The Mothman is a creature reportedly seen in the Charleston and Point Pleasant areas of West Virginia from November 12, 1966, to December 1967. Most observers describe the Mothman as a winged man-sized creature with large reflective red eyes and large wings. The creature was sometimes reported as having no head, with its eyes set into its chest.
A number of hypotheses have been presented to explain eyewitness accounts, ranging from misidentification and coincidence, to paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories.
The word “Mothman” was an invention by an Ohio newspaper copyeditor, after the first news stories of the “Big Bird” sightings appeared.
A large collection of first-hand material about the Mothman is found in John Keel’s 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies, in which Keel lays out the chronology of the Mothman and what he claims to be related parapsychological events in the area, including UFO activity, Men in Black encounters, poltergeist activity, Bigfoot and black panther sightings, animal and human mutilations, precognitions by witnesses, and the December 15 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge spanning the Ohio River.
Keel’s first book was the basis of a 2002 film, The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Debra Messing, and Will Patton, directed by Mark Pellington. A companion book called The Eighth Tower, also released in 1975, was derived from material edited from The Mothman Prophecies by the publishers.
In the May-June 2002 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer, journalist John C. Sherwood, a former business associate of UFO hoaxer Gray Barker, published an analysis of private letters between Keel and Barker during the period of Keel’s investigation. In the article, “Gray Barker’s Book of Bunk”, Sherwood documented significant differences between what Keel wrote at the time of his investigation and what Keel wrote in his first book about the Mothman reports, raising questions about the book’s accuracy.
Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, in conjunction with Sony/Screen Gems studio and as noted in the documentary film by David Grabias, “In Search of the Mothman”, served as one of the fictional movie’s two publicity spokespersons (Keel being the other, although Keel’s involvement was limited by health concerns).
Andy Colvin, a photographer and documentary filmmaker who claims to have seen the Mothman, has produced two books and a reality series on Mothman called The Mothman’s Photographer, featuring John Keel and almost 50 witnesses. Colvin’s sister took a snapshot of him in 1973 that allegedly shows a Garuda in the background.