I was reading a Bill Lynch story in last week’s Gazette-Mail about the documentary movie “The Mothman Legacy,” to be released on Tuesday, when I had a “whatever happened to” moment involving Bat Boy, another celebrity supernatural figure with West Virginia roots.
Bat Boy dropped off my radar screen when his chief chronicler, the Weekly World News — sold in better supermarket checkout lines everywhere — went belly up back in 2007, 15 years after Bat Boy’s image first appeared on the tabloid’s front page. It was accompanied by the scoop story about the mixed-ancestry (bat/human), pointy eared, pointy toothed, 2-foot-tall, 10-year-old’s discovery in Pendleton County’s Hellhole Cave.
The eerie cover art of a screaming Bat Boy and the article detailing his being found and captured made that issue the second-best selling weekly installment ever released by the tabloid. Its demise drives home the point that local supermarket newspapers carry news that the large urban dailies dismiss as not being relevant. Their demographics apparently target folks with IQs above 90 and the inability to find joy, or at least irony, in WWN’s blend of fabricated news about alien and sasquatch abductions and encounters with celebrities, photos proving the existence of heaven, and post-expiration date Elvis sightings.
Bat Boy had led a joyously busy life before I lost contact with him.
Among other things, he escaped from the Wheeling laboratory of his discoverer, Dr. Ron Dillon, and laid low in Lewisburg’s Lost World Caverns until he was spotted there by an intrepid FBI agent. Bat Boy then fled Greenbrier County, stole the first of many cars and aircraft, joined forces with U.S. Marines fighting terrorists in Afghanistan, dated Jennifer Lopez behind Ben Affleck’s back, disrupted Pentagon plans to clone a Bat Boy army and led U.S. troops to Saddam Hussein’s hiding place.
He accomplished a lot more in those years than I had in my entire life, so I figured Bat Boy was entitled to keep a low profile once WWN folded and the Off-Off Broadway musical based on his life ran out of guano.
But an online search let me know he had not only returned to the limelight, but was running against Donald Trump and Joe Biden as a third-party presidential candidate. I guess the experience of being courted by Mitt Romney as a running mate back in 2012 had a lasting effect on Bat Boy, who was too young to hold office at that time.
Now 38, and three years north of the requirement that U.S. presidents must be at least 35, Bat Boy’s presidential bid is being backed by Taylor Swift, according to his website. Swift apparently believes her support, including several celebrity fundraisers for the winged candidate, entitles her to a shot at becoming FLOTUS to Bat Boy’s POTUS, assuming — and it’s a big assumption — he’s both elected and inclined to marry her.
On his campaign website, Bat Boy lets potential voters know that his motto is “God, Country, Mosquitos,” and lists his education as “cave-schooled.” Political preferences are a mixed bag for the independent candidate, who includes among his heroes both the late Republican strategist and dirty tricks enabler Lee Atwater, and the technically still living Democratic operative and pundit James Carville, to whom Bat Boy bears a striking resemblance.
I don’t give Bat Boy a snowball’s chance in Hellhole Cave of emerging the winner from this year’s race, but he may gain some valuable name recognition if he throws his, well, bat in the ring in a future race.
It’s good to see new blood taking an interest in seeking office, even if, as in Bat Boy’s case, that blood may have been recently drawn from someone else.