The Mothman and Point Pleasant, WV

Sunday, December 9, 2018

It was only a few of years ago that I learned of the Mothman and watched the Mothman Prophecies (2002, starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney).  As always, once I learned of the Mothman, I needed to know everything about him which is how we ended up in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

Let's talk some Mothman history.  The Mothman is a large flying creature with glowing red eyes that first made its appearance in Point Pleasant, WV in 1966.  There are many eye witness accounts of seeing the Mothman.  One of the earliest accounts is that of 2 couples.  The story goes that they were driving down a road near the old TNT building (a former World War II munitions plant) when they encountered a large flying gray creature with red glowing eyes.  They believed that the creatures wing span was at least 10 feet.  They of course reported this sighting to the police.  This was just the beginning of the what would become known as the Mothman sightings.

The sightings continue and many are documented.  The last sighting of the Mothman in Point Pleasant was in 1967 when the Silver Bridge collapsed.  The collapse of the bridge is said to be a defect in a 0.1 inch eye-bar in the suspension chain.  46 people died when the bridge collapsed.  There was and continues to be a belief that the Mothman, a messenger of impending doom, was sited on the bridge at the exact time of the collapse.  A book was written by John A. Keel titled The Mothman Prophecies.  This book explores the theory that the Mothman was either in Point Pleasant to warn of the impending doom and/or was the cause of the Silver Bridge collapse.  A film was made in 2002 based on the book.  The Mothman Prophecies (film) is a must see if you want to know more about the Mothman (I mean who wouldn't want to know more about the Mothman, the stories are very interesting).  Also, the film stars Richard Gere (he alone is worth watching the film...who doesn't think Richard Gere is dreamy!) and Laura Linney.

So now that you have some background on the Mothman, let's explore Point Pleasant, WV.  We arrived in Point Pleasant on a cloudy, cold morning which of course was the perfect setting when going to explore a place that was home to the Mothman in the 1960s.  The Ohio River runs along the city of Point Pleasant.  I did some research on the city before visiting and discovered that there were several paranormal/supernatural things going on in Point Pleasant.  Our first stop was to Tu-Endi-Wei State Park.  Have you heard of Shawnee Chief Cornstalk?  Chief Cornstalk was part of the Shawnee Nation and joined with several other nations to attempt to stop colonials from settling on their lands.  A battle ensured and 140 colonials and 200+ Indians were killed in this battle.  In later years, Chief Cornstalk is killed, while being held prisoner, in a revenge killing.  While he lay dying and looking directly at his killer he put a curse on the area.  The curse is believed to be the result of many tragedies that have occurred in the Point Pleasant area.  To read more about Chief Cornstalk, his curse, and the tragedies believed to be linked to his curse check out Ghost of the Prairie's The Cornstalk Curse post (great read!).

We then took a stroll down by the Ohio River to check out the beautiful murals and statutes lining the pathway.

These murals were painted by Robert Dafford and extend 150 feet.  The murals are at most 18 feet high and depict the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1770.

By the time we finished touring the murals, it was time to visit The Mothman Museum!!!!

When you entered the museum the front section is their gift shop and is full of everything Mothman one could possibly want for either their collection or as souvenirs.  We paid our small fee and entered the museum.  While the museum is small it is FULL of great artifacts.
 Handwritten eye witness account of the Mothman sightings.
 Newspaper articles regarding Mothman sightings.

 Suit worn by John A. Keel, author of the Mothman Prophecies.

 The Mothman Prophecies Movie props - light used on the Silver Bridge
 The Mothman Prophecies movie props.
 more movie props...

Right across from the Mothman Museum is the Lowe Hotel which is said to be haunted.  Of course I wanted to stay hear, but while my mister is on board for the majority of my/our paranormal/supernatural activities he is drawing the line at spending the night in a haunted hotel.  John Keel stayed at the Lowe Hotel while researching/writing The Mothman Prophecies.  I've read that the 3rd floor of the hotel is the most 'active'.

Before we got back on the road to head to Canton, Ohio, we stopped at The Coffee Grinder for a to-go coffees and of course a Mothman cookie.

Great coffee and the cookie was delicious.  Needless to say if you are anywhere near Point Pleasant or just want to visit the place where the Mothman visited, then pack your bags, grab your camera, and hit the road to Point Pleasant.  You will not be disappointed!

As a side note:  in the gift shop of the Mothman Museum, we saw a few items featuring the Flatwoods Monster.  A road trip to discover more about the Flatwoods Monster is currently being planned.

Happy Travels,

The Niagara of the South

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Last year we visited Niagara Falls and this year we visited the Niagara of the South!  Cumberland Falls is located in Corbin, Kentucky and boy oh boy (are people still saying that?) is it beautiful.  Cumberland Falls is part of the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park which was a dream to visit and stay.

Cumberland Falls are an estimated 65 feet high and 125 feet wide.  There are several lookouts where you can stand to get the 'perfect view' of the falls

The DuPont Lodge is located in the state resort park and was a great place for us to eat breakfast and even dinner.  For both meals we were able to get window seating and our view of the Cumberland River was breathtaking and the view of the wildlife was entertaining.

