Mothman Death Curse and Firewall

Let’s take a walk on the wild side, for a moment.

It is the weekend, and tonight you may be looking for a new movie to go out and see. Perhaps you’ll go to Firewall, the new flick with Harrison Ford. Ford took the last three years to create it, and there’s lots of buzz about the movie already.


One of the things you will see creeping into some of the news about Firewall is the unusual mentioning of "Mothman." But why? For those that never knew, the media is reminding people that during the meandering director’s search for Firewall, if you wish to think in this direction, the film was touched by the "Mothman Death Curse."

The Mothman curse appears to bring bad luck to some people that had anything to do with Mothman, or so the urban legend goes. Ford had initially begun the Firewall project with Mark Pellington (director, Arlington Road, The Mothman Prophecies). But right before shooting was to begin, Pellington’s wife died of a rare infection. Pellington held a news conference and withdrew from directing Firewall.

On July 30, 2004, Jennifer Barrett-Pellington, 42, died, in Los Angeles, and was buried at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. The Los Angeles Times reported "Ms. Barrett-Pellington was the wife of director Mark Pellington who directed Arlington Road. Her husband included a ‘Special Thanks’ credit in his film The Mothman Prophecies to his wife for her support of him on that film. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends, especially her young daughter."

In Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (NY: Paraview, 2002), I mention some of the other deaths associated with Mothman, the events at the time of the 1966-1967 flap and during the recent movie’s release.

The detailed "Mothman Death Curse" list can be seen online here.

All kinds of different people associated with Mothman are on the list. One is Ron Bonds, the publisher of John Keel’s 1991 reprint of The Mothman Prophecies book that was the one discovered by those that eventually produced The Mothman Prophecies movie. Ron Bonds, IllumiNet Press, died under strange circumstances, at 48, on April 8, 2001. He expired enroute to the hospital, after apparently contracting food poisoning at the Mexican restaurant, El Azteca, Ponce de Leon in Atlanta.

Jim Keith

Jim Keith

Bonds was also the publisher of most of Jim Keith’s books. Conspiracy author Jim Keith (Black Helicopters Over America), at the age of 50, died mysteriously, on September 7, 1999, during routine knee surgery, after falling off the stage at the annual Burning Man pagan arts festival in Nevada. Jim Keith was responsible for first writing about a CIA-Men-in-Black connection to the initial Mothman events. He wrote that Point Pleasant, West Virginia, was being used as a "test tube."

Weird links continue. Along eastbound I-80 at Sparks, Nevada, near the railroad tracks, the partially clad body of Sherry Marie Yearsley, 47, was found on June 21, 2002. Passengers on a passing Amtrak train spotted the body and notified authorities. Police said Yearsley was a murder victim and her body had been dumped the previous day. Yearsley and author Jim Keith were partners for several years in the 1980s, and parented two daughters, Verity and Aerika.

Jim Keith Jerry Smith

Jim Keith and Jerry Smith

Now this week comes word from one of Keith’s daughters that their lives were stalked by weird deaths even earlier. Aerika tells me that another person should be added to the list, Donna Brown. Aerika Keith writes:

Donna Brown was found February 2, 1994, in Fallon, Nevada; she was the daughter of a family my dad was very close with, and also knew Jerry E. Smith [another conspiracy researcher]. She was found dead in a field by their house, with wounds that appeared to be from a suicide (wrists slit and gunshot wound to the head). However, Donna’s sister said that there was no fresh blood coming from the wrists, it was definitely a murder [made to appear to be] a suicide. The other details suggest there is no other possible cause. Also according to her sister, she may have seen some sort of drug deal carried out by the CIA. Her diary was missing after her death. When I knew her, she was VERY paranoid. She was 16 years old.

It’s time to update the Mothman Death List.

Chance, coincidence, or enemy action? Urban legend or conspiracy reality? You be the judge.