The 13th Floor

The REAL Story of the Mothman (Part 2): The Curse of Chief Cornstalk

Earlier this week, we discussed one theory about the Mothman, the legendary creature that was the basis for THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES movie. Read our first part here-

This is a continuation and a second theory on the secret mysteries behind the many Mothman sightings.

In John Keel’s 1975 book THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES, he hypothesizes that the Mothman was sent as a warning to the people of Point Pleasant about the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse. However, another theory states that the Mothman may have been a part of the terror leading up to the collapse. There are those who believe the Mothman was sent to Point Pleasant as part of a centuries old curse placed on the region.

In the late 18th century, the newly independent United States of America was pushing its way westward. At the time the Shawnee Nation existed in what is now known as Mason County, West Virginia. Their leader, Chief Cornstalk, was initially at war with the invaders, but later worked for peace between the two nations. The Chief traveled to Fort Randolph with three other members of his tribe, including his son, on a diplomatic mission. Acting on his own accord, the fort commander decided to hold the Chief and his companions as prisoners. The next day, an unknown tribe of natives killed a soldier traveling outside the fort. Angered by the death of one of their own, the soldiers brutally executed all four Shawnees. As he lay dying Chief Cornstalk uttered the following.

“I came to your house a friend, and you murdered me. You have murdered by my side, my son, the Young Chief Elinispsico; for this may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this spot. May it be blighted by nature, its enterprises blasted, and the energies of its people paralyzed by the stain of our blood.”

The Curse of Chief Cornstalk is well known in Mason County, the county where Point Pleasant resides. After the bridge collapse, an article appeared in the Point Pleasant Register attributing the collapse to the curse. Of course, it’s easy to dismiss the curse until you realize that Mason County and many of its neighboring counties have seen quite a few horrific tragedies.

December 6, 1907, in the nearby county of Marion, the worst coalmine disaster in American history took place.  At 10:28am an explosion deep in the mine causes a collapse that killed over 360 miners.

April 21, 1930, fire rips through the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus less than 80 miles from where Chief Cornstalk was killed. Reports say that prisoners burned to death in their cells as guards refused to let them out while the fire engulfed the penitentiary. By the time the flames were extinguished, 320 people were dead.

June 1944, the region was rocked by a series of deadly tornados. The incident, which lasted two days, left 134 people dead.

August 10, 1968, nine months after the Silver Bridge collapse, Piedmont Flight 230 crashed on its landing approach to Kanawha Airport, located 30 miles from Mason County. Thirty-five people were killed.

November 14, 1970, a Southern Airways DC-9 crashed in to a mountain near Huntington, West Virginia, just over the Mason County Border.  All 75 on board were killed.

March 2, 1976, a man walks into the Mason County Jail in Point Pleasant with a shotgun and a bag full of dynamite. He asks to spend the night with his wife, who was being held after murdering the couple’s 2-month-old baby. He detonates the explosives, leveling the jail and killing five people, his wife and himself.

January 1978, a train derailment at Point Pleasant, dumped thousands of gallons of chemicals.  The toxic mess seeped its way into the ground, poisoning several wells.

April 27, 1978, a cooling tower being constructed at a Willow Island power station, collapsed killing 51 construction workers.


In 1950 Chief Cornstalk’s remains were interred at Point Pleasants Tu-Endie-Wei Park, a 12-foot tall statue was also erected as a monument to the Chief. However, another monument at Point Pleasant stands 86 feet tall and commemorates the memory of those men killed in the 1774 battle of Point Pleasant, a battle in which Chief Cornstalk’s “Indian Confederation” was defeated. That statue was dedicated on August 22, 1909, a month after its scheduled dedication. The night before the initial ceremony, a bolt of lightening struck the monument, causing the delay. In 1921, another bolt of lightening struck the monument, damaging it once more. The Chief’s curse was believed to have a lifespan of 200 years, explaining why no other disasters have been attributed to Chief Cornstalk since 1978.