On September 12, 1952, several residents of Flatwoods, West Virginia, reported seeing a bright object soar across the sky and land on a nearby farm. Terrified but intrigued, Edward May, Freddie May, Neil Nunley, and Tommy Hyer went to discover what it could be, joined by Edward and Freddie’s mother, Kathleen May, and National Guard member Eugene Lemon. As the group came down the hill onto the farm, one of them shined a light on what could only be explained as a tall, “man-like” figure with a round, red face surrounded by a spade-shaped “hood,” hissing at them in anger. And that’s how the legend of the Flatwoods Monster began.
The boys told their families what they had seen, and reported the strange sight to local authorities, but a search of the farm turned up no evidence of any monsters or extraterrestrial visitors. But that same year, several other locals reported encounters with a similarly strange being.
Stories of the Flatwoods Monster, which was also as the Braxton County monster, Braxie, or Phantom of the Flatwoods, started to spread around West Virginia and even more widely throughout the country, as reports made the national news. Investigations have said that the bright flash the boys saw was likely a meteor shooting across the sky, and the flashing red light from an airplane or navigation beacon. Though the creature was not seen again after 1952, its tale became cemented in local lore.
Today, you can visit the Flatwoods Monster Museum in Sutton, West Virginia, and get the whole story from the good folks at the Braxton County Visitors Center or you can head north on Highway 19 to Flatwoods and get a picture in one of their giant Monster Chairs located around the village.
Know Before You Go
The Flatwoods Monster Museum is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check the website for more information.