The Mothman Death List
Written By: Loren Coleman
People have pondered dates, disasters, and deaths linked to Mothman from 1966, to the present. It has become fashionable in recent years to create lists of those who have died by association to the JFK hit, Bill Clinton, and even The Poltergeist movie. Therefore, here is "The Mothman Death List" of events linked to the original series of sightings of Mothman in 1996-1967, to the release of the movie in January 2002, and to the various cable premieres, VHS, and DVD releases later in 2002 and 2003.
Please consult Mothman and Other Curious Encounters for more detailed information on the movie and the events from the 1960s-2000s.
#1-46: The Silver Bridge Victims
At 5:04 PM, on December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed during rush hour.
Forty-six lives were lost, and forty-four bodies were recovered.
These are the names of those whose bodies were recovered:
Albert A. Adler, Jr, Gallipolis, OH
J. O. Bennnett, Walnut Cove, NC
Leo Blackman, Richmond, VA
Kristye Boggs, Vinton, OH
Margaret Boggs, Vinton, OH
Hilda Byus, Point Pleasant, WV
Kimberly Byus, Point Pleasant, WV
Melvin Cantrell, Gallipolis Ferry, WV
Thomas A. Cantrell, Gallipolis, OH
Donna Jean Casey, Gallipolis, OH
Cecil Counts, Gallipolis Ferry, WV
Horace Cremeans, Route 1, Gallipolis, OH
Harold Cundiff, Winston-Salem, NC
Alonzo Luther Darst, Cheshire, OH
Alma Duff, Point Pleasant, WV
James Hawkins, Westerville, OH
Bobby L. Head, Gallipolis, OH
Forrest Raymond Higley, Bidwell, OH
Alva B. Lane, Route 1, Gallipolis, OH
Thomas ³Bus² Howard Lee, Gallipolis, OH
G. H. Mabe, Jamestown, NC
Darlene Mayes, Kanauga, OH
Gerald McMannus, South Point, OH
James Richard Maxwell, Gallipolis, OH
James F. Meadows, Point Pleasant, WV
Timothy Meadows, Point Pleasant, WV
Frederick D. Miller, Gallipolis, OH
Ronnie G. Moore, Gallipolis, OH
Nora Isabelle Nibert, Gallipolis Ferry, WV
Darius E. Northup, Gallipolis Ferry, WV
James O. Pullen, Middleport, OH
Leo ³Doc² Sanders, Point Pleasant, WV
Ronald Sims, Gallipolis, OH
Charles T. Smith, Bidwell, OH
Oma Mae Smith, Bidwell, OH
Maxine Sturgeon, Kanauga, OH
Denzil Taylor, Point Pleasant, WV
Glenna Mae Taylor, Point Pleasant, WV
Robert Eugene Towe, Cana, VA
Victor William Turner, Point Pleasant, WV
Marvin Wamsley, Point Pleasant, WV
Lillian Eleanor Wedge, Point Pleasant, WV
Paul D. Wedge, Point Pleasant, WV
James Alfred White, Point Pleasant, WV
The two whose bodies were never recovered are:
Kathy Byus, Point Pleasant, WV
Maxine Turner, Point Pleasant, WV
#47: Mary Hyre
The date (or Mothman math) game played a role in the next death. The first sighting (acknowledged by the media and first filed by reporter Mary Hyre) occurred on November 15, 1966, when the Scarberrys and Mallettes saw Mothman. Then exactly thirteen months later, the Silver Bridge collapsed on December 15, 1967. Twenty-six months later (13 x 2) exactly, Mary Hyre died on February 15, 1970, at the age of 54, after a four-week illness. Hyre was the Point Pleasant correspondent for the Athens, Ohio newspaper The Messenger, and during the 1960s’ investigations, became a close friend of John A. Keel. (Her husband Scotty had died on December 1, 1968.)
#48: Jim Keith
Conspiracy author Jim Keith, at the age of 50, died mysteriously, on September 7, 1999, during routine knee surgery, after falling off the stage at the annual Burning Man pagan arts festival in Nevada. Jim Keith was responsible for first speculating on a CIA-Men-in-Black connection to the initial Mothman events in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. He held the notion that Point Pleasant was being used as a "test tube."
#49: Ron Bonds
The publisher of most of Jim Keith’s books and of John Keel’s 1991 reprint of The Mothman Prophecies, Ron Bonds of IllumiNet Press, died under strange circumstances, at 48, on April 8, 2001. He was being rushed to the hospital for food poisoning, apparently contracted at the Mexican restaurant, El Azteca, Ponce de Leon, Atlanta. (Before becoming a publisher, Bonds had been a rock promoter and producer. Intriguingly, April 8th is also associated with the date that Kurt Cobain, grunge rock star, was found dead from suicide in Seattle.)
