I teach an art history class at DeVry University and begin each class with a moment of Zen-an artistic moment of Zen. It gets my eager learners in the mood for the exploration of great artists from Mozart to Monet and from Giotto to Gilberti. I either read something to them or show them a picture of some work of art. Then I share with them what that sampling of art means to me. I also require each student to present to the class their moment of Zen once during the semester. The first student presented his moment of Zen, which was about The Mothman Prophecies. The story of the Mothman's came out as a motion picture earlier this year. The student spoke enthusiastically about the movie's message of the paranormal, and all could tell that this learner was into all things Mothman.
My student talked about the various sightings of this strange aberration back in the mid-sixties. He hooked me when he mentioned that the Mothman's haunt was near where I went to college. My personal association of time and place riveted me to his moment of Zen; I was into his presentation emotionally. Most of the sightings took place along the Ohio River between West Virginia and Ohio. A number reported seeing a large figured man with wings, which looked like an angel or a very large butterfly. According to some, the creature had piercing red eyes. He appeared to various people over the course of a couple of years; however, the most interesting aspect of the tale of Mothman was his association with the Silver Bridge disaster at Point Pleasant, WV. The Mothman will always be associated with the bridge disaster mid-December of '67. The collapse resulted in the deaths of forty-six people, most of whom reportedly had previously seen the Mothman. While there is still an occasional sighting, for the most part, the sightings stopped after the bridge disaster.
I marveled at my student's story until I suddenly recalled an incident during my senior year at Muskingum College in New Concord, OH. Muskingum is less than an hour from the Point Pleasant disaster. During my final year at college, I was a senior resident-a dorm counselor in the sophomore men's dorm. My roommate and I were responsible for overseeing three-dozen guys who often loved to pull pranks on each other. Therefore, we would always lock our door when going sleep. Late one night in January, I awoke to find some sort of ghost or apparition standing at the foot of the bed. It was the size and build of an average male with a body that was beige-colored and smoky in form. I can still recall the feeling of total paralysis that came over me. I tried to move or shout to wake up my roommate but to no avail. Fear totally incapacitated me. This immobilization lasted for what seemed like an hour or more but probably was only a matter of moments.
When I awoke the following morning, I had completely forgotten about it. I would have not recalled the terror of seeing what probably was the Mothman had it not been for my roommate. As we studied that evening, he asked me whether anything strange had occurred during the previous night. It wasn't until then that I recalled the apparition standing there at the foot of the bed. With his question, I felt the flood of fear and apprehension inundate my mind. Both of us had experienced the identical event. While I was attempting to alert him, he was doing the same thing. He too spoke about how fear had seized him.
That night before turning in, my roommate pulled the drapes closed tightly. I questioned him about what he was doing. We lived on what was the third floor of the dorm. Since no one could ever see in the window, we never closed the curtains. His explanation was that he didn't want the creature to return. Incredulously, I replied that I didn't think that the drapery material will provide us much protection from that supernatural presence. Nonetheless, he made certain that the drapes were always pulled before going to bed. Strangely, and not because of the drapes, our late night visitor never returned. It wasn't until my student's recent moment of Zen did I know what we had seen-the Mothman.