20 Things You Never Knew About The Alien Entity West Virginians Call The Flatwoods Monster
It's Just One Of Many West Virginia Cryptids
West Virginia isn't just the home of the Flatwoods Monster! This wild and weird place is supposedly the stomping grounds of a surprising number of cryptids, including the infamous Mothman, photographed here. The Mothman, a large, humanoid bird creature with glowing red eyes, has been spotted since 1966 and is said to be a harbinger of doo, as its first appearances were connected with the Silver Bridge Collapse in 1967. Another well-known local cryptid is Sheepsquatch, a white, shaggy-furred monster first seen on Morgan's Ridge in 1939. Then there's the Grafton Monster, a huge, chunky behemoth spotted in the 60's that many thought to be an escaped lab experiment. Along with these cryptozoological icons, if you travel to West Virginia you might spot Ogua (a two-headed river monster), Batboy (a subterranean fanged child) or Veggie Man (A thin, alien creature with suction cup fingers).
Mrs. Kathleen May is the Best Known Witness of the Flatwoods Monster
Mrs. Kathleen May was the individual most associated with the monster sighting, as she was interviewed on news outlets and provided detailed descriptions of the creature. However, residents of Flatwoods and Braxton County remember her fondly for being active in her community and a devoted mother of three. She passed away in 2009, never waiving from her story of the encounter. May is buried in Braxton County, where visitors can visit her memorial. Her sons, Freddie and Edward, are still alive as of 2020, but reportedly no longer doing interviews - they're sick of repeating the same story over and over.
The Flatwoods Monster Hails From West Virginia
The most famous sighting of The Flatwoods Monster took place on September 12, 1952, in Braxton County, WV. A group of boys (Edward May, Freddie May, Neal Nunley, Tommy Hyer) was playing football outside when their eyes were drawn to a fiery streak in the sky. Accompanied by Edward and Freddie's mother, Kathleen May, and a National Guardsman, Eugene 'Gene' Lemon, they decided to investigate. As they advanced on Fisher's Farm, they were confronted by a pulsing red light, and then - a creature measuring at least 10 feet tall, with a blood-red, heart-shaped face, piercing, glowing eyes, and a bizarre hood-like structure encircling its grotesque visage. Its body was shrouded in a dark, metallic exoskeleton, with spindly, clawed arms outstretched menacingly. The creature hissed, glided towards the group, and they ran. The encounter was reported to authorities, who searched the area that night but found nothing.
The Flatwoods Monster Goes By Many Different Names
If you visit West Virginia, don't be confused by the "Free Braxxie" stickers or signs advertising "The Braxton Monster". The Flatwoods Monster goes by many names, including "The Green Monster", "Braxton Monster", "Braxie", or the very dramatic "Phantom of Flatwoods".
The Flatwoods Monster Put Braxton County, West Virginia On The Map
Braxton County has always been a sleepy, sparsely populated part of West Virginia, with roughly 30 people per square mile. While there are a few parks and lakes, it has never been a tourist destination - but The Flatwoods Monster has helped changed that up. Now, cryptozoologists and UFO enthusiasts travel to the area for the express purpose to hunt for the ol' bright eyed monster, and learn about the local folklore. There are even five 10-foot tall monster-themed chairs erected throughout the county - tourists are encouraged to find and photograph them for an otherworldly prize!
It prompted a U.S. Air Force UFO inquiry
While the primary goal of Project Blue Book was to study UFO sightings, its investigators also ventured into the territory of alleged extraterrestrial encounters, seeking to identify credible cases and debunk hoaxes. Astrophysicist Dr. J Allen Hynek and his fellow investigators delved into the chilling case, analyzing witness accounts and piecing together the evidence surrounding the Flatwoods incident.
The Flatwoods Monster is 10-Feet Tall And Smells Terrible
No, this isn't a personal attack on ol' Braxxie. All of the group that encountered The Flatwoods Monster at Fisher's Farm reported a strong, acrid smell during the experience, and several reported symptoms of vomiting or fainting. While skeptic Ryan Haupt attributed the nausea as "consistent with hysteria and over-exertion", others note that these symptoms align with those of mustard gas exposure.
