Jun 09, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The Mothman Phenomenon: Point Pleasant a Probable Portal

There can be few people reading this who have not at least heard of the legendary Mothman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, who so terrorized the town and the surrounding area between November 1966 and December 1967, and whose diabolical exploits were chronicled in the 2002 hit Hollywood movie starring Richard Gere: The Mothman Prophecies, so named after the book of the same title written by Mothman authority John Keel.  A devil-like, winged monster with glowing, red eyes, Mothman’s appearance came quite literally out of nowhere and, some say, culminated in high tragedy and death. But what was the Mothman of Point Pleasant? And how did the legend begin?  To answer those questions we have to go back to the dark night of November 12, 1966, when five grave-diggers working in a cemetery in the nearby town of Clendenin were shocked to see what they described as a “brown human shape with wings” rise out of the thick, surrounding trees and soar off into the distance.

Three days later, the unearthly beast surfaced once again. It was at the highly appropriate time of the witching-hour when Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette – two young, married couples from Point Pleasant - were passing the time away by cruising around town in the Scarberrys’ car. As they drove around the old factory, the four were puzzled to see in the shadows what looked like two red lights pointing in their direction. These were no normal lights, however. Rather, all four were shocked and horrified to discover that, in reality, the “lights” were the glowing, self-illuminating red eyes of a huge animal that, as Roger Scarberry would later recall, was “…shaped like a Mothman, but bigger, maybe six and a half or seven feet tall, with big wings folded against its back.” And, as a result, the phenomenon of Mothman began. There is, however, far more to Point Pleasant than just Mothman when it comes to the weird stakes. Soon after Mothman appeared on the scene, so did the dreaded Men in Black.

(Nick Redfern)

Gareth Medway, who has written an excellent paper on the Men in Black says: "1967, Early January: Mary Hyre, who was reporting on Mothman for a local paper, and would later run UFO stories, was visited in her Point Pleasant, West Virginia, office by a very small black-haired man with ‘hypnotic’ eyes in a thin short sleeved shirt and shoes with very thick soles." Gareth also says: "Mothman witness Connie Carpenter was stopped by a man in a black 1949 Buick who attempted to abduct her." There's this from Gareth, too: Mary Hyre, newswoman of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, was visited by two men in black overcoats who asked her: “What would you do if someone did order you to stop writing about flying saucers?” Later the same day, ‘Jack Brown’, who like the other two looked oriental, came and asked her: “What – would – what would you do – of someone ordered – ordered you to stop - to stop printing UFO stories?” Brown later called upon Mothman witnesses Connie Carpenter and Linda Scarberry."

Now, let's move onto the strange world of a creepy character named Indrid Cold. Susan Sheppard - an author and researcher - was a friend who passed away all too early. One of Susan's fascinations was the aforementioned Indrid Cold. He, too, was someone who popped up in the state of West Virginia and caused a degree of menace. The strangeness that enveloped West Virginia and Ohio Valley did not begin with the Scarberry encounter along route 2 north of Point Pleasant. There had been another puzzling event that occurred in Parkersburg 12 days before. This happened on November 2, 1966, one mile south of the city limits of Parkersburg. It involved a sewing machine salesman whose life was about to be disrupted in such a way that he would never entirely recover. As Susan said: "His name was Woodrow Derenberger, but everyone called him 'Woody.' It was shortly after 6 p.m. in the evening, when Woody Derenberger was driving home from his job as a sewing machine salesman at J.C. Penny’s in Marietta, Ohio to his farmhouse in Mineral Wells, West Virginia. The ride home was overcast and dreary. It was misting a light rain. As Derenberger came up on the Intersection of I-77 and Route 47, he thought that a tractor trailer truck was tailgating him without its lights on, which was unnerving, so he swerved to the side of the road and much to his surprise, the truck appeared to take flight and seemed to roll across his panel truck. To his astonishment, what Derenberger thought was a truck was a charcoal colored UFO without any lights on. It touched down and then hovered about 10 inches above the berm of the road."

