The Flatwoods Monster: West Virginia’s Mysterious Encounter Explored

In 1952, a small town in West Virginia became the center of attention when a group of locals reported an encounter with a mysterious creature that would later be known as the Flatwoods Monster.

This strange entity, also referred to as the Braxton County Monster or Phantom of the Flatwoods, left the witnesses terrified and has since become a legend within the state and beyond.

As we delve into the history and sightings of the Flatwoods Monster, we’ll explore the fateful night of September 12, 1952, when a group of children and a local mother witnessed a bright object streak across the sky, landing in a nearby field.

The ensuing encounter with the purported 10-foot-tall creature would sear itself into the memories of those present and capture the imagination of the public for decades to come.

Our journey will not only focus on the firsthand accounts of this extraordinary encounter but also on the lasting impact the Flatwoods Monster has had on the community and its place in the wider context of American folklore.

The First Sighting

The small town of Flatwoods in West Virginia became the center of attention due to this strange encounter experienced by a group of locals.

The infamous sighting of the Flatwoods Monster would soon spark interest and curiosity throughout the nation.

Two brothers, Edward and Fred May, along with their friend Tommy Hyer, witnessed a bright object crossing the sky and landing on the property of local farmer G. Bailey Fisher.

The boys, filled with excitement and intrigue, rushed to the home of Kathleen May, where they recounted their extraordinary experience.

Kathleen May, the boys, and a small group of others decided to investigate the site where the object had reportedly landed.

As they ventured into the woods, they were greeted by a 10-foot-tall creature with glowing eyes and a noxious odor.

The creature, later dubbed the “Flatwoods Monster,” was described as having a spade-like head and a metallic, almost robot-like appearance.

Witnessing this bizarre being, the group immediately fled in fear for their safety.

The various accounts of this encounter gained significant attention, both locally and nationwide, resulting in widespread speculation and debate about the true nature of the Flatwoods Monster.

Subsequent sightings and other alleged encounters with the creature further fueled the mysterious legend surrounding this bizarre entity.

Description of the Flatwoods Monster

Physical Appearance

When discussing the Flatwoods Monster, it’s essential to consider its unique and eerie physical appearance.

Sightings describe the creature as being approximately 7 to 17 feet tall, varying from one account to another.

The most notable feature is its large, spade-like head, which seems to be fashioned into a cowl shape with distinct, glowing red eyes.

As we dive further into its physical attributes, we find that the monster has a dark, greenish, metallic-like body with a silk-like or shiny appearance.

Witnesses have described its limbs as long, slender, and claw-like, giving it an alarming presence.


While no extraordinary abilities have been attributed to the Flatwoods Monster, the sighting that night does suggest some unusual qualities.

The creature’s glowing red eyes have captured the imagination of those who hear its story, but there are no reports of the eyes being more than that…just eyes.

Additionally, its metallic body, along with its reported connection to the bright object seen streaking across the sky, leaves us feeling like there’s more to the story.

In summary, the Flatwoods Monster intrigues us with its alien-like body, strange attributes, and puzzling behavior.

Though the story remains embedded in West Virginia folklore, the Flatwoods Monster’s mysteries continue to inspire curiosity and speculation.

Possible Explanations

In our efforts to understand the mysterious sightings of the Flatwoods Monster, several possible explanations have been proposed.

In this section, we will explore three sub-theories which include misidentified animals, hoaxes and pranks, and the extraterrestrial hypothesis.


One theory suggests that witnesses may have encountered a misidentified human. For example, a person at a distance could have been misinterpreted as the monster, especially when viewed in low light or from a distance.

Another possible explanation is that people saw a bear or some other large mammal, which was then exaggerated and misinterpreted due to fear and the power of suggestion.

In the years since the sightings, no conclusive evidence has surfaced to definitively identify the creature as a known animal species.

Hoaxes and Pranks

Another possibility is that the sightings of the Flatwoods Monster were the result of hoaxes or pranks.

Given the widespread interest in UFOs and alien encounters at the time, it’s not unthinkable that some individuals may have used this fascination to stage elaborate hoaxes or practical jokes.

With the passage of time, it’s also possible that the original witnesses inadvertently exaggerated or embellished their stories, leading to a larger-than-life legend.

While some may argue that the witness accounts are too consistent to be mere fabrications, this theory remains a possibility that cannot be ruled out entirely.

Extraterrestrial Hypothesis

Lastly, the extraterrestrial hypothesis posits that the Flatwoods Monster was indeed an alien creature.

The sighting’s proximity to a supposed UFO landing lends credence to this idea for some.

Believers in this theory argue that the creature’s bizarre appearance, along with its reported location, supports the notion that it may have originated from somewhere beyond our planet.

However, no concrete evidence has been presented to confirm the extraterrestrial hypothesis, and it remains a subject of speculation and debate among UFO enthusiasts and skeptics alike.

