Seth Breedlove continues to bring his passion for the supernatural with his new document The Mothman Legacy. He has covered everything from Bigfoot, Thunderbirds, the Flatwoods Monster, the Beast of Bray Road, and much more. His style of documentaries covers the background stories while intertwining interviews. The Mothman Legacy is a sequel to The Mothman of Point Pleasant which was released in 2017. With this documentary taking a more focused approach on the interactions with the Mothman.
When people think of the Mothman, the only thing they think of is the Silver Bridge collapse back in the 1960’s. The history of the Mothman has only grown in legacy over the years and has become one of the most popular supernatural stories in the US. I had the opportunity to sit down with Director Seth Breedlove about the popularity of the Mothman and his fascination for the supernatural.
I had the opportunity to talk about the Mothman with Seth Breedlove. He shared what he thinks about the several theories evolving this phenomenon.
Nancy Tapia: So let’s talk about this Mothman. He’s so popular. I think he found competition with COVID.
Seth Breedlove: Haha…I mean, this is way cooler than COVID though.
Nancy Tapia: I agree, haha…So why do you think the popularity? How is it that the hype doesn’t seem to die down?
Seth Breedlove: I think it actually is on an uptick. It’s funny because every day right now I’m talking about the Mothman multiple times and I also run a Facebook group where I can kind of keep track of how people are talking about it. There’s a big discussion taking place in our private Facebook group about it right now. That is part of the discussion, “Why is it so popular?” So, I mean, you, unlike a lot of cryptids, you have a very clear path to where we are today. That really began in 2002, when the Richard Gere movie, The Mothman Prophecies came out. That kind of cast him onto the character of the Mothman, the creature. It could be a woman, I don’t know, man, or woman. It cast it onto the world stage.
I think from there it’s just gained in popularity. There’s this whole idea that it’s like a queer icon now. The LGBTQ community has kind of adopted it to a certain extent as well. The Fallout video games just added it as a character two years ago. So it’s just been a constant rise in stardom for the Mothman. There’s really nothing else to compare it to. When you look at something like Bigfoot. Bigfoot is a cultural figure, but it’s a different type of cultural figure. It’s popularity has gained over the course of the last century. You’re talking about an 80 year rise in popularity. The Mothman while the initial wave of sightings happened in the ’60s, the popularity really spiked in the early 2000s and it’s just been a constant rise up to today.
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Nancy Tapia: I imagine you have been around Point Pleasant in West Virginia. Have you experienced anything, Mothman?
Seth Breedlove: No. I have stories that are hilarious, but they don’t involve anything paranormal. I was on a Japanese TV show three years ago and we stayed out in the T&T area overnight. We were supposed to be out there Mothman hunting. The only thing I experienced was a producer of that show hiding in some bushes and trying to scare us into thinking the Mothman was there. There’s weird things that town has a very long-standing tradition of being sort of a weird, a hub of the weird in general. So it doesn’t just have to be Mothman.
There’s tons of UFO sightings. There’s like a haunted hotel right on Main Street. Then the state theater which is the local movie theater. That theater is also said to be haunted. We experienced some weird stuff there. We were filming interviews for a movie and had like all of the batteries in our lights drained and things like that. As of right now, I have yet to actually encounter them off man, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I don’t know.
Nancy Tapia: So do you think that he could be like an ultra terrestrial?
Seth Breedlove: Oh, that’s one of the popular theories. I think the interesting thing about the Mothman is you’re never going to nail down exactly what it is with one simple answer. So I think our movie sort of illustrates that because there’s so many people talking about so many different theories as to what it might be. There’s people that think it’s a demon, there’s people that think it’s some sort of mutated bird that got into like toxic waste and has become like the Incredible Hulk of birds. So you got all sorts of theories as to what it might be. The ultra terrestrial idea is super interesting and it could definitely help explain some sort of origin for some of the sightings, but the sightings are all something different. Not every sighting is of something different but a lot of the sightings don’t necessarily recount the same creature.
In some cases it’s a leathery winged, bat like creature. In others, it’s like this large winged almost like an owl. Then in others you have people that wake up in the middle of the night and find a man standing at the foot of their bed with wings, red eyes. They believe that is the Mothman.
Nancy Tapia: I know, that’s was creepy. I went to bed after I watched the documentary. I didn’t even want to open my eyes. I just kept my head covered, haha…
Seth Breedlove: Haha..that’s the goal.
Nancy Tapia: Well success!
Seth Breedlove: Haha…
Nancy Tapia: I’m leaning towards that theory because I mean there’s more than just us. Everything kind of mutates out there in the wild, but that’s just me.
Seth Breedlove: Sure, yeah. I don’t know that I have a personal favorite theory. Honestly, I jumped around on it because I do think some of the early sightings were probably Sandhill cranes or very large owls. There was actually a large owl that was shot in the T&T area in the same summer that all the sightings happened in the ’60s with like a five foot wingspan. So more than likely that could account for some of the sightings. I still don’t think you can, just can’t describe one thing to being responsible for all of it. It’s multiple explanations for what’s going on.
