Mar 10th 2010 By Trey Zuspan
Standing over 12 feet tall on Main Street across from Point Pleasant, West Virginia's only post office stands a stainless steel behemoth known as Mothman.
The Mothman, with its impressive wingspan and huge red eyes that glow when the sun hits them pays homage to John Keel's book "The Mothman Prophecies" and the Richard Gere flop of the same name.
This isn't so surprising, considering paranormal enthusiasts and cryptozoologists flock to Point Pleasant, W.V., year after year for the small town's Mothman Festival (including a Miss Mothman Pageant
The celebration commemorates Point Pleasant's most famous resident: a creature spotted by some teenagers out for a drive one night in the town's outskirts. They claimed the thing stood 7 feet tall, took flight and buzzed their car (which they were driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph).
Some 30-odd years after the sighting, the town erected a statue in the beast's (supposed) image in the former Gunn Park, which has since been renamed "Mothman Park."
Since then, hundreds have traveled to the tiny riverside city to try to find the creature. From paranormal researchers to college students out for a good time and a chance to scare their girlfriends, the Mothman gave the town a source of income and many ways to scare visitors.
What started as a sighting by a handful of residents has ballooned into an industry of guided tours, books, T-shirts and tales of satanic cults, alien abductions and strange government experiments.
Next to the statue, there is a small coffee shop (The Point) that sells numerous books, figurines and shirts adorned with the creature's visage. They even have a plywood cutout in front of the shop for visitors to take pictures with. Jeff Wamsley, a local business owner, has made quite a living selling Mothman merchandise and operating the Mothman Museum within walking distance of the statue.
Some may accuse the residents of Point Pleasant of crassly profiting on a small (probably) fabricated blip of history, but we always appreciate a reason to celebrate the weird.