In West Virginia folklore, the Mothman is a creature reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area from November 12, 1966, to December 15, 1967. The first newspaper report was published in the Point Pleasant Register dated November 16, 1966, titled “Couples See Man-Sized Bird … Creature … Something”. The national press soon picked up the reports and helped spread the story across the United States.
The Mothman was introduced to a wider audience by Gray Barker in 1970 and later popularized by John Keel in his 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies, claiming that there were supernatural events related to the sightings, and a connection to the collapse of the Silver Bridge.
The Mothman appears in popular culture. The 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, starring Richard Gere, was based on Keel’s book. An annual festival in Point Pleasant is devoted to the Mothman legend.
Point Pleasant held its first Annual Mothman Festival in 2002. The Mothman festival began after brainstorming creative ways for people to visit Point Pleasant. The group organizing the event chose the Mothman to be center of the festival due to its uniqueness, and as a way to celebrate its local legacy in the town.
According to the event organizer, Jeff Wamsley, the average attendance for the Mothman is an estimated 10-12 thousand people per year.
A 12-foot-tall metallic statue of the creature, created by artist and sculptor Bob Roach, was unveiled in 2003. The Mothman Museum and Research Center opened in 2005. The festival is held on the third weekend of every September, hosting guest speakers, vendor exhibits, pancake-eating contests, and hayride tours of locally notable areas.