I have always been intrigued by the Mothman Legend, but my knowledge of the events that plagued Point Pleasant, West Virginia did not extend beyond John Keel’s ‘The Mothman Prophecies’ book, or the 2002 film of the same name, starring Richard Gere and Debra Messing.
What I did know was that a man-sized, bird-like being plagued the small town, most often hiding out at an old, run down TNT site.
I knew that two young couples were the first to draw attention to the strange being that followed their car one night in 1966. I knew that there were also UFO sightings and Men in Black encounters. That an intrepid, small town reporter by the name of Mary Hyre, documented every reported encounter.
I knew about Indrid Cold.
But that is all I knew.
Which is why Seth Breedlove’s latest film, “The Mothman of Point Pleasant” (Narrated and Produced by the one and only Lyle Blackburn), is a master class in Point Pleasant Lore. “Welcome to Historic Point Pleasant, Where History & Rivers Meet” reads the sign that invites visitors to the small town with a history of bad luck. There is the historical battle between the Native Algonquin tribes and Settlers, and the fact that despite taking care of the land, they weren’t very interested in living on it.
“We didnt’ own the land. We just took care of it.”
There is mention of a curse that may or may not have transpired, but was to lay down the foundation of blame for every event thereafter.
It is said that a place between two waterways was a bad omen. Point Pleasant rests between the Ohio River and the Kanawha River. It is a small place. A place with a small population. But the history and the lore that blankets such places is bigger than one can fathom.
Despite the events leading up to the collapse of the Silver Bridge– the UFO sightings, the bizarre creature sightings that were not entirely of the Mothman variety– what makes this particular take on the story stand out is the respect given to the dead.
The Mothman of Point Pleasant is about the eyewitnesses as much as it is about the monster living next door. The film succeeds in separating the tragedy from the lore. You feel a sense of sadness for those lost that night. The interviews with Point Pleasant residents who lived their entire lives within the three mile span of land, draw you in as one by one, memories of that fateful night are remembered and mulled over. There is an imprint, a mark or stain that never faded.
Point Pleasant is a town brought together by mysterious circumstance. Whether it be from a storied history of land grabs or the as yet unknowable and perhaps misunderstood being that seemed to be just as curious as the residents as they might have been of it.
What John Keel took away from his time spent there, and what Mary Hyre compiled from her time living there (until her untimely death), is heavily documented, but I suspect there was a sense that the Mothman may have been another participant in a very old battle for occupancy on a land that may have never have been its home, but a place that it felt perhaps, in its otherworldly wisdom, it should take care of.
*The Mothman of Point Pleasant premiers June, 2017
Disclaimer: I took eight pages worth of notes. Names of eyewitnesses, specifics about their encounters. Notes about the fact that the TNT site is not too far from a mass burial of Native people and has also become a Wildlife Management Area. I even listed all the uncanniness regarding military connections to the site. There is a time line in the film, created by Adrienne Breedlove that should be on the wall of the Mothman Museum, because it breaks down every date and every sighting.
So much information, and yet to write it all down would defeat the purpose of watching the film. Because anyone and everyone with even the slightest bit of curiosity regarding the Mothman should see this film. If nothing else, it will inspire you to look further and think harder and maybe even come to a conclusion no one else has come to before. And if not, well then, at least it will give you pause the next time you find yourself experiencing something out of the ordinary.