Point Pleasant, W.Va., daughter of the late Willard Oxyer and Mary Haines Oxyer, who survives her.
Patricia was a social worker, having worked for the Gallipolis Developmental Center, Woodland Centers and Lakin State Hospital. She was a member of Addison Freewill Baptist Church.
She is survived by her mother, Mary Oxyer of Cheshire; half-sisters and half-brothers, Ann (Dennis) Jenkins of Middleway, W.Va., Robert (Ruby) McKinney of Hayward, Calif., Wanda Russell of Tennessee, and Wayne (Shirley) Oxyer of Cheshire; and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Preceding her in death were her father, Willard Oxyer, and a half-sister, Mary Jo Hager.
Services [were held at] 1 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2007, at Willis Funeral Home, with the Rev. Rick Barcus officiating. Burial [followed] in Poplar Ridge Cemetery.


My sympathy goes out to the family and friends for their Point Pleasant losses.

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.

18 Responses to “New Rash of Mothman-Linked Deaths”

  1. 4th Lyte responds:

    It’s an odd fact that out of so many cryptids, the Mothman seems to be linked most with deaths and strange occurrences. It’s a shame though…

  2. vjmurphy responds:

    When you start looking at things like relatives, or people unrelated to the case, or stetching your search to ANYTHING that happens in an area around items (like statues, I mean, come on), and then you start throwing in “near misses” and you can easily find patterns. It’s called “choosing your data.”

    People die in car accidents every day, people die of heart attacks and suicides every day. I bet that you could connect any 3-4 random deaths together by cherry-picking details of their deaths. We all love conspiracies, even if there’s absolutely no evidence of one.

  3. windigo responds:

    I find it most interesting, from a cryptid perspective, how tales of death and ill fate seem to follow sightings of both Sasquatch (in Native American lore) and Mothman. As far as related deaths to either, in the end if you look long enough you can find a correlation between any two things if you simply suspend common sense and allow paranoia to take over.

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    The use of psychiatric specific words like “paranoia” are ill-advised if you don’t have a degree or any a basis to use them. This is especially true if you are basing your conclusions on uninformed facts of a comparative nature.

    Windgo is somewhat correct to note that people have tried to say that there is a Bigfoot curse. I looked into that and debunked the reality of it in the subsection of Bigfoot! entitled “The Sinister Mirror of Sasquatch,” (168ff). Thusfar, studies of deaths linked to Yeti, Bigfoot, and movies about those cryptids do not have the body count you find when you start actually looking into the Mothman-related deaths.

    It must, of course, be pointed out that “Mothman,” per se, creates a limited and focussed “laboratory” in location and time, whereas “Bigfoot” or many other cryptid choices, seemingly, would give a broader spatial and temporal database. It appears it would be easier to come up with a Bigfoot-related list of deaths than one on Mothman. Nevertheless, no one has seriously shown a “Bigfoot death curse” of any depth.

    Likewise, vjmurphy is talking about doing a study and slanting your data. I have remarked on how those who have written about the “Poltergeist” movie deaths have never spoken of more than four or five deaths. Compared to the over 80 deaths about the specific Mothman situation, it does appear that something statistically significant is occurring. The same, once again, can be said for a Bigfoot death curse too. Someone should take the movie Harry and the Hendersons, if you will, and see if you can build up a list of over 80 Harry-movie-related deaths.

    Of course, without a lot of funding, a good control group, and a few years of study, we are left with people attempting to figure out this with the best tools available in the midst of a great deal of skepticism. Wow, that sounds like the general background for the majority of research being done in cryptozoology and related fields.

    Supporters for randomness in these “Mothman deaths” would rather not look and instead throw around words like “paranoia” and “choosing your data,” I assume. I am not saying there is anything there, but only that by gathering the data, it will not be lost and we can try to begin to ask the right questions.

  5. a_welch90 responds:

    Very Interesting. The Mothman has a more, malevolent feel to it than any other cryptid. The sheer amount of people connected to it that are being killed in unusual ways is enough for me to pay attention to it.

  6. vjmurphy responds:

    “I am not saying there is anything there, but only that by gathering the data, it will not be lost and we can try to begin to ask the right questions.”

    But you aren’t collecting data: you are collecting anecdotes. It’s like remembering all the times your dog barked, correlating that with times that people came over, ignoring the times that the dog barked and no one came over, then saying there’s a connection.

    There certainly isn’t anything to a Mothman curse. I’m quite sure that I could eventually connect 80 deaths/events to people connected to Harry and the Hendersons. Easily. As more time passes, I can connect even more and more, since as more time passes, more stuff happens. Look at the King Tut tomb curse: you can connect deaths and other events to ANYTHING.

    Are you also counting the number of weddings, births, and good things that happen to these people? No, of course not because that’s not interesting.

    Finally, it isn’t up to skeptics to find any connections: if someone thinks there’s a Mothman Curse, then they need to show that there isn’t a randomness. From what I’ve read, there’s no pattern, just people wanting to see connections where none exist. It’s not collecting data at all.

    Here’s another clue: now, connections can be made to a whole new set of people involved in the Mothman movie. By participating in this, I’m also now involved. The data set keeps getting larger and larger, with an ever growing set of events you can connect to such a curse. If that’s not choosing your data, I’m not sure what is.

