"I wish we had never seen it, I wish someone else had seen it." - Linda Scarberry, Mothman Witness, 1966One of the most famous and first few official sightings of the Mothman creature is said to have happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia on November 15th 1966 at 11pm.
It was this sighting that got writer of The Mothman Prophecies, John Keel interested in the creature and began the entire legend.
This sighting was detailed in the newspapers at the time and then in John Keel's 1975 book on the subject. Its been featured in several documentaries such as the 2002 Search for the Mothman Documentary, the 2011 Eyes of The Mothman Documentary and 2017's The Mothman of Point Pleasant Documentary. A retelling of this story was even immortalized on Bob Roach's Mothman Statue in Point Pleasant.
On November 15th 1966, two young couples were joyriding around in a Black 1957 Chevy to a remote hangout spot north of Point Pleasant known as The TNT Area. When they got there they suddenly saw two giant red eyes next to the old abandoned North Power Plant. One of the couples was Steve Mallette and Mary Mallette, the other was Linda Scarberry and Roger Scarberry.
They claimed to have seen a man-like figure with wings go around the corner at the old power house. It appeared to have its wing caught in a guide wire near the road. The creature then managed to free its wing. It didn't run, but wobbled like it couldn't keep its balance. Linda described the creature as having circular fiery red eyes and a body just like a man but with wings. They said the creature was about 6 or 7 feet tall with wings folded against its back. Half Man, Half Monster. She said "You could see muscles in its legs".
The couples couldn't believe what they had seen. They quickly drove off to the main highway, on Route 62. Linda yelled for Roger to hurry. The couples saw the creature sitting on a hill by a large billboard as they went around a curve. It spread its wings and went straight up into the air.
They were all terrified and kept yelling for the driver to go faster. The Mothman began gliding back and forth over their car. "We didn't know what it was. I don't think we've ever been so scared" said Linda.
As they went along a straight stretch of road, they were going anywhere from a hundred to a hundred twenty miles an hour but the creature was still able to follow them. They saw it in the back window and saw the shadow go across the car as it flew, they couldn't get away from it. They could also hear the wings hitting the top of the car as they drove. It's even said to have left scratch marks on Roger's '57 Chevy.
"It squeaked like a big mouse" said Mary Mallette. They were only able to get away from the Mothman when they reached the edge of point pleasant. The creature disappeared, veering off into a field, as they went into town.
The couples continued going downtown and stopped at Tiny's Diner to figure out what to do next. Linda suggested to go to the police but the Mallettes thought they'd just laugh at them. They eventually decided to drive to the Mason county courthouse.
As they were driving, they saw a large dead dog laying along the road. The dog was gone when they drove by again later. They went to the sheriff's office and told Sheriff George Johnson and Deputy Miller Hallsted what they saw.
The Scarberry and Mallette couples were split up into separate rooms to give individual police reports, each witness described similar things. They told police they saw a large winged creature whose eyes "glowed red" when the car headlights picked it up. They described it as a "flying man with ten foot wings" following their car.
The police didn't believe them at first but knew that weren't troublemakers and saw that they were genuinely terrified, so the sheriff actually went out to investigate their story. The couples drove back out to the TNT area with the deputies. According to one of the witnesses, the winged creature jumped out as they passed where the dead dog was, went over the top of the car, and went through the field on the other side.
The police found no sign of the creature. However, the deputy is said to have seen "shadows circling" the old power plant and also heard strange static disturbances coming from his radio that he couldn't explain. Halsted admitted that he saw a cloud of dust kick up from an adjacent coal yard that may have been the creature's doing. The teens were too afraid to go back to their homes, they stayed at the Scarberry's trailer, turned all the lights on and stayed awake all night from fear.
The following day, the sheriff held a press conference to discuss the sightings, the local press began printing the story and named the creature "The Mothman" based on the Comic book character, Batman, who had just gotten a television series at the time. Steve Mallete told the local newspaper "We understand people are laughing at us. But we wouldn't make up all this to make us look like fools".
That same day the couples went back to the TNT area during daylight and found odd looking tracks resembling "Two horseshoes put together" but smooth. They saw something fly up inside a boiler when a door was kicked open. No one stayed around long enough to see what it was.
After this original sighting, more and more people began reporting seeing similar things such as Marcella Bennett's sighting which happened a day later. Within two days, hundreds of cars full of eager people swarmed out to the TNT area at night in hopes of seeing the Mothman. A shadow was cast of the valley of Point Pleasant and the thus began the legacy of West Virginia's Mothman.
When the David Grabias produced the documentary, Search For The Mothman, the crew interviewed Linda Scarberry on location at the TNT area for ten minutes but then had to stop as Linda became too overwhelmed by fear to go any further. Her now ex-husband, Roger of Charleston West Virginia, refused to be interviewed, as did the Mallettes.Linda Scarberry was born on June 10th 1947 and died on March 6th 2011. She claimed that she and her husband had seen Mothman many times, sometimes at close range. She said "It seems like it doesn’t want to hurt you. It just wants to communicate with you".
Sources: "Couples See Man-Sized Bird...Creature...Something" Newspaper from November 16th 1966 "Four Pt. Pleasant Car Occupants See 'Bird-Like Creature'" Newspaper from November 17th 1966 "Monster No Joke For Those Who Saw It" Newspaper from November 18th 1966 The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel (1975) (Page 76) (Chapter 6) Search for the Mothman Documentary (2002) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothman "Mothman and other curious encounters" by Loren Coleman (2002) (Page 40) The Mothman Episode of The "Monster Quest" TV Show Eyes of The Mothman Documentary (2011) "Monsters of West Virginia" by Rosemary Ellen Guiley (2012) (Page 34)