Mothman festival celebrates supernatural specter
A fall festival usually congers up images of live bands, Ferris wheels and award-winning pumpkins – but in Point Pleasant, W. Va., the festivities feature a towering monster with leering red eyes.
The city has been celebrating the menacing specter every fall for the better part of a decade. The 12th annual Mothman Festival kicked off last weekend, and drew thousands of visitors to celebrate the town’s strangest resident.
For nearly 50 years the residents of Point Pleasant say they have been haunted by a huge birdlike creature they call the “Mothman.” According to a Huffington Post report, the monster is described as being nearly 7 feet tall with a 15-foot wingspan, and glowing red eyes. The creature was most famously seen before the 1967 collapse of the Silver River Bridge, which claimed 46 lives.
Since the accident the Mothman has been seen as a harbinger of disaster, with reports of sightings popping up before personal or public tragedy. The Huffington Post says sightings have been reported as far as Russia, with the monster making an appearance before the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.
The beast even inspired a 2002 horror film starring Richard Gere, titled "The Mothman Prophecies".
However, Point Pleasant is now hoping to associate the creature with tourism, rather than tragedy. According to program materials, the festival, which began in November, 2002, has grown from 500 local visitors to thousands of international guests, all interested in the mystery of the Mothman.
Visitors gather in Point Pleasant each September to see the famous Mothman statue, peruse the Mothman museum and to meet eyewitnesses, authors and experts on the subject. Attendees can dance at the Mothman Ball, witness the Mothman Pageant, and, according to program materials, enjoy live music, local food and “down home West Virginia hospitality.”
Just hope that hospitality doesn’t involve meeting a shrieking, swooping monster face-to-face.