"Mutant monster or figment of some overheated imaginations? What is this strange creature terrorizing West Virginia? Some call it the Mothman!" - Opening Narration
- 1 Mothman on Unsolved Mysteries
- 2 MonsterQuest's Mothman Episode
- 3 The X-Files: Detour
Mothman on Unsolved Mysteries
On Season 13 Episode 26 of the Unsolved Mysteries television show, a 7 or 8 minutes long segment is featured which details the West Virginia legend of the Mothman. The episode premiered on July 29th 2002 on Spike TV.
Throughout the segment footage of the abandoned TNT area and Power Plant are shown as well Newspaper articles about the Mothman and an artist sketch of the creature. Mothman witnesses from 1966 are brought
on to tell their stories. Authors Jeff Wamsley and Donnie Sergent Jr. also feature in the episode as well as their book, Mothman: The Facts Behind The Legend. Near the end they show footage and images from the Silver Bridge Collapse.
Unsolved Mysteries begins it's section on the Mothman by showing quick clips of Mothman Witnesses Marcella Bennett and Tom Ury as well as visuals of dramatic recreations. Author Jeff Wamsley, who would later establish the Mothman Museum, appears in the program and says "I personally think that there was something up there that scared the wits out of most of the people who came face to face with it." Then, after a brief description of the creature, they begin to focus on the Scarberry and Mallette sighting from November 15th 1966 and explain The TNT Area to the audience.
Author Jeff Wamsley's comments are used along side the narration to tell the story. A recreation is shown as visual representation. A car full of teenagers is seen driving into an area near an abandoned building. The creature is represented by a vague shadowy figure recreated by practical effects and then the car drives off with the camera acting as the monster chasing them. The teens in the back seat frantically turn around to see out the back window.
The narration then moves on to the Marcella Bennett sighting from November 16th 1966. Marcella is featured once more to tell her story with an accompanying visual representation. She says "The creature looked like a man but it was over six foot tall and it had feathers". The recreation shows a woman carrying a small child in front of a house. She looks up as a dark shadow goes over her, the camera once again acting as the Mothman. She runs into the house and the creature is once again presented through practical effects as it moves across the front porch and looms in the window. Wings and feathers can be seen on the figure in the darkness.
Tom Ury then tells the story of his sighting from November 25th 1966. He says "It was a bird, a huge bird, that proceeded to circle my car". The recreation simply shows a man driving along a road and looking up through his windshield. A reflection in the glass shows a dark shape overhead.
- Scarberry and Mallette's Mothman Sighting (Nov 15th 1966)
- Marcella Bennett's Mothman Sighting (Nov 16th 1966)
- Tom Ury's Mothman Sighting (Nov 25th 1966)
Explanations Given / Ect. :
The episodes then discuss the Sand Hill crane explanation from the local newspapers at the time of 1966 and 67. Unsolved Mysteries also mentions the idea of Mothman as a mutation from the pollution of the TNT Area.
The strange animal mutilations and the Men In Black reports are also brought up in the segment. Marcella Bennett says "Residents of Point Pleasant would go out on farms and find their animals dead and maybe just the blood out or the heart gone, someone had removed the heart of the animal".
Then author Jeff Wamsley says "The Men In Black were strange out of town visitors who seemed to want to pretty much just quiet everything down. They would show up at people doorsteps and show up at their house at night."
On the subject of the local bridge disaster of December 15th 1967, the narrator says "After nearly a year of Mothman sightings, The Silver Bridge leading out of town suddenly collapsed." The narration also mentions the Mothman Prophecies film which was released, earlier that year, in January of 2002.
In author Donnie Sergent Jr.'s interview for the show he says "The Mothman has always been there and it will always be there. It's a local legend and now it's a worldwide legend. It will never fade away".The Mothman segment of the episode ends by saying "The Mothman is now more famous than ever. He has scared a lot of people, real or not".
