The book came my way after I saw the movie, starring Richard Gere. I’m including both versions in this review as I feel the movie’s the better of the two: a sharper and more focused retelling of the accounts leading up to and including the Silver Bridge tragedy on the Ohio River, between Gallipolis, Ohio, and Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in 1967.
How much readers believe of the mystery surrounding the Mothman encounters and sightings depends on how open-minded they are.
The book is a catalogue of various sightings and experiences of not only the Mothman, but also a wide variety of paranormal phenomena, including angels, demons, alien visitations, mutilated animals, accounts of UFO sightings, testimonies from witnesses, including several who have been approached by the “Men in Black” – among them the enigmatic and indefinable Indrid Cold. Several witness were afflicted by a strange conjunctivitis, having seen “something” and been exposed to an energy that left them injured. Many of the Mothman witnesses share a mindset in common: what they saw frightened them, they don’t feel privileged to have seen it and they hope they never see it again.
The fact that people witnessed and experienced this phenomenon can’t be repudiated; there are similar accounts from all over the world and at different times throughout history.
The movie is fabulously intense, eerie and atmospheric with excellent performances from all the actors. It’s a mesmerizing story about the blurring of our perception of the natural and supernatural world, where the “sensitive” among us may glimpse things not usually apparent to the majority. One explanation I like is that this phenomenon has been around us all the time and they are a form of natural energy.
In the end, a lot comes down to faith. Many are simply frightened by what they don’t understand, or what doesn’t fit into their view of what constitutes “normality”. It’s easy to be sceptical, particularly when knowledge often comes marred in sound-bites, information overload and disinformation, but we live in a big world, surrounded by a vast, infinite universe.
How much of that is still mystery?
We have a need to know. But maybe it’s as the character Alexander Leek in the movie, played by Alan Bates, points out: we’re not allowed to know!