There's A Whole Museum Just For The Flatwoods Monster
Braxxie Bros, rejoice! There is an entire museum in Sutton, West Virginia dedicated to the Flatwoods Monster, and admission is FREE! This weird li'l museum is full of fun memorabilia, photo ops, and art. You can purchase Braxxie-themed souvenirs like T-shirts, shot glasses, and lanterns in the gift shop, and if you have a Flatwoods Monster tattoo, they'll apparently give you a 10% discount. Nice!
Some People Blame A Barn Owl
Consider the eerie setting of the Fisher's Farm encounter: darkness had fallen, and shadows played tricks on the eye. The curious light in the sky could be easily explained by a meteor, but how could an owl be mistaken for a 10-foot-tall creature of the night? Enter the barn owl, a nocturnal species known for its distinctive heart-shaped face and piercing, dark eyes. With a wingspan of up to four feet, the barn owl can make for an imposing figure when seen in the dim light of night. Moreover, the owl's tendency to perch on tree branches, coupled with its natural defensive posture, could explain the creature's height and unusual appearance. It's not impossible to imagine that in the darkness, adrenaline coursing through their veins, the group of witnesses might have misinterpreted the owl's features as something more sinister.
The Flatwoods Monster Was Seen Two Days In A Row
The night after the September 12 Fisher Farm's sighting, Braxxie was seen again, this time by the Snitowsky family. George Snitowsky, his wife Edith, and their infant child were driving home towards New York on Route 4 after visiting friends in Ohio. They were about twenty miles south of Flatwoods, near the town of Strange Creek, when their car suddenly died and refused to start back up. Then, a sulfuric smell hit their nostrils, and a bright light emerged from the woods, along with a strange, tall, reptilian creature in a metallic outfit. The creature touched the Snitowskys' car, and then disappeared back into the woods, at which point the car started back up again. Although this encounter allegedly took place September 13, 1952, it was not reported until three years later in 1955.
Mrs. Audra Harper Sighting - First Sighting
In 2015, it came out that the Fisher's Farm encounter wasn't the first reported sighting of the Flatwoods Monster - there had been another encounter the same night, September 12, 1952. Five miles north of Flatwoods, in Heaters, West Virginia, Audra Harper and a friend were on their way to a local store when they saw a ball of fire at the top of the hill. When they looked again, the ball of fire had been replaced by a giant, dark figure that began following them.
"We started running, crossing a barb-wired fence I never even saw, and came to a gate. We opened it and [Audra's Friend] started to close it. ‘It’s right behind us,’ she said. I didn’t think it was possible for it would have to run twice the distance we did. I turned around and fastened the gate before I looked up. There it stood. I can’t remember anything but just this big, black shape.”
Harper and her friend escaped unscathed, and Harper's granddaughter eventually gave Audra's report to the Flatwoods Monster Museum in 2015.
The Flatwoods Monster Is A Video Game Darling
That's right, the Flatwoods Monster has made it out of Appalachia and onto your Playstation. Braxxie makes appearances in not one but two popular franchises, Fallout and Everybody's Golf. The cryptid is a semi-regular in Fallout 76, though it appears a bit different from the folklore version. The Fallout 76 Monster is pretty clearly an alien, with a helmet, a spacesuit, and appearing alongside aliens during certain seasonal events. It's also purple, a detail we haven't seen mentioned in folklore. At least they got the glowing eyes right! A more traditional version of The Flatwoods Monster can be seen in the woods off the course in Everybody's Golf 4. Lastly, though they haven't been confirmed to be based off Braxxie, the creatures known as "they" and "them" from Majora's Mask also bear a striking resemblance to the monster.
A Reporter Claimed To Find Evidence At The Encounter Site
After the Fisher's Farm Encounter, reporter A. Lee Stewart of the Braxton Democrat decided to check out the encounter site for evidence, finding the eyewitness accounts persuasive:
“Those people were the most scared people I’ve ever seen. People don’t make up that kind of story that quickly,”Local authorities weren't so quick to share Stewart's opinions, according to the papers:
“State police laughed off the reports as hysteria...They said the so-called Monster had grown from seven to 17 feet in just 24 hours.”
