Conspiracy Corner: Behind Red Eyes

Harmon Lanager, Staff Writer

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From November 12th, 1966 to December 5th, 1967, the sleepy town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia lived in the shadow of a red-eyed, black-winged creature known only as “The Mothman”. But that was not the only strange thing going on in the area. Numerous reports of strange lights in the sky, flying objects that matched no regular plane, and what would commonly be known as “UFO’s” came flooding in.  

Among the odd phenomena were the frequent visits Point Pleasant residents would receive from black-suited men, expressing a keen interest in the Mothman and those who claimed to have witnessed it. Mary Hyre, who was helping to investigate the Mothman sightings alongside John Keel (author of The Mothman Propechies), claimed that these men in black asked her extensive questions on her investigations. She stated that, quite unsettlingly, the men never blinked once the entirety of their interview. 

The most frightening instance was one experienced by Mothman witness Connie Carpenter. On the morning of February 22nd, 1967, she was walking to school when a black car holding one these supposed “men-in-black” pulled up alongside her. The man inside ordered her to get in. When she refused, he grabbed her arm and attempted to force her into the vehicle. Luckily, Miss Carpenter managed to flee and get back to her house. A note was found slipped under her door the day after her terrifying encounter. It read, simply, “Be careful, girl. I can get you yet.” 

Throughout all of this, the Mothman kept up its regular appearances. Sightings occurred on November 7th, 20th, 21st, 28th, and 30th as well as December 4th, 6th, 7th, and 11th in 1966. These events carried on into the next year, 1967, with sightings on January 11th, May 19th, November 2nd and 16th 

With all of this, the tension over Point Pleasant was unbearable and only growing worse. It must have felt like it was all building up to something and, sadly, it appears it might just have been.  

On November 19th, 1967, Mary Hyre contacted John Keel to tell him of a strange dream she had. “I had a terrible nightmare,” she told him, “There were a lot of people drowning in the river and Christmas packages were floating everywhere in the water. It’s like something awful is going to happen.” 

Eerily enough, many in Point Pleasant claimed to have had prophetic dreams of some approaching disaster. And that disaster eventually arrived. On December 15th, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed. Forty-six people died in what is known as the deadliest bridge disaster in the United States. A few people have claimed to have seen the Mothman near the bridge the day of the collapse.  

And like that, the Mothman vanished just as mysteriously as it had arrived. Some have speculated that perhaps the creature was a sort of omen, a sign whose presence warns of coming tragedy. Considering that there have been reports of similar creatures outside Chernobyl the day of the infamous meltdown and inside New York shortly before the September 11th attacks, the appearance of the Mothman has become synonymous with catastrophe. 

It should be noted that, thirteen months after its arrival in 1966, the Mothman was never again seen in Point Pleasant. And with it faded the UFO’s and men-in-black, save a few straggling exceptions. Though the shadow of black wings was lifted from Point Pleasant, the mark left by the Mothman remains. Every year, the town holds a festival in remembrance with thousands of visitors from all over West Virginia and the nation. A museum keeps the Mothman’s memory alive with archived newspaper clippings and various displays. And a statue built in the creature’s likeness stands in the town square, the faint glow of its red eyes never truly fading. 

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