I usually post my Domestic Specialist articles on Fridays, but since I took this week off I thought I’d post something special.  My parents recently took a little road trip to a place that has a peculiar history.  I invited them to tell their story.  Do you believe in big foot, chupacabra, or UFOs?  It doesn’t matter if you do, because this story isn’t about either of those things.  It’s about a small town that… well, I’ll let my dad tell the story. Here he is.

So, one evening, I came up with this idea to take a little car trip to the area that my wife’s parents were from.  A huge town…. well, not so huge, in fact, the “lady in the box,” (my Garmin, we call her Jill), didn’t even know where this place was.  Piney Fork, Ohio.  I had to feed Jill geo coordinates to find the place.  Anyway, we were thinking… well, alright.  I suppose I was thinking that while we were down that far, we should make a stop in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  My wife’s eyes rolled.  I know she was thinking, what kind of a fine mess are you getting me into now?  Why Point Pleasant?  What’s there and what’s so pleasant about this place?  The town is like…. well, have you ever watched that TV show from long ago, Andy of Mayberry?  When you are walking down Main Street you can hear the theme song being whistled and you can picture Opy and Aunt Bee doing some shopping.  But still, why Point Pleasant?  Point Pleasant was named by George Washington as he was surveying the area.  The story goes that he made the comment, “This is a pleasant point”.  And the name stuck.  I know I know, you’re still wanting to know what ‘s the big deal about Point Pleasant right?  For you followers of the strange, here it is.  MOTHMAN!

In 1966, the people of Point Pleasant started seeing odd things.  UFO sightings for one, but the strangest, were the sightings of a large man-like winged creature with glowing red eyes that could fly at least 70 miles per hour.  It’s said that it chased a number of motorist down dark roads at very high speeds.  Some saw it peering through their windows at night.  Glowing red eyes staring through the window.  These sightings continued for about 2 years.  On December 15th, 1968, a large bridge connecting West Virginia and Ohio, the Silver Bridge, collapsed.  The bridge went down in less than 30 seconds killing many people.  Some bodies were never recovered.  Some of the people in the area feel that this event was either caused by this creature, or the creature came as a warning of a disaster.  The creature became known as the Mothman.  So we, ok ok , more like “I”, interested in events of strangeness, thought it would be kinda cool to travel to this town and check out the story.

There is only one hotel in Point Pleasant (more about that later).  Looking at some reviews online we decided that we would choose our slumber accommodations elsewhere.

We ended up choosing a hotel across the bridge in Ohio.  Our first stop in Point Pleasant was the Mothman Museum.  “The only Mothman museum on the entire planet.”  Pretty cool!  The guy at the counter was very chatty, as were everyone else that we came across in that town.  He asked us where we were from and when we said Detroit, he talked about all of the bad news they hear about the area but that he tried to pay attention only to the good.  Well, at least we don’t have a big hairy winged, red eyed flying monster in co-habitation with us.  No sir, we just have a few “drive byes”.  That’s all.

Anyway, we were definitely outsiders but warmly welcomed.  The museum consisted mainly of two sections.  One was filled with scads of newspaper articles about the sightings and the bridge collapse.  The other main attraction was props from the movie about the event.  “The Mothman Prophecies” 2002 vintage.   I even bought a T-shirt!  After our visit to this place of historic significance, we journeyed back to the hotel to freshen up a bit.

Feeling hungry, we started discussing where to dine.  My wife, Bonnie, not feeling too adventurous at that moment, favored dining somewhere close to the hotel and some place that we were familiar with.  Alright, it was me again that thought we should go back into town to sample some of the local delights.  I caught a glimpse of this restaurant in one of the Mothman documentaries I saw.  The Harris Steak House.  Yes, this is it!  We would have to satisfy our hunger at this local establishment.  Indeed we did.

We walked in and immediately thought it was closed.  The owner, Caroline was near the front door.  “Are you still open?” we asked.  “Oh sure come on in” was the reply.  “Wow”, I said.  “She was in the documentary!”  Bonnie’s eyes rolled again.  We looked around and saw empty tables except for one guy near the back so it wasn’t difficult finding a seat.

