Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mothman Cometh

Do you have plans for the third weekend in September next year? No? Well, you do now! Meet me at the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Leave your skeptic's hat at home, but bring your sense of humor and that part of you that's more Fox Mulder and less Dana Scully.

We did not make it to the Mothman Festival this year, but we have friends who happened to be passing through that corner of the world on the way back to Cincy from a concert and who just missed the festival themselves. These are our friends who have this way of finding things for us we didn't even know we were looking for until they pop in the door bearing unusual and fun gifts.

Saturday night I squealed with delight when they unveiled some treasures found on their latest mini-vacation.

"These were just screaming your name," they said.

The gifts were additions to my shot glass collection. I love to get shot glasses from glamorous places I may never get to go and from unglamorous places I would never believe qualify for shot glass status. The first one I opened tickled my love of irony; it was a shot glass from Mount Airy, North Carolina, the inspiration for Mayberry (at least, according to the shot glass.) Yes, one can celebrate his or her love of small town USA and simpler, quieter, family-oriented days with Aunt Bee while doing shots of one's favorite hard liquor.

And then the second glass has the Mothman on it.

Our friends learned through their GPS device that their journey home would bring them close enough to Point Pleasant, West Virginia to make a stop there. If you've ever read The Mothman Prophecies or heard anything about the Mothman legend and the collapse of the Silver Bridge in the late 60s, that may ring a bell.

The summer I was finishing chemo and starting radiation my librarian friend, the female half of this couple, checked out the Prophecies for me from her library. She had read the "true story" and recommended it as a good way to get a scare. She doesn't scare easily, so I took that as a real endorsement; for reasons I can't remember, cancer treatment just wasn't meeting my thrill quota that summer and I wanted to read a scary book. We freaked each other out one weekend night when I went to call her to find her already on my line even though the phone hadn't rung on either end. I know, I know; it was a complete coincidence and we just happened to call each other at exactly the same time. But there is something very disconcerting about someone being on the other end of your phone when you pick it up, especially when you've been reading about aliens, flying men with red eyes, and the Men in Black.

So stopping in Mothman central was a big thrill for her, and had she passed through just one day later she and her husband would have seen the annual Mothman Festival which celebrates all things paranormal and which the town apparently is creepily and exceedingly proud of.

As it is, they had to settle for visiting the world's only Mothman museum, getting their pictures taken by the Mothman statue, buying me a Mothman shotglass (complete with red eyes!) and getting a newpaper flyer full of all things Mothman in honor of the festival. Every ad featured the Mothman: there he was hiding behind a propane tank in the ad for the city's one place for propane and propane accessories; there he was at the Mothman Diner eating a Mothman burger; there he was driving away in a brand new Chevrolet. This town has only one claim to fame and they work it, baby.

The flyer made this annual festival thing look to good to pass up, so I think we're in next year. Though it will never surpass our annual trip to the Wool Festival.

Until next September when I can try to spot the Mothman in his old haunting grounds, I guess I will just have to make do with this. I think Ainsley might enjoy snuggling with it at night; after all, it does feature glowing red eyes which would make an awesome night-light for a small child and is not in the least bit creepy.

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