TheMothMan Wikia

The following is a Huntington Herald-Dispatch article from Tuesday, January 1st 2002 titled "Reporter's night went by without Mothman sighting" by Bob Winters

HUNTINGTON - Ralph Turner, a professor of journalism and mass communication at Marshall University, was a reporter at The Herald-Dispatch when the Mothman story broke in November 1966.

A few days after the first sighting, Turner came up with a bright idea - a reporter should spend the night in the solitary area near Point Pleasant, W. Va., where Mothman was first reported, and write about what he or she sees. "It was a hot thing at the time, a salient issue," Turner says.

"I don't know if many people took it seriously, but it was a good conversation piece. We wanted to bring it to some kind of conclusion."

Herald-Dispatch City Editor Bill Wild went for the plan, and assigned the story to Turner and reporter/photographer Mike Hoback.

"I remember talking to people in the wee hours of the morning," Turner says. "I also remember being cold and damp and feelings slightly foolish."

But Turner and Hoback kept their warm coats on and talked to reputed eyewitnesses in nearby homes. Then they spent the rest of the night wandering around in the remote area once occupied by the sprawling West Virginia Ordance Works.

"What I remember most was the chill, the fog and the mist in the air and the vastness of that TNT area," Turner says. "It would have been a good place to make a Dracula movie."

Turner believed there had to be some kind of reasonable explanation for the sightings, but admits he did not find it.

"I never really believed there was such as a thing as Mothman," he says. "I'm not calling those people liars; they saw something. But I go with the scientists who say that some kind of large bird somehow got into the Ohio Valley and decided to stay a few days."

Four days after the initial sighting, the paper published Turner's Page One story quoting Robert L. Smith, associate professor of wildlife biology in West Virginia University's division of forestry, as saying he thought Mothman was a large sandhill crane. Smith theorized the big bird had stopped over at the [McClintic] Wildlife Station on its way South for the winter.

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