Here's the second story from my upcoming eBook, Top 5 American Monsters, available on Amazon for just $0.99 as part of The Folklore & Haunted Locations Guide: USA series!
And if you like this story, be sure to check out this creepy YouTube Video I made to go along with it!!
On November 16th, 1966 two young married couples from Point Pleasant, West Virginia reported encountering a large, winged, humanoid figure with glowing red eyes. When they reported it to a local newspaper called The Point Pleasant Register the following day, they described the figure as having a wingspan of over ten feet (3+ meters), and a height between six and nine feet (2-3 meters). In the police report filed by the group, they claim to have been driving down a rural road near an abandoned World War II munitions factory in Point Pleasant when they spotted something strange.
At first it appeared to be just a pair of eyes belonging to an animal in the road, but upon driving closer, the creature stood up, spread it’s giant wings, and began to fly alongside the car. The driver of the car sped up, but the creature kept pace easily, even when allegedly reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hour. Eventually though, the creature ceased it’s pursuit and the group was able to escape.
Another group of witnesses claim to have encountered the same, giant, humanoid bat-like creature three times that same night, and many more reports followed. They described the creature as looking like a moth in the headlights, and it was given the name, "The Mothman."
Later that month, two men were out riding motorcycles and spotted a pair of strange red lights coming from the old munitions plant. They decided to investigate, and were horrified to encounter the same moth-like creature inside. The creature once again spread it’s enormous wings and retreated into the sky.
With more and more encounters with the alleged Mothman being reported to newspaper outlets and police stations, many theories began to circulate about the Mothman’s true nature...
One biologist at West Virginia University named Dr. Robert L. Smith theorized that The Mothman may actually be a Sandhill Crane, which has a wingspan of over seven feet (2+ meters) and stands as tall as an average person. He went on to say that due to the creature not being native to the Point Pleasant area, locals wouldn’t have immediately recognized the bird, especially late at night.
Some speculated that The Mothman was some type of alien entity that arrived on earth for unknown reasons, while others were convinced the creature was the result of a top-secret government experiment that had gone wrong. During this time, there was also an increase in UFO reports and sightings in the Point Pleasant area.
Others were convinced that The Mothman was actually a creature from Native American folklore called the Thunderbird, which is considered a powerful supernatural being, and many were convinced that the entire thing was just a hoax.
But as time went by, more encounters were still being reported. To add another layer of mystery, many who reported coming face to face with The Mothman also began to report having strange recurring nightmares, with many reporting extreme anxiety and psychological distress lasting for months.
One such woman, named Mrs. Marcella Bennet, reported having frightening nightmares about The Mothman for months after the encounter, resulting in acute episodes of anxiety and paranoia. These feelings of paranoia became so unbearable that she eventually was forced to seek medical attention from a psychologist.
One woman reported having strange dreams of Christmas presents floating in a river, which turned out to be an omen of what was coming next.
After a year of sightings, The Mothman hysteria finally came to an end at around 5:00pm on December 15th, 1967 when the Silver Bridge, which connects Point Pleasant to Gallipolis, Ohio, collapsed into the Ohio River below. The event killed 46 motorists who were stuck on the bridge during the rush-hour traffic, and dozens of others were injured.
Then, strangely enough, sightings of the Mothman stopped, and life returned to normal, with many speculating that The Mothman was some sort of omen sent to warn them of the catastrophe ahead.
Hey everyone! As many of you may know, I'm in the process of writing my latest eBook, Top 5 American Monsters, as part of my Folklore & Haunted Locations Guide: USA series! Here's the first monster featured in my book: The Jersey Devil!
And if you like this story, be sure to check out this creepy YouTube Video I made to go along with it!!
Deep in the woods of southern New Jersey lies a vast area of dense forest and swampy marshlands known as the Pine Barrens. Although the first European settlers arrived in the colony of New Jersey in 1609, the Pine Barrens were only sparsely settled due to the sandy, acidic, and poor nutrient quality of it’s soil; thus the nickname, the Pine Barrens. Even today, despite it’s close vicinity to the sprawling metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and New York City, the Pine Barrens still remain rural and largely uninhabited.
In 1978, the United States Congress passed legislation that designated 1.1 million acres of the Pine Barrens as a nature reserve called the Pinelands National Reserve, and five years later in 1983 the United Nations designated the area an internationally recognized biosphere reserve. These actions helped to seal the Pine Barrens’ fate as one of America’s largest and most mysterious uninhabited areas, with over 1,700 square miles of undiscovered woodlands and marshes.
