Soldier of Fortune magazine published an article recently that claims to have solved the decades-old Mothman mystery. Here’s a link to the issue:
I have (very briefly) commented elsewhere, but feel the need to explore the piece at length. Anyone who reads this blog knows I have written—here, and a series on UFO Digest—a lot on this topic, based on visits to the Point Pleasant area and personal interaction with a handful of older residents, and a thorough review of practically all extant material (in print and online), and a fair amount of back-and-forth with Doug Skinner, a long-time friend of John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies.
I mention this background only to verify that I’ve done my homework, and cannot know Final Truth about the events—no one can. So the article caught my attention. What stands out to me is that the author gives no sources, but does lay out what must—in the 1966-1967 period in question—have been a covert, if not classified, military operation. At least one aspect of this involved HALO: High-Altitude Low-Opening, where a soldier jumps from an aircraft at very high altitude, and free-falls until reaching the safety threshold for deploying his parachute, thus remaining hidden for as long as possible from enemy eyes.
As you’ll see if you read the short article, these soldiers were operating near Point Pleasant, probably using the vast abandoned TNT area (a munitions factory shut down toward the end of World War II) as a “target.” I don’t blame them. The dark space is perfect for such practice.
The soldiers apparently were painted with luminous pigment, and (I’m speculating) might have worn early versions of night-vision goggles. They would have looked very strange—frightening, even—to any witness on the ground. But there are questions. Lots of them…
1. The four teenage witnesses (Roger and Linda Scarberry; Steve and Mary Mallette) whose sighting stands as the most noted (it wasn’t the first…there were at least two previous daylight sightings), saw whatever they saw around 11:30PM. This sounds somewhat early for a black-ops project.
2. If the HALO team was meant to go unobserved, why paint them with glow-in-the-dark pigment? A contradiction. This makes sense from a safety perspective—but not a covert one.
3. How did the recovery team plan to hide ground vehicles? The TNT area was, and is, a party paradise. Didn’t the planners know this?
4. The TNT area, despite its nearly 7,000-acre spread, isn’t large enough to contain any “mistakes,” i.e., some parachuting soldier landing in someone’s backyard. What plan was in place in case of any citizen witnessing any part of the HALO ops? Shoot them? Send them scurrying back to the TV with a barrage of harsh language?
5. The high-altitude aircraft would have required FAA clearance to operate in the high-traffic Pittsburgh/Columbus/Cleveland/Lexington/etc. zone. True, these records, if they even exist, probably would be kept secret.
Roger Scarberry, driving his 1957 Chevy that cold, starry, 15 November 1966 night, was passing the desolate North Power Plant (demolished in the mid-1990s) when his headlights reflected off what resembled red bicycle reflectors two inches in diameter and spaced about six inches apart. When these were seen to be attached to a seven-foot-tall, winged form, the two couples exploded with terror—and raced toward Route 62. All four reported the entity pursued them at close to 100 mph, and flew off as the car reached Point Pleasant, where they went to report the incident to Deputy Millard Halstead.
I admit to some doubt over completely dismissing the Soldier of Fortune article. Why?
Linda Scarberry, wizened and visibly shaky on Charles McCracken’s 2009 DVD documentary, Dark Wings: the Mothman Chronicle, told interviewer Travis Shortt more than she apparently shared with John Keel in 1966. The entity near the powerhouse, she said, was tangled in the fence, and trying vigorously to free its arm, or wing. Might this not describe a luminous, night-vision-goggled soldier struggling with a parachute and its lines?
This, of course, does nothing to explain the entity pursuing the car, nor its being sighted perched on a billboard by the terrified teens on the way into Point Pleasant.
So, the Soldier of Fortune article is itself a curious (and poorly-edited) mystery. Is it yet another example of disinformation designed to keep us away from “the truth”? If so, why? After so long, who, in Intelligence circles, really cares?
My final speculations (and, ultimately, that’s all they can be) are these: whatever happened in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, was in part generated by military intelligence. UFOs; Men in Black; telephone harassment; unmarked vans and aircraft. As others—primarily John Keel, Jim Keith, the very questionable Gray Barker, and lately Andy Colvin—have written, something beyond so-called paranormal phenomena was occurring. I cannot rule out the anomalous events, but there is more to the mystery of Mothman….