I’m originally from West Virginia. I grew up in the shadow of the Appalachian mountains. We lived in a small-ish town that thrived on the six degrees of separation. If you didn’t know one person, you probably knew someone who knew them.
I’m fluent in hillbilly, and although I don’t actively speak it, I can translate for you anytime you need me to. This can come in handy here in Florida, where we have the same kind of people but call them rednecks (because we don’t have hills. har har.)
We’ve lived in Florida for over three years, but sometimes I forget I’m not still in West Virginia. I’ve experienced more than a few double-takes at the grocery store when I see someone who looks like a high school classmate or someone I knew in college. Once when I was pregnant, I tried to put my old WV address on our baby registry. I still call soft drinks “pop” instead of soda.
The most telling sign I’m not in West Virginia anymore is when I mentioned the mothman to my work friends the other day and was met with silence. And crickets.
According to Wikipedia, where I conduct all my research for this blog (which is also a good reason why you shouldn’t believe anything I write):
The Mothman is a cryptid reportedly seen in the Point Pleasant area of West Virginia from November 15, 1966, to December 15, 1967. Most observers describe the Mothman as a man-sized creature with large reflective red eyes and large wings. The creature was sometimes reported as having no head, with its eyes set into its chest.
As crazy as this sounds, the above statement? Is NBD for me. This is normal. This is what I’ve heard about my whole life.
Imagine me trying to explain all this to my co-workers.
Me: “Well, you see, Point Pleasant, it’s on the river, right? So back in the sixties, there were all these reports of a moth that was the size of a grown man.”
My boss: “A moth you said? Like, one that flies around?”
Me: “Yes! Exactly! and people were all, ‘oh, he’s really creepy and has big red eyes and stuff. and wings.’ and the moth would appear randomly, but mostly at night. And this one bunch of teenagers saw him at the TNT factory, which has these big bunkers and stuff, so people thought he lived there. And it went on for a month or so, then there was a big bridge collapse and nobody saw him after.”
My coworker: “So he made the bridge collapse?”
Me: “Well, no, he might have been trying to warn people that it was going to collapse.”
And I didn’t even mention that there is a statue and a festival and a whole tourist industry revolving around the mothman.
Do you have any weird urban legends in your neck of the woods that might get you some strange looks away from home?