It’s here in the Pine Barrens that one of America’s most infamous legends was born. In 1735 at a location known as Leeds Point, a New Jersey colonist named Deborah Leeds and her husband Japhet received news that Deborah was pregnant with their thirteenth child.
Upon learning that she was pregnant, it’s said that Deborah cursed her unborn child, saying “let this child be the devil.” Whether or not this curse was intentional or just a product of frustration is unknown, but it appears the devil was indeed listening. Later that year Deborah gave birth to one of the most infamous monsters in American folklore; The Jersey Devil.
According to legend, it was a dark and stormy night when Deborah Leeds went into labor with her thirteenth child. Several midwives showed up to help deliver the new baby, and by all accounts the birth was routine and uneventful. However, after delivering the newborn baby – a boy – it’s said that the child began to thrash around uncontrollably.
The baby began to emit a loud, piercing, inhuman screech, which sent feelings of dread into the hearts of the awestruck midwives. As moments passed, the thrashing boy began to transform, becoming more and more fearsome until at last the metamorphosis was complete.
Standing before the Leeds family was a monster, described as being tall and reptilian with hooves and the head of a goat, leathery, bat-like wings, a forked tail, and brightly glowing red eyes. According to legend, the devil spread it’s wings, let out another screech, and promptly escaped by flying up the chimney and out into the dark night.
Over the following weeks and months, settlers of the Pine Barrens began reporting a variety of mysterious activity believed to be related to the Jersey Devil. Farmers began noticing livestock animals frequently going missing, or being found in fields bloody and mutilated. Children began to go missing, and were often found mutilated and decomposing in the woods, with deep claw marks and wounds that appeared to be caused by a mysterious, unidentified animal. Some farmers even claim to have witnessed their livestock being carried away into the night by a large, bat-like creature with glowing red eyes.
In 1740 a local minister was brought to the Pine Barrens to attempt to perform an exorcism. Although many claim that sightings of the Jersey Devil drastically decreased at this time, it’s estimated that thousands of people have reported encountering the devil since.
In 1800, a United States Naval Officer named Stephen Decatur claimed to encounter the Jersey Devil while visiting the nearby Hanover Iron Works. It’s said that while testing out a new cannon on the firing range, Mr. Decatur saw a strange, flying beast in the air above. Without thinking twice, he took aim at the creature and fired. While some claim that Mr. Decatur missed his mark, others claim his shot hit the beast, which continued to fly without appearing to be affected.
In 1820 a man named Joseph Bonaparte, elder brother to the French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte, reported encountering the Jersey Devil while hunting in nearby Bordentown, and in 1840 a string of mysterious livestock killings was blamed on the devil.
In January of 1909, thousands of residents across the state of New Jersey reported witnessing the mysterious flying creature, causing mass widespread panic. Schools and businesses were closed, and hundreds of police officers were dispatched to investigate claims throughout the states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. The nearby Philadelphia Zoo even put out a $10,000 reward for anyone who was able to kill or capture the beast. After hundreds of newspaper articles were published about the sightings, the mysterious beast was given an official name: The Jersey Devil.
By the end of January, things had returned to normal, with very few sightings of the Jersey Devil reported over the following months. Although 1909 was considered by many to be the peak of the Jersey Devil hysteria, several credible reports have made headlines in the years since.
In 1925 a local farmer claimed to have shot and killed the Jersey Devil after he found it killing and eating his livestock. According to legend, over 100 people showed up to attempt to identify the creature’s remains, but were unsuccessful in doing so.
On the evening of July 27, 1937, residents of Downing, Pennsylvania called in dozens of reports of an unidentified flying beast with glowing red eyes, which were published the following day by a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Bulletin.
In 1951 a group of young boys in Gibbstown, New Jersey reported encountering a creature in the woods matching the description of the Jersey Devil, and in 1960 in nearby Mays Landing locals claim to have found a set of unidentified animal footprints that were said to belong to the devil.
Having been talked about for almost 300 years, the Jersey Devil is one of the most prominent and well-known urban legends in the United States, with people today still claiming to encounter the enigmatic beast.
Brian Weaver is the founder and creator of GhostQuest.net, one of the internet’s most comprehensive databases for haunted locations, urban legends, and folklore tales throughout the United States. He grew up in rural New England, where he attended college for Computer Science.