Friday, August 29, 2014

Exclusive Interview with a Real Southerner


I have a true fascination with the South.  Alas, I am a Carpetbagger and not a true born Southern.  To expand the point of view here at the Carpetbagger I do an exclusive interview with a true Southern:  My daughter Anna.




The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mothman Festival and Museum


For fans of the mysterious and unknown, Mothman has it all.  Some believe him to be a demon from hell, others believe him to be a inter-dimensional spirit, other think he is an alien, and still others believe he is an undiscovered cryptid like bigfoot.  Anyways you cut it, Mothman is the South's ultimate monster. 

For those of you not familiar with the legend, Mothman is a mysterious winged creature that first appeared in 1966 in the small town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.  A group of teenagers going to make out at the abandoned TNT plant saw a horrifying winged-man with red glowing eyes.  A rash of these sightings continued around the TNT plant.  Then one day these sighting suddenly stopped. On the 15th of December 1967 when the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River suddenly and inexplicably collapsed killing 46 people in a horrifying manner, as people drowned in their own cars.


It is said that the Mothman sighting stopped cold on this date.  Mothman has forever been connected to the collapse of the bridge.  Some see Mothman as the nefarious cause of the bridge collapse, while others see him as warning the townsfolk about the upcoming disaster.  There has been on-going speculation regarding the origin of Mothman.

One theory postulates that Mothman is a manifestation of what is known as "Cornstalk's Curse".  Cornstalk was Native American Chief that acted at mediator between white settlers and the local Indians.  However, Cornstalk was betrayed and murdered by his white friends (as was the custom at the time).  With his dying breath Cornstalk placed a curse on Point Pleasant, stating "For this, may the curse of the Great Spirit rest upon this land. May it be blighted by nature. May it even be blighted in its hopes. May the strength of its peoples be paralyzed by the stain of our blood."

Here is cornstalk in headless cutout form....

 
 Was Mothman the embodied wrath or cornstalk?  Or was he from Outer space? As was postulated in the most famous book on the subject "The Mothman Prophecies" by John Keel.  This book's non-fiction account connects the Mothman sightings with UFO activity in the area including cover ups by the notorious Men in Black, way before they enlisted the charming wise cracking Will Smith into their ranks.


A film adaption of Mothman Prophecies would come out in 2002 starring Richard Gere.

So how do the people of Point Pleasant deal with being associated with a horrible demonic, murderous alien beast monster?  Surprisingly, they fully embrace it with open arms.

It is not uncommon for towns to erect statues of their civic heroes.  However, most towns civic heroes are not horrifying monsters connected with mass devastation.



Yes, point Pleasant is home to the most remarkable statue of the American Roadside.


Just look at this thing.


But that's not all!  Every September the town throws a festival celebrating the Mothman.  


A few years back I had the pleasure of attending.  Like any other street festival they had family friend activities and games, such as Mothman Cornhole......


 Contests to see who can eat the most Mothman shaped pancakes......


For some reason they even decided to add to the ambiance by littering the streets with Mothballs.....


 Sadly, I did not get a chance to meet Miss Mothman......


Of course, one cannot simply celebrate Mothman one weekend a year.  Point Pleasant also hosts a year round Mothman Museum......


The museum is a good mix of Mothman art....


Note the twin towers

Historical footage and newspaper clippings............



Props from the movie......




Including this blanket that made contact with "World's Sexiest Man" Richard Gere......

 
But my favorite artifact has to be the "Creepy Lip Balm Prop".....


Which is featured in the most notorious scene of the movie....


 Also of note are the instruments used in the Mothman episode of "Monsterquest".

 
They also have a piece of driftwood shaped like a bird, for some reason.....


They have a cool collection of Mothman t-shirts....


Check out this awesome "Turtleman Meets Mothman" t-shirt, featuring Ernie "Turtleman" Brown, who was actually "discovered" at the Mothman festival......


Finally, they have this Mothman wheel that answers your questions.   I completely forgot what my question was, but apparently the answer is "evil".


The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram

Friday, August 22, 2014

Carpetbagger Video: The TVA and Flooded Vallyes

Check out my Youtube Channel as I talk about the TVA and flooding valleys full of poor people.


I go into more exquisite detail on the subject in THIS article.

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

House on the Rock



Now I have been to my fair share of  Roadside Attractions:  Strange museums, oddball sights and weird landmarks.  In my travels I have been to one place that I feel is simply the greatest roadside attraction in all of America:  The House on the Rock.

Not My Image
Found in Spring Green, WI, The history of the house is muddled in legend, but no less fascinating.  The house is the brainchild of eccentric millionaire by the name of Alex Jordan Jr.  Legend has it that Alex Jordan idolized architect Frank Loyd Wright, who is also from the area.  Jordan dreamed of being a famous architect like his hero and was able to arrange a meeting with his Wright.  Upon showing Wright his blueprints, Wright brushed him off and told him he couldn't design a chicken coop.  Devastated by being spurned by his hero Jordan created the House on the Rock as a middle finger to Wright.  The creation of the House on the Rock would not only lead to Jordan becoming a famous architect, but so much more.

