It’s 11.05 p.m. at the Richardson’s and we just finished dinner. A sudden noise outside the little cabin makes me jump off the old chair. “The Mothman has arrived,” she whispers in the poorly illuminated space. I look at her fake white teeth, almost as bright as the candles sitting on the civil war-era furniture. Her distorted face still wears the scars of a one year old unfortunate stroke. Her husband tells her to shut up as he puts out a big cigar. They are old country folks. Their hands, weathered by many years of hard work, point at the window, suggesting I look through it; I can see the creature.
I first heard of the Richardsons on a trip to Oregon, while visiting an old friend. Mark showed me around, mostly country locations, full of pines and green moss. I visited Cave Junction, Grants Pass and Medford. Later that night, he told me there was an old couple, living by the old road, who claim to be visited by the Mothman on a daily basis. Mark doesn’t believe in aliens, or cryptids, or anything that could disrupt his way of living. He knows I’d like to find out more about it. I’m not an photographer and I don’t usually take videos. I travel the world looking for people and monsters, and then write about it based on personal interviews. I share the cryptid factor from the human experience.
He introduced me to the Richardsons, they seemed to like me, and they invited me to their house to spend a night with them, hoping I’d meet the Mothman.
It is 4 p.m and it’s getting dark. Due to the rough terrain, I must abandon my car prior to reaching the couple’s home. I get out and start walking towards the old cabin. It’s early November and oddly enough there hasn’t been any rain yet. It is cold, but I’m used to it. The old cabin sits near the Rogue river, so close to the water that one can predict the little building will be swallowed away sooner or later.
I knock on the door. Silence. I knock once again but no one answers. There is no use in calling their phone because they don’t have one. So I take down my backpack and sit down by the door. There’s a deer grazing nearby. He stares at me, eerily chewing the grass inside his mouth, then runs away, startled. A tall man wearing an old lumberjack jacket approaches me. He is also carrying a rifle. He’s got a clean shave. “Mr. Bachman?” That’s me. A cigar stands in his mouth while he shakes my hand. His skin feels like sandpaper. “Let’s come inside,” says Mr Richardson using his hand in a way that reminds me of a magician’s trick.
The house has a musty smell, similar to a military surplus store. It is a small place decorated with Native American stuff. The Richardsons are an elderly white couple. As my eyes get used to the dark room, I see the silhouette of an old woman sitting on a wheel chair. There is a grandfather clock behind her. I introduce myself to Mrs Richardson. Her face is pale and full of wrinkles, and I notice half of her face doesn’t move an inch when she speaks. “I was hit by a stroke last year,” she mutters. I shake her cold hand and take a seat next to Mr Richardson.
It’s 5 p.m. and the little window in the cabin shows no sign of light outside. We are drinking pine needle tea when I learn that the couple didn’t have children. Mr Richardson explains that his wife was “bartened”. Of course, what he really means is barren. He seems like a nice guy, but I can feel the tension sparking between the two as my voice acts as a conversational fuse. “We was punished, cause the demon comes home daily, and he told us we couldn’t have children,” says the man while lighting a cigar. He uses the burning match to light three candles on the table.
He is referring to the Mothman, a ghostly, flying humanoid first reported on November, 12, 1966 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia; five men were digging a grave at the cemetery when they allegedly spotted the cryptid. Three days later, two couples reported seeing a flying human with red-glowing eyes, exhibiting wings of approximately ten-foot wings. This creature followed their car for a while, then disappeared. After the incident, other people reported seeing Mothman, a bridge fell and the rest is history. It became a legend.
The grandfather clock shows 8.45 p.m. and I find myself cutting onion, garlic and a few green peppers. Mr Richardson is wearing a “Hello Kitty” apron which he claims to have bought at a garage sale in town. He is obsessed with hygiene and he has a hat and a mosquito net around his head. He says it has to do with hair falling off his eyebrows. “Hairs are dirty,” he explains. I’ll admit the man’s eye brows are quite thick. I’ll keep an eye for the white hairs in my soup. He tells me that he loves his wife but that “she nags all day long” and that they used to be happier in the past, blaming the Mothman for their relationship issues; “it all started when the demon made his first apparition.” His hands are full of black pepper and pieces of noddles stuck to his bony fingers. “Then the bastard started coming by daily and we had nothing left for us.” I want to ask him what he means by “nothing left for us”, but I feel like that could be opening an old wound. He throws some mushrooms in the soup.
An hour later we are sitting at the small table having dinner. Our shadows are grotesque figures projected on the cabin’s walls as the candles get smaller. Home made soup, Mr Richardson is a good cook. The next 45 minutes we share stories of their adventures with the uninvited humanoid. “Time disappears when he shows up,” says Mrs Richardson as she loudly slurps the soup, part of it dripping down her chin, undetected by her nervous system. Her husband sits in front of her, and I am right in between the couple. “What she means is that she falls asleep. Wipe your damn chin, you look like a goat.”
I compliment Mr Richardson about the soup and they offer me some coffee. Coffee at 10.30 p.m. is not something I’d regularly do but since I am supposed to see the Mothman tonight, I suppose it will help me stay awake. I’m also a little wary of the couple and I want to stay awake for as long as I can. My feelings have changed and I don’t trust the man too much. I’ll leave as soon as the sun light comes out, I think to myself.
By 11.05 p.m. the candles are almost out. There’s a sudden noise outside the cabin. It sounds like an animal going through the branches of a tree. “The Mothman has arrived,” whispers Mrs Richardson. They suggest I go by the window to take a peek. I can see the creature. A seven foot tall dark figure stands still. There’s no red eyes. There’s no wings. Whatever it is, it doesn’t look like the Mothman to me. It’s very dark outside. I know there’s something but I’m not sure what it is. Suddenly the figure vanishes. I see it, then I don’t. It appears, then disappears. There’s no movement, but merely projections of the humanoid. It flashes, like a movie theater projector, or like a screen saver on a computer screen. It finally stays on the ground, close to the window and I can see what looks like retracted wings. Its mouth opens letting something come out of it. That’s it. Then the figure is gone. I have no idea what I just saw. I go back to the Richardsons but they have fallen asleep at the table. The clock shows 1 a.m. which strikes me as an impossible fact. There is no way I have been watching the “Mothman” for two hours. It felt like less than one minute. I don’t even think it was the Mothman. It could have been an owl or a bat, or a bear.
Sitting at the table by the sleeping couple, I try to connect the dots. This entire thing makes no sense. The time loss fact baffles me. Mr Richardson is sleeping, head back, and saliva drips down his mouth forming a dry, flaky line along his cheek. He has now makeup on his face: lipstick and eyeliner. The soup heartburn is horrible. I decide to leave the cabin earlier than I thought. I get a flashlight from my backpack to help me find my way back to the vehicle.
Was it some sort of a twisted hoax? I know I saw something that I can’t explain. Perhaps it all depends on the person’s psyche and personal experiences.
When Mark opened the door I felt safe once again. I spent two nights at the hospital. The soup wasn’t worth it, the story…perhaps.