The murder of George Floyd has ignited a nationwide conversation about racial injustice, with many acknowledging America's dark history with inequality. One result of this has been the removal of Confederate statues and monuments, either by protesters or by state and local officials. Those removals have been a topic of conversation in recent days, with some speculating about what kind of statue would be a less-controversial alternative -- and it looks like a certain cryptid has become one popular suggestion. A growing number of people have begun to campaign for Confederate statues to be replaced by statues of Mothman, a popular cryptid who is part of West Virginian folklore. The movement was started by a viral tweet from Twitter user @HumanBrennapede, which you can check out below.
starting a petition to replace every confederate statue with mothman pic.twitter.com/jIv7Vt9VO2— Brenna (@HumanBrennapede) June 8, 2020
For the uninitiated, Mothman first began to be speculated about in the late-1960s, with multiple people claiming that they saw a giant man-month hybrid flying nearby. The lore of The Mothman was then popularized by both Gray Barker and John Keel, the latter of whom wrote the 1975 book The Mothman Prophecies. As the years have gone on, Mothman has had a unique impact on our popular culture, even spawning a 2002 film adaptation of The Mothman Prophecies starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney.
The movement has partially been helped by photos of an existing Mothman statue, which has been set up in Point Pleasant, WV since 2003. The town also boasts a Mothman Museum and Research Center, and even holds a Mothman Festival every year.
In recent days, multiple Change.org petitions have popped up asking for Confederate statues to be replaced by Mothman, and making some pretty impassioned pleas in the process.
"We recommend the replacement statue be of the Mothman- a native West Virginia urban legend," one of the petitions reads. "Any other urban or local legend may also take the place of said removed Confederate statues, in the stead of Mothman. Remove the racist, oppressive legacy of the confederacy, and promote the legacy of Mothman and other urban legends across American cities. Racism has no place, and must not persist further, and ridding America of the last traces of Confederate leaders is a step in the right direction. Celebrate folklore. Dismantle racism."
This isn't the only ongoing campaign to replace Confederate statues with pop culture icons, with a petition in Tennessee asking for statues of country icon Dolly Parton, and a petition in Florida advocating for statues of Britney Spears.
(Cover photo by Amanda Voisard/For the Washington Post)