  7. Mothra868 responds:

    Well, those crazy Men in Black are at it again…

  8. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I am certainly intrigued by this article. Since it seems tied to some sort of paranormal phenomena, I don’t quite know what to make of it. Whatever these “curses” are, if that is indeed what is happening here, I do not feel it is in anyway a zoological phenomena. I just wonder exactly what is going on here.

  9. harleyb responds:

    I believe the mothman creature would fear garlic or maybe purple onions, try cutting them up some time, make you cry like a baby.

  10. Double Naught Spy responds:

    Well, we have certainly seen some excellent examples of “whistliing past the graveyard” here. The whole Mothman episode contains a lot of very weird events. The more you look at it, the harder it is to rationalize it away. That doesn’t keep some psuedoscientists from trying. Thanks for having the courage to ask the hard questions, Loren.

  11. greatanarch responds:

    A man dies at 85! A woman hits a deer in her SUV! (no injury). This Mothman is bad medicine. I went looking for the Mongolian Deathworm, and only 9 months later someone reversed into me in a supermarket car park in Surrey. How scary is that?

  12. windigo responds:

    Loren, I appreciate and respect your input, but I’m a little bit puzzled. Your assertion that all of this may amount to more than a subconcious fear of the unknown does not fit with my interpretation of your beliefs on cryptids, in general. I have read all that you have to offer on the subject of Sasquatch and I am well aware that you very much wish not to enter the world of, “High Strangeness” when dealing with explanations of the creatures abilities/existence. However, I somewhat feel you are willing, in a comparable way, to venture down this avenue of thought with Mothman. I realize they are different topics, but I can’t help but feel that a discrepancy may exsist. I would welcome your clarification on this, and I apologize if my beliefs are incorrect.

  13. lamarkable responds:

    Death is not a supernatural nor a paranormal event. Giving credit to a theoretical curse from a theoretical creature for an unknown purpose is an mildly entertaining house of cards being played without much respect for the families of those who have passed, or the deceased themselves. There is no curse except one that manifests itself in the circular logic of mythology. The smoke that obscures critical thinking can burn you if you get too close to the source.

  14. razortalon responds:

    Oh come on now!! You’ve taken normal everyday occurances and turned it into something extremely ridiculous!!

  15. Granny Meg responds:

    Sad news to hear of so many deaths in the area.

    I have always wondered if the Mothman shares some characteristics of the Black Dog and the Black Horse of English and Irish legends. They all seem to be seen before disasters, presage deaths, and to hang about in seismically active areas. Is there any indication that deaths in general have gone up in the area? What about seismic indicators such as human stress and animal behavior? Is the USGS monitoring the area? Have classical UFO reports been made?

    Or are there indications that this is specifically connected with the group of persons most aware of and active in investigating this creature?

    I hope Loren has the time and energy to comment further.


  16. benihana responds:

    I’m going to have to agree with vjmurphy here. Unless, of course, Loren has set up strict guidelines as to what makes someone connected to the Mothman “laboratory.” The sister of a guy from Maryland who made a Mothman statue died. That’s not a laboratory sample, that’s someone totally unrelated to Mothman.

    People dying natural deaths in their 80s are mentioned. Something paranormal might be going on if these people were actually living forever, but dying of old age is hardly a curse.

    Also, Point Pleasant’s big claim to fame is Mothman and the bridge accident. So surely many people in the city will be connected to Mothman through their livelihood. People who work in Detroit die, but there’s no “General Motors Curse.”

    I haven’t actually seen a serious statistical analysis, just a list of deaths and someone saying “It’s significant.” Even Loren’s rebuttal to vjmurphy didn’t actually address any of his points, just repeating that there’s a curse without offering any reason to believe. There’s data right there, it wouldn’t be too hard to figure out if something statistically significant was going on. It’s the same as determining if nuclear testing decades ago lead to higher incidences of cancer and birth defects.

    You can argue that Loren lacks the funding to carry out a real analysis of the data, but that simply means that he has no reason aside from a gut reaction to believe any curse actually exists. And that’s certainly no reason for everyone else to believe him.

  17. Lakota1965 responds:

    I live just up river from Point Pleasant, and I find some of the happenings here of late, especially since the movie, to be very disturbing. When the movie first came out I really thought I would like to pop down there and check things out. We used to drive through there all the time when I was younger so you would think it wouldn’t bother me to go down there, but something just kept me from going, and I have a feeling I probably never will. I tend now to avoid Point Pleasant when I go south.

    I’m so sorry all of these families have experienced losses, and my heart goes out to them.

  18. lamarkable responds:

    One only has to think of a curse, which in of itself, is dependant on a premeditated formulation arising from the sender to the recipiant, and then ask yourself what possible motive would there be, or more accurately, what is the perverse benefit to the sender? One would have to be familiar with the senders emotional state which is presumably negative toward the “victims”, which assumes there is an emotional pathological component that is preexisting which is a stretch on top of several similar ones. This is more of a projection of fear of a free floating all powerful intent targeting the participants after the movie has long since passed into dvd history. If you are going to knock off participants one would think it would be done during production, rather than drib and drab them here and there, which is rather an obvious indication that there are only mundane forces at work here. If a supernatural power is at play, it’s a pretty pathetic one.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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