At Fisher's Farm, Stewart claimed to find "skid marks" and an "odd gummy deposit", although authorities said there was nothing to see at the site.
You Can Eat At A Braxxie-Themed Restaurant
Ever wanted to have a lunch date with your favorite cryptid? Well, we can't make that happen, but you can get fairly close. The Spot Restaurant And Dairy Bar in Flatwoods, West Virginia is themed around everyone's favorite green, otherworldly monster. Peruse the Braxton Monster photos and news clippings along the walls while you order one of their signature UFO Saucer Sandwiches - will you get the Point Pleasant or the Encounter? Or, just get down to business with the Flatwoods Monster Burger (double patty, double cheese) before you head out on your cryptid hunt.
Could The Monster Be An Elaborate Hoax?
Seen here is a mock-up of a possible way the Flatwoods Monster could have been puppeteered by a "bad kid", as conceived by writer and UFO investigator Gray Barker. Gray Barker was a native of Braxton County, a paranormal skeptic, and known for his career in UFOlogy and creation of the concept of "Men In Black". In the 1950's, he started collecting accounts and reports of the Flatwoods Monster, and wrote many articles about the cryptid. Gray Barker did a huge amount to publicize The Monster, and his work surrounding the Monster is what jumpstarted his career in UFO investigation. Regardless, if Braxxie was a hoax, we doubt it was perpetrated by a child.
Three Witnesses Drew Matching Sketches Of The Encounter
The three drawings here are allegedly The Flatwoods Monster as drawn by 3 of the boys who encountered him at Fisher's Farm. If legitimate, they appear to show that the three witnesses had a similar, consistent impression of the Monster's visage:
"The drawings detail in minor details but show a basic similarity. All depict the monster's face as being round, with two eyelike openings, while the head has a pointed, hood, shape around it."
The Fisher's Farm Encounter Was A Nationwide Phenomenon
Stories of the lights in the skies seen September 12, 1952, appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and dozens of other newspapers around the United States. When news of the Fisher's Farm encounter spread, in-depth magazine articles were written about it by UFO enthusiasts like Gray Barker and Ivan T. Sanderson, and New York journalists traveled to West Virginia to interview the May family. Kathleen May even attended television interviews on talk shows like We The People. The image here is a cartoon depicting the Fisher's Farm encounter drawn by Richard Bothwell for the Tampa Bay Times in 1952.
You Can Own A Piece Of Flatwoods Monster History
Feast your eyes on this charming ceramic lantern, first crafted by the Braxton County Junior Chamber of Commerce way back in the 1960s as a fundraising initiative. An enduring novelty keepsake commemorating the mysterious Fisher's Farm encounter, this adorable cryptid lantern is a true collector's item that continues to be produced today. Lovingly handcrafted in Marietta, Ohio by a skilled ceramic artisan, local Braxton County resident John Gibson ensures that every lantern is meticulously hand-molded, fired, and painted, making each one a unique treasure to cherish. Pick up your Braxxie Lantern online or at the Flatwoods Monster Museum today!
The Flatwoods Monster has Its Own Convention
Need even more Flatwoods Monster? Well, you're in luck. In September, Braxton County holds an Annual Flatwoods Monster Convention, advertised as below:
"An out of this world experience, featuring world renowned speakers, remote broadcasting podcasters, amazing vendors, costume contests, and more! Event to be held at the Days Inn and Suites in Flatwoods, West Virginia!"
Sounds like a rockin' good time!
You Can Learn More About Braxxie On Your Living Room Screen
Want to learn more about your favorite green monster? The T.V. Series Project Blue Book, running for two seasons, is based off the U.S. Air Force UFO Investigation of the same name. Episode 2 combines fact, fiction and folklore about the Flatwoods Monster into an entertaining and educational episode that any UFO enthusiast will enjoy. Additionally, The 2018 documentary The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear, delves deep into the 1952 incidents and their aftermath.