ABOVE: A man driving along State Route 2 in Point Pleasant said he snapped these pictures of a creature jumping from tree to tree. Many locals in Point Pleasant believe it resembles the legendary Mothman — a red-eyed creature many believe is a bad omen. (Viewer submitted photo)
POINT PLEASANT, WV (WCHS/WVAH) — Hunters in Mason County may need to be on the lookout for something other than deer when they hit the woods this week.
The Point Pleasant Mothman is a local legend that over the years has gained worldwide fame.
There hadn’t been any recent sightings of the red-eyed creature recently, but that changed Sunday evening, when a man who says he was driving along State Route 2 saw something jump from tree to tree. He pulled off the road and snapped some pictures.
The man declined an on-camera interview, but was adamant the pictures had not been doctored. He said he recently moved to Point Pleasant for work and didn’t even know about the legend.
In the pictures, the creature appears to have wings with pointed tips and long legs, bent at an awkward angle.
Point Pleasant locals such as Carolin Harris believe the pictures could be real because there have been so many other sighting over the years.
“I definitely know the Mothman is real,” Harris said.
The Mothman was reportedly sighted in Point Pleasant by witnesses from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, 1966. Author John Keel popularized local folklore about the creature with his 1975 book “The Mothman Prophecies.”
The book was later adapted into a 2002 feature film with the same title, starring Richard Gere.
Harris has owned The Mothman Diner in Point Pleasant for 48 years. She also helped start the Mothman Festival.
Harris said there have been too many sightings of the Mothman for her not to believe.
“First responders and the sheriff’s department that I talked to definitely made a believer out of me.” Harris said.
Some believe The Mothman is a bad omen , only appearing when catastrophe is about to strike. There have been many claims the winged, red-eyed creature was seen right before the Point Pleasant Silver Bridge collapsed in 1967.
Harris has met many Mothman believers over the years who visit her diner.
On Monday, Karen and Ralph Smith were patrons at the diner. The couple was traveling from Florida to Pennsylvania, but decided to stop off in Point Pleasant to visit the Mothman Museum.
Karen Smith said she hopes she can add herself into the “believer” category.
“You have eyewitnesses. It does have the potential to be real, and I want to believe,” Smith said.
The Smiths said the Mothman pictures look real to them. So Eyewitness News asked Jeff Wamsley, the local Mothman expert and owner of the Mothman Museum.
Wamsley said with modern technology, it’s almost impossible to know for sure if the pictures are real.
Whether the pictures are real or not, the benefits the legend of the Mothman brings to the town of Point Pleasant are very real.
“It’s a good thing. It brings lots of people to the area. He’s here to stay,” Harris said.