With states reckoning with their racial pasts and the presence of statues dedicated to the Confederacy, many are seeking replacements for statues they want to be removed around the country. Some interesting suggestions have popped up, including Britney Spears statues in Louisiana, Dolly Parton in Tennessee. Now, people in West Virginia want to spread their most magnificent slice of folklore to replace the old figures.
Mothman, the legendary cryptid that allegedly appeared in Point Pleasant, West Virginia ahead of the 1967 Silver Bridge collapse that killed 46 people, is the newest candidate. While that seems far more questionable than a general from the Confederacy, Mel Magazine claims the creature holds more significance for those in West Virginia than any real-life military figure.
Tear down the Stonewall Jackson statue and replace it with another statue of West Virginia’s own mascot and son the Mothman. Repeat indefinitely until all Confederate monuments are replaced. This is the way. pic.twitter.com/MBzXZkRhAs— Jay Sisson (@jaysisson) June 10, 2020
"Mothman was blamed and retroactively seen as a bad omen that foreshadowed the disaster," Twitter user Brenna explained to Mel Magazine. "From there, the story of the Mothman spread across the country and became an urban legend of sorts."
They are joined by 30-year-old Jay Sisson, a teacher and lifelong resident of the state who decorates his classroom with photos of cryptids like Sasquatch, Flatwoods Monster, and the iconic Mothman. He is one of the many supporting the push to have statues of the cryptid erected in place of Stonewall Jackson.
"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," Sisson told Mel Magazine. "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."
24-year-old Brenna has similar feelings, saying West Virginia natives are "spiritually connected" to the creature. They also explain why the statues need to come down.
"These monuments aren't 'celebrating history'; they were specifically created to intimidate Black Americans," they told the outlet. "Statues aren't needed to 'remember the past' when so many are still experiencing the repercussions today. Therefore, all monuments honoring the racist and oppressive history of the Confederacy should be removed. And who better to replace them than the Mothman?"
Mothman represents a lot to West Virginians, even holding a connection for the LGBTQ folks in the state similar to how The Babadook transcended film to become an icon for the Pride movement. But beyond that, Sisson credits the small population and comfort the creature brings.0comments
"We have certain stories, oddities and bizarre pockets of the state that are unique to our region, and we find a sense of comfort in sharing these things together," Sisson says. "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."
There is already one Mothman statue standing in Point Pleasant, but spreading them out could be interesting. It could be like the art pieces that populate different cities, showing different interpretations. What else could work?