Saturday, December 19, 2015

Silver Bridge anniversary

How did I forget this?

Last Tuesday marked an anniversary in the annals of the paranormal. On December 15th, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed. The bridge connected Kanauga, Ohio and Point Pleasant, West Virginia. The mere mention of that latter location should ring bells of familiarity for any "weird hunter" or gastronome of the paranormal. For of course the town of Point Pleasant was the focal location of the book The Mothman Prophecies by the legendary John Keel.

Keel's book paints a somber picture of the collapse as collected from witness interviews. Cars in the river, Christmas presents floating to the surface, and amidst it all the deaths of 46 people as the collapse occurred during rush hour. But of course that's not why Keel visited Point Pleasant. He was there for something else.


Witnesses say that the strange, winged humanoid had been seen before the bridge collapse (among several other times). This helped foster the notion that the Mothman entity, whatever it is, is a harbinger of doom, a warning of impending tragedy. But Point Pleasant was witness to more than that. 

The town became a massive melting pot of weirdness. All manner of paranormal phenomena occurred there in the finite window of time Keel identified before and after the bridge failure. Not the least of these occurrences was a wave of UFO sightings. The coinciding of the UFOs with the appearance of Mothman led several to speculate that the creature was extraterrestrial in origin, but Keel thought otherwise. He related it all to his "superspectrum" theory.

I shouldn't get started on that point because there's so much more to it than I have time for today. You really owe it to yourself to read The Mothman Prophecies if you haven't already. Keel gives a fascinating look at Point Pleasant as an "everything and the paranormal kitchen sink" locale, similar to Dulce and the Bridgewater Triangle.

Many have tried to explain the events of Point Pleasant. Joe Nickell pegged Mothman as a combination of barn owls and unreliable human faculties. Doubtless Robert Shaeffer has chimed in a time or two on the subject. Just the same, I'm not fully satisfied with those explanations. At the same time, I'm not buying "aliens" as the reason, either. So just what happened during that time in Point Pleasant?

I'm not afraid to say that I have no idea.

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