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About

Death
Author Loren Coleman created a list of deaths that he considered to be related in some way to the Mothman legend. Typically Coleman's list focused on the death of people who are thought to be a part of the Mothman story as well as people who've worked on projects involving the creature.

The list was first published in the August 2004 issue of the magazine Fortean Times and has been updated over time.

If nothing else, the list serves as a way to thoroughly keep track of the life and death of people who are associated with the legend.

I am not saying there is anything there, but only that by gathering the data, it will not be lost and we can try to begin to ask the right questions." - Loren Coleman

The List:

The following is a condensed version of the Aug '05 list which shortly summarizes each listing while retaining essential details. For more information on each entry please check Coleman's full version :

  • #1 - 46: The 46 Victims of the December 15th 1967 Silver Bridge Collapse (Along the Ohio River in Point Pleasant) (13 months after original Mothman sighting)
  • #47: Mary Hyre, Died at the age of 54 on February 15th 1970 due to 4 week illness (Point Pleasant Reporter, First printed Mothman story) (Died 26 months after bridge collapse)
  • #48: Ivan T. Sanderson, Died at the age of 62 on February 19th 1973 due to cancer (Monster investigator, consultant to John Keel during Mothman case)
  • #49: Fred Freed, Died at the age of 53 in March 1974 due to a heart attack (Television documentary maker and associate of John Keel) (Talked to Keel about making Ohio Valley UFO/Mothman documentary in Sept 1973)

Event: 1984 - New reports of Mothman are recorded for West Virginia, including a close encounter by witnesses Brenda and James DeVore.

  • #50: Gray Barker, Died at the age of 59 on December 6th 1984 due to organ failure (Science fiction writer from West Virginia, wrote fictional book involving Mothman case, knew John Keel)
  • #51: D. Scott Rogo, Stabbed to death at the age of 40 on August 18th 1990 (Author of two books which contained theories on Mothman; Haunted Universe 1977 and Earth's Secret Inhabitants 1979 w/ Jerome Clark)

Event: October 1st 1991 -­ IllumiNet Press published the first reprint of The Mothman Prophecies in decades. It is this edition that screenwriter Richard Hatem "discovered" in an old book store, and decided to get someone interested in producing a movie from the book.

  • #52: Donald I. North, Died in a car crash in 1997 (Point Pleasant local who claimed to have seen Mothman in the TNT area in the 90's.)

Event: Spring 1997 - Struck by insomnia one night during the Spring of 1997, Richard Hatem drifted into a Pasadena bookstore. He saw and grabbed a used copy of The Mothman Prophecies from a shelf, and soon was engaged in reading it through the night. The next day, he contacted John Keel, and immediately began work on the screenplay that Lakeshore Entertainment bought in 1998.

  • #53: Jim Keith, Died at the age of 50 on September 7th 1999 during knee surgery (Author, theorized about Mothman and Point Pleasant)
  • #54: Gene Andrusco, Died at the age of 38 on March 30th 2000 due to brain aneurysm or heart attack (Television actor, Rock-Musician, worked on the music for an unreleased independent film about Mothman in 2000)
  • #55: Ron Bonds, Died at the age of 48 on April 8th 2001 due to food poisoning (Former Rock-Musician, Book publisher, reprinted The Mothman Prophecies in 1991)
  • #56: Robin Chaney Pilkington, Died at the age of 44 on October 21st 2001 due to illness (Daughter of Mothman Witness, Marcella Bennett)
  • #57: Agatha Bennett, Died at the age 93 on January 12th 2002 (Mother-in-law of Mothman Witness, Marcella Bennett)
  • #58: Ted Demme, Died at the age of 38 on January 13th 2002 (Rock-Musician and Friend of Mothman Prophecies Film Producer Mark Pellington) (Uncle directed Silence of the Lambs 1991)
  • #00: John A. Keel (Not yet) (On January 14th 2002, a story rapidly circulated via the Internet communities that John A. Keel had just died. Loren Coleman quickly put the rumor to rest by calling Keel, and confirming that Keel was, indeed, still alive, although Keel quipped that everyone should be told, "his funeral is on Saturday and he will be wearing black." Keel noted that this happened to him at least once before, in 1967)

Event: January 23th 2002 – North America’s FX cable channel screened the documentary, Search for the Mothman. 

Event: January 25th 2002 - The Mothman Prophecies opened across America.  The music soundtrack CD is released on the same date. 