Sources: Unsolved Mysteries Season 13 Episode 26 (2002) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unsolved_Mysteries_episodes#Spike_TV
"Witnesses around the world report seeing monsters. Are they real or imaginary? Science searches for answers" - MonsterQuest opening narration
MonsterQuest's Mothman Episode
MonsterQuest was an American television show which ran for four seasons from 2007 to 2010 on the History channel. The show focused on monsters of urban legends, presenting stories and eyewitness accounts as well as attempting to investigate into them.
On Wednesday February 10th 2010, episode 64 of the TV series was aired. This episode covered the Mothman of West Virginia folklore.
Point Pleasant WV Mothman Witnesses
The episode features interviews with Mothman witnesses from Point Pleasant, West Virginia who claim to have seen the creature in 1966. One of the original witnesses, Linda Scarberry, told the story of her sighting on November 15th 1966. Faye-Dewitt Leport then told of her sighting which was also from November of 1966. Tom Ury is shown briefly in the episode. An interview with Mothman Museum curator Jeff Wamsley is featured as well.
The topic of the Silver Bridge Collapse is brought up several times in the show. They also refer to Mothman being thought of as an omen of doom. The narration says "Many here believe that the beast foretold of the Silver Bridge Collapse by appearing in the months leading up to the disaster, a warning of sorts".
- Linda Scarberry's Mothman Sighting (November 15th 1966)
- Tom Ury's Mothman Sighting (November 25th 1966)
- Faye-Dewitt Leport's Mothman Sighting (November 1966)
Modern international reports of winged human-like creatures are also included in this episode. Such as a sighting in Wisconsin in 2006 and a sighting in California in 2009. It is implied through narration that these two sightings of winged humanoids could also be the Mothman or at least related in someway.
- Awohali's Winged Humanoid Sighting (Wisconsin - September 2006)
- Lamont Greer's Winged Humanoid Sighting (California - August 2009)
Owls And Eyeshine / Wisconsin Fields and Hills
In the episode, they repeatedly show owls as a possible explanation, displaying owls with red eye shine and comparing it to the Mothman legend. Skeptic Joe Nickell has posited the bard owl as an explanation for Mothman before, he appears on the show to explain this further. He says the bard owl "except for it's size, would be a very good fit for Mothman". An Ohio bird sanctuary is later featured. Jan Ferrell describes the size of bard owls and how their eyes reflect light.
Footage is used all throughout the episode of Wildlife expert, Mark Peterson leading an expedition into the Wisconsin wilderness along with author and researcher Nick Redfern. They state that they were looking for animals with eye-shine to examine. At one point during the hike, Redfern said "If we can get some sort of comparative data from other animals, we can either rule one in or rule it out." They eventually found some deer in a field and examined the eye-shine with a spotlight. The eyes were much too small and the shine was green. They found no owls but again mention owls having red eye shine.
Size Perception Experiment
MonsterQuest had Skeptic Joe Nickell conduct an experiment to test size perception. They constructed three Mothman shaped grey silhouettes with red bicycle reflectors for eyes. The small one being 2ft tall, the medium one 4ft tall and the large one being 8ft tall. They created somewhat of an obstacle course by placing these forms along a darkened road. The road was near the spot where the November 15th 1966 sighting is said to have taken place.
Several test subjects were then asked to drive along this road at night with a spotlight on the side of the car and a camera recording their reactions. As they drove, the light shined on the three silhouettes and lit up the bicycle reflectors. They were then asked by Nickell to estimate the height of the forms. In the episode, a montage then plays of the people listing sizes but it's sort of unclear as to which forms they are speaking of and the raw data or graphing is never fully shown to audience. One of the people in the episode taking the test is investigator John Frick.
Joe Nickell then states "You could look at some of the data and say they did a pretty good job judging height, it's important to note however that no fewer than three people on one of the targets doubled the size of it."
The silhouettes that were used in this experiment was later placed in the Mothman Museum and put on display in the window of the gift shop.
In the episode, witness testimony is frequently discussed. Chad Marsolek, a professor from the University of Minnesota, is brought on to explain memory and some of the flaws of perception. He posits "Weapon Focus" as something that might contribute to vague descriptions of the Mothman and the witnesses focus on the creature's eyes.