Jordan was surprised at people's curiosity towards his creation.  He was a reclusive and had primarily constructed the house as a personal sanctuary.  He begin charging for private tours.  The House would quickly become a top tourist attraction.  Over the years it became so much more.  Using money from the tours Jordan began to expand on exhibits on his compound.  The attraction quickly spilled out into different buildings.  Jordan was the ultimate collector.  It is said that Jordan actually collected collections.  These collections can still be seen to this day.

The beginning of the tour is of course the house itself.  You enter through a claustrophobic hallway, with low ceilings covered in red carpet.


The house is not air conditioned and is somewhat suffocating.  However, it is an absolutely swinging bachelor pad.


Including such amenities as a three story tall book shelf.


The most unusual feature of the House is the "Infinity Room".  The infinity room is a plank shaped room that walks out from the house several hundred feat above the forest.  The room itself has no supports other then its connection to the house.  The entire room shifts like a diving board under the weight of a single person.


Moving out of the main house you head into the "Streets of Yesterday", a recreated cobble stone main street that is steeped in nostalgia.  Of course if you look close, you will notice a few chilling Easter eggs.


It is in the streets of yesterday that you first encounter one of my favorite features of the House on the Rock:  coin operated clockwork dioramas.


This wonderful little display is known as "The Death of a Drunkard"

video

And here is its sequel, "Death of a Miser"

video

Here is "The Sultan and the Necromancer"

video

And the "Monkey and the Bear"

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Also amongst this "Collection of Collections" is a collection of strange weapons, that would make any steampunk enthusiast drool, including this badass set of gun gunswords.


For when stabbing someone just isn't enough.

Then there is this ridiculously overpowered flintlock pistol.....






And this pistol hidden in a wooden leg....


Now we move into the "Heritage of the Sea" room.  We are greeted by an animatronic octopus playing "Octopus's Garden" on a number of instruments.


What makes it truly unique and impressive is that the Octopus is really playing the instruments.  As you can see the drums are really pounded and the guitar has devices hooked to that actually hold down the strings and strum it.


The centerpiece of the nautical exhibit is a massive fiberglass whale, larger then any actual whale, locked in a death struggle with a Kraken.




A hapless fishermen is caught in the crossfire.


The rest of the room is packed with assorted nautical memorabilia....


The House on the Rock is perfect for people like me with a short attention span.  There is something new and amazing around ever corner.  A new set of collections, or an oddball artifact.  The whole place can be absolutely overstimulating.  There is literally not a dull corner.










Not even a trip to the bathroom could save you from the madness that lurks in the House on the Rock.  A trip to the men's restroom features a wide variety of taxidermy including a cougar lurking over the urinal.


And a Jackalope....


If you are woman, or wish to sneak into the women's room, you can see the strange flower-headed people that live in there........


At roughly the halfway point you come across one of the Houses most famous attractions:  The World's Largest Carousel. 


There are no horses on the carousel.  Instead it is populated by strange and bizarre creatures.








Above head is an army of mannequins dressed as angels with their breasts showing....







Into the Monster's mouth the Journey continues......


It is at this point that the House on the Rock starts becoming less of an attraction and more of a fever dream.  The madness starts to bend your mind and you start to remember only bits an pieces.  You wonder through such strange areas as "The Organ Room" which the entire room is made out of a giant organ that you walk through like an Escher painting.


One memorable area is "The Circus Room". 


An absolutely massive miniature circus is laid out in exquisite detail. 






There are also some live sized circus performers as well....




And there is this super duper creepy giant moving clown head....


The circus area ends with a massive animatronic orchestra. 


Much like the Octopus in the nautical area, the mannequins actually play their instruments.  Mechanical fingers operate string instruments while air is blown into wind instruments to make them play.  Each figure is detailed and unique.  I even think I found Abe Lincoln.


In case the first carousel wasn't crazy enough, we enter a room with a three story DOLL carousel....


Check it out....





As our tour through the House on the Rock winds down, who is there to see us out?  The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, no less....


I really cannot endorse this place enough.  If you can only go to one Roadside attraction in your life, go here.  Our tour here took four full hours and we probably could have spent another four.  This is the only time in my life I have ever filled up my entire camera memory card.  There is just so much to see, I can not fully express it.  These pictures are merely a sample, there are whole sections I did not even mention.  This is a once and a lifetime sort of visit.

The Carpetbagger

Please feel free to email me at jacobthecarpetbagger@gmail.com
And don't forget to check out my Flickr Photostream and my Youtube Page.  You can also follow me on instagram