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Prior to the Great War, the "Mothman" was a mythical creature in local Appalachian folklore that was described as a terrifying half-man, half-moth hybrid that stalked the area around the town of Point Pleasant. The story of the Mothman was sensational enough to create a wide following, ranging from cryptid hobbyists to aggressive conspiracy theorists hellbent on uncovering the deeper mystery of the creature. The Mothman's legend lead to a number of tourist attractions, such as the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant. Stories and other popular fiction were sold as novelty holotape recordings.
Despite its local fame, interest in the Mothman was generally insignificant and it was not seen as worthy of genuine inquiry by the scientific community. However, while the legend of the Mothman was seen by most as a simple folktale, a serious clandestine following of the creature eventually began to emerge: the mysterious Cult of the Mothman. Its followers, fervent in their worship of the Mothman as a divine being, practiced numerous rituals and established many hidden shrines that can still be found all over post-War Appalachia.
The cult itself has existed in secret since long before the Great War, viewing the Mothman as a way to predict the future, and frequently attempted to summon him to do as such. They also sought out the creature in order to obtain blessings, as well as immortality and divinity.
On October 22, 2077, only a day before nuclear Armageddon was unleashed across the world, the cult conducted a ritual to summon the Mothman. One member identified as Brother Charles claimed that the ritual succeeded and that the Mothman had warned him of a terrible flood that would occur the next day, which could only be survived by reaching high ground. The cult took this warning seriously and informed its other members. The group took this warning to heart and sought shelter in the Lucky Hole Mine, despite the fact that they were initially instructed to go on the rooftops of Point Pleasant. After entering the mine, the group constructed numerous shanty housings and shrines throughout. It appears that the group deviated from worshiping the original deity of the Mothman, as evident from the numerous holotapes of Jeff Lane that can be found in Point Pleasant and Lucky Hole Mine. He described the Mothman as a "creature" but expressed a desire to seek out the hidden horrors of his mind. This came to fruition with "the Interloper," who contacted Lane and others in the Lucky Hole Mine through some sort of psychosis, luring them deeper into the mine to find him. At this time, Lane expressed himself as a "vessel" for the Interloper.
By 2103, the group returned en masse and thrived in Appalachia, their self-proclaimed holy ground, driving out or otherwise destroying those that would oppose them or their beliefs. Settling around the region, including Point Pleasant, Clancy Manor, and Kanawha County Cemetery, the Cult of the Mothman grew once more. One cultist mentioned that their return was partially motivated by the search for a famous deceased entomologist by the name of Dr. Wallace, who had written a thesis paper on the studies of moths in the region.
The Cult of the Mothman is very primitive in nature, using a combination of wood, bones, wire, leather, vines, and cloth to construct their armor and shrines. For weaponry, the cultists prefer melee weaponry, using scraps of metal and black titanium to construct blades and crudely fasten them to different parts of a deer bone and/or antlers as handles.
Their base construction consists of utilizing pre-existing structures and modifying them with bones, vines, wood, and otherwise to create shelters and altars. Cultist structures can also include the bones/ribcages of large creatures, similar to the bones found underneath the waters in the Big Maw.
The cult maintains shrines and resides or used to reside in various locations throughout Appalachia, including:
- Blake's Offering
- Big Maw
- Clancy Manor
- Helvetia - The church has a giant mothman effigy.
- Ingram Mansion
- Johnson's Acre
- Kanawha County Cemetery
- Landview Lighthouse
- Lucky Hole Mine
- Point Pleasant
- Sunken church near Raleigh Clay's bunker
- Unnamed shrine east of Bleeding Kate's Grindhouse
The group was led by an unnamed High Priestess (later known as the First Priestess of the Wood) that led the group's religious prayers and to the short-lived sanctuary in the Lucky Hole Mine.
Interactions with the player character
Sites of the cult's influence can be found across Appalachia, especially in regions such as the Forest and the Mire. The sites themselves can be as small as unmarked thickets with ritual totems and corpses, to as large as the labyrinthine depths of the Lucky Hole Mine.
The cult makes a return in the Wastelanders update. The cult can be found in Point Pleasant but also wandering around Appalachia and will attack the player character on sight. There is no known way to join the cult.
When killed, the cultists speak their last words, asking the Mothman to take them to his paradise, saying things like "I go to the divine light," "The divine light...I can see it," and "I regret nothing." If able to eavesdrop on cultists while they are praying, they can be heard asking the Mothman to give them its strength, punish the non-believers, and come to save them when the day of reckoning comes.
The Enlightened refer to members of the other sects as the "Dim Ones".
The Cult of the Mothman only appears in Fallout 76.
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "According to local folklore - as well as a statue and museum in Point Pleasant, West Virginia - the Mothman is a terrifying half-man, half-moth hybrid. Pray you never encounter it and learn the truth."
- KMAX Transmission terminal entries; KMAX Talk Radio show notes, The Conspiracy
- Sermon: Summoning the Mothman
- The Path to Enlightenment
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "The Cult of the Mothman is made up of fanatics who seek the blessings of the enigmatic creature known as the Mothman, which they believe is a divine being."
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "The Mothman cultists seek to become one with the divine light, and they believe the Mothman will guide the worthy to this sacred source of everlasting life."
- Sermon: Impending doom
- Numerous notes found throughout the Lucky Hole Mine
- The Chosen
- Fallout 76 loading screens: "To the cultists who worship the Mothman, Appalachia is holy ground, and all non-believers must be driven out... or destroyed."
- Letter (Wastelanders)
- As seen in the Cultist dagger and Cultist blade
- As seen at Moth-Home
- His Priestess