Beyond the Beyond
The Mothman Cometh
One night in November of 1966, in a sleepy little town in West Virginia called Point Pleasant, a strange series of events began to unfold that to this day have yet to be explained.
A group of men preparing a grave for burial claimed they saw a large, winged creature that flew over their heads and into the trees. They said it was over seven feet tall with a wingspan of at least ten feet.
The next day, two young couples named Steve and Mary Mallette, and Roger and Linda Scarberry were out near the site of a former World War II munitions plant when they encountered the same creature. When they tried to flee in their car, it took flight and followed them at an incredible speed into town before flying away. They said it had red, hypnotic eyes.
Over the next few weeks, there were many sightings in and around the area of Point Pleasant. These included not only the creature that many had already dubbed “Mothman”, but strange lights in the sky as well.
Journalist John Keel heard about these reports and decided to investigate. He traveled from New York City to Point Pleasant and ended up staying there for several months. As he pulled on the string, an entire ball of yarn began to reveal itself.
Keel researched local history and folklore and interviewed witness after witness for his story. One such person was a man named Woodrow Derenberger, who claimed that he was driving home when a cigar shaped object flew past him and cut his car off, stopping in the middle of the highway. A humanoid figure with an almost “plastic appearance”, wide, smiling mouth and large glowing eyes approached his vehicle and communicated with him telepathically.
He told Woodrow his name was Indrid Cold, and that he had been sent to Earth to learn about its inhabitants. He asked the human several questions about Earth politics, religion, and technology among other things, then calmly got in his vehicle and flew away.
Darenberger reported this encounter to the police, and by the next day the story had taken off as he was interviewed on live TV and was featured in several local papers. After the television segment aired, many others came forward with claims that they too had seen a strange man matching Cold’s description. Some even reported that they had seen Darenberger and Cold talking to each other that night on the highway.
As the media frenzy died down, Cold continued to make regular visits to Woodrow Derenberger’s home. When John Keel interviewed Darenburger over the phone, Indrid Cold got on the line and spoke to Keel in a cold, metallic voice, explaining and emphasizing the role of consciousness in the shaping of the physical world and making a very odd prediction about the future.
Supposedly, Cold warned Keel of an impending collapse of the Silver Bridge. On December 15, 1967, the bridge did indeed collapse during rush hour traffic, killing forty-six people. After that day, Keel would repeatedly get phone calls in the middle of the night with only odd beeps and clicks on the other end.
There are some similarities between the Mothman and “banshees” from Irish and Scottish folklore. These were said to be winged creatures who heralded oncoming death and disaster. It’s interesting to note that West Virginia was settled largely by Irish-Scottish immigrants, so perhaps they brought their local folklore with them and the strange sightings were a result of a deeply steeped superstition lurking just below the surface.
In the days before the Chernobyl disaster, workers were said to have seen a black, headless humanoid with giant wings flying in the area. Those who witnessed it were plagued with strange phone calls and nightmares for months after the tragedy at the nuclear power plant.
We may never know the true story behind the Mothman, Indrid Cold, or all of the strange lights seen high above Point Pleasant in the late 1960s.
After the collapse, the lights in the sky disappeared, no winged creatures with glowing red eyes were again seen in the dark, and strange, smiling men became just a distant memory.
Was the Mothman a warning of impending doom on the Ohio River? A bad omen, perhaps? Or maybe just folklore in the making? We may never know…
Have you had a sighting? Text 702-875-1848 or message @beyondthebeyond1 on Instagram
– Tanner Rush