On November 15, 1966, two young married couples from Point Pleasant, named David and Linda Scarberry, and Steve and Mary Mallette, were travelling late-night in the Scarberry's car. They were passing the West Virginia Ordnance Works, an abandoned World War II TNT factory, about seven miles north from Point Pleasant, in the 2,500 acre (10 kmē) McClintic Wildlife Station, when they noticed two red lights in the shadows by an old generator plant near the factory gate. They stopped the car, and were startled to discover that the lights were actually the glowing red eyes of a large animal, "shaped like a man, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back," according to Roger Scarberry. Terrified, they drove toward Route 62, where the creature supposedly chased them at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour. However, as quoted in Keel's The Mothman Prophecies, the Scarberrys, despite driving more than 100 miles per hour, claimed to have noticed a dead dog on the side of the road, and in fact made such accurate note of its location that they claimed to have gone back the very next day and looked for it. Explanations for how they were able to make so accurate a mental note at a time of such great distress, or why they would go back to look for the dead dog, are not included in Keel's book.
A plaque on the Mothman statue provides a version of the original legend: "On a chilly, fall night in November 1966, two young couples drove into the TNT area north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, when they realized they were not alone." Driving down the exit road, they saw the supposed creature standing on a nearby ridge. It spread its wings and flew alongside the vehicle up to the city limits. They drove to the Mason County courthouse to alert Deputy Millard Halstead, who later said, "I've known these kids all their lives. They'd never been in any trouble and they were really scared that night. I took them seriously." He then followed Roger Scarberry's car back to the secret ex-U.S. Federal bomb and missile factory, but found no trace of the strange creature. According to the book Alien Animals, by Janet and Colin Bord, a poltergeist attack on the Scarberry home occurred later that night, during which the creature was seen several times.
The following night, on November 16, several armed townspeople combed the area around the TNT plant for signs of Mothman. Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Wamsley, and Mrs. Marcella Bennett, with her baby daughter Teena in tow, were in a car en-route to visit their friends, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Thomas, who lived in a bungalow among the "igloos" (concrete dome-shaped dynamite storage structures erected during WW-II) near the TNT plant. The igloos were now empty, some owned by the county, others by companies intending to use them for storage. They were heading back to their car when a figure appeared behind their parked vehicle. Mrs. Bennett said that it seemed like it had been lying down, slowly rising up from the ground, large and gray, with glowing red eyes. While Wamsley phoned the police, the creature walked onto the porch and peered in at them through the window.
On November 24, four people saw the creature flying over the TNT area. On the morning of November 25, Thomas Ury, who was driving along Route 62 just north of the TNT, claimed to have seen the creature standing in a field, and then it spread its wings and flew alongside his car as he sped toward the Point Pleasant sheriff's office.
On November 26, Mrs Ruth Foster of Charleston, West Virginia reportedly saw Mothman standing on her front lawn, but the creature was gone by the time her brother-in-law went out to investigate. Further, on the morning of November 27, the creature apparently pursued a young woman near Mason, West Virginia, and was reported again in St. Albans the same night, by two children.
A Mothman sighting was again reported on January 11, 1967, and several other times that same year. Fewer sightings of the Mothman were reported after the collapse of the Silver Bridge, when 46 people died. The Silver Bridge, so named for its aluminum paint, was an eyebar chain suspension bridge that connected the cities of Point Pleasant, West Virginia and Kanauga, Ohio over the Ohio River. The bridge was built in 1928, and it collapsed on December 15, 1967. Investigation of the bridge wreckage pointed to the failure of a single eye-bar in a suspension chain due to a small manufacturing flaw.
The Mothman Files
The Mothman Cometh