An infamous “half-bird, half-man” creature over 7ft tall with red eyes and a hypnotic stare was “seen” by more than 100 people just before a tragic accident that saw 46 people die.
Experts over 50 years later are still looking for an explanation into what witnesses describe as a “mothman” terrorising the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia in 1966.
Witnesses described the screams from the creature but, more than anything, it was the glowing red eyes that mesmerised people.
A year after the first sighting, horror struck Point Pleasant when a bridge collapsed a year after the first sighting with 46 people drowning in the water.
Many have questioned whether this so-called mothman was a force of good or evil. Did it commit the tragedy or did it come to warn people? Or did it simply never exist in the first place?
Ashley Flowers, who hosts the Supernatural podcast, delved into the mystery for a recent episode.
The first so-called sighting of the creature was by a middle-aged man who was watching TV with his wife when the screen went fuzzy. He then felt a sudden sense of doom and then there was a high-pitched screech.
He described it as being like a “generator starting up or metal against metal”, Ashley said..
His dog on the porch was howling and then bolted towards a barn where he could only see two large red lights looking at him and for a moment he was hypnotised.
Terrified, he went back in the house and the following day he searched for his dog but could only find tracks that suddenly come to an end.
The next day, two young couples headed out in a car to a spot called the TNT area, an abandoned munitions building from WWll. It was popular place where couples would meet up for some privacy.
One of the women suddenly let out a scream and pointed at what, she thought, was the mothman.
“There reflecting in the car headlights are two huge glowing red eyes,” Ashley recounted. “This time everyone sees what the eyes belong to. This hairy, greyish manlike figure with muscular legs and giant wings folded along its back.
“At first the creature barely appears to acknowledge their presence. It just stumbles towards the doors of the power plant.
“Everyone screams […] so they peel out of the TNT plant and head back to the main road. Just as they think they are safe they realise the creature is chasing them.
“Roger (the driver) floors it as fast as the car can go, nearly 100mph, but the thing has like a 10ft wing span and it is managing to keep up.
“If that is not terrifying enough it is squeaking like a giant creepy mouse, like it is enjoying tormenting them. After a few minutes of pure horror it gives up.”
They went straight to the police where they were able to show the scratch marks on the car as evidence.
Over the coming months there were similar sightings as the town became a tourist attraction and conspiracy theorists began coming up with ideas.
There was talk that the “mothman” matched up with other alien stories and there were claims that people had seen “Men in Black” – rumoured to be government figures who try to cover up UFO sightings.
Then, a year after the first sightings, local newspaper reporter Mary Hyre and other residents began to dream of a tragedy that involved drowning and a river.
Tragedy did strike in December 1967, when the bridge over the River Ohio did collapse with many people out Christmas shopping and 46 people died with many drowning to death.
After that, sightings in Point Pleasant ceased but similar stories have emerged in other disasters. In 1986, there were claims it was spotted in Ukraine shortly before the Chernobyl disaster and others believed they saw it in New York City before the September 11 terrorist attacks.
By email@example.com (Tim Hanlon)