(Nick Redfern)

Susan added: "Such to Derenberger’s surprise a hatch opened and a man stepped out looking like “any ordinary man you would see on the street - there was nothing unusual about his appearance. Except the man was dressed in dark clothing and had a 'beaming smile.' As the man proceeded to walk toward Derenberger’s panel truck the “craft” jetted up to about 40 feet in the air where it floated above the highway. What happened next was unsettling, because as the darkly-dressed man came up toward the vehicle Woody Derenberger heard the words, 'Do not be afraid, I mean you no harm, I only want to ask you a few questions.” Derenberger did become afraid because as the man spoke to Woodrow his lips did not move. The man then moved to the opposite of the truck and told Derenberger to roll down his window so they could talk better, which he did. Next what formed in Derenberger’s mind were the words, “Now you can speak, or you can think… it makes no difference, I can understand you either way. This is what the dark man said."  Derenberger would see Cold again.

Moving ahead in time, I have in my files several cases of huge birds soaring over Point Pleasant in the late 1980s. And, I have one encounter of a pterodactyl-like creature gliding across the city in 1992. It cannot be a coincidence that all of this airborne activity took place at Point Pleasant. And, now, one more story. Anna is a resident of Point Pleasant. She revealed to me when I was at Point Pleasant in 2014 - to speak at the annual Mothman Festival – back in October 2012 she had a strange and frightening encounter with a pair of Black-Eyed Children, late one Saturday night. Anna, a shift-worker, was spending her night relaxing and watching television, after a hard day of work. Sometime around 11:10 p.m., there was a knock at the door. It was two of the Black-Eyed Children. Anna warily went to the door, and peered through the spyhole. She couldn’t fail to see the two boys, standing next to each other, and both wearing the familiar black hoodies. She shouted through the door, asking what they wanted. When she got no answer, Anna put the chain on the door and opened it. When Anna saw the boys, she was frozen with terror: both had solid black eyes, and both had skin the color of milk. “We need food,” said one, in an almost robotic fashion, while looking at his feet. Oddly, his companion was also steadfastly looking down. With hindsight, Anna felt that their stances reflected their attempts to try and prevent her from seeing their strange eyes. If so, it was an attempt that failed spectacularly.

(Nick Redfern)

Anna slammed the door, shaking with fear as she did so. For a few minutes she retreated to the furthest part of the living room. When, however, there was no further knock at the door, she made a tentative move. Plucking up all her courage, Anna peered once again through the spyhole: the two boys were still there. Most disturbing of all, although Anna practically tiptoed towards the door and did not touch it as she reached it, she said that the BECs clearly reacted as she looked at them, as if they were able to sense she was just behind the other side of the door. As Anna continued to stare at them – locked into a state of terror – something almost unimaginable happened: an eerie green glow surrounded the boys and, in seconds, they were replaced by a pair of what Anna described as large, upright lizards. The monstrous pair stood around eight feet tall, were completely naked, and had long, protruding jaws filled with razor-sharp teeth. They did nothing but stand there, for around twenty seconds or so, after which, Anna explained, the outside porch was enveloped in blackness and they vanished from view. Her first thought was to call the local police. But, she felt – almost certainly correctly – that filing such an incident with law-enforcement officials would very likely cause her even more problems. Instead, she quickly packed a bag, carefully opened the door, raced to her car, and spent the next three days staying at her mother’s place, just over the Ohio River. It was the end of a shocking and unforgettable incident.

So, what do we have here? Well, I would say it's almost impossible that so much bizarreness should (or could) occur in one area. Yet, that's exactly what has happened in and around Point Pleasant over the decades. My own view? That we are dealing with portals; "doorways" that allow all these things through. I've come across numerous places that are ripe with constant, paranormal activity, such as the U.K.'s Cannock Chase woods, where I spent much of my early years. The Chase, too, provokes a great deal of menace at times.  

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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