Point Pleasant, WV is one of those places that would be right at home in a David Lynch/Stephen King collaboration. The place doesn't just feel cursed, it feels like it's been fucked-with on a demonic and supernatural level. Not only is the area blanketed by a legendary Shawnee curse
, terrorized by some sort of pissed-off mutant bird alien
and pollution-raped within an inch of its life
, but it's also a toxic government munitions dump
and the site of the Silver Bridge collapse
, one of the worst bridge disasters in American history, which abruptly dropped 46 people to their deaths ten days before Christmas.
When you put all of this together, you get a band of shellshocked citizens in a landscape that looks like the inspiration for Silent Hill, doing the best they can with what they've got left. And that's how the Mothman Festival came to be.
The Mothman is a hard one to explain. He was first sighted by gravediggers in 1966, chased some teenagers in November of that year, may or may not have murdered a dog and appeared randomly to scare the shit out of people, running alongside cars and chasing small aircraft. Most reports have him at about 7 feet tall, with a 10 foot wingspan, grayish in color, and most importantly with glowing, mesmerizing red eyes. There's not anything particularly mothlike about him, but "Batman" was taken and "The Tick" hadn't happened yet.
A scientific panel opined that he might be some sort of mutant sandhill crane
, or maybe a leftover pterodactyl. Some people said he was an alien, others some sort of supernatural harbinger of disaster, and when Mothman sightings were at their peak the town was overridden with men dressed in black suits who intimidated the townsfolk and told them they never saw anything.
Whatever he was and wherever he came from, he caused one hell of a ruckus in the months leading up to the Silver Bridge collapse, and even then people reported seeing him perched atop it before it fell. The Silver Bridge disaster brought the 200-year "Curse of Cornstalk" handily to a close, and gave everyone something bigger to worry about than a red-eyed cryptid snacking on housepets.
I have family who live just north of this whole situation, and I'd been simultaneously wanting and not wanting to visit Point Pleasant's Mothman Festival for years. Family was fuzzy on the Mothman issue when quizzed. My uncle reported that he'd been over the Silver Bridge in 1965, which I guess means he cleared the course with two years left on the clock. Everyone vaguely remembered something about a giant bird scaring people. My grandparents had worked with a man who was tailed by a notorious mystery man-in-black named "Indrid Cold" at about the same time. The Indrid Cold thing is creepy as all fuck, but that's a different post.
Anyway, this year was the year I finally made it happen. I got to the Mothman Festival, and it was everything I hoped it would be. I went to the Mothman Museum, I attended the Miss Mothman Pageant (yes, there is actually a Miss Mothman pageant), I ate Mothman Pancakes, and I paid homage to the inexplicable giant chrome statue of Mothman that someone erected downtown. So now that I've given you the background, I can get on with the show.