  • #59: Charles Putnam Mallette, Died at the age of 43 on January 25th 2002 due to a brain tumor (Brother of Mothman Witness, Steve Mallette)
  • #60-68: Eight Mason County Road Fatalities, 5 deaths from 2 crashes of 4 automobiles on January 26th and 3 other fatal wrecks in the next five days (One involving two tractor-trailers) (Most wrecks in the area in 40 years)

Event: February 15th 2002 - Tor reprinted John Keel's 1975 The Mothman Prophecies in paperback.  

  • #69: Gary Ury, Died at the age of 52 on February 15th 2002, (Bother of Mothman Witness, Tom Ury)  
  • #70: Ted Tannebaum, Died at the age of 68 on March 7th 2002 due to cancer (Executive Producer of The Mothman Prophecies film, his last movie)  

Event: May 23rd 2002 - The Mothman Prophecies opened in Australia  

  • #71: Aaron Rebsamen, Died at the age of 14 due to suicide on May 23rd 2002 (Son of artist, William Rebsamen, who did the cover illustration of Mothman for the book, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters) "Under a tight deadline after the publisher rejected earlier images from another source, Bill Rebsamen created the Mothman painting, overnight, in one creative inspiration.  Witnesses, such as Linda Scarberry, upon seeing the Rebsamen full-length, colored illustration of Mothman, said it is the best drawing, which most matches what was first seen on November 15, 1966." - Loren Coleman
  • #00: 14 victims of the May 26th 2002 Webber Falls Bridge collapse (Not added) (Timing of film release) (Captain of tugboat, said he apparently “blacked out” minutes before the barge crashed into the bridge causing collapse)

Event: June 6th 2002 - The Mothman Prophecies simple DVD (theatrical version only) released in North America.

  • #72: Sherry Yearsley, Murdered at the age of 47 on June 20th 2002 (Former partner of author Jim Keith)

Event: July 29th 2002 - Lifetime Channel aired the first showing of the Mothman segment on Unsolved Mysteries.

Event: November 15-17th 2002 - Point Pleasant, West Virginia, celebrated its first annual Mothman Festival. 

  • #73: Julia Harrison, Died at the age of 29 on November 17th 2002 due to complications of an operation (Associate of the rock band King Black Acid who did the soundtrack for the Mothman Prophecies Film) 
  • #74: Susan Wilcox, Died at the age of 53 on December 8th 2002 due to a rare form of brain tumor; ependymoma "Wilcox had only been diagnosed with the condition two months before. Wilcox saw a black 'batlike' bedroom invader in her Columbus, Ohio, home in February 2001, went on to be a Mothman investigator, traveled to Point Pleasant several times in 2001 and 2002, and created a personal website: 'Mothman: A Life Changed Forever.'  She left behind a large envelope of her investigative logs for her son, Brent Fair (also a researcher on such matters), on which she had penned a note to him that read: 'B.R. Do not open until December 2002.' He found the date chilling and prophetic, in light of when she passed away." - Coleman 

Event: January 15th 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies premiered on Cinemax cable television in the USA.

Event: April 19th 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies premiered on HBO cable television in the USA.

Event: May 6th 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies - VHS released. 

  • #75: Robert Stack, Died at the age of 84 on May 14th 2003 (Actor and host of Unsolved Mysteries, the only regularly scheduled reality program at the time to devote a serious segment to Mothman, which they first broadcast on July 29th 2002) 

Event: May 27th 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies: DVD Special Edition released, containing the David Grabias documentary, Search for the Mothman. This DVD: SE began hitting stores a week later.

  • #76: Jessica Kaplan, Died at the age of 24 on June 6th 2003 in an LA plane crash (Production crew member of The Mothman Prophecies Film, scenic artist)
  • #77: Daniel Lee Carter II, Died at the age of 34 on July 15th 2003 due to a heart attack (Involved with the artists, musicians, and photographers in the Gallipolis-Point Pleasant area who gave the Mothman investigations new life in the early 2000's. His photographs of the old buildings in the TNT area were featured in Donnie Sergent's and Jeff Wamsley's Mothman: The Facts Behind the Legend)

Event: August 25, 2003: The Mothman Prophecies premiered on British cable television network Sky Movies.

  • #78: Robert Sanders, Died at the age of 44 on August 26th 2003 due to suicide (Related to to "Leo 'Doc' Sanders" who was killed during the Silver Bridge collapsed. Also perhaps related to collapse survivor, Donovan Sanders)
  • #00: Over 27 Victims of the August 28th 2003 Daman Bridge collapse in India (Not added) (The Mothman Prophecies had premiered in India earlier in August 2003)

Event: September 14th 2003: The Second Annual Mothman Festival was held at Point Pleasant, and an extremely large stainless steel sculpture of a butterfly-like Mothman created by Bob Roach of New Haven was unveiled. Hayrides and tours of the TNT area were given during the early evening, after a day of local speakers and a visit from Bill Geist of CBS Sunday Morning. The Geist report was originally broadcast on September 28th 2003, and then repeated on August 29th 2004.

