Byron Lewis was an engineer, aviation inventor, and former member of the Minutemen formerly known as Mothman.
Byron Lewis was born into a wealthy family in Bethlehem, Connecticut. He would later move to New York to pursue a career in engineering and aviation full time. A young prodigy, Lewis made a fortune making patented inventions in the aviation industry. In his young adult life, he sought adventure around the world. He ventured as a hunter/explorer in the jungles and as a mountaineer, and at one point making an extended visit to Africa. When he returned home from his journeys, Lewis saw that his country had been taken storm by crime fighters. Seeking to help the less fortunate and fight oppression and corruption himself, Lewis utilized his inventive talent to create special wings that allowed him to glide through the air, taking to the streets as "Mothman".
He invented a glider suit, actually a set of wings of which he perfected after several near-fatal injuries. Before flying, he had to check the wind speed and air density, and his weight could vary by no more than three pounds, according to Hollis Mason. Shortly after, Lewis joined the crime fighting group the Minutemen, which were based in New York City. Because of the tremendous pressure put on him to stay in perfect condition, Byron developed an addiction to aspirin, liniment, morphine, and eventually a drinking problem. In 1939, a little after news of the Silhouette, there were reports of a man dressed like a moth who could glide through the air.
HUAC Interrogation and Health Decline
During the '50s, the House of Un-American Activities Committee forced all active costumed vigilantes to reveal themselves to one of their representatives. Due to the left-wing friends that Mothman had cultivated while a student, his clearance was considerably more difficult than his companions. He was eventually cleared, but the investigations were both lengthy and ruthless. Mason speculates that the pressure of this meeting may have prompted his future drinking problem, but Laurence Schexnayder points out that the stem of his harder drinking was after the death of Dollar Bill.
In 1960 Mothman and other former Minutemen attended a Red Cross charity event for the India famine. Hollis noted that he was always with a drinking glass, mumbling incoherently.
After a long bout of drinking, Mothman had a complete mental breakdown. He was admitted into the Overlook Asylum in Kennebunkport.
Later that year, his doctors gave him leave and his nurses brought him to Sally Jupiter's mansion for a brief reunion with former Minutemen, Nelson Gardner and Hollis Mason. He seemed lost and was given a soda, but the glass fell from his hands. 13-year-old Laurie, Sally's daughter, asked her mother if that's what the future holds for the crimefighters.
By 2019 Lewis' flight technology was successfully emulated by the pubic and evolved from the crude flight technology that he originally wore during his Minutemen days. It is notably used by photo journalists to capture pictures while flying with the help of wing-like suits. Tulsa detective Red Scare refers to the users of this technology as “moths" a reference to the original Minuteman.
Mothman wears an expressively gaudy costume themed like a moth. Although most are gray, he has a large letter "M" across his chest in bold red, as well as a red belt with a gold star and two antennas attached to his forehead. The most pronounced of his accessories are the two considerably large, bright yellow wings that supposedly flap when he is scared or possibly when he is nervous as well.