Nationally-Recognized, Quality Local Journalism..

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Mountain State’s Trusted News Source.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

POINT PLEASANT — Museums are usually reserved for proof.

Their exhibits — whether it’s a taxidermied specimen of some long-extinct animal, a collection of dinosaur bones, a historic document or some famous work of art — are meant to prove the existence of something and preserve those artifacts for future inspection.

Not so with the Mothman Museum, Point Pleasant’s number-one tourist attraction.

There is no Mothman specimen. There’s not even a clear photo of the creature, or any other definitive proof of its existence.

Like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, Mothman is a mythic creature that some people adamantly believe is real, even though the larger scientific community does not.

However, the museum does feature several different kinds of “evidence,” such as it is, laid out for visitors to form their own opinions.

Founded in 2006 by Jeff Wamsley, author of “Mothman: Behind the Red Eyes,” the museum claims it has drawn visitors from all seven continents.

It relocated last month to a new storefront just across from the town’s famous chrome Mothman statue.

The museum will mark its grand re-opening this Saturday at 9:45 a.m., as part of the 13th annual Mothman Festival.

While the collection was a bit jumbled in its former location, the new larger space has plenty of room to spread out spacey memorabilia, allowing the museum to better organize its exhibits.

One table features a display case containing hand-written eyewitness accounts of the first reported Mothman sighting. On Nov. 15, 1966, Roger Scarberry, Linda Scarberry, Steven Mallette and Mary Mallette claimed they saw a large, winged creature with glowing red eyes during a late night drive.

The same table holds a scale model of the North Power Plant, Mothman’s alleged lair that was demolished in the early 1990s.

There’s a corner devoted to the “men in black,” the mysterious agents some believe were dispatched to keep Mothman witnesses from talking about their experiences.

There are also displays devoted to John Keel, the writer and “UFOlogist” who wrote the 1975 book “The Mothman Prophecies,” and Mary Hyre, a local newspaper columnist for “The Athens Messenger” who often wrote about Mothman sightings.

One wall is devoted to memorabilia from the 2002 film adaptation Keel’s book, including a blanket from the movie’s motel scenes and a police uniform worn by star Laura Linney. An adjacent display includes newspaper clippings from the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse, which happened shortly after Point Pleasant’s final Mothman sighting.

The museum has saved room for Mothman doubters, too.

A few display cases feature alternative theories about the creature, like naysayers who claim it was a giant crane spotted in Point Pleasant, not a moth monster.

On a recent Friday morning, retired school teacher Jim Woods made the hour-long drive from his Chilicothe, Ohio home to see the museum. He stopped to take pictures of the Mothman statute with his digital camera before going inside.

“I’d like to have him standing in my yard,” he said.

Woods had never heard of the creature until he won a Mothman T-shirt at an auction. He started researching the tales surrounding Mothman and quickly became a fan.

For his first visit to the museum, Woods came dressed in the orange T-shirt that first piqued his interest.

“I’ve been wanting to come down here a long time to see it,” he said.

Woods took his time inside the museum, slowly walking the long rows of folding tables covered in black table cloths and Mothman memorabilia.

Museum visitor Janice Buckley, 68, of Charleston, was not shy about voicing her opinion about Mothman. She’s a skeptic.

“There’s two things I don’t believe in, this and Bigfoot,” she said.

Buckley said she doesn’t believe the Scarberrys’ and Mallettes’ eyewitness accounts are reliable.

“They admitted they were drinking that night,” she said.

Buckley’s sister, Connie Craze, believes Mothman could be real, however.

“I’ve seen UFOs. Anything’s possible,” Craze, 60, said. “There’s all kinds of stuff we don’t know about.”

Craze said she saw a UFO when she was about 10 years old, while helping her brother Larry deliver newspapers on Charleston’s West Side.

“It was the round, saucer type,” she said.

The craft was silent, hovering outside the second-story of a home.

“It was like they were looking in the window,” she said.

The siblings ducked inside a hedge and watched as the alien craft ascended back into the dark morning sky.

Listening to Craze tell the story, Buckley reconsidered her hardline stance on Mothman.

She believes her sisters’ UFO story — “Connie’s never lied,” she said — so there might be an explanation for the strange creature spotted in Point Pleasant more thean 40 years ago.

“If somebody said this was from outer space, I might be persuaded,” Buckley said.

Mothman believers from around the country will descend on Point Pleasant this weekend for the 13th annual Mothman Festival.

The festivities begin at 7 p.m. Friday with the Miss Mothman Festival Pageant at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Saturday and Sunday will feature musical entertainment by West Virginia and Ohio bands, as well as lectures by UFOlogists, cryptozoologists and paranormal researchers. On Saturday, attendees can purchase “Mothman Pancakes,” the official food of the festival.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit

The Mothman Museum will be open all weekend, and is open every day from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission is $3 for visitors age 11 and up, and $1 for children under 10.

Visit or call 304-812-5211 for more information. You can also send an email to

Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-4830 or Follow him at

Recommended for you