For the past year or so I’ve lived in a rural town in southeastern, Ohio. On my first full night, while my girlfriend was at work, I grabbed my camera and headed off to a place which I’d been wanting to visit for over 20 years.
A 30-minute drive took me across the border, into West Virginia. In the town of Point Pleasant, I parked my truck and set off in search of my quarry. It happened to be a dark, rainy night but I didn’t mind. In fact, the weather made the experience that much better. I walked up and down the quiet streets, craning my neck around every corner, not entirely sure that I would find what I was looking for. Finally, about a half mile from where I had parked, I saw it. There before me was the statue of the Mothman!
45 years ago, two couples from Point Pleasant claimed to have encountered a 7-foot-tall creature with large wings and glowing red eyes. They reported that the creature chased them for some time before they were finally able to escape it. In the months to follow, more sightings of the “Mothman” were reported. Some claimed it to be a supernatural creature, others said that it might be an alien life-form, others yet insisted that it must be a hoax.
Ultimately, the reports pretty much ground to a halt after the Silver Bridge (connecting Point Pleasant, WV to Gallipolis, OH) collapsed on December 15, 1967. While this tragedy likely calmed the hysteria that had been prevalent in the area, some claimed that there was more to it.
Based on the frequent sightings of the Mothman prior to the bridge collapse, some claim that he was a harbinger of doom. In the years to follow, there have been reports of Mothman sightings prior to other disasters, in various locales around the United States.
While the story garnered enough press coverage to warrant a book and even a Hollywood movie (albeit only loosely based on the story), it’s still a rather obscure legend. Compared to the Loch Ness Monster & Bigfoot, the Mothman is hardly a household name.
I’m drawn to legends like the Mothman specifically because of their obscurity. They’re out there and just about every community has them. Hell, I could just as easily be writing about the White Lady, who supposedly haunts the shore of Lake Ontario, in my hometown of Rochester, NY.
As gamers we’re all accustomed to having a level of familiarity with legendary creatures from thousands of years of history. The words “dragon”, “vampire”, or “goblin” immediately bring hundreds of vivid images to our minds. A party who is told that they’re facing a vampire will immediately have some ideas as to how to proceed. Challenge that same party with a three-headed, crab monster and all bets are off. For every superstar of the monster world, just imagine how many little-known myths there must be out there.
I’ve been blessed in my life to be able to travel quite a bit. One of my favorite things to do while I’m off adventuring is to ask people about local legends and myths. I get some odd looks while doing this but every so often, I get some fantastic stories. That said, I’ll now put that question to you.
Since I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” quite a number of interesting folks, from all over the world. Please take just a minute and leave a quick comment. Are there any juicy myths or legends from your area? You can be as brief or detailed as you like but I would love to hear about the monsters in your own backyard.