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Mothman and the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant

The Silver Bridge Collapsed 50 Years Ago After a Series of Bizarre Mothman Sightings

After a series of bizarre Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant, the Silver Bridge collapsed into the icy waters of the Ohio River and took 46 lives with it.

“I had a terrible nightmare,” Ohio reporter Mary Hyre told journalist John Keel on November 19, 1967, just under a month before the tragedy struck. “There were a lot of people drowning in the river and Christmas packages were floating everywhere in the water. Its like something awful is going to happen.”

50 years ago a bizarre rash of strange occurrences and sightings of a creature that came to be known as the Mothman in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, culminated in the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15th, 1967. The bridge took 46 lives with it as it plunged into the dark, icy waters of the Ohio River.

After that, the Mothman sightings stopped.

Was the mysterious entity there to warn the community of the impending tragedy, or was it the cause? Of course, no one has any idea what Mothman actually was. Some speculate that it may have been a large bird – a heron or sandhill crane that might have wandered out of its migration route. Since those types of birds were not native to the area, it’s easy to see how locals could mistake one for a flying man with a 10-foot wingspan, glowing eyes, and the ability to keep up with a moving vehicle, right?

Mothman in the Archives

Mothman art
Mothman by Herman James, from the Monsters in America cryptid art show

Mothman Book Picks

If you want to learn more about the Mothman legend, as well as the strange events that gripped Point Pleasant before the disaster, here’s some recommended reading:

Photo of Mothman in Point Pleasant?
Mothman…or a bird carrying snake?

Mothman may not be stirring up trouble in Point Pleasant these days, but that doesn’t mean he’s retired.

Chicago Mothman

While its not related to the Silver Bridge tragedy, an increasing number of encounters with a bat-like flying humanoid are being reported in the Chicago area. The most recent happened in October, when a couple was attacked in their car in Piotrowski Park. My friend Allison Jornlin of MilwaukeeGhosts.com has been investigating and sharing videos from the locations at youtube.com/mothman.

Is something bad going to happen in Chicago?

New Mothman Documentary Relives the Unexplained Phenomena in 1960s Point Pleasant

Relive the Mothman sightings in Point Pleasant through the eyes of the residents who experienced it in this new documentary from Small Town Monsters.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the tragic Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, WV, and the bizarre series of events preceding it. Small Town Monsters, the production company behind the recent documentaries Minerva Monster, Beast of Whitehall, and Boggy Creek Monster, set their sights on the elusive Mothman to examine the unexplained phenomena locals experienced in the 1960s with new interviews and first hand accounts. Cryptozoologist, author, and television personality Lyle Blackburn narrates.

Small Town Monsters returns for their fourth cryptozoology documentary! The Mothman of Point Pleasant chronicles the historic happenings that took place over the span of 13 months in 1966-67 in West Virginia. After a late-night run in with a freakish flying “thing” near an abandoned munitions factory, four people report their sighting to local police which sparks a “media frenzy”. Over the following year more strange happenings take place as Men in Black and UFOs descend on the town.

But what actually happened in Point Pleasant? Learn the true story behind the infamous Mothman accounts from the people who lived them in this follow-up to STM’s award-winning “Boggy Creek Monster”.

Small Town Monsters is launching a Kickstarter campaign February 2 to fund post-production.

This documentary may be making it’s debut at the 2017 Mothman Festival. Watch for more info!

Update: The Mothman of Point Pleasant is now streaming on Amazon

Mothman Photographed in Point Pleasant?

50 years after the first sighting, a Point Pleasant man believes he captured a photo of the notorious creature.
Mothman photographed in Point Pleasant?
A Point Pleasant man believes a photo he took on November 20th resembles Mothman.

Has mothman resurfaced in Point Pleasant? WCHS Eye Witness news in West Virginia is reporting that a man who recently moved to Point Pleasant and claims to have been unaware of the notorious legend captured a photo of something that looks similar to Mothman Sunday evening.

The first sighting of Mothman occurred 50 years ago on November 12, 1966. Five men digging a grave in a cemetery near Clendenin, West Virginia saw what they described as “a brown human being” fly low over their heads from some nearby trees. Several days later on November 15 two couples driving in a place outside of town known as the TNT Area were followed by a “large flying man with ten-foot wings” and glowing red eyes.

Sightings of the creature, as well as UFOs and men in black, continued throughout the next year. The bizarre phenomena seemingly culminated in the December 15, 1967 when the Silver Bridge collapsed, plunging rush hour traffic into the frigid waters of the Ohio River. The disaster killed 46 people. Afterward, the strange happenings stopped and Mothman was never seen again.

Until now, apparently.

Related:

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, was driving along State Route 2 when he saw something jump from tree to tree. He stopped on the side of the road to get some photos, catching what appears to be a winged figure with long legs flying through the air.

According to the report, it seems locals such as Carolin Harris, owner of The Mothman Diner, believe the photos could be of Mothman.

Wreckage of the Silver Bridge collapse
Wreckage of the Silver Bridge

Due to the Silver Bridge collapse, Mothman has come to be viewed as a bad omen who either appears to warn of impending disaster, or is the cause of it. If this is Mothman, what doom does his presence portend?

