Mel is actually stepping in to write today’s blog post about Legend Tripping to Point Pleasant, WV. Mothman is really more her interest than mine. I remember when she was a little girl, a TV show aired this monster. From then on, he’s been one of her favorite cryptids. But I’ll let her tell the story….
When I was, like, eight or something, I tuned into a TV show about different types of cryptids. All was good and fun until Mothman appeared on the screen and reenacted the infamous scene where he chases a group of friends down a long stretch of road, staring at them with those giant goggle-like red eyes. It disturbed me so much I couldn’t sleep for a week. I began researching Mothman. I’ve learned the more I know, the less I fear.
When I heard Point Pleasant had a Mothman museum and seemed to take pride in their monster, I was curious why. The only photos I’d seen of Point Pleasant were of the metal Mothman statue that sits in the downtown and those of the Silver Bridge before it collapsed in 1967. What kind of town was this? And what were the people like?
When we rolled into this town after crossing the Ohio River, I was taken aback. Point Pleasant, West Virginia, settled between hills on one side and the river on the other, felt like a town operating with a half-beating pulse. Let me explain… We parked on main street and set the GPS to walk to a restaurant. When we reached our destination, there was nothing but an empty lot. Along the way, we passed several empty storefronts, some looked as if a new owner had taken over and started to remodel, then gave up, as if there was no hope in even trying.
We walked on to the museum—knowing it would be open—and asked for lunch recommendations. We ended up at a local coffee house called The Coffee Grinder. Among the townspeople, there were no strangers, and listening in on conversations (hey, don’t judge…this is how we learn), it was easy to see the locals love their home and each other.
After lunch, we went back to the Mothman Museum. I was anxious to see if they offered any information I hadn’t already read or heard about, and better yet, I couldn’t wait to see the loot for sale in their store. *rubs hands to together excitably*.
Okay, first off, you couldn’t beat the price. It was only $4 each. Lunch cost more than that (but only because of the iced vanilla latte). The museum was small and perhaps a little dated, but the amount of newspaper clippings of various sightings was amazing.
I knew there had been a lot of sightings, but I didn’t realize such a collection of the articles existed. You’d need all day to read them all. They ran the gamut of mere glimpses of the creature to more intense and detailed descriptions. Some articles speculated about what the monster could be while a few others told of tragic events that happened around Point Pleasant throughout the years, hinting at a curse.
I’d seen the Mothman Prophecies, so the movie memorabilia was neat, especially the Silver Bridge props, but I’m not a big fan of Richard Gere. Mom enjoyed that part more than I did. The museum displayed magazines and comic books, pop culture items, etc.–anything in which Mothman made an appearance. Still nothing I didn’t already know or assume. Then I encountered the Men in Black display. I thought these guys were a separate entity and somehow overlooked their connection to the Mothman sightings. John Keel coined the term MIB during his investigation of Mothman in 1967. I haven’t read his book, Mothman Prophecies. I also didn’t realize so many people said these guys showed up after encounters to warn them to keep quiet about what they saw.
While a lot fo the information in the museum wasn’t new to me, it was an awesome experience to see the world’s largest collection of Mothman memorabilia. I was very impressed and recommend it for any Mothman fan.
I also highly recommend the store with it’s many t-shirts, socks, ornaments, toys, etc. I added to my mug collection, and mom…she bought more socks.
After the museum, we walked the shops and browsed a few that were open. The fabulous Point Pleasant Trading Company sold cryptid doodads and apparel. That was fun. We passed a couple antique shops, a permanently closed candy shop *sad face* and several empty stores. At Gallery at 409, we stood outside and admired a Mothman paintings by a local artist whose name I cannot remember.
Point Pleasant History
Then it was time to switch gears and head down to the river to gather a little history on this place. Behind every good legend, there is an element of truth steeped in area history. Dividing the river and the city, the flood wall told Point Pleasant’s story in giant murals that recounted the battle of Point Pleasant, Lord Dunmore’s war, and the settlement of the territory after the Revolutionary War. At one end, the riverwalk runs into Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, situated at the confluence of the of the Kanawha River and the Ohio River. The park commemorates the history of the area and is a must-see. As is the Silver Bridge memorial. Both offer testament as to why Point Pleasant feels slightly sad, maybe disillusioned, like the town is still trying to recover from past tragedies while waiting for the next shoe to fall.
Because my expectations were high, and because I’d been a fan of Mothman all these years, Point Pleasant and the Mothman Museum were just okay. Fun for sure, but to go back… It’ll probably be for business instead of amusement.
Have you ever been to the Mothman Museum?
What did you think?
What is your favorite thing about Mothman?
For museum hours and more information click here to browse the museum’s informative website, store, and to learn more about the upcoming Mothman Festival.
I’m sure we’ll have more information on Mothman and the history surrounding Point Pleasant in upcoming posts since he makes an appearance in our Sky Monsters book, but that’s all for now. Thank you for reading.
If you would like an original Mothman design from me–Mel Ayers–sign up for our newsletter and download the zine A Beginner’s Guide to Cryptozoology. Mothman is one of the six legendary American cryptids I drew for that zine. Not available anywhere else at this time.
If you’d like to see more of my creature designs, you can find cryptids and mythological creatures on this page. If you like original creature designs, they’re on my Instagram @melcabre2. I love to interact with visitors, so feel free to send me a message or comment on a particular design, and I’ll follow up.