A Brief History
On September 12, 1952, stunned citizens of Flatwoods, West Virginia in Braxton County met up with a monster that may have been a close encounter with an alien life form. The incident started with a bright object in the night sky seen by boys to crash or land in a neighboring farm. The boys ran home to collect adults, and accompanied by one of their mothers and a National Guardsman, along with more local kids, investigated the site.
A tall creature, about 7 feet tall, described as black or dark with a glowing face appeared to be staring at the humans, a mist surrounding the creature. The monster was said to have an elongated head (side to side) with inhuman looking eyes and a cowl behind its head. Some descriptions of the monster include only stringy looking arms with clawed hands, or no arms at all, perhaps because the creature moved so fast it was hard to tell. The descriptions mainly repeated an “unhuman” appearance, with what appeared to be a sort of exoskeleton. A pulsating red ball was seen on or near the ground, perhaps the alien’s craft.
Additionally, the creature and the incident had an olfactory presence as well, said to leave a “sickening, burnt, metallic odor still prevailing” after the being and his craft were gone and law enforcement officials investigated. Canvassing the area found other witnesses to previous incidents where a similar creature or monster was seen. Some of the witnesses developed an illness that included vomiting and convulsions.
Also known as “The Braxton county Monster” or “The Phantom of Flatwoods,” an episode of the television show, Monster Quest (2010), referred to the creature as the “Lizard Monster.”
Non-paranormal explanations of the incident include a meteor being seen as happens often enough, sometimes with a more spectacular than usual light show, and the creature written off as an owl, with its typical creepy eyes, moving quickly and displaying clawed “hands.” A notable meteor had been reported across 3 states that night, but of course, that is assuming the object was indeed a meteor. Some speculate the meteor struck the earth, accounting for the mist and odor. Others believe the incident had something to do with a secret government project.
Numerous cultural references to this incident have been made, including incorporating it in video games and a rock song. The folks around Flatwoods held a 3 day festival each year celebrating the incident, but the last festival was in 2006. (You will have ask them why.) The Braxton county Convention and Visitors Bureau (braxtonwv.org) has created chairs in the supposed likeness of the monster in 2014, big wooden things with an invitation to enter a “Paint My Own Chair Coloring Contest.” (They love their monster!)
Question for students (and subscribers): What do you think? Is this another hokey incident either caused by misunderstanding or fraud, or is it the real thing, a close encounter “of the third kind?” Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Feschino, Jr., Frank C. The Braxton County Monster Updated & Revised Edition The Cover-up of the “Flatwoods Monster” Revealed Expanded. Frank C. Feschino Jr., 2013.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by Don Woods of Flatwoods, West Virginia, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
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