In early November 1966, grave diggers at a cemetery in West Virginia were interrupted by a great shadow gliding across the tombstones and disappearing over a mound of trees. In the dark, it was hard to tell, but it definitely didn't seem like your usual cemetery fowel. The workers later claimed that it was a flying man, first coining the term “Mothman.”
Following this encounter, resistants began to see a large creature with ten-foot wings crouching on cars and flying low over rooftops, with large red eyes that seemed to “glow like bicycle reflectors." As the frenzy around the sightings grew, the media caught whiff and began to cover more in-depth. It was no longer just a West Virginia deal, but suddenly a national question. Who is Mothman?
Amongst the encounters, wildlife biologist Dr. Robert L. Smith explained the contrary. This creature was probably the sandhill crane – a very large bird with red eyes which might have veered from its usual migration route. The professor claimed that because bird is unrecognizable for most, people might assume it was something else entirely. But in 1967 – a year after the first sighting – tragedy struck Virginia. The Silver Bridge, spanning across the Ohio River, very suddenly collapsed - resulting in 48 casualties and many injured. Never mind a failed suspension chain. The Mothman was immediately to blame and there was no turning back. The legend grew to stay from then on.
Since the events in the 1960s, the legend of Mothman prevails. The creature has now been seen all over the nation, including but definitely not limited to, the Logan Square area of Chicago. It has thrived in popular culture, the cult depiction of a large flying creature sketched into the world of realty TV and books on the supernatural. And the home to the legend? Mount Pleasant, West Virginia holds an yearly Mothman Festival which includes not only a Mothman Museum and Research Center, but a 12-foot-tall metal statue of the creature. The event is in the 3rd week of September. With some convincing, ScienceFM might go. But who knows. Maybe Chicago will get another good look at that big flying man sometime soon.