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West Virginia Flatwoods monster

West Virginia Cryptids – ‘It had a blood-red face’ Part 2: The Flatwoods Monster

THE FLATWOODS MONSTER, or the Braxton County Monster, is now securely embedded as a bonafide West Virginia mystery.

It is another cryptid that we shall be lightly touching on in these series of articles about West Virginia legends, so we shall now try to delve deeper into the lurking fear within those Blue Ridge Mountains?

The story of the Flatwoods Monster of West Virginia began when two brothers and their friend were playing in a field near to their school, and around dusk they noticed a pulsing, vibrant red streak slowly tracking across the sky.

Thick autumnal woods (Credit: Paul J Everett flickr link:

The flaming object crashed down close to a nearby farm and so the three boys, all being curious sorts, decided to investigate.

UFO fever

It was September 12, 1952, the height of Cold War paranoia, reds under the beds, and UFO fever had hit America after the sensational reports of an alien craft crashing near Roswell in 1947.

On this misty night in September eye-witnesses described observing unidentified flying objects in over 100 locations throughout the United States.

This was the night when 11-year-old Freddie May went searching for the mysterious fallen light from the sky above the tiny town of Flatwoods, West Virginia.

‘It’s a flying saucer’

When asked to give an account of what they saw the boys claimed to have witnessed “an oval-shaped ball of fire” trace above them, descended into a nearby mountain top, to which the boys exclaimed, “it’s a flying saucer!”

The boys then asked their brothers and mother to join them in the search for the fallen object.

Four in total then set off walking down the pathway in the mist shrouded night.

Other children and adults rushed over to join them, as well as a stray dog from the nearby neighbourhood.

What they saw could not be easily discerned because of the dense fog that oddly began forming around the crash site.

They could have barley been able to seen seven feet in front of them.

Heavy bracken and undergrowth (Credit: glasses view flickr link:

Some say they saw a UFO, or a large round owl like creature with large circular vivid red eyes and great insect-oid wings, a frightful creature that crept in the trees before them.

Burning Sulphur

They described a monster, ten foot in height, that smelt of burning sulphur.

The smell was so noxious that many who discovered the crash site complained of irritation of the throat and inner lining of the nose.

What we will focus on now is, well simply, what happened after.

The rumours spread and this was in 1952 in the time of the Cold War so again, there were some outlandish rumours of Soviet involvement.

Men in Black

And strange “men in black” began to appear at the site and then quickly disappeared, supposedly air force personnel, taking testimonies, recording descriptions of witnesses.

Project Blue Book

There were even more claims of sightings soon afterward, leading to a case recorded as part of the US Air force’s Project Blue Book.

But the case was closed as it was concluded that many small asteroids were detected hitting North America on that night and the owl like creature was merely an owl, exaggerated by curiosity, fear the fog and the fertile imagination of youth.

The noxious sulphur odour was that to be due to sulphuric gas carried by the wind from one of West Virginia’s many hidden cave systems with their sulphur springs.

Though the town of Flatwoods has capitalised on the event and it gets a lot of tourism due to all rumours, speculation and fame of the event.

The Museum

There is even a museum in the town dedicated to the legend.

The Flatwoods Monster Museum is a tiny house of curiosities dedicated to the story from that night in 1952.

It has memorabilia and information regarding the history of the Flatwoods Monster and the events surrounding it.

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