TheMothMan Wikia

The following is a Roane County Reporter article from Thursday, February 14th 2002 titled "Memories of Mothman" by Jim Cooper

Memories of Mothman

Roane County High School teacher George Dudding points to a drawing of the TNT area where Mothman was first sighted in 1966. Dudding was a sophomore at Point Pleasant High School at the time.

Dudding was in Pt. Pleasant when sighting took place

By Jim Cooper


The current feature film "The Mothman Prophecies" has generated excitement over the mythical Mason County monster that hasn't been experienced since... well, since George Dubbing was a student at Point Pleasant High School.

"There was a lot of excitement," said Dubbing, a 16-year-old sophomore when several people claimed to have seen Mothman in the fall of 1966.

"We believe they had seen something up there."

Up there was a mysterious tract of land outside of Point Pleasant known as the TNT area. Two couples were in the isolated area late one night when they were supposedly confronted by a seven to eight foot-tall creature they described as half human and half bird with glowing red eyes.

Dubbing recalls that the terrified couples ran to their car and made it to what the locals called Ohio River Road. The creature reportedly took off vertically and pursued the vehicle all the way to the city limits during a chase that was said to have reached 100 miles an hour.

The couples reported what had happened to a deputy sheriff, who returned with them to the scene but could find no trace of what later was dubbed Mothman. An eerie high-pitched whine came over the police radio, though, Dudding said, a typical feature of subsequent sightings.

Now a teacher at Roane County High School, Dudding can recall the events that followed Mothman's first appearance.

"I believe it was the next night that things fired up again," he said.

Dudding said a family went to visit friends who lived in the TNT area, an approximately 1,000 acre site where the government manufactured explosives during World War II. They got out of their car and Mothman stepped in front of them. They rushed to the house and locked the door.

"They said it came on the porch and even tried to look in the windows," Dudding said.

"They say the woman is bothered by the whole thing yet today. It was supernatural, something they couldn't explain."

More sightings were reported and media descended on the area.

An article written at the time was featured in a recent special about the phenomenon televised on the FX network. Dudding watched the show and was surprised to notice a familiar name.

"It was 'Search for the Mothman'" Dudding said. "I could read part of the newspaper account and it mentioned Roger Scarberry and Steve Mallette. I said 'Hey, I have a textbook that once belonged to that guy.'"

Mallette, one of the first people to report seeing Mothman, was ahead of Dudding in high school. One of his old history textbooks eventually was passed down to Dudding, who kept it after purchasing it from a friend for 50 cents.

"It was in bad shape and it was discontinued so I couldn't sell it," he said. "it was the only textbook I kept. It was at my Dad's house when he died in 1980 and since then it's been on a shelf in my basement."

Dudding said he had intended to give the book to Eugene Rayburn, the friend he had purchased it from, but never got around to it. It had been all but forgotten on the shelf until the television show.

As he leafed through the old textbook, Dudding came to page three. What was there, just below the Chapter 1 heading "The Study of Modern Problems," was a crude drawing of Mothman - probably drawn by an actual eye witness.

"When I got to that page I couldn't believe it," Dudding said. "Back then, I didn't pay any attention to it."

But now the renewed interest in Mothman has stirred Dudding to recall growing up near Point Pleasant on a farm just a couple of miles from the TNT area. He recently saw the movie starring Richard Gere because it is based on events that happened where he grew up.

"I was disappointed they didn't film it in my hometown," Dudding said of the movie shot in Pennsylvania, adding that he enjoyed watching it nonetheless. The movie's link between Mothman and the December 1967 fall of the Silver Bridge in which 46 people died was a stretch, he said, although someone had reported seeing the creature flying around the bridge some time before the collapse.

Dudding thinks Point Pleasant will receive a short-term boost in tourism as a result of the Mothman's resurgence and says he plans of purchasing a Mothman T-shirt.

But he already has a unique souvenir in the eyewitness drawing of Mothman - a creature explained by some as a large crane and by others as something from outer space, a product of toxic waste in the TNT area, the curse of Shawnee chieftain Cornstalk or a prophet of doom.

"Well, It's hard to say. I'm not really sure what it was," Dudding said. "It's a mystery to me."

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Mothman behind the red eyes by Jeff Wamsley (Page 32)