10 Mythical American Monsters

The famous Mothman statue can be seen in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Richie Diesterheft/Flickr

Driving home late on the night of Nov. 15, 1966, four young adults noticed two red lights in the shadows of the West Virginia Ordnance Works, a former TNT factory from the World War II era. Stopping to investigate, they claim to have discovered a 6- or 7-foot (1.8 or 2 meters)-tall creature that resembled a man with large wings. The two red lights they'd noticed were its eyes. As they raced home in their car, the beast flew after them. Once the news got out, more than 100 people in the Point Pleasant, West Virginia region reported seeing "Mothman" over the next year [source: History]. (Interestingly, a 1966 Associated Press article quotes a West Virginia professor as saying that what the people actually saw was a rare species of crane which had wandered out of its normal migration route.)

On Dec. 15, 1967, a major bridge in the area collapsed during rush hour, killing 46. The sightings abruptly stopped, leading locals to think that Mothman had been trying to warn them – or was responsible for the tragedy. However, Mothman sightings subsequently cropped up around the globe. While no photos of him exist, reports consistently place him at around 7 feet tall with piercing red eyes (sometimes on his head, other times on his chest) and either bat-like or feathered wings. Point Pleasant, meanwhile, embraced its moment in the spotlight, erecting a Mothman statue and creating the Mothman Museum and Mothman Festival.