Mothman

The Mothman statue is seen in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Note: This story appears in the Friday, Aug. 23 newspaper on Page A1.

No one knows if the Mothman ever lived.

But one thing is certain: the legend of the Mothman will never die.

Out from the foggy skies comes a resurgence of attention for the famed creature of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. In just the past week, the Mothman legend has been featured on the popular “My Favorite Murder” web podcast and on the TV documentary series “Mysteries Decoded,” which broadcasts on The CW network.

The latter show purports to delve “deeper into some of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries, exploring newly discovered evidence and utilizing high-tech tools in reopening each case,” according to the network’s website. Other such episodes feature Area 51 and the Salem Witch Trials.

The Mothman myth is of particular local interest — to this newsroom, anyways — because of The Messenger’s role in the paranormal saga. Mary Hyre, a Messenger correspondent based in Point Pleasant, was among the first to write stories about the mysterious sightings in her area.

Hyre’s reports circulated throughout the region and, eventually, the globe. In one follow-up, Hyre wrote of a West Virginia soldier stationed in Vietnam reading about the Mothman in a “Stars and Stripes” newspaper.

In 1966, when the first sightings reportedly took place, the phenomenon was known as the “Mason County Monster.” Eventually it took on the Mothman name and in the decades since the story has been depicted in TV shows, documentaries and feature films. The most famous work is likely the 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney.

It doesn’t end there — retailers like Amazon have countless products related to the Mothman legend, from t-shirts to mugs and a poster reading, “Warning: Mothman Sighting Zone, Enter At Your Own Risk.”

Those in Southeast Ohio likely know about the Mothman Museum, located on Point Pleasant’s Main Street. Operators claim it is “The World’s Only Mothman Museum.” We’ll take their word on that.

The museum’s “24 hour Mothcam” pointed at the well-known Mothman statue outside was disabled at the time of this writing.

And of course, there’s the Mothman Festival. The 2019 event will be the 18th such festival, to be held Sept. 21 and 22 in Point Pleasant. Among the highlights are live music, guest speakers who are experts in the paranormal and guided bus tours to the remote sites where the Mothman was first allegedly witnessed.

As they say, enter at your own risk.

A story further detailing Hyre’s Mothman legacy is planned for this Sunday’s Messenger.

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