(Image: Kevin Bowman; Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, West Virginia)
It’s one of the most infamous magazine covers ever, having graced everything from t-shirts to posters. It’s Bat Boy, the half-boy, half-bat creature discovered (supposedly) living in the Lost World Caverns of Lewisburg, West Virginia.
According to the story in the wonderfully far-fetched Weekly World News, Dr. Ron Dillion first discovered Bat Boy, who stubbornly dodged attempts at capturing him. Since the story first appeared in 1992, the legend has taken on something of a life of its own.
(Image: Daniel Baker)
Follow-ups claim that Bat Boy has since fled his cave, served in the military in Afghanistan, and endorsed Barack Obama for president. In 1997, he was also the star of an off-Broadway musical production. We all know Bat Boy, but what about his home?
Roadside America took a trip to the Lost World Caverns, and examined what the Bat Boy legend has done for the location. According to their field team, there are still yellowed copies of the original tale hanging up in the gift shop, but that’s far from the most incredible aspect of the Lost World Caverns.
(Image: Dave Riggs)
The cave itself is practically mind-blowing. At 300 metres long, it’s reportedly tall enough to fit a 10-storey building. The magnificent caverns come under the stewardship of former Federal Emergency Management Agency employee Steve Silverberg. The cave floors are littered with rocks so big they have their own names, including the Bridal Veil, Goliath and the War Club.
The rocks must have shook the very earth when they fell. And before the cave could be opened to the public, two tons of garbage was hauled out of it, all dumped there by local farmers through a hole that’s still open.
(Image: Kevin Bowman)
Then there’s the wild cave, which is more than a mile long and coated with mould and slime – the subject of a slow and painstaking cleaning process. The mind-blowing site also features the small Natural History Museum, home to West Virginia’s largest collection of dinosaur bones and fossils, each one loaned from the Smithsonian.
While the Lost World Caverns gained significant notoriety due to Bat Boy (and, before that, Bob Addis’ 16-day stint sitting on top of the War Club in order to get into the Guinness Book of World’s Records), they remain a fascinating reminder of the treasures that lie beneath our feet, irrespective of the legends attached to them.
(Image: Kevin Bowman)