I received the following email in reference to the Winged Manta Ray Shaped Cryptid post on August 16, 2010 (reposted below). I had heard that there was buzz in reference to this phenomenon recently....a few attendees at the 9th Annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, WV apparently mentioned new sightings. If anyone has witnessed anything unusual, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org:
This is a very interesting report. I've been researching ghost, monster and cryptid reports in West Virginia for a few years now. Wrote a wee slim book on the topic. We now have a growing body of reports and stories about an odd "ray-shaped" cryptid in the area. For my book, I collected a story (which at the time I thought was an excellent story but very unlikely--just too weird to credit much beyond its campfire value) about a man who encountered a huge ray-shaped thing straddling the road ahead of him. Initially it was visible only as two reddish-orange spots that he mistook for bicycle reflectors in the fog. When he honked his horn, the "reflectors" blinked at him, then the whole body lifted up off the road and sort of glided down over the hill to disappear into the fog-filled valley below.
There is a sighting reported in Bob Tweet's excellent "West Virginia UFO's: Close Encounters in the Mountain State" in which a boy in a car spots a white "furry" shape gliding along beside the car. It was described as being four feet across with no discernible limbs or separate head.
More recently, a woman and her daughter reported the "Horton Horror" near Horton WV. This was also a manta-shaped Something that glided along over or near their car.
There's an old story about something in the fog at Foggy Bottom (I believe this particular "Foggy Bottom" is an area near Wheeling, WV--since developed) in which a dog is lifted up above the fog and is whisked off--sitting on the top of something that glides away. Dog is never seen again. That story is presented as a sort of UFO encounter, but I think it fits the pattern forming for these other stories.
There are now at least three stories/sightings from near Point Pleasant and others up the Ohio Valley. Strange.
I have no idea what is going on, what people may or may not be seeing, but I think there are enough reports now to say that this represents SOME kind of phenomenon. Folks, we have an emerging Monster tradition! All fresh and relatively new! Something that is most definitely not another manifestation of "Mothman", but a phenomenon in its own right!
Hey! I'm excited! It's not everyday you get to watch a paranormal or cryptozoological pattern form almost right in front of your eyes!
(author "White Things: West Virginia's Weird White Monsters" and self-confessed monster aficionado)
Winged Manta Ray Shaped Cryptid - Near Ashton, WV - 12/3/2004
I received the following email in reference to my post The Mothman Cometh: John Keel's Reports on August 13th. Much of this was included in a piece written by Chris Holly, but there have been a few changes. Note...click images for larger version:
Hi Lon, thanks for responding so quickly. Here are my drawings and report. Chris Holly reported my story pretty much verbatim, so I will repeat it here for you in a slightly different form.
Date: Dec. 3, 2004
Time:6:00 - 7:00pm
Weather Conditions: clear and already dark. Moon hadn't risen yet
Location: Traveling south on Rt.2 in WV from Point Pleasant to Huntington WV. Near Ashton WV (see map)
A friend and I were traveling on Rt. 2 towards Huntington WV. I was on my way to set up my booth for an art show and my mind was occupied with the booth set up and show logistics. We had just gone over the railroad tracks outside of Ashton WV and were on a long straight stretch of road. There was distant oncoming traffic and the headlights were on. There were no cars behind us in sight. I was in the passenger seat and my friend was driving. I noticed a sudden movement in the sky over the Ohio River to my right in front of the car. It was a greyish, smooth, winged shape. the shape swooped in a figure 8 in front of the windshield and then was suddenly gone to the left of us. It didn't fly out of sight, it was just gone. This happened very quickly, but as I am a visual artist, it was impressed into my memory banks!
Size: Bigger than the car. The wingspread was wider than the 2 lane road we were on. The wings seemed to stretch wider somehow as it did the figure 8 swoop. It was never more than 25 feet away from us as it flew towards the windshield. We thought it was going to crash into the windshield! At one point during the swoop it was only about 5 feet off of the pavement.
Color: Grey, translucent like a jellyfish. As it banked and swooped I could see many angles of it and somehow it looked more transparent as it turned some parts to us. I immediately thought it was like a manta ray. The body was flattish like a manta ray or a bat. The wings were long and smooth and sort of pointed at the tip. I saw no texture or roughness on it, only smooth surface.
Characteristics: Only body and wings- no head, eyes, tail, or feet. It did not look humanoid in any way. On the other hand, it wasn't a bird either. It moved more like something in the ocean would move - Did not flap the wings like a bird, or flutter them like a bat, but stretched them instead. My friend (who alas passed away a year ago) said to him the wings looked ragged like there were pieces coming off of them.
He also said he got a good look at the underneath and it looked grey and smooth. This absolutely was not a machine! It was articulated like a living creature and seemed like something organic.
As I look back on this sighting, I wonder if it was something playing with us - It happened so quickly that the only scary part was when we thought it was going to crash into the windshield. It was so beautiful and strange! It reminded me of a sea creature more than anything else, maybe our air is like water to them.
The only other time in my life I have ever seen anything remotely similar was in 2000 in Clay Co. WV, driving along a one lane road along the Elk River (a river was present in both instance -I just realized) In that case, I was alone and for about a mile as I drove, I kept noticing a shimmer in front of the car about 15 feet ahead of the car. This was late morning in the summer. It preceeded the car at the same distance for several minutes, then I noticed a shadow on the road too, large and shaped sort of like a bird. I looked up out of the windshield and there was a large crow flying above me. But what I first saw in front of the car was not a shadow, it was a disturbance in the air in front of my car that looked like a heat mirage sort of but was very close. This was a curvy country road right by the river. I had never seen heat mirages on that road before or since. At the time I thought that it was just sort of weird, then very close to that time I had a very lucid dream that I was in my car flying over the river right near the place where I saw the shadow.
As an artist, my mind is open to many possibilities and explanations - I think the unseen world is just a small vibrational frequency away. As a child I was fascinated by fairies and nature spirits and spent a lot of time alone outdoors.
NOTE: though there have been several variations in describing the 'Mothman', this particular description is unique and most likely represents another cryptid or non-terrestrial entity. As well as the Mothman sightings, the area along the Ohio River (southern Ohio and southwest West Virginia) has had a large number of other paranormal events including UFOs, large apparitions and hauntings, native and folklore based creatures, etc...Lon