State’s Urban Legends: West Virginia

John Denver sang about the country roads of West Virginia. Funny, he never mentioned some of these things you’ll find along those country roads…

Mothman of West Virginia

Mothman of West Virginia

The Mothman Statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Okay, let’s deal with the elephant in the room right off the bat – or the half-moth, half-man in the room at the very least. You’ve seen the Richard Gere film, The Mothman Prophecies, and it was loosely based on the legend. The real thing, might be even spookier.

Back in the mid-1960s a flying creature, a large insect, buzzed about Point Pleasant, West Virginia. It had bright red eyes and looked like a moth. It also looked like a man. Soon after came reports of lights and yes, the infamous Men In Black.

The local paper ran this headline: “Couples See Man-Sized Bird… Creature… Something.” Five decades later no one is still 100% sure what it is, but they are still spotting the Mothman buzzing about the entire state and it is making the local news.

Point Pleasant has embraced the Mothman. He, it, has a statur, a museum and a festival all dedicated to The Mothman.

Ouga River Monster

Flying creatures have you down? Well, don’t look for solace in the waters of West Virginia, at least legends warn, especially if you are near the Monongahela River.

Reportedly, a creature with a 15-foot-long tail swims in the river, according to local Native American legends. But if you think this was a fish story meant to scare off the white man back in the day, there actually is a documented sighting of the creature to consider.

It is said to resemble a turtle that may have spent too much time beside a leaky nuclear plant. It has two heads and stays in the water during the day. But at night, the Ouga (the native’s name for the creature) River Monster comes to shore and hunts.

It prefers deer, but will accept an offering of an unwary human who wanders to close. Tracks have been found and sightings continue to be reported. The creature was supposedly killed long ago by a party fo men from Fort Hamar who spotted the creature and clubbed it to death. But with each new sighting maybe that is the real fish story here.

Headless Students

Back in 1970 a pair of West Virginia UNiversity co-eds were walking home from a movie when they disappeared. They apparently caught a ride but never made it back to their dorms. Their headless bodies were discovered months later.While hitchhiking back to their Evansdale dorms in 1970, two female WVU students disappeared and were found headless only months later.

It is believed that they were on their way back from a movie when they were picked up downtown and never made it home.

The decapitated bodies of the two girls were discovered along an old mining road near Fairmont, and though the murderer confessed years later, their heads were never found and the case was never put to rest.

Witnesses say they’ve heard growling, screams and whistling coming from the nearby woods of the Cheat Lake area, where the girls reportedly wander in search of their heads.

Car accidents in the area have been blamed on shadowy apparitions of the two girls running back and forth through the woods.

About the author

Richard Paolinelli