‘Bash’ Celebrating Everything Cryptid Returns to Morgantown

Even the supernatural hasn’t been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, when the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant had to close for the second year in a row, cryptozoology enthusiasts and “Mothboys” podcast hosts Michael Strayer, Jake Haskin and Matthew Schang rushed to create an alternative event. .

Now in its second year, the Cryptid Bash in Morgantown is a rising star in West Virginia’s growing constellation of supernatural attractions. Journalist Chris Schulz spoke with organizer Michael Strayer about this year’s party.

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

Schulz: So Michael, why don’t you start by telling us exactly what Cryptid Bash is.

Vagabond: Cryptid Bash is a meeting of people within the cryptozoological community. Around this time last year, the Mothman Festival was cancelled. So we’re thinking, “How can we organize an event for all our friends who are losing money because of the Mothman Festival? “, that sort of thing. Loads of artists, musicians last year and everyone just followed. You know, it’s just a bunch of people who love cryptozoology: Mothman, Flatwoods Monster. Well, it’s all like-minded people coming together and celebrating cryptozoology.

Schulz: As we speak, it’s early July, the Mothman Festival this year is still scheduled to take place in September. Have there ever been doubts about not having Cryptid Bash in 2022?

Vagabond: I think the Mothman Festival is only part of the reason we started it. We also just wanted a bunch of people we look up to in a room together. It did so well last year that we don’t want to disappoint people either. It’s because people had a lot of fun. There was no way we wouldn’t, it went so well. And we were so happy about it.

Schulz: Why not step back here and make sure everyone is on the same page. What exactly is cryptozoology? And why do you and your group of fans find it so appealing?

Vagabond: There are creatures out there that cannot be explained by science. And that is what cryptozoology is. And it attracts us because it’s not just us in the world, you know? And the things we know. It’s just, it’s cool. There is a whole folklore thing behind it. And there’s just a sense of community, which you don’t find in a lot of places. It’s a bunch of weirdos getting together and talking about these cool stories, that’s basically what it is. That’s why I personally like it. And I think that’s also why the fans love him. Just, it’s just cool stories to tell.

Schulz: Michael, what brought you to cryptozoology in the first place?

Vagabond: It was a few things, actually. I mean, my mom loved aliens, UFOs and Bigfoot. You know, I think a lot of people start with that. Loch Ness Monster. This kind of things. Yeah, my mom did all the weird stuff, you know, ghosts and stuff. And then finally, my personal interest. I got into the weird, weird, weird stuff watching “The Mothman Prophecies” with Richard Gere. I saw this at the cinema with my father, who took me to see this. Mothman was something I had never heard of that blew my mind in my teenage years. So I was a big fan. But yeah, I think initially my mom really introduced me to some weird stuff. She was a big fan of Bigfoot. Shout out to my mom for dragging me into all this weird stuff.

Schulz: West Virginia is fairly well represented on the cryptozoological map. What do you think is about the state that makes it a center of this world?

Wanderer: I think the storytelling here is great. The folklore behind it, the people telling each other stories and the small towns, especially the small towns. It’s like in a small town, passing on stories, hearing stories when you’re young. I’m not from here. But you know, I talked to people and I used to hear stories about this and that. I feel like West Virginia has the most critters and the coolest critters. I’m thinking of Mothman, of course. And then you have the monster from Grafton, the monster from Flatwoods, you have a list of all these cool monsters from here that people are interested in. And I think it’s just that the storytelling here is so rich. And I think that’s why. And some people say that West Virginia is a window zone, it’s like a zone where reality kind of spins, and things can go in and out.

Schulz: Do you have the impression of adding to that, this folklore and this oral tradition with your productions?

Vagabond: I hope. I hope we do it in a silly way, in a goofy way, we have a different way of telling stories. A lot of podcasts and people who tell these stories take it very seriously. And that’s good, that’s great. We love it, but we approach it from a slightly different angle. We try to be a little fresher and we try to make it a little funnier. We try to laugh with, you know, we try not to laugh too much about it, you know, but it’s a weird thing, and sometimes you can laugh about it. So I hope we add, I think we add all this folk stuff because we’re trying to appeal to a younger audience. We know there are a lot of serious podcasts out there and we love them, but we’re trying to appeal to a whole new generation with this stuff.

Schulz: To this end, people who may be reluctant to come to a cryptozoology event. How about the cryptid Pash?

Vagabond: Well, I mean, if you’re not into cryptids, it’s just that it’s a good free event where you’re going to meet some really nice people who you can decide not to talk about cryptids with as well . But if you want, you can talk about anything with these people. They are just some of the friendliest people I have ever met. And some great artists, musicians and speakers. We have, I’m just saying, people are really great. And I think that’s reason enough to just come spend the day and see, see if you’re interested, you know,

Schulz: So what can people expect at cryptid bash?

Vagabond: So, Cryptid Bash, Morgantown, West Virginia. It will be at the Morgantown Art Bar, then at the Morgantown Art Party, on Saturday August 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And it will be vendors, musicians, lecturers, there will be a costume contest. So if you want to dress like a cryptid, go out, like Mothman or Bigfoot, whatever you want to do. There’s a cash prize and stuff like that. We didn’t have that last year, so we thought it would be a lot of fun for people. Hope people dress up and come and act awkward.

More information can be found on the the event’s Facebook page.

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