January 1, 2002 - Paraview Press published Mothman and Other Curious Encounters.
January 23, 2002, the FX cable channel in North America screened the documentary, Search for the Mothman.
January 25, 2002 - The Mothman Prophecies opened across America. The music soundtrack CD is released on the same date.
#50: Charles Mallette
As the movie began screening on January 25, 2002, the original witnesses, the Mallettes were attending a funeral in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Steve Mallette, who was one of the first four witnesses, had lost his brother, Charlie, 43, to a brain tumor.
#51-59: Mason County road deaths
The last week in January 2002, during that same initial movie release time period, there were five fatalities in and near Point Pleasant, in two crashes involving four automobiles on January 26, and three other fatal wrecks in the next five days. For rural Mason County, the eight road deaths in six days was the most in 40 years, according to the State of West Virginia.
February 15, 2002 - Tor reprinted John Keel’s 1975 The Mothman Prophecies in paperback.
#60: Gary Ury
On February 15, 2002, soon after the town was coming alive with all the Mothman promotions and attention, one of Point Pleasant’s better-known Mothman eyewitnesses, Tom Ury suddenly lost his 52-year-old brother Gary.
#61: Ted Tannebaum
Ted Tannebaum, 68, the Executive Producer of The Mothman Prophecies, died of cancer, on March 7, 2002, in Chicago, Illinois. He founded the Lakeshore Entertainment Group (which produced the Mothman motion picture) with partner Tom Rosenberg in the early 1990s. The Mothman Prophecies would be Tannebaum’s last movie.
May 23, 2002 - The Mothman Prophecies opened in Australia.
#62 Aaron Rebsamen
Aaron Stephen Rebsamen, 14, of Fort Smith, unexpectedly committed suicide on Thursday, May 23, 2002, in his Fort Smith, Arkansas home. He was the beloved son of the well-known cryptozoology artist, William Rebsamen, who did the cover illustration of Mothman for the book, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters. Under a tight deadline after the publisher rejected earlier images from another source, Bill Rebsamen created the Mothman painting, overnight, in one creative inspiration. Witnesses, such as Linda Scarberry, upon seeing the Rebsamen full-length, colored illustration of Mothman, said it is the best drawing, which most matches what was first seen on November 15, 1966, in the TNT area, Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
June 6, 2002 - The Mothman Prophecies simple DVD (theatrical version only) released in North America.
July 29, 2002 - Lifetime Channel aired the first showing of the Mothman segment on Unsolved Mysteries.
November 15-17, 2002 - Point Pleasant, West Virginia, celebrated its first annual Mothman Festival.
#63: Julia Harrison
Julie Harrison, 29, an associate and very good friend of the members of the Portland, Oregon-based high-tech grunge band, King Black Acid, died suddenly from the complications of an operation that was not suppose to be life-threatening, on November 17, 2002. King Black Acid did most of the songs for disc 1 of the soundtrack CD for the movie The Mothman Prophecies.
January 15, 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies premiered on Cinemax cable television in the USA.
April 19, 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies premiered on HBO cable television in the USA.
May 6, 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies - VHS released.
May 27, 2003 - The Mothman Prophecies: DVD Special Edition released. It contains the David Grabias documentary, Search for the Mothman. This DVD: SE began hitting stores a week later.
#64: Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan, a crewmember on The Mothman Prophecies, died in the well-publicized nose-dive plane crash into LA’s Fairfax neighborhood apartment building on June 6, 2003. The pilot was identified by the Los Angeles Times as Jeffrey T. Siegel, the owner of a Santa Monica construction firm. Siegel’s family said that Siegel and his niece, Jessica Kaplan, 24, were flying to the family’s second home in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kaplan’s family described her as a screenwriter who had written for New Line Cinema. Jessica Kaplan is officially credited as one of the production crew for The Mothman Prophecies. As part of the Art Department working on that film about Mothman-linked disasters, Kaplan is listed as a "scenic artist." Kaplan is also known as the genius teen who sold a script to Hollywood for $150,000, when she was 17. In 2004, that script will be released as the movie Havoc, directed by well-known documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple and starring Mandy Moore. The Los Angeles crash occurred on Friday 6/6/2003 (note 2 x 3 = 6, thus Friday’s date can be read as 666), but then, that’s probably only a coincidence.
Do you know others? Email: MothmanList@lorencoleman.com