Have you heard of Mothman? Legend has it that a winged humanoid was seen flying around Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in the late 1960s. The sightings are connected with the collapse of the Silver Bridge, with folklore suggesting that the “Mothman”, if not directly responsible, is at least a harbinger of bad luck.
What this legend reminded me of was the H.P. Lovecraft story The Whisperer in Darkness, which tells a tale of strange flying creatures in the Vermont hills. The “Mothman” stories even tell of buzzing noises and strange animal disappearances just like the events in Lovecraft’s short story.
What’s even more interesting is that, in the first chapter of Whisperer, the initially skeptical narrator writes of the prevalence of these kinds of legends the world over:
It was of no use to demonstrate… that the Vermont myths differed but little in essence from those universal legends of natural personification which filled the ancient world with fauns and dryads and satyrs… When I brought up this evidence, my opponents turned it against me by claiming that it must imply some actual historicity for the ancient tales; that it must argue the real existence of some queer elder earth-race, driven to hiding after the advent and dominance of mankind, which might very conceivably have survived in reduced numbers to relatively recent times – or even to the present.
Well, add West Virginia to the list of places that have such legends. The description was so close to Lovecraft’s flying aliens, the Mi-Go, that it is a bit uncanny. (Of course, the skeptic in me says that the most obvious explanation is that whoever started the legend had read the story.)
There was also movie made about the Mothman legend about ten years ago, entitled The Mothman Prophecies. I haven’t seen it, but it seems like it plays up the paranormal/conspiratorial nature of the story.