The Mothman, the Myth, the Legend

Who is Mothman?

Well, according to a clever text post circulating around the internet, he’s “half moth…half man…….100% boyfriend material.” Amusing, but not too informative. And obviously, this legendary figure has had his appearances in comic books, video games, and the occasional poorly-made TV special, but right now we’ll just be focusing on the one, the true, and the original figure: the red-eyed cryptid from Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

So, according to Wikipedia (the age-old source for things of any real importance), the Mothman is a creature “reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register dated November 16, 1966, titled ‘Couples See Man-Sized Bird … Creature … Something’.”

Interesting. But we could go deeper.

Now recently I indulged myself by watching the 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, based upon John A. Keel’s book bearing the same name, which of course was inspired by the events mentioned above. The movie features Richard Gere as the tortured protagonist and Laura Linney as the blonde cop sidekick. Though it is described as a “spine-tingling, supernatural thriller that will rattle your nerves and shake your beliefs”, I just found it highly entertaining. However, it did cover some important details concerning Mothman’s story.

This movie also seemed like a metaphor in which industry is the greatest evil and Mothman’s a communist fighting the capitalist agenda, but notwithstanding.

For one, it emphasized how Mothman is associated with precognition, or being able to foresee catastrophic events (in this case, the collapse of Point Pleasant’s Silver Bridge) before they occur. Consequently, it is a common belief that a Mothman sighting means disaster and tragedy are nigh. This doesn’t exactly mean that he himself brings calamity. In fact, one might argue that he has good intentions, trying to warn humanity of danger. So to paint him as a blood-thirsty monster out to hunt and kill humans like some television depictions do is kind of silly.

This doesn’t mean he isn’t a chilling figure. Moths overall are known to be a bit spooky. In the movie, one of the characters, Alexander Leek, actually stated that “in ancient cultures, the moth represents a form of the psyche, or the soul immortally trapped in the hellish death realms.” This could explain why a moth-like humanoid would be particularly feared and revered.

Also, the movie pointed out that those who see Mothman up close are described as having inflamed, swollen red eyes afterwards. Mothman himself is described as having glowing red eyes. Coincidence? I think not.

One thing the movie touched on but I feel didn’t sufficiently explain is Indrid Cold, who is somehow associated with Mothman. But my description of him will have to be saved for another post.

And as a final fun fact, there is an annual festival held in Point Pleasant devoted to the Mothman legend. I hope one day to go.

© 2017 Obliquity of the Ecliptic

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