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Mothman Turned 50: Let’s Celebrate

Sightings of the red-eyed, 7 foot tall half man/half flying creature turned 50 last November. Although “Mothman,” as he was called, only appeared in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, from November 1966-December 15, 1967, he still captures the imaginations of cryptozoologists, paranormal researchers, and general urban legend fans. He has spawned an entire industry in the small town. There’s a Mothman Museum; TNT Tours to see McClintic Wildlife Management Area, where the first documented sighting occurred; evening U.F.O. sky watches; and the popular Mothman Festival. This year the festival will celebrate the 50th anniversary.

Mothman descended into the quite town of Point Pleasant on November 15, 1966. Two couples were taking a cousin out to the abandoned TNT factory for some night hiking. Upon arrival at the chain-linked fence, the five young adults reported encountering a 7’ feathery creature with large wings (possibly 15 feet wide). They quickly returned to the car and sped off into town. This begins the sightings made more popular by John A. Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies book published in 1975.

The first “Congress,” outdated word for festival, began over Labor Weekend in 1968 when Saucer News editor, Gray Barker, organized a small event. Forty-six people attended and participated in touring the Silver Bridge disaster, learning about Shawnee leader Cornstalk who was murdered in the area in 1777, and a “saucer watch,” whereby people stared up into the clear evening sky searching for U.F.O.s. Apparently, the Congress was a success. Renamed the Mothman Festival, the current event has been running for 16 years.

This year the event returns to downtown Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on September 16-17, 2017. Vendors, live music, food services, and a 5K run are planned. Admission to the Main Street events is free; however, nominal fees will be charged for the TNT tours and other additional events. According to the Official Mothman Festival Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/mothmanfestival/, 1,505 people are interested in attending and nearly 500 confirmed. Quite an uptick from the original 46.

Mothman is truly Americana. Other similar sightings have been reported, but none have the Appalachian appeal that Mothman brings to West Virginia. Definitely worth a visit.

For more information, visit: http://mothmanfestival.com/