Monday, 20 July 2009

The Flatwoods Monster

Flatwoods, Braxton County in West Virginia, is a small village which advertises itself as "The Home Of The Green Monster". Who was the Green Monster?

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September 12th 1952, 7:15pm. Three boys Edward (13) and Fred May (12), and their friend Tommy Hyer (10) were playing football on a school playground when they spotted something in the sky.

It was a bright object streaking through the sky until it appeared to land/crash on a hilltop of the nearby Bailey Fisher farm. The boys ran back to Edward and Fred's house and related the story to their mother Kathleen May. She agreed to accompany them to the hill with torchlights and brought with her Neil Nunley (14) Ronnie Shaver (10), and 17 year old West Virginia National Guardsman Eugene Lemon. Lemon also brought his dog.

As the 8 of them drew close to the site of the crash, Lemon's dog ran ahead. Just out of sight they heard it barking at something unknown before it came running back with it's tail between it's legs.

As the first two boys, including Neil Nunley, crested the hill the object seemed to crash into, they saw a pulsating red light some way in the distance. Before they could react to that (and before they could wonder what that pungent smelling mist that was burning their eyes was), Lemon spotted two shining eyes under an oak tree and turned the flashlight towards them.

There standing before them was a 10 foot tall creature, with a round red face with a "Ace of Spades" shaped frill around it. The body seemed dark, although it later was described as "green" hence the town's name for the beast. When the creature began to "glide" towards them, Lemon dropped the flashlight and the group fled.

The authorities were called. First the police. Then the local newspaper. I'm pleased to see Mrs May had her priorities straight. If I'd just seen a 10 foot monster my first few phone calls would not have included the local rag, but probably the fire brigade, the Army, perhaps even the RNLI. But really, the local rag??

Strangely on separate checks that evening the Sheriff and his deputy found nothing unusual whilst Mr. A. Lee Stewert, co-owner of the Braxton Democrat, found "a sickening, burnt, metallic odor still prevailing". Funny that.

Further reports came in:

At 6:30 the next morning, the director of the Board of Education saw a flying saucer take off, not far from his house, and immediately reported it to the Sutton newspaper. Only then was he informed of the happening of the night before. Mr. Stewart, the owner of the paper, immediately went to the hill and could still smell the odor on the ground. He discovered two tracks where the reported object had landed. No wagon had been in this part for many years and the weeds were several feet high. The grass was freshly depressed, and closer search disclosed a piece of black plastic material which did not burn when tested by Stewart. The piece has been analyzed and we hope to get a report soon through Mr. Smith. Samples of ground and vegetation were also collected by airforce [sic] officers.

Further inquiries at the Lemon house revealed that Mrs. Lemon and a friend were having coffee at the time of the landing, and their house shook so violently that coffee spilled over the table and they thought the house had fallen off its foundation. The radio went off for 45 minutes and came back on by itself.

In his systematic questioning of everyone in the valley, Smith found that a girl, 21, of Weston, 11 miles from the Lemon farm, was confined in the Clarksburg Hospital for three weeks, after having seen a figure of the same description, and emitting the same odor reported by witnesses of the Sutton occurrence. Her mother confirmed the girl's story that they had seen the monster when they were on their way to church more than a week before Mrs. May's experience. Source: CSI Bulletin #2

What I find so fascinating about all this is that an entire mythology has grown up on this monster based on a fleeting glance of it, and that these folks were willing to go on record claiming it to be a monster based on nothing more that a few moments of contact.

Honestly, one adult amid a group of excitable young boys and an exuberant pet dog does not a convincing witness make and I quite honestly believe that this particular monster can be explained away by a meteor, some flashing aerial lights and an owl as suggested here. What depresses me most is that people seem desperate to explain these sorts of things away by the weird rather than erring on the side of caution. Bless 'em.

Further Reading

The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed - Frank C. Feschino (UK Amazon, US Amazon)

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