When you hear a name of a restaurant that ends with “Steak House”, your mind conjures up a certain vision.  The building was old and so were the amenities.   Poorly lighted, walls crackled with age and in need of a fresh paint job.  From our table, we had a view of the kitchen area.  Boonie’s eyes rolled as if to say, “Do we really want to eat here?”  She was absolutely convinced that the kitchen could never pass a health inspection.  I was completely taken in.  This was the experience that I was hoping for.  Caroline came by and she began chatting up a storm telling us about the area and that we had just missed the Mothman Festival the weekend before.   The conversation eventually evolved to a discussion of the legendary creature.  Caroline claims never to have seen the beast but said that she knows many credible people who have.  Including a couple that was chased at high speed down a dark road.  She said that the thing was actually looking in the passenger window of the car as it was rolling at about 70 miles per.  Whoaa….  Goose was not on the menu but their bumps appeared on my arms.

The other patron turned out to be quite chatty as well.  Turns out he was an Ohio State alumni so some friendly banter ensued between Ohio State and MSU.  We there about 40 minutes and hadn’t even ordered yet.  I didn’t even notice.  The entertainment was priceless.   We finally ordered.  About that time, another local entered and found a table near us.  He was loose with verbiage as well.  (talked a lot)  He began talking with the first guy and they would occasionally aim some conversation in our direction.  The place was alive with…. ok, kind of alive, with three patrons.  Well, that is until the Ohio State guy finished his cuisine and departed.

When the second guy discovered that we were from the Detroit area he expressed his sorrow on the matter.  Seems like the word gets around.  This guy has been a long haul truck driver and presented us with story after story of his adventures.  Even about the time he was trying to get some sleep in his truck and “ladies of the night” kept pounding on his window keeping him awake.  When the last knock came, he didn’t even look out the window.  He immediately rolled it down an expressed his dismay with rather colorful metaphors.  It turned out to be what he called a penguin.  A nun in full habit and dress that needed help with a flat tire.  We finally got our meal.  What can we say about this meal.  Actually, on a scale of 1 to 100, it was about a 13.  We finished and were in the process of leaving when he called to us.  “You guys staying at the Lowe?”  The Lowe is the only hotel in the town and is really really old and said to be very haunted.  “If you are, stay out of room 310”, he said.  On that, we departed for the car.

Before heading back to the hotel, I wanted to get a picture of the Mothman statue at night.  It was dark now and there was a light on it.  Always looking for a photo opportunity, I approached the statue. While bringing my camera up ready to take the picture, an older guy approached me and started chatting up a storm.  “You believe in Mothman?” he said.  Where did this guy come from?  I replied, “Well, if I’m in Point Pleasant, I suppose YES is the right answer.”  I asked if he did.  His replied, “I’ll tell ya what I think about Mothman.”  And he did.  “That thing brings in a lot of people and money into this town”.   He happened to be the land lord of a few of the buildings including the Harris Steak House.

He went on about the festival and how the guy on the corner, a business of some sort, brings his goods to sell and cash register outside on the sidewalk.  Apparently there are so many people during the festival they have a difficult time getting through the door.  He even dragged me over to the door to show me a small hole in the metal frame with a hole in it.  “See that?  That’s where the power goes through.”  The show of technology of the town was astounding.   The Lowe Hotel was on the opposite corner from where we were standing.  As I swung around to capture a few shots if it, he of course had comments about it as well.  “They don’t even care if people stay there.  They run a gambling house inside.  Haunted, Mothman,  just a bunch of people smoking that weed stuff.”  On that, I decided that it was becoming difficult to maintain this level of sophistication much longer.  I headed for the car.

The next day we were off to Piney Fork, Ohio.  All in all, we agreed this was a fun couple of days.  We had a ball.  We may even return next year for the Mothman Festival.  I just have to see that cash register on the side walk and of course, have dinner at the Harris.

3 thoughts on “WHAT A PLEASANT POINT

  1. We experienced a lot of very chatty folks in Point Pleasant, from the museum clerk to the waitress at Bob Evans across the river. If we go to the Mothman Festival(if is the key word), I think I’ll bring my lunch to the Harris Steak House. 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh, you have to meet my son…he’s totally in to all of that creepy stuff. Ever hear of the Beast of Bray Road”in Wisconsin? He’s proud to live very close (too close) to that area.

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