Tag Archives: point pleasant

177 – Mothman Delusion: A New Year’s Resolution for Paranormal Research

The biggest paranormal story in the Midwest in 2017 was the winged humanoid sightings over Chicago and we have covered the Chicago Mothman extensively over the past several months. First in episode 159, we interviewed the editor of Phantoms and Monsters blog where many of the Mothman sightings have been reported, then we brought on the great cryptozoologist Loren Coleman who just released a new book Mothman: Evil Incarnate.

What’s the Mothman? A dark winged humanoid with glowing red eyes, made most famous by a series of sightings in Point Pleasant, West Virginia in the late 1960s. The sightings were followed by UFOs, Men in Black, and a tragic bridge collapse 13 months after the initial sighting.

The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Fast forward to 2017 and the Mothman has been reported seen over the Chicagoland area dozens of times mostly to a blog called Phantoms and Monsters. My sister Allison has been looking at the stories and then doing investigations of the sites of each reported sighting over at her YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/mothman.

As she was digging she found inconsistencies in more and more of the accounts even going so far as having a private investigator look into a possible police report that was a featured account over the Summer. (She didn’t find it and either did the Chicago Tribune.) Plus, 3 out of the 4 Mothman reports that came into Illinois MUFON came from the same IP address (meaning same Wi-Fi network, meaning the same house.) She began to get skeptical whether or not there really are winged humanoids flying over Chicago.

For her efforts, she’s been interviewed on Midnight In The Desert  and featured on the Mysterious Universe blog, but needless to say it hasn’t made her popular with the Chicago Mothman investigators. So for this first episode of 2018, we wanted to give the Chicago Mothman one more discussion because it was such a big story around these parts. Sure, we’ll come back when there’s a “break” in the case, but the important part is that in this episode we talk about our renewed resolve to use the scientific method in our paranormal research (and Patrick Swayze, but you’ll have to listen to figure how he fits in!)

Joining us for this discussion are two Chicago Forteans, Madeline Kate from Measuring The Circle podcast and Sam Maranto, the state director of Illinois MUFON (who received some of the original reports!) Allison Jornlin of course is involved, as is Tobias Wayland of the Singular Fortean Society, who has been collecting the Mothman stories as part of the original Chicago Mothman Taskforce – he even shares a Mothman story from Rockford that he interviewed the witness personally!

It’s a good frank discussion about the Chicago Mothman – doubts, inconsistencies, disinformation campaigns, hoaxes, and all, as well as how we can try to all get along better as Fortean researchers.

And for this week’s song, we used some inspiration from good old Carl Sagan, the man who coined the phrase “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. His book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is a treatise on the scientific method and critical thinking. Yeah, it’s a buzzkill but if we’re ever going to convince the skeptics we gotta take getting the facts seriously. Here’s Sunspot with “House of Cards”.

It’s a demon-haunted world
and you don’t get to dig a grave in my backyard.
you know we have to be the candle in the dark
You can’t build a dynasty on a house of cards.

You might think that you’re a monster but you’re just a quack
talking a lot of smack setting the whole field back
a lotta tall tales comin piling up to nothin
looking for the clicks and acting like like a d$%@.

it’s a curiosity, all this privacy
anonymity, who can you believe?
You can tell me all day ‘bout the trash you heard
doesn’t matter how absurd unless stand by your word

All this animosity comes down to money
You’re misrepping all the data just to fit your theory
You wanna sell books or you want some truth?
It sure looks to me you ain’t much of a sleuth

It’s a demon-haunted world
and you don’t get to dig a grave in my backyard.
you know we have to be the candle in the dark
You can’t build a dynasty on a house of cards.

Extraordinary claims, extraordinary proof
winged dudes on the roof kinda sounds like a goof
we need a real witness not all anonymous
how bout some testimony don’t sound like baloney.

Detail needs to be there, you know they’re gonna nitpick,
eaten by the cynics, defeated by the skeptics
t’s need to be crossed, you can’t just gloss,
over all the small stuff or things are gonna get rough.

Gotta share the data, info wants to be free,
transparency, no secrecy,
It takes all kinds of different minds
if we want it to be better, we gotta work together.

It’s a demon-haunted world
and you don’t get to dig a grave in my backyard.
you know we have to be the candle in the dark
You can’t build a dynasty on a house of cards.

