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What is a Flatwoods Monster? Stories about monster sightings have been rampant for a long time already. Some have even established their own niche followings, such as the Loch Ness Monster. Another entity that has been the subject of much discussion and debate is the Flatwoods Monster. What is a Flatwoods Monster? The Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Braxton County Monster or the Phantom of Flatwoods, is a monstrous creature that was reportedly sighted in the town of Flatwoods in Braxton County, West Virginia, on the dusk of September 12, 1952. In this article, you’ll learn what is a Flatwoods Monster?

The story went like this:

What is a Flatwoods Monster? Brothers Edward and Fred May and their friend Tommy Hyer allegedly saw a bright red object cross the sky and touch down on the property of G. Bailey Fisher, a local farmer. They then went to the Mays’ mother, Kathleen. Kathleen, along with the boys and couple of other town children, Neil Nunley and Ronnie Shaver, decided to investigate. For safety, they were accompanied by Gene Lemon, a West Virginia National Guardsman.

Upon reaching the top of the hill where Nunley had said to see a pulsing red light, what they saw instead was what they could only describe as a monster. Lemon reportedly saw a tall “man-like figure with a round, red face surrounded by a pointed, hood-like shape.” What is a Flatwoods Monster? Though descriptions have varied in subsequent reports, one thing remains certain: whatever they saw surely struck fear in their hearts. “One of the boys peed his pants,” stated John Gibson, a Flatwoods resident who was a high school boy during the time of the sighting.

The Flatwoods Monster has not been seen since then

What is a Flatwoods Monster? Skeptics have found explanations for the sighting. For instance, they say that Kathleen May’s description of the creature fits that of a barnyard owl. It had “small, claw-like hands,” she said. The figure also released a hissing, hooting sound, consistent with the call of a barnyard owl as well. The enlarged appearance must have been a trick of the shadows as well as the surrounding foliage.

Flatwoods locals call the creature the Green Monster, and their town sign proudly declares, “Welcome to Flatwoods, Home of the Green Monster.” But such casualness when talking about the monster didn’t come to pass so easily.

The story of the Flatwoods Monster got picked up by local news, and even by a national radio station and big papers across the US. Kathleen May and her boys even got to talk about the experience to CBS. It stirred a lot of fear in a lot of the townspeople back then. Many others expressed doubt, and they were even reticent about being marginally associated with the monster. There came a point where residents became tired of hearing questions about the monster, especially since there is almost no information about it in the first place. What little information there is remain shrouded by doubts and vagueness. The Flatwoods Monster is an urban legend, a local folklore, fun to talk about only during Halloween.

Tourism Fad

The change in tune regarding the Flatwoods Monster’s popularity is in part the results of the efforts made by Andrew Smith, Director of the Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Smith saw potential in the marketability of the monster as a point of tourism in the county. He drew inspiration from their neighbor town Point Pleasant’s Mothman, which enjoyed a lot of affection from both its residents and tourists.

In line with his vision, Smith’s bureau set to work for the creation and installation of five 10-foot-tall chairs that would act as monuments for the Flatwoods Monster. Each chair, shaped after the monster, was uniquely painted by Smith himself. The chairs were placed in five key locations within Flatwoods. To his delight, the community loved the displays, and even people from neighboring communities started flocking to the monument.

Mothman Mascot

Emboldened by this success, Smith contacted the same company that created the Mothman mascot for Pleasant Point and had one made for the Flatwoods Monster. He named the mascot Braxxie, a seven-foot-tall replica of the monster that made its debut in the Braxton County booth during West Virginia’s tourism fair in 2017. Smith was pleased that people flocked to Braxxie, thereby confirming his belief that this was the right direction to which their town’s tourism should be steered.

Since then, the Flatwoods Monster enjoyed a far more positive reception from the townspeople. The Visitor’s Bureau even opened an official Flatwoods Monster Museum, featuring a collection of memorabilia including ceramic Monster Lamps that are sold as merchandise. These Monster Lamps are 12-inch ceramic Green Monster figures sold for $30 per piece.

Of course, there is still a lingering shadow that the Flatwoods Monster’s popularity can’t quite repel. Even now, the hill atop which it was said to be seen is still close to the public, and the property owners refuse to change their minds.  

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