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Mothman of the Columbia

As you probably know from previous blog entries, my parents set up a house along the Columbia River near The Dalles, Oregon. Their neighborhood looked down on the river from the top of a basalt cliff and had an unobstructed view of Mount Hood to the south.

A bird similar to the ones that formed the mothman.

Despite it being brand new, there were a few unusual things that happened at this house. One, which I already wrote about in a previous entry, was easily explained away. The other incident that I recall today was not an easy mystery to solve. In fact, I haven’t solved it yet.

There were a lot of empty lots in the neighborhood when we first moved in. For that first year, we were just about the only people on our end of the street. This made for a peaceful area to walk, where the only things you saw were the Pacific Northwest scenery, wildflowers and grasses waving in the river breeze, and the local wildlife, mostly birds and snakes.

One eerie spring afternoon, I went for a walk by myself along the empty street. There was a cul-de-sac at the end of the road that was my goal, because it was a good place to turn around. The cul-de-sac was on a small road that jutted off to the side of the main road, dead ending near a hiking trail. I’d been down here many times and enjoyed the route because of the clear scenery.

Today, however, there was a presence in the mostly deserted neighborhood. I got this feeling like I was being watched and looked up toward the turn-off to the cul-de-sac. I was surprised to see a dark figure standing on the corner. At first I thought it was someone looking over a vacant lot, perhaps a man thinking of buying it. This wasn’t all that unusual a sight in this developing neighborhood.

As I approached the figure, however, I realized this was no ordinary human being. The person was pitch black and looked to be about eight feet tall. Stretching down its back and almost sweeping the ground was a pair of mothlike wings. The thing had no face, even though it was looking in my direction. For some reason, I wasn’t scared of the creature, I was just curious.

I slowed down for a second to take in the figure for a moment, then, being the weirdo that I am, decided to approach. As I got within about ten feet of the thing, it suddenly burst apart. Emerging from the same location was a large cloud of ravens. They dispersed in all directions, crying into the cloudy sky before disappearing over the grassy landscape. I was left with an empty space where this strange figure once stood.

I stood in the middle of the empty street and stared in awe. What had I just seen? This was clearly not an ordinary experience, nor what I was expecting to see when I went for my afternoon walk. All I could do was sniff around the area for several minutes, shrug, and head home.

The first thing I did when I returned to the house was hit the internet, looking for any similar experiences. I came up with nothing concerning legends of creatures that turned into ravens. The only thing I could find that sounded similar to the thing I saw at the end of the road was the Mothman.

There were a few differences between my experience and those of legendary Mothman sightings. Most people felt threatened by the creature, while I was more fascinated. The Mothman is said to emit high pitched sounds, while this figure was silent. Most Mothmen are seen at night, while my sighting was in broad daylight. And, of course, I never saw those legendary glowing red eyes. There were no eyes at all.

I tried to find a way to explain the sighting without referring to cryptozoology. Could I have seen a flock of ravens the whole time? If so, they would’ve had to have been sitting on an object that made them appear to be a winged figure. There were no poles or rocks or other objects on that corner, just grass. The only other way they could’ve formed a human looking figure was to hover in place for over ten minutes, which is how long the figure was visible and solid, but this seems impossible given the behavior of any bird.

There’s another thing that dismisses the flock of ravens theory. Ravens are known to be very noisy, especially when they are gathered in large groups. This thing, whatever it was, didn’t make a sound. It simply stood on the street corner and stared at me for several minutes.

Could it have been a trick of the shadows? Perhaps. But what projected the shadow? Also, remember it was a cloudy day and there was no sunshine. A shadow as dark the figure I saw would’ve needed bright sunlight to manifest in the first place. Furthermore, something would’ve had to have projected the shadow. Remember there were no buildings, boulders, poles, or other large objects to form a shadow.

I know what I saw that day. It was a tall, black figure with large wings and no face. It was there one minute and gone the next. Whatever it was, I never felt threatened but its presence, but I also never saw it again. To this day, I wonder exactly what the thing represented and why it appeared to me.

Was it a shadow? Was it a flock of birds? Was it Mothman? That was twenty years ago now, and I still don’t know.

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