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Strange Tales of Disaster and the Mothman in Japan

There have long been tales of strange winged humanoids that have menaced the unsuspecting. One of the most famous is the one called the Mothman, which is an enigmatic humanoid winged entity with glowing eyes, often reportedly seen in the vicinity of impending disaster or calamity, a sort of harbinger of doom. Most famously seen seen in the area of Point Pleasant, Virginia from November 15, 1966 to December 15, 1967, and which is said to have somehow foretold of the collapse of the the Silver Bridge, which led to the deaths of 46 people, the creature has been allegedly been seen at the locations of various other catastrophes all over the world. There have been alleged sightings of the Mothman in the days before the Chernobyl disaster and before the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that resulted in a tsunami that wiped out an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries, among others. These are some of the more ominous and most famous series of the sinister appearance of the mysterious winged humanoid entity, but they are not the only ones by a long shot. Such winged creatures have been seen in the vicinity of a good amount of other calamities, always stirring up wonder, awe, and fear, and one seemingly unlikely place that has its own Mothman reports is the nation of Japan, in the lead-up to its biggest disaster ever.

In March of 2011, tragedy struck Japan. A massive magnitude-9 earthquake tore through, generating a devastating tsunami that battered the coastal Tohoku region of the country’s eastern coast and left death and destruction in its wake. As if the potent quake and resulting wave weren’t bad enough, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was so badly damaged that it went into a nuclear meltdown that was to be one of the worst in history, poisoning the environment, its animals, its people, and causing lasting ripples that reverberate to this day. The event was especially frightening to this writer, as I live in Japan and was here at the time, although I was safely out of harm’s way in Tokyo as the breathtaking horrors of the disaster flashed across the TV screen. It felt like a surreal nightmare being viewed through the lens of sleep, as it it couldn’t possibly be happening, but it was.

On the ground in the affected region things were much more real, although many of these people perhaps still thought of it all as some sort of bad dream from which they might wake. Thousands upon thousands of people dead and many more injured or left homeless, the sound of screaming and crying the background score to all of the carnage. The landscape had become a wasteland of broken debris, carcasses, smashed buildings, and shattered dreams, a shadowy skeleton of what it had once been. The ruthless tsunami had tossed cars, trees and houses about as if mere playthings, upending and dashing them haphazardly about the scene, with trees cast far inland or cars and boats dashed upon the tops of tall, destroyed buildings; a splendid illustration of nature’s terrible power. Those structures that had been left standing had only been slightly luckier, being gutted and defaced by the devastation so as to be left uninhabitable ruins only vaguely reminiscent of what they had once been, and all of it withering under the specter of leaking radiation from the crippled nuclear plant. It looked like an absolute war zone, as if it had been bombed into oblivion, and where once there had been thriving, vibrant community now lay only haunting, broken reminders of its past. After this, there would be reports that perhaps something very strange had somehow foretold this all.

In the days leading up to the deadly Japanese earthquake and massive tsunami, a witness named Marcus Pules claims to have made a sighting of what he describes as the Mothman in the area. Pules said that he had been in Japan on business in February of 2011, and had decided to stay with a friend who had long lived in Japan teaching English in the rural town of Okuma, in the Fukushima region. One day the two friends went out to look around the town, and in the evening they went to the seaside, walking along a trail that meandered near the Daiichi Fukushima nuclear power plant, at this point still in normal working condition, with no hint as to the major disaster and specter of doom it was to become. As they walked along, Pules claims that he heard a sudden “Whoosh,” which he at first took to be the sounds of the nearby ocean waves crashing against rocks, but his mind was changed when the sound repeated and then was followed by an ear piercing shriek the likes of which he had never heard before. His friend heard it as well, as did a couple who had been on the same path out for a romantic evening stroll. Pules would say:

We heard it again (the whooshing noise), followed by a ear pitching screech that shook me down to the bone and made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. We looked around for the cause of the noise, when we heard the sound again. The best way I can describe it is a city bus’s brakes when they are in need of service, loud and ear splitting. We both continued to look around when my friend’s attention was drawn toward the plant by another nearby couple. A younger couple, out for a walk were staring toward the plant, arms outstretched and the obvious fear in their voices showing itself.

