Video games have instilled in us a shoot first, ask questions later (or never) instinct, and Fallout 76 is no different. In a ruined world full of radioactive ghouls, scuttling mirelurks, rampaging deathclaws, and human players chewing noisily over open mics, the impulse to shoot everything you see is both warranted and completely understandable.
But you should never judge a book by its cover or a Mothman by its eerie glowing eyes, leathery wings, and weird black cloud of fog. Mothman may be a horrifying monster but some early reports are saying that, actually, it's a pretty chill dude.
Note: there are potential spoilers about a particular type of Mothman below.
Case in point: Redditor RikkuSuave happened across Mothman while playing with friends and took some amazing photos with the mysterious creature. Not from a distance, either, as you can see. They also say Mothman followed them for 20 minutes. Didn't attack, didn't flee, just hung around the party watching and being generally agreeable despite its red status bar labeling it as hostile.
Now it's possible this is a glitch in the AI: I've seen video of Mothman being attacked by players and not defending itself, and I've occasionally encountered a few rock-stupid enemies who similarly do nothing when I attack. And the video below by William Friet on YouTube shows Mothman dramatically taking off and vanishing after a single shot is fired at it, so perhaps this docile Mothman just isn't working as intended.
However, there are also reports of a 'Wise Mothman'. Sometimes creatures in Fallout 76 have a designation that tells you a little something about them, such as the 'Diseased Grafton Monster' I encountered the other day, who acted like a regular Grafton Monster but also threw its disease all over my damn face, after which I contracted said disease.
This Wise Mothman, according to one report, is a level one creature with purple eyes, not red ones, and it granted an hour-long XP bonus buff upon the players who encountered it and didn't attack it. Hey, Diseased Grafton Monster, why can't you be more like Wise Mothman?
Other players have gotten close enough to take some nice pictures of the spooky generic brand fella, like Redditor rosie-roots. As you can see above, they found Mothman at night and was able to pose for an amazing, glowing-eyes selfie. Redditor Nodoan spotted the creature during the day and was able to peer down at Mothman without incident from not far away.
I haven't encountered Mothman yet myself. During the hands-on event in West Viriginia in October, I saw Mothman's status bar hovering in the darkness, but didn't actually see the fabled creature. In the beta, I've only found Mothman eggs—lots of them—which I naturally cooked into an omelette and ate. I hope if I encounter Wise Mothman, it won't hold that against me.