Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

The Mothman

Background: My informant was a American who has lived across the country and has learned a lot of stories about other people through her travels.She is currently a student at the University of Southern California studying game design.

 

Main Piece: The Mothman is a man with wings and red eyes that shows up on this very specific highway near Pittsburgh. It scares people because they can see it in their rear view mirror. It’s similar to Sasquatch. It comes from a story from West Virginia wherein a bridge collapsed  killing dozens of people. It is said that before the bridge collapsed, and before other events both there, in Pittsburgh, and even in the world, the people saw premonition in the form of the Mothman. The Mothman is a sort of boogeyman that everyone talks about and blames, although the informant does not believe in it. It is as common as Sasquatch in the area, but is about as believable.

Performance Context: According to my informant, the story was heard by her while she lived there as it is a fairly common folk story about the mysterious creature. It is much like most other forms of cryptozoology.

My Thoughts: I think it is interesting because this touches upon this idea of cryptozoology, strange animals and animal-like creatures that may or may not purportedly exist. There is also a strong connection with prophecy and premonition with this and other stories. If we see something strange, there must be a reason. It must be some sort of experiment, or some sort of a sign. We start to attribute theorized motifs to the creature and further describe and explain its existence. It is really interesting from the perspective that we are encapsulating our fear of the unknown as well as our loose explanations of nature, which many feel is not meant to be conquered as humans do, in the form of folklore through these creatures.

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