Sunday, January 8, 2017

Legendary Creature Calls Point Pleasant Home

Did you know the small town of Point Pleasant was the focus of a major 2002 movie starring Richard Gere?

In The Mothman Prophecies, a reporter is drawn to Point Pleasant to investigate a series of strange events, including psychic visions of the future and the appearance of a bizarre, winged entity that appears to be a harbinger of doom.

The low budget film was a modest success. Most people, however, had no clue the movie was based on supposed fact.

In 1966, writer John Keel visited Point Pleasant to research recent sightings of an unworldly, flying creature with red eyes that was scaring the daylights out of the good townspeople.

Initially after a good UFO-type story, the more Keel came to know the citizens the more he began to believe that something was really going on.

Things grew progressively weirder, as residents (and Keel himself) began to experience vague premonitions of disaster.

On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting Point Pleasant and Gallipolis, Ohio, collapsed during rush hour, killing 46 people. The premonitions ceased and Mothman was never seen again.

Keel later wrote a book about his experiences, and the 2002 movie was somewhat loosely based on it. In the decades since the Silver Bridge disaster, Mothman himself has become somewhat of a mascot for Point Pleasant, which erected a statue in his honor and even hosts an annual Mothman Festival.

To this day, Mothman is the subject of debate. The sightings have been discounted as a combination of mass hysteria and mistaken nighttime glimpses of mundane creatures such as large owls and sandhill cranes, all whipped together by a shady writer (Keel) who saw the opportunity for a best-selling book.

Keel himself, who passed away in 2009, insisted until his death that his account was 100 percent factual.

One last bit of weirdness -- Keel's website is still online nearly nine years after his death. It's maintained by one of his close friends.

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