Mary Hyre was the Point Pleasant, WV, corespondent for the Athens, OH, newspaper titled, The Messenger. Hyre documented strange occurrences happening in Point Pleasant in 1966-1967 and was well loved by locals due to her professional and open-minded take on the subjects. In one weekend alone, Hyre received 500 reports of UFO sightings from locals. Hyre's fascination with flying saucers stemmed from her own sighting of a UFO which she claimed flew over her backyard.
Friendship With John Keel: Hyre played a pivotal role with her coverage of the Mothman sightings, befriending and working closely with author/journalist John A. Keel, who later went on to write The Mothman Prophecies. The character of the female sheriff who befriends Richard Gere's character in the movie version of The Mothman Prophecies is based on Mary Hyre.
Men In Black And Other Encounters With Strange People: Hyre's fascination with the subject of UFOs as well as her work with John Keel, seems to have drawn unwanted attention from the dreaded Men In Black. Hyre claimed to have been visited by strange "Oriental"-looking men dressed in black, who told her to stop researching the subject of flying saucers. This would not be the only strange experience Hyre had with unusual looking people. Hyre also reported an encounter with an extremely short man with large, hypnotic eyes. The man was not dressed for the cold weather and asked Hyre for directions to a nearby town. During this encounter, the man picked up a ball-point pen off Hyre's desk and stared at it as if he had never seen such object before. The man later laughed and fled the room, with no one seeing where he disappeared too. Some time later, Hyre had another run-in with the strange midget while exiting her work and heading to her car after working late one night. The man just stood there and stared at Hyre until a black car raced around the corner and picked him up. Hyre never encountered the strange dwarf again, though did find out that other Men In Black-type people were going around town asking to interview and photograph people who witnessed UFOs or had paranormal experiences. These Men In Black claimed to be close friends of Hyre in an attempt to get people to speak with them. Author John A. Keel subsequently dubbed these individuals, Phantom Photographers.
Death: Mary Hyre died on February 15, 1970 at the age of 54. Her death was sudden and unexpected, leading some to speculate that Hyre was murdered for her research of UFOs and of the paranormal events occurring in Point Pleasant, WV in 1966-1967. Other people attribute her death to the dreaded Mothman Curse, while the official cause of her death is blamed on a recent illness and heart disease.