November 15, 2016

Mothman Turns 50

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 6:50 pm

Mothman’s first official sighting took place fifty years ago, on November 15, 1966. On that night, Roger and Linda Scarberry and Steve and Mary Mallette reported that they saw a large winged creature in the TNT area in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, touching off a very peculiar year indeed. Here is Roger Scarberry’s sketch, and the first two editions of John’s book, both published in 1975 by the Saturday Review Press. The design for the first, by the way, is by Peter Parnall, better known for his wildlife drawings. There’s no better way to mark this anniversary than to read The Mothman Prophecies!





  1. I grabbed the original version in 1975 (as soon as it came to the library — I didn’t have money then). Later I bought it, and the paperback, and the Illuminet Press version. I’ve seen the version with the second cover above before, but I didn’t think I needed THAT many copies. Still, it is a moody, eerie scene, with the implied rural and winter landscape, the overcast sky, and the vulnerable old couple, looking in fear at . . . something. I’d kind of like it as a picture or poster by itself!

    I like to read books about Lovecraft, M. R. James, unsolved murders, ghosts, Forteana, and, of course, Mothman on cold, windy November nights. I wish we’d have one — the high tomorrow is supposed to be 80 degrees!

    Comment by Mike W. — November 15, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

  2. For me, “Mothman Prophecies” will probably always be the most fascinating book I’ve ever read. It is completely outside the box in its focus. The stories of what was going on in the community at the time are way more interesting than the lights in the sky!

    Comment by Vincent Treewell — November 15, 2016 @ 9:47 pm

  3. This was one of the first popular books to tie UFO’s, cryptids, and the paranormal together.

    A fascinating and downright spooky read, both then and now.

    Also, thanks for the covers. I thought I’d seen them all, but the second one is new to me.

    Comment by Marsh Cook — November 16, 2016 @ 12:49 pm

  4. I always have five or six copie on hand to loan to people. Sometimes they even return them. When I was teaching I always used it as the perfect example of 1960s zeitgeist. We were all paranoid back then, but it was a fun paranoia, and the (im)possibilities were endless.

    Comment by Ozinor — November 17, 2016 @ 6:46 pm

  5. I still have my weathered signet paperback published March 1976. I found it at a used book store in the 80’s and immediately fell in love with Mr. Keel’s style of writing. It kept me captivated from the beginning to the end. And of course I saw the much fictional movie version also! Now 50 years later it seems we are no closer to an definite answer on what people are seeing in the night sky.

    Comment by Mike Nemeth — November 20, 2016 @ 5:48 am

  6. I have various editions of the book including the British paperback titled “Visitors form Space.” (A dull, bvious title compared to “The Mothman Prophecies!”)

    The second cover depicted, the one with the old folks on it, is the cover of the Book Club edition–or at least, so my copy says.

    Comment by Paul B Thompson — November 21, 2016 @ 6:25 am

  7. “The second cover depicted, the one with the old folks on it, is the cover of the Book Club edition–or at least, so my copy says.”

    Interesting. they look more like ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ than Ohio Valley. (Reference for UK readers)

    Comment by John Rimmer — November 21, 2016 @ 11:03 am

  8. Some of us who watch PBS know “LotSW” too!

    Comment by Paul B Thompson — November 21, 2016 @ 4:20 pm

  9. That’s funny; my copy doesn’t say it’s for the Book Club. There are many more editions, of course… The French edition is particularly noteworthy for including extensive notes and a Keel bibliography.

    Comment by Doug — November 21, 2016 @ 6:56 pm

  10. […] was near these very same igloos that so many of the Mothman sightings occurred in 1966 and 1967 – involving, it should be noted, witnesses who soon found themselves in the clutches of the Men […]

    Pingback by A Mothman-Themed Road-Trip | Mysterious Universe — April 6, 2017 @ 5:29 am

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