Monster, Disaster, and Community


  • Joe Laycock Harvard Divinity School



Mothman, monsters, disasters


From 1966 to 1967, a small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia was abuzz with sightings of a creature known as “the Mothman.” At the crescendo of these sightings, the town suffered a bridge collapse killing 46. Today, Mothman has become a patron of Point Pleasant and is honored with a statue, a museum and research center, and an annual festival. This paper analyzes the religious dimensions of the relationship between the sightings and the disaster. It is argued the Mothman legend has served an important role in the community's recovery from the disaster. In turn, the disaster had a key role in transforming Mothman from a creature of terror into a source of community and shared identity.


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Author Biography

Joe Laycock, Harvard Divinity School

Joseph Laycock is a doctoral candidate at Boston University.


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How to Cite

Laycock, J. (2009). Mothman: Monster, Disaster, and Community. Fieldwork in Religion, 3(1), 70–86.