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Mothman Was a … Green Beret?

The February 2014 issue of Soldiers of Fortune ran an incredibly thin article claiming that Mothman was a Green Beret. Titled “UFO Mystery Solved “Mothmen” Were Actually Green Berets,” author Harold Hutchison theorized that the 7-foot, red-eyed creature being spotted around Point Pleasant, West Virginia from November 15, 1966-December 15, 1967 was a specially trained US Army soldier wearing temporary glow-in-the-dark reflective paint practicing HALO (high-altitude, low-opening) parachute maneuvers. Unfortunately, the article lacked any evidence supporting his claim.

First, he misrepresented the second reported sighting. Hutchison wrote that it was “a couple” seeking “an intimate moment” who spotted the creature. However, nearly every writing on the topic credits Steve and Mary Mallette and Roger and Linda Scarberry as the first ones to report an encounter with Mothman. It wasn’t one couple; it was two couples who were together in a car. In addition, the author conveniently left out the part about the couples being chased at 100 M.P.H. By incompletely discussing the sighting, he reduced his credibility in his claim.

Hutchison innocuously wrote that the first reported sighting was made by 5 men digging a grave. This is troublesome. According to the Williamson Daily News, Kenneth Duncan, one of the men digging the grave, recalled seeing a “brown man … gliding through the trees … [with] eyes like red reflectors.” Duncan was describing one man—not several. Further, men parachuting down do not cut through trees. The parachute would restrict this. Moreover, reflective paint differs from glowing red eyes. All of the witness accounts described red eyes—not glowing war paint.


Hutchison based his theory on military training here in the US to assist troops abroad in Vietnam. Unfortunately, he didn’t name one unit training in West Virginia. Nor did he supply any evidence that HALO training took place for 13 months around Point Pleasant and then abruptly stopped. Instead, he included a picture from the Utah National Guard completing “[s]imilar jumps.” This isn’t evidence.

He ended the short article reassuring his readers that the Department of Defense remained silent to protect the HALO program but now it was okay to openly discuss and to reveal the “secret.” This argument is flawed. It assumes that the HALO jumps only occurred at night, when in fact jumps also occur during daylight hours. If the Green Berets were in West Virginia practicing HALO jumps, more people, especially the newspaper reporters, would have reported it.


While Hutchison’s theory is interesting and places a patriotic spin on Mothman, a truly Americana urban legend, it doesn’t make sense. So, no, Mothman was not a wayward Green Beret.