Each of these possible explanations carries its own merits and limitations, but without definitive evidence or a clear consensus, the truth behind the enigmatic Flatwoods Monster remains a tantalizing mystery.

Impact on the Town of Flatwoods

In this section, we will discuss the effect that the Flatwoods Monster sighting had on the small town in West Virginia.

From local reactions to media coverage, it is clear that the event left a lasting impact on both the inhabitants and the legend surrounding this mysterious creature.

Local Reactions

The encounter with the Flatwoods Monster left a lasting impression on the townspeople.

As word of the sighting spread, residents became more fearful of the unknown entity, but at the same time, it sparked curiosity and fueled the small town’s interest in the paranormal.

The story of the Flatwoods Monster has been passed down from generation to generation, becoming a part of the town’s history and culture.

In Flatwoods, the creature has become a source of pride and inspiration, as evidenced by the lasting impact of the event.

Media Coverage

News of the strange encounter soon reached beyond the town, drawing media attention from local and national sources.

Soon after the sighting, newspapers and radio stations reported on the story, adding to its growing legend.

The incident further fueled interest in UFOs and unexplained phenomena at the time.

The Flatwoods Monster has inspired books, documentaries, and even an episode in the popular television series “The X-Files,” which featured a creature called the “Mothman.”

Today, the Flatwoods Monster continues to be a popular topic in the world of the paranormal, with discussions taking place in various mediums and platforms, such as online forums and podcasts.

The mystery surrounding this creature has cemented it as an enduring legend, and its resonance can still be felt more than half a century after the initial sighting.

Later Sightings and Reports

In the years following the initial encounter with the Flatwoods Monster in 1952, there have been sporadic reports and later sightings of the creature around Flatwoods, West Virginia.

Some witnesses have described seeing a similar spade-shaped head, glowing green face, and towering height in various locations across the region.

These later sightings have fueled curiosity and speculation about the Flatwoods Monster’s origin and purpose.

There have been accounts of the creature appearing close to electrical equipment or emitting a strange, high-pitched sound, leading some to theorize that the monster could be connected to extraterrestrial activity or advanced technology.

While the Flatwoods Monster remains an enigma, stories of its continued presence in West Virginia have made their way into pop culture and inspired a variety of media, including books, documentaries, and even video games.

The local community has also embraced the legend, with the creation of the Flatwoods Monster Museum and an annual festival called the Flatwoods Monster Days, which celebrates the creature and its impact on the area.

Despite numerous later sightings and the resulting attention, no concrete evidence or explanation for the Flatwoods Monster has been found.

The creature’s elusive nature has only added to its intrigue, and we can’t help but speculate as we continue to explore the mysterious events that have captivated the people of West Virginia and beyond.

The Flatwoods Monster in Popular Culture

Over the years, the Flatwoods Monster has become a significant part of popular culture, both in West Virginia and beyond.

We can find references to this enigmatic creature in various forms of media, including television shows, movies, and even video games.

Interest in the creature has not waned since it was first sighted in 1952.

The Flatwoods Monster has also made its way into various forms of entertainment.

For example, it has made appearances in popular television shows, such as Monsters and Mysteries in America and Ancient Aliens.

Furthermore, the cryptid has been featured in video games like Fallout 76 and Cryptids Island on Poptropica, allowing players to encounter the creature in a virtual environment.

In addition to these appearances, the Flatwoods Monster has inspired countless works of art, literature, and music.

The tale has captivated the imaginations of many creative individuals, resulting in a diverse range of works that continue to expand the legacy of this intriguing creature.

All in all, the Flatwoods Monster has become an enduring part of popular culture and a fascinating subject of investigation for those interested in the unknown.

This truly enigmatic being has left a lasting impact on not only the small town of Flatwoods, West Virginia but also on the broader cultural landscape.


In our exploration of the Flatwoods Monster, we delved into the history and sightings of this mysterious creature that reportedly appeared in the small town of Flatwoods, West Virginia, in 1952.

We examined eyewitness accounts, descriptions of the entity, and potential explanations for what the witnesses may have seen.

Over the years, various theories and explanations have been put forth regarding the identity of the Flatwoods Monster, ranging from misidentifications of wildlife to potential mechanical explanations.

Despite numerous investigations and extensive speculation, however, the true nature of the creature remains elusive.

Ultimately, the Flatwoods Monster has left an indelible mark on the town of Flatwoods and the broader world of cryptozoology.

As we look back on this extraordinary event, we are reminded of the sense of wonder and mystery that often accompanies the unknown, and our continued fascination with the unexplained phenomena that populate our world.

Chris Beckett

Chris Becket is an author and amateur "cryptozoologist" who is obsessed with finding the truth about Bigfoot and other mysterious creatures. He's spent countless hours (and probably a few too many dollars) studying and investigating reports of strange animals and phenomena, and he's convinced he's an expert on everything from Bigfoot to the Yeti.

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