Cryptid Playing Cards
Cryptids of North America
One of the most renown Cryptids, knowledge of this creature originally became widespread thanks to John Keel's book, The Mothman Prophecies in the 1970's, and the film adaption in 2002.
Mothman is described as a bipedal, winged humanoid, with coloration that varies from black, gray, to even brown. Often reported to be about 7 feet tall, with a wingspan of ~10 to 15 feet (~3 - 4.5 m) or more, plus the ability to fly at over 100 mph. Sometimes reported as having no defined head, with two huge glowing red eyes set in the chest.
Details of his face and his feet have not been adequately described. Those who've had a close look at the Mothman suffer from extreme fear and psychological distress, which can last for months or years afterwards. Reports have included that a sense of pure evil overcomes them when they see Mothman's eyes.
The Mothman folds its wings and walks with a weird shuffle that many witnesses compare to a penguin. To fly, Mothman unfolds his wings and first ascends "straight up, like a helicopter" with great speed. Rarely observed not flapping its wings, except for on take off, and flies much faster than any bird should be able to fly.
For roughly a 1-year period, starting in 1966, the Mothman was spotted by residents of Point Pleasant, Virginia. The first recorded Mothman sighting took place on November 12, 1966, near Clendenin, West Virginia. Five men, preparing a grave for burial, saw something lifting off from the nearby trees. The men reported that the brown creature that what lifted off had a human-like form.
The largest number of sightings happened near the old West Virginia Ordnance Works, an area now known by locals as the "TNT Area", north of Point Pleasant.
On November 15th, 1966, two young couples encountered the Mothman. Roger and Linda Scarberry were driving in Roger's black '57 Chevy Bel Air with Steve and Marry Mallette through the area around midnight. Linda noticed two large, glowing red eyes in the darkness beside the old North Power Plant, and screamed. The creature has a human-like form, about 7 feet tall with wings folded against its back. They slowed to a stop before the creature spread its wings and pursued them down Highway 62 to the Point Pleasant, exceeding 100 mph.
After reaching Point Pleasant, there was no sign of the Mothman. They decided they had probably overreacted and what they had experienced probably wasn't really what happened. They decided they would drive back towards the TNT Area. On Route 62, they once again encountered the Mothman. As the car's headlights landed on the creature it lifted vertically into the air with tremendous speed and disappeared above the tree line.
They returned to Point Pleasant and went to the Mason county courthouse, reciting the event to Sheriff George Johnson and Deputy Miller Hallsted. Two hours later, the City Police setup investigations in the area but found nothing. The next day, a press conference was held and the local press began printing on the story.
Others came forward, reciting previous sightings. In the November 16th issue of the Point Pleasant Register, the strange encounter would be brought to the public eye with the headline "Couple Sees Man-Sized Bird...Creature...Something."
Due to the popularity of the Batman TV series at the time, the fictional superhero Batman and his rogues gallery were prominently featured in the public eye. Batman's villain, the Killer Moth, is the believed inspiration for the coinage of the name “Mothman” in the local newspapers.
This creature would be seen throughout the next thirteen months in Point Pleasant, with more than 100 sightings reported during this time. Mothman witnesses also report being harassed by the Men In Black who wanted them not to speak about the creature. The strange sightings all seemed to culminate in the collapse of the Silver Bridge on December 15th, 1967, in which 46 lost their lives.
Similar sightings have been reported in other parts of the world, often seeming to be heralds of disasters. Incidents include a mine in Freiburg, Germany, where a Mothman-like creature scared miners away shortly before a collapse. Another notable visit was to the nuclear plant at Chernobyl, where a creature was seen periodically before the nuclear meltdown. Georgian newspaper Svobodnaya Gruziya reported that Russian UFOlogists claimed Mothman sightings in Moscow foreshadowed the 1999 Russian apartment bombings. There were also two Mothman pictures taken in New York on 9/11 and multiple sightings before the Minnesota bridge collapse.
Two legends from Shawnee lore mention creatures closely resembling Mothman, called Misignwa and Waupee respectively. In the legend of Misignwa, the description of Mothman is indeed similar to Bigfoot by ceremonial dress used during the Bread Dance. The Waupee legend is also similar in that it's part of Shawnee lore, and that a family of Native Americans chose to become white hawks living in the forests near Point Pleasant.
Some believe the Mothman may be an angel, demon or the product of a blood curse placed upon the town by Chief Cornstalk, who was murdered along with his son in the area. Similarly, the curse theory is one very attached to the collapse of the Silver Bridge.
Cryptid Playing Cards
This cryptid is included in my Cryptids of North America Playing Cards. This is a limited run set of Playing Cards and my first crowd sourced project.
Future projects will follow, both around playing cards and around strange and unusual creatures. All design and production done in the US; designed by me in Texas, and printed in Florida.
Check out my Cryptids of North America Playing Cards >>