After dinner we retired to our cabin which was nestled in the trees.  There were many rooms attached to the lodge and then several cabins a short drive (or walk) from the lodge.

Happy Travels,

A Day in Tennessee

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

My list of places to see is always growing!  Last year I made a goal for myself to visit as many presidential sites as possible and Andrew Jackson's Hermitage has been on my 'to-see' list for years.  So of course this was a given that we would visit The Hermitage while in Tennessee.  Historical site:  check.  Presidential site:  check. 

Many years ago I read a biography on Andrew Jackson titled American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by John Meacham.   The book was a great read and helped me work through some of my issues with President Jackson.  Rachel Jackson, his wife, has a very interesting story and after touring the Hermitage, I decided, like I did with Mary Todd Lincoln, I wanted to know more.  So my search for a biography on Rachel began (I took note of 2 that were offered in the gift shop).  I decided on A Being So Gentle: The Frontier Love Story of Rachel and Andrew Jackson by Patricia Brady that arrived from Thriftbooks this week.

The Hermitage was built between 1819 and 1821 but underwent an extensive remodeling in 1831.  A fire all but destroyed the home in 1834.  The rebuilding of The Hermitage completed in 1837.

Photography is not allowed inside the mansion so I do not have any photos but rest assured that the inside is breathtakingly beautiful.  Within the house, 90% of the artifacts are original to the family.  With that being said, the doorways to each room have some type of plexiglass blocking the entrance to the rooms.  The rooms are climate controlled and visitors are not allowed inside any of the room.  The reason behind this is to preserve the original artifacts since there are so many.  The main floor contains 4 parlors, a dining room, library, office, pantry, and store room.  The second floor contains 4 bedrooms. There is a detached kitchen behind the house. 

Located beside the Hermitage are beautiful gardens that cover an acre of the property. 

Within the garden area are the gravesites of members of the Jackson family including President Andrew Jackson and Mrs. Rachel Jackson. 

After leaving the Hermitage, we headed to Franklin to visit Carnton Plantation.   My parents had recently visited Carnton Plantation and after hearing my Dad talk about it, I knew that (1) I needed to read about the Battle of Franklin and (2) I needed to see Carnton Plantation.  My Dad recommended that I read For Cause & For Country: A Study of the Affair at Spring Hill & the Battle of Franklin by Eric Jacobson.  I read a chapter a night and yes, there were daily phone calls to my Dad (aka my in-house historian) to discuss the battle.  There are very few books that affect me the way this book did and the way I view things after reading books like this is never the same (like A Carnival of Destruction: Sherman's Invasion of South Carolina by Tom Elmore, I no longer drive down Main St./Lady St. in Columbia without seeing cotton flying in the wind like snow and utter destruction). 

The Battle of Franklin took place in 1864 and Carnton Plantation became a hospital for the wounded/dying soldiers. I am very proud to have 14 direct line ancestors who fought for the Confederacy and one of them fought in the Battle of Franklin, which made my visit to Carnton even more special.

The first house was built in 1815 for the McGavock family.  Due to family growth, the house was enlarged in 1826, making the original section of the house the new kitchen wing.  The kitchen wing was damaged by a tornado in 1909.  Instead of repairing the damaged section, the kitchen wing was removed.  However,  the original site outline can still be seen.  Another enlargement of the house took place when John McGavock (son of the original owner Randal McGavock) married Carrie Winder (this lady is amazing...keep reading) in 1848.  John and Carrie McGavock had 5 children.  However, only 2 of the 5 children survive to adulthood.
 (side view / you can still see the outline of the original site that became the kitchen wing)

Fast forward to 1864.  The Battle of Franklin took place on November 30, 1864.  The battle took place all around the McGavock's Carnton Planation.  At which time Carnton Plantation grounds became part of the battlefield and the house became a hospital.  There were 30+ wounded soldiers packed into each room of the house, now hospital.  There were an estimated 300 wounded soldiers in the house, now hospital, at one time.  Carrie and her children helped the doctors with the wounded soldiers.  Carrie was shredding tablecloths, undergarments, and anything else that could be used as bandages.  She worked through the night and into the morning hours helping with whatever was needed.  A couple of the upstairs rooms were used as surgery rooms and to this day the blood stains can still be seen on the hardwood floors.  Many soldiers(8,500 to be exact), both Confederates and Union, lost their lives during the Battle of Franklin..."death was everywhere."  A soldier noted that "he could have walked on the dead by stepping from one body to another."  The dead soldiers were buried throughout the battlefield with poorly marked graves.  The bodies of 4 Confederate Generals (Patrick Cleburne, Hiram B. Granbury, Otho F. Strahl, and John Adams) were lined up on the back porch of the house.

In 1866, the McGavock family donated a plot to bury the soldiers.  The dead soldiers were moved from the battlefield to the McGavock Confederate Cemetery located within walking distance of the house.  The cemetery contains an estimated 1,500 burials all of which are buried per state.  A book containing the list of names of the soldiers buried at the cemetery is on display inside the house.  Today the cemetery is maintained by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.


Happy travels,