There's so much to this topic that we won't be covering. Things like encounters with Men in Black are still a little 'out there' even for Wolfenhaas. So for this final part of our coverage of the Mothman phenomenon, we'll focus on sightings outside of Point Pleasant in 1966.
We will also answer the question of what exactly Mothman is, or, we'll try. Getting lost in the weeds on the weirder theories is half the fun after all.
Dragon Man of Xiaon Te Dam - Mothman's Big Debut
Flying humanoids are a dime a dozen. They could all be modern myth making, or they could all be Mothman. Before Point Pleasant there was another sighting of a winged humanoid in the days leading up to a great tragedy.
The Xiaon Te Dam was located in Southeastern China. Roughly 15,000 people lived in its shadow in the early 20th century.
January 1926 found the villagers in terror after they started seeing a dark manlike creature with massive wings around the dam. Sightings of what became known as the 'Man-Dragon' intensified until the dam failed on 26 January 1926.
Water rushed out and drowned the countryside, and everyone living in it. Eyewitnesses claimed to have seen the 'Man-Dragon' above the dam just before it collapsed.
The Freiburg Shrieker - Mothman the Hero
German miners have always been a superstitious lot. It makes sense, working in the darkness of the inner Earth can be a spooky experience.
The legend goes that in September 1978 a group of miners encountered something terrifying on their way to work. Upon reaching the entrance to their mine, they found the way blocked by a large man wearing a black cape.
Calling out to the man, they approached. The 'man' turned to look at them, and what they at first thought was a cape unfurled into two huge wings. Further attempts at approaching the creature, and the mine it guarded, caused it to let out an unholy screech.
The miners described the sound as “50 men screaming together”. Bravely the miners backed off and decided to wait it out. They waited for about an hour when they heard, and felt, an underground explosion.
Their mine collapsed, and had the 'Freiburg Shrieker' not intervened, they would have been buried alive.
The Blackbird of Chernobyl – Ukrainian Mothman
Mothman may have hit the big time after its appearance in Point Pleasant, but it seems the birdlike creature wasn't done yet. Legend has it that a similar creature was sighted in the days leading up to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986. It was the worst nuclear power disaster in history.
According to the legend, the Blackbird of Chernobyl was a tall, dark, humanoid creature with massive wings, no neck, and large glowing red eyes. The description is very similar to what we got from eyewitnesses in Point Pleasant.
Several workers at the Chernobyl nuclear plant allegedly reported seeing the beast over the facility. Witnesses claimed they were beset by nightmares after seeing the “Black Bird”. Could the dreams have been stress induced due to working at a nuclear power plant? Sure.
In a familiar twist, the witnesses started receiving strange phone calls. John Keel also reportedly received weird phone calls during the Mothman's run in Point Pleasant.
Robert Maxwell, an archaeologist from Sydney, Australia, is the main source for this legend. He completed two expeditions in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl. According to Maxwell he heard about the Black Bird of Chernobyl during his time there.
Chicago Mothman - Just Hanging Out?
Mothman has long been associated with impending tragedy. That's why, when residents of Chicago started seeing something similar above their city in 2011, they were freaked out.
Between 2011 and 2017 sightings of a large humanoid with massive wings were reported all over Chicago. Most of these sightings occur near large bodies of water. Could Mothman have been trying to warn residents of Chicago of the explosion and partial collapse at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant in 2018?
Eyewitnesses in Chicago described the creature as a tall humanoid with distinct arms and legs, covered in dark fur, and flying on its membranous wings.
Some believe this Mothman to be nothing more than a drone wearing a costume. It's plausible! Either way, this Mothman is still being seen to this day.
Lon Strickler, of Phantoms and Monsters, wrote about a sighting that happened in October 2019. According to the witness:
“I had just parked my car to see my boyfriend at the time (Pilsen community). It was October 2019. I parked almost 2 blocks from his building. It was really late and I was walking past the under of this bridge. Standing underneath reminiscing, I saw a 7-foot humanoid, with veiny, bat-like wings. Faced towards the wall, not directly staring at me but just standing. I got super creeped out so I started walking to where I needed to be. But when I look back I know for sure that I saw something very strange.”
So you never know, perhaps the Mothman has taken a liking to the windy city.
So What is Mothman?
Here comes the wacky part. Everyone with an internet connection and a desire to be a part of the conversation has put their hat in the ring. The most grounded, if inaccurate and boring, explanation is Dr. Robert L. Smith's Sandhill Crane idea. The main issue with his theory is that the description of Mothman doesn't line up with a Sandhill Crane at all.
The next theory is that Mothman is an extraterrestrial being. It came here on Indrid Cold's spaceship, or one of the others seen over Point Pleasant in the weeks leading up to the Mothman's first appearance. What exactly being an alien moth-monster has to do with showing up at catastrophic events is up for debate.
Somewhat related to the extraterrestrial theory is that the Mothman is a time traveler. Somewhere in our deep future there exists an avian being with an innate interest in catastrophic events.
Another popular theory is that the Mothman is actually a mutant. To believe this theory, you have to subscribe to the TMNT school of genetics. The idea is that the local wildlife was mutated by the production and storage of munitions in the TNT area of Point Pleasant. Unfortunately, that's not how mutation works. You're going to end up with a very cancerous creature, not a humanoid bird.
Chief Cornstalk's curse is also quite a popular theory. The curse came about following the wrongful execution of the chief by European colonists. Cornstalk's final days were spent in fort Point Pleasant.
After several bloody battles between the native inhabitants of the area around the Ohio River and the settlers, Chief Cornstalk sought peace. He believed that the two groups could live in harmony with one another. Unfortunately not all of his people agreed, and neither did the foreign settlers.
Chief Cornstalk went to the colonial fort on 7 November 1777. He tried to initiate peace talks with the colonists. According to Chief Cornstalk's testimony, the British were trying to get the Native American tribes on their side for a war against the separatist settlers.
The soldiers at the fort were having none of this 'peace' malarkey. They imprisoned Chief Cornstalk, and did the same to his son when the latter came to convince them to see his father on November 9th.
While the tribes living in the area weren't united, they all respected Cornstalk. He could have been a great uniting force. It wasn't meant to be.
On 10 November 1777, two men from the fort went out hunting along the river. Their comrades in the fort soon heard gunfire and rushed to the scene. Native American raiders had killed both hunters. The soldiers returned to their fort and murdered Cornstalk in their rage.
As he lay dying, he said:
“I was the border man’s friend. Many times I have saved him and his people from harm. I never warred with you, but only to protect our wigwams and lands. I refused to join your paleface enemies with the red coats. I came to the fort as your friend and you murdered me. You have murdered by my side, my young son…. For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood.”
The monument built in honor of the colonists was twice destroyed by lightning. Spooky.
Whether Mothman is an alien, mutant, curse, demon, drone, angel, or gargoyle, it remains a compelling story.