The Mothman: Good Samaritan Or Angel Of Death?

By John Popham

October 29, 2022

3d illustration of the Mothman
Photo: Getty Images

Hoping to see the Mothman this Halloween?

It’s probably best if you don’t since seeing the winged creature is almost always followed by death or tragedy.

But who or what is he? The Do Go On podcast covered the cryptid with a special guest Nick Mason (not the Pink Floyd drummer). The sightings began in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the 1960's and have continued to the 21st century.

“On the 12 of November 1966, five grave diggers were working in a cemetery digging graves,” said Matt Stewart, one of the show's hosts. “Then all of the sudden they saw a winged human-like creature fly over their heads. This is thought to be the first known sighting of the creature now known as the Mothman.”

Days later, two couples on a double date saw a large flying man with a 10-foot wingspan and glowing red eyes standing in the road. The four young adults turned around and fled from the creature, only to find it once again blocking the street.

“They floored it and traveled up to 100 mph towards the township of Point Pleasant,” said Stewart. “As they drove though, the creature followed behind them cruising along. Some people saying it was like running at a cruising pace along the road but keeping up with them at 100mph. Others said it was flying overhead.”

The group told their local newspaper about the sighting and naturally the reporters were a bit skeptical. Who would believe in a massive, winged man with glowing eyes that could keep up with a car driving at high speeds. That is until sightings began happening in nearby towns as well. A year later, the Silver Bridge, which connects Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio collapsed, killing 46 people.

“When the bridge collapsed people started connecting the tragedy to the Mothman sightings,” said Stewart. “John Keel wrote a book in 1975 called The Mothman Prophecies. Claiming that the sightings were precognitions and premonitions that the Silver Bridge was going to collapse.”

The creature’s appearance then became associated with foretelling tragedy. Many people have said it appeared in cities across the northeast just before a terrible event. Others claim the cryptid is causing the events.

A horror concept. Of a man looking at a mysterious monster Mothman figure, flying in the sky. Silhouetted against the moon at night. With a grunge, textured edit.
Photo: Getty Images

“The other theory that goes around is that it's part of a centuries old curse,” said Stewart. “In the late 18th century a Shawnee chief named Keigh-tugh-gua, anglified to Chief Cornstalk, was brutally executed with his son and others on a diplomatic mission.”

It is said that as the chief lay dying, he cursed the land which later became the area stricken by falling bridges and exploding coal mines. The source Stewart found, which he said was pretty shaky, listed out disasters that have occurred in that region and attributed them, as well as the Mothman, to the curse.

What do you think? Have you heard of the Mothman before? Some sightings of the harbinger of doom have been as recent as 2021, so whatever it is maybe, it’s still around. Most experts think it’s just a Sandhill Crane, but this wouldn’t be a very fun Halloween story if we went into that would it?

For more episodes of Do Go On, the historical comedy podcast can be found on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you listen to podcasts. Do you want more Mothman? Then check out the full episode, “The Mothman with guest NICK MASON,” or head up to Point Pleasant for the annual Mothman Festival.

If you want to be sure you’re listening to the podcasts everyone else is checking out, iHeartRadio has you covered.  

Every Monday, iHeartRadio releases a chart showing the most popular podcasts of the week. Stay up to date on what’s trending by checking out the chart here. There’s even a chart just for radio podcasts featuring all your favorite iHeartRadio personalities like Bobby Bones, Elvis Duran, Steve Harvey, and dozens of others. 

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