west virginia town remembers silver bridge disaster

i was born & raised in west virginia, but in my 28 years of living there i never remember hearing about the silver bridge collapse. recently, however, i've been reading & loving sinister forces: a grimoire of american political witchcraft by peter levenda. in book one, levenda describes the speculative connection between the silver bridge disaster & the mothman prophecies:

The basic outline of the story is that, on November 15, 1966, a strange creature was sighted about ten miles north of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It was seen at night, was about six-six or seven feet tall, with what appeared to be wings folded against its back. It seemed to be male, and the most startling thing - aside from the wings - was the pair of huge red eyes, two inches in diameter, six inches apart on its face. It was clearly not human, according to the eyewitnesses (no pun intended), but walked upright like a man. Thus the legend of the Mothman was born.

Accompanying the sightings of the Mothman were strange electrical disturbances, such as bizarre patterns on television sets, phones ringing with either no one at the other end or a kind of strange buzzing sound, plus weird warbles on police radio, etc. The thing actually seemed to fly, and in at least one instance was known to have chased a car full of people, and in another a Red Cross bloodmobile filled with whole blood on its way to Huntington, the town where I was now staying the night. As usual, the witnesses were average, normal people living typically American lives: people, that is, with no ulterior motive, no hidden agenda. These were not UFO enthusiasts or college kids out on a prank. The sightings began to take place quite regularly all up and down that mound-ridden stretch of the Ohio River - from Marietta, Parkersburg and points south - but centered on the town of Point Pleasant.

Exactly thirteen months later, to the day, the sightings abruptly stopped. Everyone in Point Pleasant remembers the date - December 15, 1967 - because that is also the date of the Silver Bridge disaster, the worst bridge disaster in American history. The bridge, spanning the Ohio River between West Virginia and Ohio was full of cars and trucks at rush hour, people out buying Christmas presents or going to and from company Christmas parties or just trying to get home. At 5:04 P.M. the bridge collapsed, causing vehicles and the people inside them to plummet to the icy river below. Forty-six people died, more than sixty vehicles were lost to the river. Two persons were never found.

And the Mothman was seen no more after that day.

west virginia town remembers silver bridge disasterfrom ap: It took less than 30 seconds for the Silver Bridge to tumble into the Ohio River, killing 46 people and leaving towns on either side stunned and bereft. Stephen Darst, who saw it happen 40 years ago Saturday, has relived that half-minute countless times.

"It sounded like a jet airplane," he recalled, looking out at the river. "I had nightmares for a long time after that."

Like most Point Pleasant residents old enough to remember that day, Darst, now 70, has vivid recollections of Dec. 15, 1967. He not only saw the bridge fall but had driven across it hours before, and he remembers a feeling of unease.

A traffic light had been malfunctioning all day, causing cars and trucks to back up on the bridge, which had linked Point Pleasant and Kanauga, Ohio, since 1928. Darst said he felt anxious waiting in traffic and eventually pulled out and sped off the bridge by driving in the opposite lane.

"I could feel something was wrong. Something was in the air," he said.