While state governments across the U.S. and many leaders around the world are grappling with constituents who want to tear down long-standing but now controversial statues and monuments, one U.S. state may have an alternative that will appease a sizable majority – including those in opposition.
“I want my students to love their home, to make it better despite the problems that exist here. I want them to see the good that exists here. I want our community to beat the odds, and the Mothman can embody that spirit because it’s ours. It’s a symbol for something bigger.”
In an interview with Mel Magazine, high school teacher and lifelong West Virginia resident Jay Sisson encapsulates the sentiment of many people who are looking for ways to unify rather than divide. Despite what one might think about cryptids in general and Mothman in particular, there might be more crossover and less controversy with replacing Confederate statues with Mothman rather than simply removing them.
“To many West Virginians, Mothman carries more significance than any Confederate general. In fact, the legend originated in the town of Point Pleasant, when locals spotted a “man-sized bird creature” prior to the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse that killed 46 people. “Mothman was blamed and retroactively seen as a bad omen that foreshadowed the disaster. From there, the story of the Mothman spread across the country and became an urban legend of sorts.””
Twitter user Brenna (@HumanBrennapede) points out what many people forget – Mothman sightings were not associated with the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant until well after it happened. Despite the scary reputation as a harbinger of disaster and its alleged appearances around the world, Point Pleasant has turned Mothman into a local celebrity, with a museum, a large annual festival and that famous statue. Jay Sisson says this bonding is a West Virginia thing.
“I don’t have a full explanation as to why, but it probably has something to do with the fact that we live in a state with a small population and one that’s suffered years of economic depression and population loss. These circumstances have bonded our population, especially the younger generation, very tightly together.”
So, West Virginia has a tight, younger population born and raised in tough times, and those seven Confederate statues throughout the state haven’t done as much for the economy nor their mental state as one Mothman has. Brenna has started a change.org petition to replace the state’s confederate statues with Mothman (or any other urban legend with its kind of unifying power). On her Twitter feed, a debate has started over which depiction of Mothman to use as a model – the fluffy Muppet-like one or the famous statue in Point Pleasant which Brenna seems to prefer because …
“… he has a six-pack and an objectively good ass.” (You can see both here.)
Is this idea serious or satire? Whichever it is, it’s prompting discussions that seem to be less hostile than most about the statues. Will this change Mothman’s reputation from monster to peacemaker? Mothman T-shirts are certainly less divisive than those bearing Confederate flags. Should it be put to a vote? If so, one side better hope that it’s head-to-head rather than butt-to-butt because Mothman has …
“… an objectively good ass.”