"I wish we had never seen it, I wish someone else had seen it." - Linda Scarberry, Mothman Witness, 1966
It was this sighting that got writer of The Mothman Prophecies, John Keel interested in the creature and began the entire legend.
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 Linda Scarberry and Roger Scarberry, the other was Steve Mallette and Mary Mallette.
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 he 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.
The story was immediately picked up by the newspapers and spread quickly, large crowds had already gathered in The TNT Area by the next night. Within the week, papers were picking up on similar sightings and speculating different explanations for what was going on. The media storm continued throughout 1966 and 1967.
In 1970, author John Keel released a book called Strange Creatures From Time And Space which contained a chapter about Mothman and included this sighting. Then in 1975, he released his book The Mothman Prophecies.
The story has since been detailed in several books, articles, newsprint, TV shows and documentaries. Information can be found at The Mothman Museum and a retelling of this story was even immortalized on Bob Roach's Mothman Statue in Point Pleasant.
- 1966 Local News print from November 16th 1966: "Couples See Man-Sized Bird...Creature...Something"
- 1966 Local News print from November 17th 1966: "Four Pt. Pleasant Car Occupants See 'Bird-Like Creature'"
- 1966 Local News print from November 18th 1966: "Monster No Joke For Those Who Saw It"
- 1966 The Original Mothman Police Reports
- 1970 Strange Creatures From Time And Space by John Keel (Chapter 18)
- 1975 The Mothman Prophecies by John Keel (Chapter 6)
- 2002 Mothman: The Facts Behind The Legend by Jeff Wamsley and Donnie Sergent Jr.
- 2002 Mothman And Other Curious Encounters By Loren Coleman (Chapter 3)
- 2002 Search For The Mothman Documentary
- 2003 The Inscription on Bob Roach's Mothman Statue
- 2005 The Mothman Museum Is Opened
- 2005 Mothman...Behind The Red Eyes by Jeff Wamsley
- 2011 Eyes of The Mothman Documentary
- 2012 Monsters of West Virginia by Rosemary Ellen Guiley (Chapter 3)
- 2013 The Tale of The Mason County Mothman by George Dudding
- 2017 The Mothman of Point Pleasant Documentary
The Scarberry and Mallettes
Linda Scarberry , born Linda McDaniel (June 10th 1947 - March 6th 2011) was the child of Park and Mabel McDaniel. She was 19 years old during the initial Mothman sighting on November 15th 1966. She was married to Roger Scarberry and friends with Steve and Mary Mallette.
The Scarberry and Mallettes gave police reports of their encounter in 1966 and they were interviewed by the local press in the morning after their sighting. They later had many conversations and correspondence with author John Keel who took several trips to Point Pleasant during his investigation of the story.
On July 11th, 2001, Linda was interviewed for the book Mothman: The Facts Behind The Legend by Jeff Wamsley and Donnie Sergent Jr.
On September 12th 2001, when 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 refused to be interviewed, as did the Mallettes.Linda Scarberry died on March 6th 2011 at the age of 63. 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 Original Mothman Police Reports 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)