We have an excerpt from our favorite Chupacabra Hunter.
EXCERPT: HARQUEHALA MOUNTAINS, 1996
The truck smelled chronically of gasoline fumes and you had to reconcile yourself to the uncomfortable fact that the gas tank was positioned vertically directly behind your car seat. But since it had no air-conditioning, the choice of whether or not to enjoy AC and be asphyxiated, or be sweating hot and be able to breath, was already made for you. Beyond these otherwise incidental shortcomings, the truck proved invaluable to our gold prospecting ventures. The absence of the weight of the truck bed, combined with it’s 460 V-8 engine, soon gave the copper-hued Dodge it’s nickname of the ‘Frog Hopper’. Now, this may sound somewhat insulting, but you have to understand that this was intended as a compliment, as this truck could literally hop over significant boulders and the other rough terrains that only the most dedicated desert travelers ever experience. There was many a time the Frog Hopper jumped us out of a treacherous wash, a thick sand pit, or over generally unidentifiable gravel laden dirt paths best described as a mountain goat trail. Looking back now, we probably had no business being that far into the remote Arizona desert as many times as we went, with or without the trusty pickup truck. (To be continued.)
There are two Mothman anniversaries this year. The fifty year anniversary of the arrival of Mothman in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and the five year anniversary of the time I saw Mothman TWICE on the same Thanksgiving day in Phoenix, Arizona back in 2011.
The Point Pleasant Mothman
Point Pleasant, West Virginia forever changed 50 years ago with the arrival of the infamous Mothman, that half moth, half man cryptoid creature of book and movie fame.
On November 12, 1966, grave diggers in Clendenin, West Virginia were shocked to see a winged man-like creature suddenly appear and rise out of a nearby thicket of trees and fly away.
Three days later, two couples cruising around tow and the surrounding area noticed two red lights out by the old TNT factory. They were shocked to realize that the two lights were not that of a vehicle of some sort but that of a large animal or creature. The two couples all described it as having wings folded against its back and six or seven feet tall. Speeding off, the winged creature followed their car until they got back into town. The four went to the sheriff’s office and told their incredible story. Well known to the sheriff as responsible adults, he realized how scared they were and considered it a credible story.
After that, there were several sightings over a period of a year, culminating in the collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant in December 1967 and the deaths of many people on the bridge at that time.
Interestingly enough, this is one of the earliest reports of the Men in Black (MIB). MIB began appearing in the town and questioning the people who saw the Mothman during 1966-1967.
After the bridge collapsed, Mothman was no longer reported as being seen. Many believe that Mothman was trying to warn townspeople of the disaster. Others think Mothman caused the disaster.
Whatever you think happened, Point Pleasant has made lemonade out of a lemon. This is the 15th year for the annual Mothman Festival, which has grown in size every year. This year’s attendance was expected to reach 9,000 people. If you go next year, just be aware that .fFinding parking is always a problem as is finding a hotel room so book early.
The town has added attractions to their lineup every year. In addition, people in cosplay are welcomed with open arms with people coming as MIB, Ghostbusters, Bigfoot, and supernatural superheroes including Captain America.
There are speakers on a variety of topics, Mothman hayrides, TNT bus tours, merchandise, street vendors, great food, musical bands, tours, and carriage rides.
Other attractions of note are the Mothman statue, the World’s Only Mothman Museum, the river museum, the U.S. Navy Poster Museum in the area.
My Phoenix Mothman
My interest in Mothman started, well, it always started way back when honestly – long before I ever really and truly saw Mothman. My parents lived in West Virginia in the 1980s and I often went to visit and was struck by the legend of Mothman. So creepy! So bizarre! Of course, I had to read the book.
Who knows what people really saw? I felt like it was a coincidence about the bridge collapse but the Men in Black coming into town was really quite strange in my opinion.
Fast forward to 2011, five years ago and forty years later. It was Thanksgiving day. My husband was driving from Scottsdale, Arizona over to west Phoenix on the 202, passing Papago Park out by the zoo. Papago Park has these small pinnacles, mountains, rock outcrops, whatever you want to call them. People often rappel and climb on them. I looked over and saw this – what appeared to be anyway – a winged creature climbing up the mountain. There appeared to be no ropes. My first thought was that it was a soldier from the nearby Army Reserve Center who was wearing an oversized backpack but the person appeared to have no ropes and was making remarkable time. I then realized it was huge, much larger than a man, at least seven feet tall or more.
Remember, it was dusk, not quite dark. I blinked and we continued down the highway.
I saw in utter silence, not believing what I had seen. In fact, I did not believe it and did not say anything to my husband. I just said to myself that my eyes were playing tricks on me.
As we got into Phoenix, there was a overpass over the highway – one of those caged in things on the side. It may have even just been a sideway and not a street. But at the entry to the caged area, was a large, tall bird-like – stork-like- man creature with his “wings” folded against his back, just standing there looking out. I have attempted to describe what I saw with a drawing.
He was tall, very tall. At least a good seven feet tall if not a great deal more.
At this point, I did mention it to my husband who assumed I was just seeing things as it was even darker by this point, but not night yet. I explained about the creature crawling up the pinnacle at Papago Park. He listened politely, but what can you say to someone claiming to see such a thing?
That was the last time I saw Mothman. And no calamity or disaster befell me but I love the story of Mothman and hope to be able to get to the festival one of these years.
Share Your Story
If you have a Mothman story, please share in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!
We explore the weird and unexplained in the Desert Southwest.