Searchlight: Mothman

The Mothman Prophecies Notebook

If there’s one cryptid throughout American history that can even come close to Sasquatch, Mothman ranks high on the list. Though not as well-known as the Jersey Devil, Mothman has a long and strange history, spanning several years of sightings with a consistent legendary curse attached for an extra creepy factor. Popularized by the Richard Gere film, The Mothman Prophecies, which is loosely based on the book by John A. Keel, that particular story is the over dramatized Hollywood version of the events, weakened by a ghostly love interest, though its moments of horror are quite effective and intensely weird. The film merely scratches the surface of the events that have happened in and around Point Pleasant, West Virginia over the years.

For the most accurate depiction of the events, Keel’s book, The Mothman Prophecies: A True Story, dives much deeper than any film could. Keel was a journalist interested in the strange stories he was hearing about the area, and when he arrived to investigate, found himself smack dab in the middle of the whole thing. Of course, this reeks of a massive convenience for the author, but still provides a chilling account of the events if they are to be believed. Skeptic or not, Keel’s account is very strange and chock full of paranormal prompts any writer could use to their advantage for inspiration. Keel died in 2009, and spent the rest of his writing career covering U.F.O’s and other spectacular phenomena, expanding on his encounters with the Mothman.

Mothman_statue_in_West_ViriginaIndrid Cold. As seen in the film, and mentioned in the book, this man, also called ‘The Grinning Man’, is somewhat central to the story, and even just hearing him talk to Richard Gere on the phone in the film is rather creepy. Who exactly are these Men in Black? Accounts vary, with some saying they’re government officers working in secret, either protecting the evidence or gathering factual accounts. Others claim these men are actually aliens from another planet, with some accounts stating the men don’t look human, or they have difficulty breathing and walking around, positioned as evidence they are not human. Regardless, multiple records show people being called or contacted by these eerie Men in Black, even Indrid Cold himself, just after seeing Mothman.

While Keel’s book and the film directed by Mark Pellington may be the creepiest entries in the study of this cryptid, there are two documentaries worth mentioning. The first is The Mothman of Point Pleasant (2017), directed by Seth Breedlove. This is the most recent documentary, focusing on the history of Point Pleasant, with interviews of the director of the Mothman Museum, and features audio recordings from eyewitnesses and John Keel himself. The second documentary is Eyes of the Mothman (2011), directed by Matthew J. Pellowski. Much longer than the most recent documentary, this film dives much deeper into the myth of the Mothman and goes into possible scientific explanations of what the creature actually could be. Clocking in at over two and a half hours, Eyes of the Mothman is probably the most comprehensive and unbiased look at the events of the sightings and the other strange occurrences that happened between 1966 and 1967. Both of these films are available for streaming online, and available for Amazon Prime customers, offering an in-depth account of one of the strangest events in American history.


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