POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. (WBOY) — Thousands of visitors, some from as far as Michigan, swarmed the town of Point Pleasant for the 2022 Mothman festival, the first to be held since 2019.

Once visitors fought their way through the Viand St. traffic and found somewhere to park, they saw dozens of stalls selling a variety of Mothman merchandise. Magnets, t-shirts, books, movies, live music and cake pops could be found on Point Pleasant’s Main St. during the festival.

Thousands gather at Point Pleasant for the 2022 Mothman festival (WBOY image)

The Mothman, first sighted in 1966, has become so popular that one man even proposed in front of its statue, and she said “yes.”

Leigh Gardner, a lifelong resident of Point Pleasant, works at a local gift shop called The Mason Jar and had her own stall set up for the festival, selling Mothman-themed Christmas ornaments, tote bags and the aforementioned chocolate cake pops, which she says are her most popular item.

“We’ve had, what? 13,000 plus before in the last festival in 2019? But this year is definitely more, I mean I can definitely tell there’s more people here,” Gardner said.

And of course, anyone who makes the trip to the Mothman festival would be crazy to not check out the (presumably) life-sized statue of the creature.

The nearly 60-year-old myth has captivated residents and non-residents alike, spawning numerous movies and documentary series like The Mothman Prophecies as well as The Mothman Legacy, a Netflix documentary released in 2020.

“It’s a worldwide phenomenon now,” said Jeff Wamsley, owner and founder of the Mothman Museum. “We have all kinds of things like costumes and rare archives, newspaper clippings, things like that.”

Wamsley was born and raised in Point Pleasant and said he personally knew many of the original eyewitnesses of the original 1966 sighting. He created the Mothman Museum in order to preserve its local history, but also to document the creature’s wider influence as well.

“It’s just the beauty of the unknown, you know? What was it, what were people seeing, is it still around,” Wamsley said.

At the time of publishing this article, the 2022 Mothman festival has mostly concluded, but if you didn’t make it, don’t worry, there’s always next year.