THE “POINT PLEASANT” STORY
By David Gilton Soma
Once home to Daniel Boone, Point Pleasant West Virginia became the home of the “MothMan Prophecies”.
Back in the 1800s, a three way struggle between the settlers, the British, and Native Americans, prompted an Indian Chief to curse the town. As drunken soldiers shot Chief Cornstalk while he was bound and in the fort stockade, it is said that he put a 200 year curse on the town.
From the 1800s, Point Pleasant has endured fires, floods, chemical plant explosions and toxic wastes from a government TNT munitions hold.
More recently there have been UFO sightings, Men in Black, time shifts, Mothmen, and the collapse of the only bridge into town.
Yes you might say that this town is “Snake Bit”. But after doing some research it all really comes down to two years. Two “really strange” years.
Most towns and communities have fires and floods and even an explosion or two. As for flying saucers “heck” anywhere you go, you are likely to hear stories about UFOs. But as far as the curse is concerned, towns people in Point Pleasant talk about it all the time. Something bad happens they will say, “Yep! it’s the curse of Cornstalk alright”. But facts are facts and there is no evidence that Chief Cornstalk actually made the curse. So we will focus on the events that happened in 1966 and 1967. “Hair raising events” that to this day have yet to be explained, but that to this day are undisputed.
THE SCORE CARD.
There is an old saying in baseball, “you can’t tell the players without a score card”. And so it is when telling the story of Point Pleasant. 1966–1967 introduced Point Pleasant to “the Superbowl of Strange”, the “World Series Of Weird” the “Stanley Cup of the Supernatural”.
There were so many strange things that happened in those two years that all I can do is list them. By the way these are just the high points.
1. “Mothman”. They say it was a tall winged man with glowing red eyes. Liked to chase cars, and at full speed, flying. A lot of people saw him.
2. “the Buzz”. It tended to be accompanied by a bunch of swirling lights, kind of like fireflies, but with out the fireflies. They say it would mess up T.V. reception and cause other electronic problems.
3. “the Lights”. To this day if you visit, Point Pleasant you will have no trouble finding people who will talk with you about the numerous sightings of flying lights in the sky, both day and night.
4. “the Flying Saucers”. Mostly these guys hovered near the Ohio river, high tension power lines, and they would gather on mass at the chemical plant, both day and night.
5. “the Saucer Guys”. Mainly seen in the middle of the day going into and out of the river, or walking along the riverbank.
6. “Men in Black”. No story of this type would be complete without these black suit clad, pasty faced, Coke bottle glasses wearing folk. They showed up after the “Strange” was in full swing. Residents say the MIB knocked on people’s doors to asked if they had seen anything, and when they said yes, they were told they didn’t, and that was to be the story they should stick to.
THE “SILVER” BRIDGE
This is the culmination of the Point Pleasant Story, because it all seems to end after December 15th 1967. It is 5pm the middle of December, the height of the Christmas shopping season. You are sitting in your car with your son and daughter, and a load of Christmas presents, on your way back from Kanauga, Ohio to your home in Point Pleasant, West Virginia. But for some reason all of the traffic is at a standstill. You hear what sounds like a sonic boom, and about a minute later the bridge starts to sway, the suspension cables break loose, first one then another. The bridge sways, first a little to the right, and then hard to the left. The slabs, and the cars on them that are in front of you, break free of the bridge and pancake into the river below. You watch in horror as the cars sink to the bottom of the river.
You gaze upon the auto lights descending into the murky water below, and then it happens, a sound unlike any you’ve heard before, the bridge slab that you are on begins to fall into the river, as you hit, you notice the Christmas presents floating in the water from the cars that had gone before you, and you too submerge followed by the cars that were waiting behind you, but now piling on top of you in the water.
By the end of this disaster 46 individuals are listed as dead. Two of them, an older woman and a young girl, are never recovered. The reason for the collapse is listed as bridge fatigue. The 40 year old bridge was never designed for the weight of modern automobiles, and one of the eye joints holding a suspension cable had rusted through. But there is one lingering question. What caused the traffic lights to become stuck on red thus loading up the Silver Bridge?