The Flatwoods Monster
I’m reading The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed (2004, Frank C. Feschino, Jr., Quarrier Press). The Flatwoods Monster (TFWM) is one of my favorite cryptids/extra-terrestrials in monster lore. West Virginia is chock full of ’em! TFWM of course is the hovering 12-foot tall entity that had a pedestal body a bit like a Dalek and an encapsulated head like an old hand-blown Edison light bulb. Sometimes I wonder if the proliferation of cryptid mythology in the Appalachians might be attributable to high arsenic content in drinking water or perhaps consumption of leaded moonshine.
The year was 1952, conveniently after the releases of The Man from Planet X (1951), The Thing from Another World (1951) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). The setting is the eastern United States with USAF jets in the air intercepting 13 flying orbs across several states. On September 12, 1952, one of the orbs lands on a hill in the Flatwoods Area of Braxton County, central West Virginia. Nearby local Kathleen May, son Freddie May and several other children claim they witnessed seeing a hovering 12-foot tall, silvery gray mechanical entity or being in a space suit. The entity “lit up like a christmas tree” and had glowing red “eyes” that project beams outward as if it were scanning the terrain. Billows of acrid metallic-smelling fog surrounds TFWM. It spits oily liquid at Kathleen May. About a week later she accounts her story on the TV show We the People. Here’s a popular photograph of Kathleen with an artist’s render of TFWM. Kathleen May later claimed the artist took liberties by showing claw-like hands and arms, and the monk-like hood and robe. She asserted TFWM was mechanical.
Feschino’s book is a lot of fun. I believe he put 14 years of his life into researching the story of TFWM. It’s about as thorough a book on cryptids that I’ve read. For those who enjoy a good monster mystery, I won’t reveal his thesis. Let’s say he draws some comparisons to a lizardman from Frametown, WV.