The Grinning Man

“My name,” said the strange figure standing in front of Woodrow Derenberger’s truck, “is Cold.  I will be visiting you again.”  The encounter had begun when the old man had been driving his truck up a hill outside of Parkersburg, Virginia.  A strange craft had intercepted his truck and blocked the road in front of him.  From the strange craft had emerged this figure whose face was obscured by light and shadow except for a massive grin which he could see gleaming in his truck’s headlights.  The creature spoke telepathically and would be seen by several residents of Virginia and New Jersey before vanishing as mysteriously as it had appeared.

James Yanchitis and Marvin Munoz were walking home on October 11, 1966 the same year as Derenberger’s encounter when suddenly Jimmy turned to his friend.  Apparently not seeing the figure behind him, Marvin kept walking, but Jimmy grabbed him and looked over his shoulder, “Who’s that guy standing behind you?” he asked.  His voice shook as they both realized that the fence separating them from the man was just above a turnpike where the ground dropped thirty feet.  He was clinging to the fence and staring at them both grinning.  As they stared shocked by the appearance of the strange interloper, they did not notice a nose or ears on the strange figure.  in fact they noticed nothing buy the strange eyes that gleamed in the moonlight and the unnatural grin the man had on his face as he stared at the two of them.  Almost immediately the pair sprinted away as The Grinning man watched them.  Earlier that night in a nearby neighborhood a man matching the description of the one that stared at them now had chased a woman down the street.  He was wearing the exact same green outfit and large belt described by Derenberger.  Three days later, Johnathon Keel of Mothman Prophecies fame would visit them and ask them about the incident.

Keel would later interview another terrified witness in West Virginia who said the man had suddenly materialized in her room amidst the sound of a baby crying.  She called for help and was found hysterical.  Ever since the incident she refused to sleep alone.  As Keel put the pieces of the puzzle together it was never discovered what this creature was or what its intentions were in the area.  To this day the brief series of encounters with The Grinning Man remain as one of the most terrifying and mystifying of its kind.

Given its location and its proximity to the Mothman encounters, not to mention John Keel himself, was there a connection between The Mothman and The Grinning Man?  Perhaps one was there as a result of the other.  One fairly difficult to fathom theory goes that The Mothman was being hunted by The Grinning Man who was dispatched from places unknown to hunt the creature down.  Another theory is that whatever let The Mothman through also let this strange character out as well, and that when The Mothman disappeared so too did The Grinning Man.  Other theories abound that he could have been some sort of MIB, although his relation to the MIBs seems purely speculative.  In fact there is no information about this mysterious figure at all aside from the few eyewitness accounts.