The couple concluded that the man had been a fearful omen-maybe the devil himself. Three weeks later this couple was killed in the worst tragedy to strike that section of West Virginia. They were driving across the Silver Bridge, which spanned the Ohio River, when it suddenly collapsed. The friends of the couple remembered the story of their friends strange visitor of the weeks before. This confirmed their religious beliefs and superstitions. Perhaps the devil himself had visited Point Pleasant, West Virginia before a terrible tragedy. There turned out to be a very prosaic explanation as to the identity of the "devil" in the rain that night. Paranormal investigator and "dedicated nonconformist" John Keel's car had gone off the road and he had been searching house to house in search of a telephone to use so he could call a tow truck! He had driven up from Atlanta, Georgia where he had delivered a speech to a local UFO club. By the time West Virginia was almost a second home to him. He had already visited the state five times investigating strange events and had many friends there. One of these friends, Mrs. Mary Hyre, a reporter for the Athens, Ohio, Messenger was with him that night. The pair had been out talking to UFO witnesses that night, and earlier in the evening had seen a very strange light in the sky themselves.
Keel writes in The Mothman Prophecies, "Since there was a heavy, low cloud layer it could not have been a star. It maneuvered over the hills, its brilliant glow very familiar to both of us for we both had seen many such lights in the Ohio Valley that year. Mrs. Hyre waited in the car while I trudged through the mud and rain. We had been trying to climb a slippery hill to a spot where we had seen many unusual things in the past. I found the telephones in the houses closest to our location were not working, apparently knocked out by the storm. So I had to keep walking until I finally found a house with a working phone. The owner refused to open his door so we shouted back and forth. I gave hima phone number to call. He obliged and went to bed. I never knew what he looked like. My point, of course is that Beelzebub was not wandering along the back roads of West Virginia that night...But from the view of the people who lived on that road, something very unusual happened. They had never before been roused in the night by a tall bearded stranger in black. They knew nothing of the reasons for my prescence so they were forced to speculate. Even speculation was difficult. They could only place me in the frame of reference they knew best-the religious. Bearded men in city dress simply did not turn up on isolated back roads in the middle of the night...So a perfectly normal event (normal that is to me) was placed in an entirely different context by the witnesses. The final proof of my supernatural origin came three weeks later when two of the people I had awakened were killed in the bridge tragedy.
Some future investigator of the paranormal may wander those hills someday, talk with these people, and write a whole chapter of a learned book on demonology, repeating this piece of folklore. Other scholars will pick up and repeat his story in books and articles. The prescence of the devil in West Virginia in November 1967 will become historical fact, backed by the testimony of several witnesses." I wanted to include this bit from Keel's book because I think it is very instructive as to how easy it is for people to misconstrue events and misinterpret facts. Also I didn't want to 'waste' the research I had done when I thought I might be doing an actual Mothman series;-). I think no matter what one's stance is on the paranormal, that anyone objectively looking into the events going on in Point Pleasant, West Virginia and its environs from late 1966 until the Silver Bridge collapse on December 15, 1967 will agree that something very strange was happening. Some folks are saying there are "aftereffects" going on until the present day-but I don't want to delve to much into this in case I come back to the story-and also know more about what these more recent people are saying. The story of the "Mothman" has everything from, of course the mothman itself-himself -whatever;-), Men in Black or MIBs, UFOs, Poltergeist phenomena, odd phone calls and seeming other wordly contact-very spooky contact at that. Thanks again so very much for all of your thoughtful, intelligent and insightful comments. I had a "nice" surprise this morning when I got an email and comment-I say this not to bitch-but just because some of my surprises of late haven't been of the nice variety. I hope things like this continue in my life as I do in all of the people I am in contact with -through emails, blogs or "real life"-Best wishes to all of you! The top image is the "best" rendition of the Mothman according to the two young couples who witnessed it on 18 November 1966. I better double check-but I believe the drawing was done by the fantastic Loren Coleman himself. The next image is of a very handsome man holding a ball-I think that image is courtesy of stevo's Hot Men Appreciation Society. Someone kindly send the man with the ball to my address and I will do something nice for you! Here is a link http://www.lorencoleman.com/