The Mothman

November 15, 1966

Near Point Pleasant, West Virginia

The Silver Bridge

Roger and Linda Scarberry stole a quick kiss while Steve and Mary Mallette walked away from them and around the corner of the old TNT bunker. The two young couples were on a double date that had led them out of the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia towards some old military storage bunkers that were closed up after the end of the second World War. 

TNT Storage Bunkers

It was a cold night. Winter chewed at their jackets as they explored the bunker area in the dark. Linda caught up with Mary, their soft giggles broke through the oppressive darkness. 

The girls spun around to look behind them, as Roger gasped loudly. He was pointing over the top of one of the bunker doors, into the tall trees. There, all four of them saw piercing red eyes staring at them from the heights of the forest. 

Terror seeped in as the two couples watched a creature separate itself from the shadow of night. It emerged standing like a man, but unfathomably tall with shoulders so broad it seemed to lean forward under the weight. Then it’s shoulders began to ripple, the muscles tightening as a wing unfolded on each side of its back. 

Roger, Linda, Mary, and Steve started towards Steve’s black 1957 Chevy. They all slid across the leather seats, while keeping an eye on the creature in the trees. Linda later recalled seeing the creature’s leg muscles and tendons flexing as it lept from the tree into the dark night. 

Flinging gravel behind the Chevy, Steve pushed the gas pedal to the floor. The back country roads were not made for high speed endeavors, but Steve pushed the limits of his courage and his car. 

Mary, looking out the back window, screamed, breaking the silence of panic. 

Mothman Mural

The creature was behind the car, flying through the darkness after them. The Chevy was pushing 100 MPH, but the monster was keeping pace.  

Shining in the headlights of the Chevy, the Welcome to Point Pleasant sign came into view. Steve kept his foot on the gas as he drove passed the sign. The giant monster cut off to the right, and perched on the sign, its eyes glowing red and angry as the Chevy drove through town and out of sight. 

The two young couples stopped at Tiny’s Diner in town and whispered over french fries about what they had seen, and who they should tell. Knowing that their story sounded like a science fiction tale, they faced possible ridicule and went to the sheriffs office that night to make a statement. 

Diner replica inside the Mothman Museum

Soon people of all of stature and standing in the Point Pleasant community would see the glowing red eyes, and the 10-foot wingspan of the Mothman.  And that was just the beginning. The next thirteen months were filled with weirdness, followed by the impossible…topped with a whole lot of WTF. 

Weirdness, Impossible and WTF

Mothman Sightings: After the original sighting of the Mothman, more and more people in the community were reporting similar incidents. Hundreds of townspeople got wind of the story, and invaded the TNT area to see what they could see. Footprints were found in the area that were described as “two horseshoes put together, but smooth.” 

 

Over the next thirteen months, the Mothman was seen perched on landmarks, like the Silver Bridge that crossed the Ohio River, or on city limit signs as you entered Point Pleasant. An omen of things to come, or a town on the brink of mass hysteria?

Mothman

Poltergeist Activity: Roger and Linda Scarberry would go on to report poltergeist activity in their home after their original sighting of the mothman. Linda claimed she saw the bird-beast pacing their roof one night, inside the city limits. Linda would go on to give multiple interviews to various different kinds of newspapers, magazines, and television programs. Roger Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette refused to participate in any interviews that didn’t involve the local authorities. 

Police uniform worn in The Mothman Prophecies starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney.

UFO’s and Strange Lights: UFO sightings started being reported shortly after the first Mothman sighting. Groups of lights would float through the air, performing intricate routines in the sky like synchronized swimming in the stars. A few people reported serious eye burn and eye injuries after watching the light shows. A few even reported permanent damage to their retina’s, leaving them at least partially blinded for life. 

Dreams and Visions: Report after report of strange dreams and visions started pouring in after the calendar flipped to 1967. Visions of UFO’s, aliens, ghosts, the Mothman, tragedies, and turmoil; there seemed to be no topic off the table when it came to dreams and visions from the paranormal. 

Phone Calls: Many Point Pleasant residents reported that they began receiving phone calls at exactly the same time every evening. One of the reports came from the Fire Chief, a serious and honest man that no one questioned the word of. He would receive phone calls daily. Most of the time it would only be static, but if he stayed on the line the static would start to sound like words being whispered from the other end of the line. He attempted to record a few of the phone calls, but when he listened to the recordings later, there was just a high pitched screeching sound…just feedback from the world of sci-fi.

Hello? Mothman speaking.

Men In Black:  Once the stories of the mothman reached international status, Point Pleasant residents started reporting receiving visitors from…the government? The reports were of men wearing basic black suits, hats, and sunglasses. If asked to describe one of the visitors, townspeople would just give generic descriptions that could pass for most any man in America at that time. Some stated their faces were just plain, so plain it was hard to remember a feature. Eye color, brow shape, cheekbones; their memories were void of anything that would distinguish one of the men in black from any of the other men in black. 

