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The Flatwood Monster

  • Case Number: #106
  • Date: 12 September 1952
  • Time: 7.15 pm
  • Location: Flatwoods, West Virginia
  • Witness(es): Edward and Fred May, Tommy Hyer
  • Classification: CE-III - Sighting With Entities
On the evening of September 12th 1952, at approximately seven fifteen pm, two brothers, Edward and Fred May, who were thirteen and twelve, and their friend, Tommy Hyer, who was ten, saw what they thought was a meteor fly over where they were and land on a nearby hill, which was on land that belonged to a local farmer, G. Bailey Fisher. The three of them decided that they would go and investigate where it appeared to land, but first they went to see the mother of the two brothers, Kathleen, and she, along with more local boys who had heard what was happening, Neil Nunley, who was fourteen, Ronnie Shaver, who was ten and seventeen year old National Guardsman, Gene Lemon, decided that they would go with them to the hill to see the meteor.

Spherical Object and Throbbing sound

As they approached the area close to the hill, Lemon’s dog ran ahead of them, but very soon it came running back to the group frightened and with its tail between its legs. Eventually after walking for about a quarter of a mile, they reached the summit of the hill and it is then that they claim to have come into the view of a globe or sphere shaped object that was very large and was like a pulsating ball of fire at a distance of about fifty feet away for them. One of the group would say in later interviews, that it was about the size of a house and another would say that there was a hissing and throbbing sound coming from the object and there was a thick and pungent mist in the area that was making their nose and eyes feel burned and itchy. 

As they stood in awe of the sight, Lemon noticed what he thought were animal eyes in the branches of a nearby tree and he immediately shone his torch in that direction. In the light the whole group then claimed to have seen a huge figure under the braches. There are slight varying accounts of what exactly the figure looked like, but most of them agree that it was at least seven foot tall and had a black face with a red colour glowing from within it and the body was black with a green bottom. They said that its face was elongated with eyes that were not of a human form, sort of like sideward diamonds with a large circular shape behind them. The body was also of a non-human form and the boys’ mother claimed that she could make out a sort of fold of clothing that was something like a green pleated skirt and it was shadowed in appearance. The witnesses differ on whether the creature had arms, with some saying it had none at all and others saying that it had long stringy-like arms with claw like fingers at the end of it and protruding from the front of the body. 

Creature with claw like fingers

As they all stared at the creature, it made a type of hissing sound, then it floated quickly down from the tree and came towards them at speed before changing its course sharply and then headed towards the direction of the ball of fire that was still nearby. 

With this the whole group ran back down the hill petrified of what they had just witnessed and quickly headed home. 
When Mrs May got in she immediately rang the local sheriff, Robert Carr and Mr A Lee Steward, who was the co-owner of the Braxton Democrat, which was the local newspaper. Steward immediately interviewed all those involved and then he and the sheriff went to the site where the incident took place to conduct an investigation. Though they reported that there was a strong, sickening smell of burning metal close to the ground, they were unable to find any other evidence of what the group had claimed. Early the next morning Steward again went back to the site and this time he found two long tracks and traces of thick black mud, though the tracks would later be dismissed as a 1942 Chevrolet pick-up truck had been in the area earlier, driven by a Max Lockard, who had gone to look for the creature. 

The night following the incident the group who had witnessed it also all came down with curious symptoms of sickness and a swelling of the throat and these health problems continued for some time after. Lemon, also suffered with convulsions along with the same symptoms as the others and claimed to have continued to have health issues with his throat for some time after the event. They all believed that it was from inhaling the strong mist that had been present at the site. A doctor who examined them said that the symptoms were very similar to those suffered by victims of mustard gas poisoning, though some of the symptoms are also visible in people suffering from hysteria from exposure to a traumatic or shocking event. 
Sometime after, a Mr Williams and Donna Smith, who were investigators associated with the Civilian Saucer Investigation LA, got in touch with many more witnesses who claimed to have seen something similar at the time. 
One of these was a mother and her twenty-one year old daughter, who claimed to have seen a very similar looking creature who had the same pungent smell one week before the incident on the 12th September. The daughter was said to have been so overcome with what she witnessed, that she had to spend three weeks in the Clarksburg Hospital. 
Another was a Eugene Lemon, who said that at the time of the crash she had felt her house shake violently and her radio had gone off for about forty-five minutes, and another was a local director of the Board of Education, who claims that he saw a flying saucer take off at approximately six thirty am, 13th September, on the morning after the group had witnessed the creature. 

Alien or owl?

Forty-eight years after the incident, Joe Nickell from a paranormal investigation group committee for the skeptical inquiry, then known as CSICOP, concluded that the red light was most likely a meteor that had lit the sky and so was visible to many witnesses, that the pulsating red light was that of an aircraft navigation/hazard beacon and that the creature was most probably an owl. The flight pattern and sound of an owl, he says, is also very similar to what the group saw and the red glow to its face could have been a reflection off the red light of the nearby air craft navigation beacon. Also, the inability for the group to agree on whether the creature had arms or not and the description of the creature having claws that could very well resemble those of an owl cast a shadow on the reliability of the story by sceptics. Nickell also claims that the size difference of the owl and the creature was due to the heightened anxiety of the group and this caused them to see things in a distorted manner and that the light and shade could have made the shrubbery below the owl look like a body and the green clothing that some had witnessed.

The smoke, he said, was probably from the meteor itself. The Air Force concurred with these findings as well as other investigators. Owls have also been blamed for other unusual sightings, including the famous Moth Man and the Kelly Hopkinsville encounter. 
Though these are all valid points, the group who witnessed the encounter strongly disagree with the findings and are adamant of what they saw. They said that if it was an owl, it would have been very obvious to them when they shone their light upon it as they are all obviously familiar with such an animal. 
The story of the encounter still survives strongly in the area to this day and each year there is held in Flatwoods, West Virginia, a three day festival to celebrate the “Green Monster” who came to the place on the night in 1952.

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