The Mothman has always been a strange cryptid to me. It seems to exist somewhere in the liminal space between actual physical creature and supernatural omen of death. Witness reports do indicate a physical entity and are fairly consistent. The Mothman is generally described as a bipedal creature, human sized or larger, with enormous wings—10 to 15 feet in wingspan. The face is not often well described, but most witnesses claim to see red eyes of some sort. The body of the creature is described as black or grey. Most of the sightings of Mothman occur at night, with many witnesses claiming it flew away while they watched. Many of the sightings also claim the creature was situated above them.
The most famous case of multiple Mothman sightings is the case of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. In 1966 and 1967 there were multiple sightings of a large winged creature in the area. In December 1967 the Silver Bridge collapsed, killing 46 people. What animal in West Virginia could possibly be responsible for these sightings? People have proposed bats, but too many people described the creature as upright. There is a large upright creature with red above its eyes that would be fairly unfamiliar to the people of West Virginia, and that is the whooping crane.
Whooping cranes are not usually found in West Virginia. But they DO migrate through nearby Kentucky. One state over is not an unreasonable place to find a migratory bird. Migratory birds do occasionally get knocked off course, sometimes much further. Pink backed pelicans have been found in the Greek islands and flamingoes are occasionally found in Florida. The grouped sightings in Point Pleasant might indicate all the eyewitnesses were seeing the same creature, one which would not be familiar to locals and which may have been acting erratically due to being separated from its migrating flock. Another clue that I believe points to an off-track whooping crane is the red eyes reported. Whooping cranes have red feathers around their eyes. They have a wingspan up to 7.5 feet, stand up to 5 feet tall, and are grey in color. This matches the eyewitness descriptions fairly well. This is certainly an upright creature the size of a man which, if it swooped suddenly toward you in the dark, has the potential to be very frightening.
An off-track whooping crane may explain the West Virginia sightings, but it does not explain the proliferation of sightings of the Mothman all over the world. However, he has now become entrenched in our minds. The power of suggestion is very real, and people could be mistaking other large birds and bats for the cryptid they have heard so much about. Then again, Mothman does have the eerie tendency to turn up right before major tragedies. Who knows, perhaps he is a real creature, one that lurks in the shadows waiting to warn us of impending doom.
Interesting! I agree that it could have been a migratory bird, a bit off course.
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