Pules then looked out towards the power plant looming in the distance and thought he could make out a large, shadowy figure silhouetted by the plant’s lights and the moonlight, which appeared to be sitting perched atop one of the buildings. As he stared at it trying to figure out who or what it could be, the figure suddenly unfurled what looked like a massive set of black wings and took to the sky, where it circled the plant several times. Pules described the frightening events that followed thus:

The creature then took flight and circled the plant at least 4-5 times, some circuits he took at a fast pace, some he seemed to slow down, all the while he kept his attention on the row of square shaped buildings that I later found out housed the reactors. The creature then came toward us, flying at least 25-30 feet off the ground. The younger couple who had noticed the creature first were now screaming and cowering, the man shielding the woman while shielding his head with a jacket. My friend and I looked in awe as this creature flew over us. That’s when I noticed the two large red eyes; they seemed to glow from within and with a blood red hue. They were unblinking in the 3-4 seconds we saw them, we knew they were looking straight at us, we knew this creature knew we could see it and it made no attempt to disguise itself. The sick, intense and overwhelming feeling of dread came over us. A feeling that we shouldn’t be there was to say the least, overwhelming.

Then the bizarre flying humanoid creature suddenly flew off towards town as the friend fumbled with his cell phone trying to take pictures of it, until it eventually faded away into the distance to leave the witnesses in a state of terrified confusion. Pules and his friend quickly vacated the area, and as soon as they got home the two panicked men talked about what they had seen, trying to come to grips with what it had been and settling on the explanation that it must have been a large bird or optical illusion caused by the lights of the plant, although they both knew deep down that this was not the case. Because of the dark conditions at the time, none of the pictures the friend had tried to take turned out well. In the following days they tried not to bring it up, and Pules would try to put the strange encounter out of his mind.

It was not until after he had returned to the States that he would be reminded of the creature once again, when the same friend woke him in the middle of the night in March, frantically talking about the huge earthquake that had just struck the area where he lived, practically leveling the town he was in. Pules turned on the TV and over the next few days was bombarded with images of the devastation that the earthquake and resultant tsunami had dealt out, including the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which happened to be the very same plant where they had seen the frightening winged humanoid. Pules would muse on the relationship between the disaster and what he had seen, saying:

The Fukushima Daiichi was the exact same plant we had seen the strange bird like creature circling. Was it pure coincidence or was it the mythical Moth-Man doing his strange work of predicting disasters? I may never know and may go to the grave wondering that, but one thing is certain for sure, I don’t think that neither of us is going to forget this event, no matter how long we live.

Another somewhat bizarre report of a possible Mothman sighting leading up to the tsunami was related to me personally by a witness who was in the area of the ill- fated Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on the very evening before the disaster hit. The witness, who prefers to remain anonymous and who I will call “Hiroshi,” was there not to see the reactors, but was rather at the nearby seaside hiking with a friend on March 10, 2011. He was not a local, but rather in the Fukushima area for a business trip from Tokyo. On this evening they were hiking not far from the nuclear facility at around dusk when they spotted a very large flying form that they at first thought was a very big bird, which flew up over a bluff and right over some nearby trees. It was estimated to have a wingspan of at least 10 to 15 feet, and the two amazed men stared in awe as it flew off silently in the direction of the nuclear facility, at this point trying to figure out what kind of bird it could be because neither one of them were aware of such a large species in Japan. However, it would soon become very clear that this was no bird. Hiroshi told me:

Whatever this thing was suddenly rose up really high into the air and circled a few times before coming down to one of the buildings at the nuclear facility and landing right on top of it. We could than see that it was not a bird. It was standing there and it was very humanoid in shape, its wings now folded up over its back. It was dusk and some distance away, so we could not see it in very great detail, but it was definitely humanoid, with two arms and two noticeable legs. We could see no facial features but the head seemed oversized. The creature stood very still there on that roof and seemed to be looking out over the ocean, its head moving as if it was scanning the horizon. It remained there for a few minutes, and then leapt off the edge of the building and shot up into the sky, where it once again circled and then flew off out of sight.

Hiroshi told me that the following morning he returned to Tokyo, and it was only when the earthquake and tsunami hit later that day that he got the impression that the creature had somehow known what was coming. Reports such as these fit in well with the MO of many Mothman reports and the lore that has grown up around them. What is this entity that seems to show up in times of great disaster and strife? Why is it there? Is it a portent of what is to come or the cause of it all? Or is this all merely spooky myths and modern legend? It is hard to say, but the tales of the Mothman live on, swirling out past the periphery of our ability to understand it.