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.
Ultimately, the interest in the Mothman was generally unserious and not seen as worthy of genuine scientific inquiry by the scientific community. While the legend of the Mothman was seen as a simple folktale, a clandestine following of the creature emerged in secret. The mysterious Cult of the Mothman, its followers fervent in their worship of the Mothman as a divine being, practiced numerous rituals and established numerous hidden shrines that can still be found all over post-War Appalachia.
As the nuclear holocaust loomed on the horizon, the cult attempted to summon the creature to benefit from its cosmic wisdom and earn protection from the nuclear fire soon to rain from the skies. The summoning was complete on October 22, 2077, and visible to just one of their number, Brother Charles, who immediately shared the wisdom he received, speaking of floods to come on the following day. The faithful took it as a signal to gather on the rooftops to avoid the destruction and give praise to the Mothman.
The flood came, with the cult members heeding the warning and deciding to seek shelter in high elevations, but the flood happened not quite how they expected it, instead taking the form of nuclear fallout. Remnants of their cult activities littered Appalachia long after the followers perished, as did the Mothmen, and these giant mutated moths would continue to remain in the region for years to come.
The Mothman is described as being a "winged beast with piercing red eyes that prey on those in the Point Pleasant area." Its carapace sports a dark and furry texture, and its multifaceted eyes glow various colors; it also possesses a beak-like mouth. Its wings are membranous and veined, akin to a real-life fly or moth. When idle, they typically remain perched with their wings shrouded around them to greatly diminish their silhouette. They are capable of spreading their multiple wings wide when attacking or when granting boons.
The mothman has a large detection radius. It has three distinct eye colors that reflect their current state; purple for passive, yellow for cautious and red for hostile. The glowing variant of mothmen has green eyes which do not change depending on their state.
Mothmen encountered in the wild will almost always be found at some time in the evening, and never appear during the day. When spotted and non-aggressive, they will typically observe the player character until they get too close, at which point they will either attack or simply flee. When a mothman departs, it appears to vanish into thin air, briefly leaving a dark shadow behind.
In combat, mothmen attack by generating a ranged sonic blast with an aggressive vocalization. They will often launch into the sky and reappear at another position in order to evade and confuse opponents. Despite their mysterious nature, mothmen are not immortal. Upon death, they will disintegrate into a pile of ash as if killed by laser weaponry. Because of this, challenges that involve taking a photograph of a mothman should be completed when it is still alive as the ash pile that's left after its death cannot be photographed for challenge credit.
The Scorched mothman is a mothman that is infected with the Scorched Plague. There are chances to see it, but they are usually spotted during the Scorched Earth event at Fissure site Prime when a player character drops a nuclear bomb at the site.
In West Virginia folklore, the Mothman is a winged creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area in the mid-1960s. The national press sensationalized the story across the United States and the Mothman has since become a famous cryptid in pop culture.
The first sightings of the Mothman were closely followed by the collapse of the Silver Bridge, killing 46. The short time between the two events lead many to conclude that the creature was a harbinger of disaster. This is reflected in Fallout 76, with the Mothman successfully foretelling the approaching apocalypse.
↑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."