Professor Marsolek says "One might imagine that, especially glowing red eyes, would be the parts of the visual experience that are quite sealant. It's quite possible to be responsible for very good memory for the eyes but poorer memory maybe even distorted memory for the larger shape of whatever it was that was viewed."
Weapon focus is a factor affecting the reliability of eyewitness testimony. Weapon focus signifies a witness to a crime diverting his or her attention to the weapon the perpetrator is holding, thus leaving less attention for other details in the scene and leading to memory impairments later for those other details.
Why weapon focus occurs has been described a couple different ways. The first is the "automatic capture" explanation. This suggests that the attention paid to a weapon is automatic and unintentional. Studies have been performed that show that even if a subject is asked to ignore specific stimuli they are unable to thus eliciting an automatic response. However, other research shows that attention focus is not automatic and can be directed on command, especially if attention is already focused somewhere specific.
If attention is already focused away from a certain stimulus, then automatic capture is avoidable.These findings, however, are theoretical and need to be replicated in real world situations to really assess the usefulness of them. They show great promise that weapon focus effect and be counteracted by education on the topic, but they will remain theoretical until further research and implementation of the idea can be conducted.
Forensics sketch artist David E. Weaver of Mountain State University appears on the show. He describes how witness testimony can be effective in identifying culprits of crime but can also sometimes be very flawed.
The witnesses of the Mothman from 1966 are brought in to describe what they saw to the forensics artist so that he can do detailed sketches based on their accounts. Linda Scarberry and Faye Dewitt-Leport both appear in the show talking to the artist as he draws. These drawings are display at the end.
The drawing of Linda's description fits with what she's said before. The sketch has angel like wings behind the creature, a non-prominent head, no arms, human legs and large red eyes. The drawing of Faye's description matches what she said during the program about the Mothman being "crouched like a gargoyle". The image also has feathered wings spreading out like in her sighting. She didn't mention the creature having arms in her story but they are drawn anyway. Tom Ury is shown telling his description but the final photo of that sketch isn't really shown.
Lamont Greer, who had a winged humanoid sighting in 2009, also gets a sketch done by the sketch artist. What seems to be final photo of that sketch is shown at the end. David Weaver then attempts to do a "composite sketch" by combining all the drawings into a single form. He does this as a painting on a canvas.
The final product is a simple artwork of the Mothman, it features arms which is possibly inaccurate, but overall has somewhat of the shape that the witnesses are describing. The large wings are behind the creature, the body is muscular, the coloring is light grey and the red eyes are prominent.
Weaver says "we're drawing something that scientifically may or may not exist and yet these witnesses have huge similarities and were obviously traumatized. They definitely saw something." He goes on to say "These witnesses were true in they're interviews with me, as far as I can tell. The hope is more information will come forward."
Sources: MonsterQuest Episode 64 (2010) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weapon_focus http://cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/mq-mm-review/
The X-Files: Detour
"Detour" is the fourth episode of the fifth season of The X-Files that aired on November 23rd 1997. It written by Frank Spotnitz and directed by Brett Dowler. This episode briefly mentions The Mothman.
While traveling to a conference with Scully and two other FBI agents, Mulder stops at a roadblock to join a nearby investigation of attacks by an unidentified predator.
A pair of surveyors are working on plotting out an area of the forest in North Florida (Leon County, near Tallahassee, FL) when they are attacked by unseen assailants with glowing red eyes and killed.
Later in the day, a father, son, and their dog are hunting for possums in the same stretch of woods when they come across the abandoned equipment. Finding the equipment of one of the surveyors, the father orders his son to run home as fast as he can and not stop for anything. As the son and dog take off, he loads his shotgun amidst the sounds of rustling in the underbrush ahead. The sound of the father's gun stops the son and dog in their tracks. The dog growls and tries to run back the way they just came, but the boy is able to turn him around, and they continuing running out of the woods.
Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully are sharing a road trip with Agents Kinsley and Stonecypher, en route to a leadership and "team building" seminar. A visibly uncomfortable and annoyed Mulder is relieved when they are stopped at a roadblock by local police, who inform them that they seem to have had a shooting up ahead. Mulder decides to investigate.
Mulder briefly speaks with the boy's mother, who is frantic because no one will tell her what has happened to her husband. Making their way deeper into the woods, Scully and Mulder encounter more local law enforcement who inform the pair that they haven't found the body of the father, but have evidence of a shooting.
That night, at home, the boy tells his mother that he suspects his father is dead, as he was a good shot and if he had hit what he was shooting at, he'd have been home already. In the meantime, Mulder and Scully are at the hotel for the reception. Scully visits Mulder in his room with a plate of cheese, and Mulder informs her that no animals in the wild will attack the strongest member of its prey when a weaker target is available.
Later that night at the home of the family, the dog (Bo) is upset and begins barking. The mother goes out to fetch him and bring him back in the house, but when she tries, she sees that the door has been bolted from the inside. The boy (Louis) is cornered by one of the creatures and just barely manages to escape through the dog door where he runs into Mulder, informing him that "it" is in the house.
The next morning, law enforcement is on the scene at the house and Scully and Mulder discuss the previous night's happenings. Mulder mentions that they found some tracks outside which appear to be human, but that the weight distribution is all wrong. Also, the fact that the creature attacked and killed three grown men and disposed of the bodies, as well as luring the mother outside of the house in order to get to Louis suggests to Mulder that the creatures are paranormal in nature. That, combined with the population pressures as human habitation expands might be at work in these killings.
An expedition into the woods with law enforcement and Infrared devices proves fruitless, as one of the officers is attacked after having been separated from the rest and the creatures fail to appear on the radar. At this point, Mulder advances the possibility that the creature is related to the Mothman of Point Pleasant, WV. Shortly, Mulder and Scully lose their only other companion to the creatures (despite the fact that Scully is able to wound it with her pistol), and they are left alone, lost in the woods as night falls.
That night, Scully and Mulder attempt to build a campfire and fail miserably. In order to help stay awake, Mulder convinces Scully to sing for him, which she does rather reluctantly, belting out a sadly uninspired rendition of "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog."
The next morning, Scully and Mulder are foraging for berries, when Scully falls through a hole, into an underground bivouac where the bodies of their missing companions are stored. She sees a pair of red eyes coming towards her and shoots, as Mulder drops into the hole with her. Having killed the creature, Mulder and Scully take a look at it and see that it is remarkably human-like, albeit with a wood-like texture to its skin. Near them the words "Ad Noctum" are found carved into a tree trunk.
Shortly thereafter, Agents Stonecypher and Kinsley, with police in tow, locate Mulder and Scully and help them out of the hole. Kinsley also shows Mulder a crosscut of a tree with various dates inscribed on the rings including that of 1521, with Ponce de Leon searching for the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Mulder suggests that perhaps the predators are the result of Conquistadors who found the fountain and have adapted to life in the forest and are acting aggressively out of a need to defend their territory from encroachment. Kinsley ridicules the idea, although he admits that "Ad Noctum" was a phrase often used by the Conquistadors as they tortured and massacred Indians. A further inspection of the cave reveals that the body of the creature Scully killed has mysteriously vanished and that they have been unable to locate it. Realizing something is amiss, Mulder rushes off to the hotel and convinces Scully to leave with him. The camera pans under the bed where a pair of red eyes open.
- David Duchovny as Special Agent Fox Mulder
- Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully
- Colleen Flynn as Officer Michele Fazekas
- J.C. Wendel as Agent Carla Stonecypher
- Scott Burkholder as Agent Michael Kinsley
- Merrilyn Gann as Mrs. Asekoff
- Anthony Rapp as Jeff Glaser
- Alf Humphreys as Michael Asekoff
- Tom Scholte as Michael Sloan
- Tyler Thompson as Louis Asekoff
- Simon Longmore as Marty Fox