The Mothman and The Grinning Man, aka Indrid Cold: Unraveling the Mystery

The Grinning Man, also known as Indrid Cold, is a mysterious figure whose legend has fascinated enthusiasts of the paranormal and UFO phenomena for decades. 

The Origins of the Grinning Man:

The Grinning Man gained widespread attention following the account of Woodrow Derenberger's encounter in 1966. Derenberger described encountering a strange figure named Indrid Cold, who became closely associated with the Mothman phenomenon in West Virginia during that period. The Grinning Man's reputation grew through subsequent reports and its inclusion in John A. Keel's book "The Mothman Prophecies."


Sightings and Characteristics:

The Grinning Man is often described as a tall figure with an unnaturally wide, grinning smile and hypnotic, penetrating eyes. Witnesses have reported encountering the entity in various locations, with some claiming to have had telepathic or mind-control experiences during their encounters. The Grinning Man is often associated with UFO sightings and paranormal occurrences.


Indrid Cold and the Men in Black Connection:

Indrid Cold's association with the Grinning Man led to comparisons with the infamous Men in Black (MIB) phenomenon. Like the MIB, Cold is often depicted as an otherworldly being with an interest in UFO sightings and encounters. However, unlike the intimidating MIB figures, Cold is described as calm and friendly, even though his appearance is unsettling.


Woodrow Derenberger's encounter with Indrid Cold, as previously mentioned, is the most prominent and well-known account. 

Derenberger's encounter, which occurred on November 2, 1966, near Parkersburg, West Virginia, is the most well-known and extensively documented account of Indrid Cold. Derenberger described encountering a strange vehicle that passed his truck, turned sideways in front of his vehicle,  blocking both lanes of the road as it hoovered approximately 10 inches off the ground.. "This object was between a real dark grey and black. I would call it a charcoal color. It glistened in my headlights. When it stopped me, my headlights were shining directly on it."  From this vehicle emerged Indrid Cold, a tall figure with a dark complexion and a metallic suit. "He had a topcoat on and it was zippered down the front. His top, the top two buttons, like my coat here, were open and, he, this outfit was a shiny material, it was a glossy outfit like it was metallic I suppose you would call it and his shirt was a little bit darker than his jacket and below his coat he had on trousers of the same kind of a cloth material and I believe the trousers were just a shade lighter than his coat."

After he emerged from the object he walked to the passenger side window of Derenberger's vehicle.

He looked “perfectly natural and normal as any human being.” Approximately six feet tall and very healthy-looking, he appeared as if he had a good tan. He had thick dark brown hair combed straight back. He looked like any other nice-looking 35 to 40 year old man “you would meet on the street.”

But he wasn’t normal, Derenberger said. He had a large grin and kept his arms folded with his hands up under his armpits. And though he spoke to Derenberger, his smile never moved. He spoke, Derenberger said, telepathically.

“He asked me to roll down the window on my right-hand side of my truck and I done what he asked,” Derenberger said. “And this man stood there and he first asked me what I was called and I know he meant my name and I told him my name and he asked me, he said, ‘Why are you frightened?’ he said, ‘Don’t be frightened, we wish you no harm,’ he said, ‘We mean you no harm, we wish you only happiness,’ and I told him my name and when I told him my name he said he was called ‘Cold’.”

Cold communicated with Derenberger telepathically, expressing an interest in humanity and sharing messages about universal harmony. The conversation lasted for approximately ten minutes before Cold departed, leaving Derenberger fascinated by the encounter.

Gray Barker's Account: Author and ufologist Gray Barker provided a secondhand account of an encounter with the Grinning Man. According to Barker, a witness claimed to have seen the Grinning Man lurking in the vicinity of a UFO sighting in the late 1960s. The witness described a tall figure with a wide grin.

Mothman Sightings Connection:

The Grinning Man, Indrid Cold, became associated with the Mothman phenomenon that occurred in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during the same time period. Witnesses reported seeing a large winged creature known as the Mothman, often accompanied by the presence of Indrid Cold. These sightings often featured the Grinning Man lurking in the background, observing the events silently.


The Mothman is a legendary cryptid creature associated with a series of strange sightings that occurred in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, during the late 1960s. 

Overview of the Mothman Phenomenon:

The Mothman phenomenon began in November 1966, when several individuals reported seeing a creature resembling a man with enormous wings and glowing red eyes. Witnesses described the Mothman as a tall, humanoid figure with a wingspan of 10 to 15 feet, often appearing gray or brown in color. The sightings continued until December 1967, when the tragic collapse of the Silver Bridge resulted in the loss of numerous lives.


Eyewitness Accounts:

a) Linda Scarberry and Roger Scarberry: On November 15, 1966, Linda Scarberry and her husband Roger were driving near an abandoned TNT factory when they spotted a large creature standing on the edge of the road. The Mothman, with its glowing red eyes, took off and pursued their car at high speeds, causing terror and panic.


b) Connie Carpenter and Mary Mallette: On the same night as the Scarberrys' encounter, Connie Carpenter and Mary Mallette witnessed the Mothman near the McClintic Wildlife Management Area. They described its large wings, humanoid shape, and glowing red eyes. The creature pursued them as they drove away.


c) Multiple Witnesses at the Silver Bridge: In the days leading up to the Silver Bridge collapse on December 15, 1967, numerous witnesses reported seeing the Mothman near or on the bridge itself. Some believe these sightings were ominous warnings, linking the Mothman to the tragedy.


Impact on Witnesses and the Community:

The eyewitness encounters with the Mothman and The Grinning Man, aka Indrid Cold, had a profound impact on the witnesses and the local community. Many experienced extreme fear, anxiety, and a sense of impending doom. The sightings garnered significant media attention and attracted curious visitors to Point Pleasant. The tragic Silver Bridge collapse further deepened the mystery, with some associating the Mothman sightings with the disaster.


The eyewitness encounters with the Mothman and Indrid Cold remain a fascinating and perplexing phenomenon. Detailed accounts from witnesses, including Woodrow Derenberger, Linda and Roger Scarberry, Connie Carpenter, and Mary Mallette, highlight the eerie nature of the encounters. The impact on witnesses and the community, along with the enduring legacy and ongoing interest, contribute to the enigma,  inspiring both curiosity and speculation about the unknown and the possibilities that lie beyond our understanding.