Event: December 15th 2003: The 36th anniversary of the collapse of the Silver Bridge is acknowledged in the Gallipolis-Kanauga, Ohio, and Point Pleasant, West Virginia area, with a remembrance in honor of the victims of the accident.

Event: December 26th 2003: A request by the Mason County Commission to place signs at both ends of the Silver Memorial Bridge identifying it as such is "reasonable," the West Virginia Department of Transportation communicated in a letter announced on this date. The bridge has been "unofficially" known as the Silver Memorial Bridge for many years. The span was opened in 1969, less than two years after the collapse of the nearly 40-year-old Silver Bridge that previously linked downtown Point Pleasant with Kanauga, Ohio, and State Route 7.

  • #79: Alan Bates, Died at the age of 69 on December 27th 2003 due to cancer (Actor, played "Alexander Leek", Keel spelled backwards, in the 2002 Mothman Prophecies film)

Event: December 30th 2003: In Kittaning, Pennsylvania, at the bridge used in the Mothman Prophecies film, a near suicide took place. Christopher Shaffer, age 30, of Kittaning, while walking home, discovered a man that was preparing to jump into the frigid waters of the Allegheny River, off the Kittaning Citizens Bridge. After several minutes of conversation, the would-be jumper allowed Shaffer to help him back onto the bridge's walkway.

  • #80: Betty Jane Mulligan, Died at the age of 82 on March 8th 2004 (Actress, appeared as an extra in The Silence of the Lambs and The Mothman Prophecies film)

Event: July 19th 2004: The August 2004 issue of Fortean Times went on sale in London, with distribution to the USA, late in July. It contains the first publication of "The Mothman Death Curse" by Loren Coleman.

  • #81: Jennifer Barrett-Pellington, Died at the age of 42 on July 30th 2004 due to illness (wife of Mothman Prophecies film director Mark Pellington) (She is included on the "Special Thanks" credit of the film)
  • #82: Martin Becker, Died at the age of 49 on August 13th 2004 due to pancreatic cancer (Assisted during the filming of The Mothman Prophecies with mechanical special-effects)

Event: August 20th 2004: The Mothman Prophecies premieres on the cable network named TNT, ironic considering Mothman sightings in the TNT area.

Event: August 29th 2004: The CBS News Sunday Morning re-broadcast Bill Geist's report on the Mothman Festival from 2003, in which John A. Keel is shown in one of his rare appearances, all dressed in a white suit. 

  • #83: Raymond H, Wamsley, Died at the age of 57 on September 15th 2004 (Mothman Witness and brother of Marcella Bennett) (Coleman messaged Mothman investigators asking about the name Wamsley which appears multiple times in the Mothman legend such as the Silver Bridge Collapse, later the same day Raymond Wamsley it was reported in the papers that Raymond had passed away.)

Event: September 18th 2004: Point Pleasant's annual Mothman Festival took place in the wake of the worst local flooding in decades, due to Hurricane Ivan. The annual Mothman Festival kicked off with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Mothman Statue in Point Pleasant's Gunn Park, under sunny skies. One of the well-publicized highlights was the debut of Point Pleasant's Mothman comic book by Chad Lambert, and the Waterford (Ohio) High School Marching Band performing music from "The Mothman Prophecies" And, of course, the famed hayrides, which depart from the West Virginia State Farm Museum toured the home of the Mothman; the TNT area. Media covered included a local television station (Channel 13), Animal X's Australian crew, and independent filmmakers from Michigan and California.

Event: December 24-30th 2004: The LA Weekly column, "The List 2004: Mike Davis' 6 Remarkable Ways to Die," picked the "Mothman Curse" as his #3.

  • #84: Mark E. Chorvinsky, Died at the age of 51 on July 16th 2005 due to cancer (Founded "Strange Magazine" in 1987, investigated stories of a Mothman-like creature in Maryland termed the "Potomac Mothman")

Event: On August 10th 2005, the Travel Channel visited Loren Coleman at his museum, interviewing for almost three hours for their program, "Weird Travels." A major concentration was the many questions about Mothman. At the end of the interview, as the camera crew were beginning to do B-roll taping, they asked Coleman to raise a window. A cracked pane of glass split and sliced the palm of Coleman's hand, resulting in three hours in the hospital and stitches.

Sources:

http://www.lorencoleman.com/mothman_death_list.html (The List)

http://cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/tracey-obit/

http://cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/new-mm-deaths/