174 – Mothman: Evil Incarnate with Loren Coleman

This week we have two 50th anniversary tragedies that we talk about on the podcast, one musical and one paranormal. The first is that in Madison we’re acknowledging the half-centennial of the death of Otis Redding, whose plane crashed into Lake Monona on December 10th, 1967. He was only 26 years old, just a year off the cursed 27 Club.

The second tragic anniversary has many more overtones of high strangeness. The Silver Bridge collapsed in Point Pleasant, West Virginia on December 15th, 2017 thirteen months to the day after the first reported sighting of the Mothman.

mothman evil incarnate loren coleman
The Mothman as drawn by an eyewitness in 1966.

The Mothman was a winged humanoid with red eyes that people were seeing in the area as well as getting an overwhelming sense of dread.  Once the mothman sightings started happening, other paranormal events began rearing their head. Reports of Men in Black, UFOs, prophetic dreams, and a strange grinning man by the name of Indrid Cold started circulating and everything culminated in the tragic Silver Bridge collapse that killed 46 people on December 15th, 1967.

Researcher John Keel famously collected all these stories and really created the modern narrative of the Mothman with his book, The Mothman Prophecies, in 1975.  It famously becomes a big Hollywood movie in 2002. When Keel became unable to do press for the film, he called upon his old friend  Loren Coleman to handle the interviews.

loren coleman mothman evil incarnate
Allison Jornlin with Loren Coleman (second from left) at the 2016 Milwaukee Paranormal Conference

Now to say that Loren is a noted cryptozoologist is an understatement, he’s one of the most respected researchers in the field and I’ve been reading his books for decades. He wrote Mothman and Other Curious Encounters in 2002 and even John Keel called it “the most complete overview of the phenomenon.”

Fast forward to 2017 and the Mothman is back in the headlines. This time with alleged sightings all over the Chicagoland area. Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts has been going to the location of the sightings that have been reported and creating videos of the area to help people visualize them. It’s an eye opening look into the painstaking investigative process. Check out her YouTube channel to see her dozens of on-location videos at http://www.youtube.com/mothman.

The anniversary of the Silver Bridge collapse, December 15th, is also  Loren Coleman’s latest book comes out , Mothman: Evil Incarnate. The Mothman hasn’t been content to be in the shadows. Loren talks about the Mothman Death Curse and the misfortune that seems to surround people who find themselves investigating this strange phenomenon decades after the original incident, book, and movie.

This episode is not only a great primer in the history of the Mothman case, but it’s also an insightful look into how Loren Coleman became one of the world’s greatest cryptozoologists as Allison and I get to discuss his investigative process with him.

To get a signed copy of Mothman: Evil Incarnate, click here to buy a signed copy from Loren’s awesome International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

In the episode, we also talk about Wendy’s visit to the Mothman museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia and her pilgrimage to the new Silver Bridge. Wendy watched The Mothman Prophecies and listened to the original book this summer on a roadtrip and you can check out her reactions above as part of Scott Markus‘ fun video series “A Ghost Hunter Watches”.

One of the things that was surprising about the Mothman story is how UFOs and weirdness seems to occur in Point Pleasant as well, it’s like they didn’t just get one X-File, they got the whole cabinet. Indrid Cold was a mysterious character who showed up during the events and asked people about the lights they saw in the sky. He made mysterious phone calls to Keel, talked to the local reporter, and even was said by one report to speak to someone telepathically.  He was so smily and strange, they called him The Grinning Man.

We don’t feel there’s been enough attention given to Mr. Cold so for this week’s track, we decided to write him his own song. This is Sunspot with “The Grinning Man”.

A form made of chaos
it can smell the blood on you
this planet haunted by us
and the owners want their due

a thin veneer
hiding a zone of fear

it knows your wobbliest spots
sees inside your darkest of hearts
knows every little trick that helps you lose your soul

a banshee screams
burned right into your dreams

When the black wings flutter and red eyes look about
you’ll see the grinning man when the lights go out
then the telephone rings, there’s no one at the end
you’ll see the grinning man when the lights go dead

it knows your wobbliest spots
sees inside your darkest of hearts
this planet haunted by us
the owners want their due

a thin veneer
hiding a zone of fear

When the black wings flutter and red eyes look about
you’ll see the grinning man when the lights go out
then the telephone rings, there’s no one at the end
you’ll see the grinning man when the lights go dead