The history of mankind is riddled with the weird and the wonderful; bizarre people, strange places and odd events. For centuries, we’ve told each other fantastic stories around campfires and in darkened rooms. Tales of ghosts, UFOs, and conspiracies, but are these stories exactly that: Stories? There’s only one way to find out! Join me as I dive down the rabbit hole and into… the Unexplained Files.
This week: The Mothman.
Point Pleasant, Virginia, 1966. One cold November evening, a local man (the exquisitely named Woody Derenberger) was driving home when he saw the road was blocked. The blockage, according to Woody, was a large, grey object. He pulled his car to a halt and watched in amazement as a figure emerged from said object and strode towards him. The figure introduced himself as a ‘searcher’ and comforted Derenberger, telling him not to be afraid. He told Derenberger his name was ‘Indrid Cold’ and declared that he would return, before climbing back aboard his strange craft, which promptly rose up and out of sight.
Baffled, Woody Derenberger rushed home, told his wife, then called the police and the press. For the town of Point Pleasant, this was just the tip of an extremely weird iceberg.
A few weeks later, two young couples head to a well-known local lovers’ lane, looking for a little excitement. They were in for an evening they would never forget. Their fun was interrupted when, through the darkness, they saw something. Or rather, something saw them. Cowering in the relative safety of their car, they were staring at a pair of glowing red eyes.
Suitably freaked out, uttering popular 60s exclamations like “Gadzooks!” and “Jinkies!” (probably), they made like bananas, and split. (I promise, no more 60s gags.) The problem was, their new red-eyed friend followed. Not on foot. By air. According to the bunch of youngsters, their assailant was sporting a “ten-foot wingspan”. And so began the myth of the Mothman.
Hold Your Horses!
Kids? In the sixties? Surely, they were just high AF? Not so fast, my sceptical reader! Y’see, a few days earlier, five grave diggers saw the winged menace swooping over their heads. I imagine you’re now, in full-on disbeliever mode, envisioning a town full of drunks who can’t invoke pink elephants, so these poor folks end up with some flying monstrosity. Thing is, the town’s chilling new occupant was spotted several times over the next few months, by dozens of terrified residents.
Upon seeing the Mothman, witnesses would be filled with dread, and a sense of foreboding. That foreboding paid off well and truly when, a little over a year after Woody Derenberger’s run in with Indrid Cold and the first sighting of the Mothman, in December of 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed. 46 people were killed.
Make Your Mind Up Time.
So?! With explanations from aliens, herons, to owls, many different theories have been offered up for what the Mothman was. Mass hallucination/hysteria and mistaken identity being the most common theories.
No doubt mass hallucination/hysteria is a powerful phenomenon, and during these times of stress, the suggestion of mistaken identity becomes all the more plausible. See, the thing is, I’m not sure I buy it…
Dozens of plausible witnesses reporting separate events, and at different times of day: is it possible that someone can mistake an owl for a tall humanoid? Among the early cases, some of the witnesses reported sightings before any word of ‘Mothman’ had got around, so they couldn't have been influenced by rumour and conjecture. And it’s all the weirder when we consider the encounter with Indrid Cold. Witnesses later came forward and said they’d seen Derenberger talking to Cold and later, many more townsfolk would have odd encounters with Cold themselves.
It’s all too easy to shout ‘Hoax!’ (or more recently ‘Fake News’) when faced with something that we don’t, or can’t, understand, but in the case of the Mothman, maybe, just maybe, reality is stranger than fiction.
RATING: 1=Bollocks 2=Not convinced 3=Possibly… 4=Compelling stuff 5=Holyshittheskyisfalling
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For more on the Mothman, check out the amazing episode 'Point Pleasant' on The Unresolved Podcast, or, for a more light-hearted and sweary review, check out the Those Conspiracy Guys podcast episode.
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In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.