The title held by me, MIB Means what you think you saw, you did not see

Ingrid Cold: The name Ingrid Cold came up in multiple interviews with multiple townsfolk. One local farmer stated that a disc spacecraft landed in the middle of the road, and a nice looking, but plain, gentlemen confronted him in his farm truck. The stranger walked to his truck window and introduced himself as Ingrid Cold. He made small talk of the local happenings, and told the farmer that he could answer any questions that the people of Point Pleasant may have. The man from the disc went on to tell the farmer that he would contact him again in the future. Another person reported to have received a phone call from a man claiming to be Ingrid Cold. Ingrid had told them that something was coming, and then hung up. Other’s saw Ingrid Cold in their dreams or visions; a premonition of weirdness. 

The train trestle bridge that ran alongside the Silver Bridge

The Silver Bridge: On December 15, 1967, exactly thirteen months to the day of the first Mothman sighting, hundreds of residents of Point Pleasant were crossing the Silver Bridge into town from Ohio. It was 5:00 P.M., and many people were commuting from work, or headed home from Christmas shopping. On this cold, winter evening a single eyebar on the bridge fractured, creating a domino effect of vehicles falling into the depths of the Ohio River.

A piece of the collapsed bridge from The Mothman Prophecies film.

After weeks of diving, emergency responders and search crews were able to locate most of the missing from the bridge collapse.

46 people died that day as the Silver Bridge collapsed into the cold Ohio River.

As the eye-witnesses and survivors were interviewed it became known that as the bridge had started shaking that fateful evening, multiple people saw a large bird-like creature standing atop the Silver Bridge; it’s wings spread out, and eyes glowing red. 

The Mothman of Point Pleasant West Virginia.
The World’s Only Mothman Museum – Point Pleasant, West Virginia

 

Visit the Mothman Museum Online https://www.mothmanmuseum.com/

 

 

Yuma Territorial Prison

Yuma, Arizona

Welcome to the Hellhole

In the second half of the 1800’s people rushed west to claim land for themselves, to pan for gold, and to build their own prison cells. The latter wasn’t actually a plan, but it is what happened to the first of the criminals to be imprisoned in Yuma Territorial Prison. The first inmates were required to build their own cells. The prison officially opened in July of 1876. 

I think the backyard party lights really enhance the prison atmosphere.

Yuma Territorial was named Hellhole by the inmates that were incarcerated there. The average summer daytime temperature in Yuma was 110 degrees. Hellhole, indeed. Cells were open-air, with no air conditioning or heaters for the winter nights in the desert. 

 All the amenities.
Cozy 6 bedroom
The 2 bedroom model.

In it’s 33 years of operation the prison housed an assortment of criminals. 3,069 prisoners were in and out of the Hellhole population, including 29 women, and for a few years, even one child that was born at the prison by his incarcerated mother. 

Unlawful plural marriage.
A woman after his own heart… <3
“Became a media sensation…” she was very popular on Insta.
Prisoner Statistics

The prison was under constant construction during its years of operation, with most of the work being done by the inmates. I would think that building your own cage is an especially fudged up kind of prison. 

 

Prison air conditioning
Bunks built by prisoners in 1901. There were wooden bunks before, but they had to be removed due to bed bugs.

While the inmates claimed the conditions were hell, they also took advantage of various clubs, sports teams, and live music. The prison band was apparently quite good. 

Hellhole Country Club
Infirmary

Besides the dreadful heat of an Arizona summer, the Hellhole was also named with their solitary confinement in mind. The Dark Cell. The dark cell was used as solitary for prisoners misbehaving. The cell was a 10×10 dug out of the rock. Aptly named, the dark cell had no open windows, only a small vent in the ceiling that guards would drop the prisoners’ daily meal of bread and water through. At night, there was not a speck of light available to the inmate shackled in the solitary cell, wearing only his skivvies. Prisoners with an extended stay in the dark cell were often sent to the state run insane asylum in Phoenix upon their release from solitary. The dark cell is said to be haunted…and with the trauma of being left in pitch black with only the bats for company, I can see why it might be…although if I was a ghostly presence hanging out in prison in the after life, I would probably haunt the kitchen, not the dark cell. 

Hello darkness, my old friend. We’ve come to shit on you again….
The floor of the dark cell
Dark cell shackles

Due to overcrowding, Yuma Territorial Prison was shut down in 1909. The prisoners were sent to a larger prison in Florence, Arizona. After the closure of the prison, the local schools used the facility for a few years. By 1920 the empty prison was being used as shelter by the homeless, and during the depression it was transformed into temporary housing for unsheltered families. 

Yuma Territorial Prison is now a state historical park. You can attend scheduled tours by volunteers, or follow a self-guided tour through the prison campus. There are many artifacts and photographs of the years as a prison, as well as historical documents and history of individual inmates and guards. 

Ghostly apparition of a prison guard long lost to the years of Yuma Territorial Prison…or a volunteer tour guide.