Celebrate the Bizarre in Point Pleasant at the Annual Mothman Festival

Point Pleasant celebrates it’s bizarre history with the annual Mothman Festival, featuring guest speakers, vendors, screenings and tours.
Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

While you’re there: Mothman Roadtrip – 6 Things to do in Point Pleasant

The town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia has an unusual claim to fame: a mysterious creature they call Mothman. The first sighting occurred in November of 1966, kicking off 13 months of unexplained phenomena that left locals shaken. By December of 1967, there had been over a hundred reported encounters with the winged figure.

On December 15th, 1967, the Silver Bridge connecting Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio, collapsed into the icy waters of the Ohio River. Loaded with rush-hour traffic, the bridge suffered a devastating failure when a minute defect in an eye-bar chain assembly gave way. 46 lives were lost.

Mothman has not been seen in the area since.

Except, of course, during the Mothman Festival.

Mothman sighting at the annual festival in Point Pleasant

The 14th annual Mothman Festival is happening September 19-20 at Mothman Park in downtown Point Pleasant. The “weird little gathering” started in 2002, and continues to grow with thousands of visitors every year.

This year’s festivities include:

  • Live music
  • Mothman 5k
  • Miss Mothman Pageant
  • Mothman face painting for the kids
  • The Mothman Prophecies Screening
  • Tours of the infamous TNT Area

Guest speakers include Chad Lambert, John Frick, Sharon Shull & Dottie Campbell, Joedy Cook, Bill Brock, Lyle Blackburn, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, Susan Sheppard, Neal Parks, Ken Gerhard, Fred Saluga, and Stan Gordon.

For more info go mothmanfestival.com

Are you going to the Mothman Festival? Send photos to info@cultofweird.com or tag #cultofweird on Instagram.

Mothman Roadtrip: 6 Things to do in Point Pleasant, WV

If it’s mothman you’re hoping to encounter, these things to do in Point Pleasant, WV just might get you closer to the legend.
Mothman roadtrip in Point Pleasant, WV
The Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Point Pleasant, West Virginia is the setting for a series of bizarre sightings of a creature described by witnesses as a demonic bird with the body of a man, ragged bat wings, and glowing red eyes. Mothman, as it came to be known, was first spotted on November 12, 1966 by gravediggers when it swooped out of the trees over their heads. On the 15th, two couples driving in the TNT area witnessed the creature in their headlights. It then proceeded to chase after them.

The next day, the Point Pleasant Register ran the headline: “Couples See Man-Sized Bird…Creature…Something.”

More sightings and other strange events occurred over the next year, including over a hundred reported mothman sightings, UFOs, and even Men in Black threatening witnesses into silence. These events seemingly culminated in the disastrous collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15, 1967.

After that, the mothman sightings stopped.

Did the creature cause the disaster, or was it trying to warn of impending doom? No one knows for sure. But if you want to investigate the legend yourself, here are six mothman-related things to do in Point Pleasant:

Visit the Mothman Museum

Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, WV

The Mothman Museum and Research Center was opened by author Jeff Wamsley (Mothman: Behind the Red Eyes) in 2005. The museum is has videos, recordings and newspaper clippings, as well as props from the 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, which was loosely based on the book by John Keel.

While you’re here, grab a t-shirt and a plush mothman from the gift shop.

Enjoy a Mothman Cookie at The Coffee Grinder

Mothman cookie at The Coffee Grinder

Where can you find green frosted mothman cookies with red eyes? The Coffee Grinder in downtown Point Pleasant. Get one for me, while you’re at it! Mothman looks delicious.

Attend the Mothman Festival

Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

The Mothman Festival is held annually during the third weekend of September in downtown Point Pleasant. The event features vendors, live music, guest speakers, mothman tours, a mothman pancake eating contest and, of course, the Miss Mothman pageant.

Explore the TNT Area

TNT area where mothman was first sighted

The TNT area is the site of an abandoned World War II munitions plant called West Virginia Ordnance Works. It was here that the first recorded sighting of Mothman occurred, and where the creature was considered to be most active. Hayrides and guided shuttle tours let you walk the paths where mothman once lurked and explore the bunkers where the legend was born.

Go to www.mothmanlives.com for more info.

Take a Selfie with the Mothman Statue

Point Pleasant Mothman statue

This stainless steel sculpture with creepy red eyes by artist Bob Roach is located in Mothman Park on 4th Street in downtown Point Pleasant. Stop and take a photo with mothman.

If you do, share it with us or tag your photo #cultofweird on Instagram!

Visit the Silver Bridge Memorial

Memorial for the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant

Locals worried that the historic K&M Railroad bridge would fall into the river someday. As it turned out, it was the more modern Silver Bridge downriver that collapsed unexpectedly. It was rush hour, and a hairline fracture in an eyebar support gave way, sending 31 vehicles into the icy waters of the Ohio River. 46 lives were lost.

The memorial is located along the Ohio River where the bridge once stood.

A scale model of the original Silver Bridge can be seen at the Point Pleasant River Museum, as well as an eyebar assembly from the collapsed bridge.

Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant, WV

If you go to any of these locations, I’d love to see your photos! When you share them be sure to tag and/or mention Cult of Weird.

#cultofweird

Did I miss something? Tell me about it in the comments below!