Ohio River Valley, 1966-1967: You have undoubtedly heard of The Mothman, one of the most famous cryptids in the world. You’ve also probably heard that the mysterious creature hails from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, where it was seen over 100 times in a 13-month period between 1966-1967, before the Silver Bridge collapsed into the Ohio River, killing 46 people. After that tragedy, Mothman sightings stopped as suddenly as they began.
So what’s Mothman doing on a blog—and in a book—on Ohio monsters? Well, the Silver Bridge connected West Virginia to Ohio, and monsters, like all animals, aren’t confined by state borders: The Mothman was reportedly seen at least three times in the state of Ohio during its year long reign of terror and high strangeness in the Ohio River Valley.
In the first instance, a gray, man-sized bird-like creature with a 10-foot wingspan chased the car of a 17-year-old boy on the highway along the river.
In the second, four women driving at night found their car “buzzed” by a huge bird with a brown and silvery body and large red eyes.
And in the third and final instance, a pair of women driving late at night saw a large, white creature with curving, 10-foot wings and long hair in the road in front of them that then soared straight up into the sky.
No one really knows what exactly people in the Ohio River Valley were seeing that year, but theories abound: Was it a demon? An extraterrestrial? An ultra-terrestrial? A mutant bird? A man-made construction? The result of a curse?
One of theory was that many Mothman sightings were the result of people mistaking owls for bigger, scarier creatures. And, another, related theory is that, if we can be permitted to replace one species of monster with another, that the creatures people were seeing were actually some sort of giant, undiscovered monstrous owl. But more on that next week…
Illustration by Janie Walland