Nancy Tapia: Yeah, then the theory about the Thunderbird relation or even the Banshee death ferry, that was interesting.
Seth Breedlove: Wow! You’ve actually watched the movie too.
Nancy Tapia: I did!
Seth Breedlove: I am used to people telling me that and then I’ll accidentally hit on a plot point or something and they have no idea what I’m talking about. But yeah, the Banshee thing too. That’s what drew me to make the movie because I think there’s such an interesting connection between the Banshee. Like you said, there’s this death ferry who heralds oncoming tragedy or death. I think it’s so interesting that so many of the settlers that moved into West Virginia were Scotch-Irish. That is a key part of their lore and that came over with them to America.
So you have to wonder are they merely, were people reading some of those characteristics into what people were claiming the Mothman was. Was it created entirely out of their lore, what’s going on there? I think that’s a really interesting angle. Obviously with horror movies at the end of the day, we don’t really try to steer the audience in any direction. We present the information that is put out there and then we let our audience sort of make up their mind for themselves.
Nancy Tapia: So you mentioned the Facebook group. As of late, since the documentary, have you heard of a new theory?
Seth Breedlove: That’s a good question. I don’t think I have though, not there. What happens is people latch onto their favorite thing and then they sort of echo that over and over and they might add onto it. The thing we didn’t really touch on in the movie is this idea that Mothman is an alien. So many of that side of things comes from the fact that during the ’60s, when the sightings happened, there was this massive UFO wave taking place around the State of West Virginia.
To the extent that local newspapers were setting up UFO desks because they were receiving so many phone calls from UFOs. So the theory was that Mothman might’ve been an alien and there is a report from the ’60s, I think it was a school teacher at the Point Pleasant Elementary School claiming that she saw Mothman fly up into a UFO. So that’s a fairly popular theory that I don’t think it gets as much play. But it’s kind of the reason is because that kind of dovetails into the ultra terrestrial or in their dimensional theory to begin with.
Nancy Tapia: You took one of my questions. I was kind of surprised he documentary didn’t cover that as one of the theories. But I also thought maybe it was because the ongoing descriptions describes similarities to a bat, a bird. That sort of living thing.
Seth Breedlove: Yeah. I mean the other theory is that. I know it’s talked about the movie a little bit, but there was a push at one time. It’s not so much discussed anymore. There was this push at one time that Mothman was a giant owl. What I mean by that as a literal, like six or seven foot, giant tall, giant owl. There was this guy, he was a cryptozoologist named Mark Hall. He actually ascribed the name Bighoot to it, like Bigfoot, only Bighoot. Which is probably the worst name ever given to any mythical creature ever. So that’s a theory you hear a lot or heard a lot, but it doesn’t get as much play anymore.
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Nancy Tapia: Well, it’s too bad that John A. Keel is not around to be a part of this documentary. That would’ve been really cool.
Seth Breedlove: Oh yeah. If I had that would be the dream interview to get Keel because I’m so interested in how he would have perceived all of this. You know, he died right after The Mothman Prophecies came out. He died kind of before the story really gained in popularity. He saw it become a modest success, but he never got to experience 20,000 people pouring into Downtown Point Pleasant. A town that was at one time on the verge of economic collapse. The Mothman literally rescued that town from an economic disaster. It would have been interesting to see how he responded to all of this.
Nancy Tapia: Well, I feel like you’ve kind of taken over for him on the screen.
Seth Breedlove: Haha…if there is any successor for Keel it’s, Jeff Wamsley. He’s the keeper of the Mothman story as far as I’m concerned with the museum and everything. He’s done so much research in the last 20 years. Someone says in the movie, he’s actually accumulated more information on that story than even Keel did.
Nancy Tapia: So have you attended any of these annual Mothman festivals?
Seth Breedlove: Oh yeah. We go to the Mothman festival every year. Actually this was supposed to be our big premiere year for the movie actually. It was supposed to premiere there but because of COVID obviously that got destroyed. So it’s crazy, it’s a festival, right? So it’s like your classic small town festival. There’s attractions and rides, food and people crowd onto that Main Street of that town. It’s different because they’re all there to celebrate this legend and you don’t see anything like that anywhere else in the United States. You see festivals sort of based around local legends but none that draw this many people.
Nancy Tapia: Right, that’s pretty cool. I usually I don’t cover any of this scary kind of material. But being Mothman how could I not? He’s a classic, I had to.
Seth Breedlove: That’s awesome. Thank you.
Nancy Tapia: You’re welcome. Fingers crossed next year you can show The Mothman Legacy at the annual Mothman festival.
Seth Breedlove: Awesome. Thanks so much for talking.