The Flatwoods Monster

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The Flatwoods Monster is also known as The Braxton County Monster 

On September 12th of 1952 in Flatwoods, West Virginia three boys, Tommy Hyer, and Fred and Edward May ran into the May boys’ home claiming to have seen a fiery UFO come down near a neighbor’s farm. Kathleen May, Fred and Edward’s mother, gave them a flashlight and decided to go with them to investigate the hill in which they had claimed to have seen it either crash or land on. They were also accompanied by three more boys from the neighborhood documented as being Neil Nunley, Gene Lemon and Ronnie Shaver. Gene Lemon’s dog was with them and had ran ahead of the group barking as if it were on the trail of something only to quickly return with a whimper and its’ tail between his legs. After walking for about a quarter of a mile, the group had reached the top of the hill near the farm when they witnessed a large fiery ball surrounded by a mist that they said appeared to have been at least 50 ft wide. They had described there being a pungent smell that made their noses and eyes burn.

Lemon noticed two glowing eyes attached to the shape of a man-like outline standing under a nearby oak tree. When he turned the flashlight towards the eyes the entire group was in shock when they witnessed a creature standing nearly 10 ft tall, in which they described as having animal-like eyes with a red face which was surrounded by a pointed hood-like shape around its head. The body was dark and colorless, but some would later testify on tape that they thought it was kind of green with some sort of  drape-like material hanging from it. The group only had the chance to look at the monster for a short period of time because almost as soon as they had looked towards it, they heard a loud hissing sound and the monster began to glide in their direction. The group panicked and ran home as quickly as possible to call the authorities.

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Mr. A Lee Stewert, whom was the co-owner of the Braxton Democrat, went with Lemon back to the site in which the encounter took place and confirmed that there was indeed “A sickening, burnt, metallic odor still prevailing” There were tracks found in the grass the next morning as well, but those tracks were later found to have been a local man’s truck that had visited the location to investigate. Lemon’s mother had also reported that at the time of the crash she was in her home when it felt as if something had shaken her entire house and then her radio wouldn’t pick up any stations for up to 45 minutes. On the morning of September 13th the director of the Board of Education witnessed what he had thought was a UFO taking off and shooting into the sky. Aside from several claims of seeing the UFO in the sky on Sept 12th and 13th, there were also other claims of an exact scenario that had been reported from other places on various dates, all in which reported the same pungent smell and very similar encounters as the Flatwoods phenomenon.

Many people from Flatwoods will now say that they believe it was a meteorite that people had seen falling from the sky, however, when the location was investigated by the authorities and journalists back in 1952, nothing of the sort was found and the last time I checked when a meteorite falls to the ground it doesn’t fly back into space the next day. And though the story wasn’t altered as swamp gas this time, the Air Force claims that they had sent two investigators to Flatwoods in civilian clothing to see what was going on and they reported that it was a meteor that came down and disappeared somewhere behind the hill. While they are sticking to that claim, they still could never present the meteor that they said had fallen.

Several witnesses from the September 12th encounter claimed to have had continuous burning of the eyes and nose for a few weeks as well as their throats swelling up after the event happened. Lemon even suffered vomiting and convulsions. A doctor that treated some of the witnesses compared their symptoms to mustard gas victims. A week before the Flatwoods encounter a mother and daughter had witnessed the exact same phenomenon and also had the same exact reactions to the mist which included burning eyes, nose, throat, and vomiting or convulsions.

Skeptics say the animal-like eyes by the oak tree was an owl. Really? An owl? I’d buy a true story about a government funded craft crashing in a local yard and the pilot having a strange spacesuit but I don’t believe I’ll be buying the owl story anytime soon. Last I checked, owls didn’t cause vomiting and convulsions – though mass hysteria may.

Until next time…

~William C. Raustler