The Mothman Festival, which takes place annually in Point Pleasant, WV is just around the corner. Celebrating the local paranormal legend it draws its name from, The Mothman Festival will kick off it’s 9th installment Saturday September 18 and run through the 19th. I had the chance to catch up with Jeff Wamsley, the driving force behind this event, to get his thoughts on this year’s festival, as well as the sightings that sparked it all.
“I was born and raised here in Point Pleasant. I was 5 years old when the sightings started,” Jeff says. “We lived a few doors away from (original witness) Linda Scarberry, so as I grew older and saw books like John Keel’s “The Mothman Prophecies,” I realized that this stuff all happened real close by.”
What happened was the Mothman, and it is among the most talked about stories among paranormal enthusiasts. For those that don’t know much about it, Jeff recounts the details: “Point Pleasant first saw this thing on November 15th 1966 up in the TNT area. Two young couples saw it. 7 feet tall, giant wings and glowing red eyes. From there on out over 100 reported sightings were filed; tons of UFOs too.”
But the intrigue didn’t stop there. In the wake of these sightings, more strange things started happening. According to Mr. Wamsley, “many Mothman and UFO witnesses were approached by strange looking men dressed in black who warned and threatened them about speaking to the press, newspapers and media. Many witnesses were intimidated into keeping quiet, and some are still silent to this day.” Unfortunately, Jeff himself has had no luck getting them to open up either. “Believe me, I have tried to get them to sit down with me and talk about what they saw. Not going to happen.”
Jeff is aware as anyone that the story of Mothman can sound a little far fetched, and understands why some might be skeptical of it. But, as he puts it, skeptics are just a part of the story. “It would be hard to believe this stuff unless you had encountered it or spoke to people who did and I have. These people are not professional liars by any means. Too many people saw it and described it the same way.”
Aside from growing up in the area, Mr. Wamsley operates the world’s one and only Mothman Museum. It is here that folks come to check out props from the film John Keel’s book inspired, as well as grab a souvenir or two, be they books, pins, t-shirts and more. Simply put, the story of Mothman, as well as his hometown, are important to him.
“Not every small town like Point Pleasant has its own monster,” Jeff jokes. “The festival was started almost 10 years ago to get some folks to visit Main Street. Now there is nowhere to park during the festival. I really feel I owe my hometown something. It was a great place to grow up. It just happened to also be the home to UFOs, Men in Black, and giant things that flew around.”
If you are interested in heading to Point Pleasant for the Mothman Festival this year, Jeff says you can expect plenty. “Lots of people, food, guest speakers, vendors, live bands, hayrides, bus tours. We try to bring something new each year. It’s just a big family reunion for all who come each year. Its always good to see old friends who like to hunt for Mothman.”
Myself, as well as my friends and fellow co-hosts on Strange Frequencies Radio, Bobby Nelson and Robyn McKinney, will be back again this year and look forward to enjoying the festivities. Maybe we’ll see you there!
For more information about the Mothman Festival, including speakers as well as restaurants and accommodations you might want to check out in the area, please visit www.mothmanfestival.com