One of the most famous "monster" cases associated with a UFO occurred in 1952 in Braxton County, West Virginia. Known as the "Flatwoods Monster," the case has stood fairly well on its own merits until recently. The story unfolds on September 12, when Sheriff Robert Carr and his Deputy Burnell Long received a call from witnesses who had seen a fiery object as it crashed into the earth. The unknown object had crashed near the Elk River, south of Gassaway. The natural assumption was that an airplane had faltered, and fallen from the skies. Not long afterward, a second unusual sighting was made by some school buddies at the Flatwoods School. Shortly before nightfall, four boys playing football saw something fall on a hill not far from the school playground. The boys went to the nearby house of Kathleen May, and she and her two sons joined the trip to find out what the object was. Reaching the location, they could see a "glowing, hissing" object about 10 feet in diameter, about 100 yards away. Now completely dark, the night was shattered by two lights, about a foot apart. One of the boys had a flashlight, and when he turned it on the two distant lights, a creature ten foot tall appeared...a bright red face, bright green clothing, a head which resembled the ace of spades, and clothing which, from the waist down, hung in great folds. Suddenly, the creature began to "float" toward them, sending the group running back down the hill to the May house, where they quickly called the Sheriff. Soon, a local reporter joined the search, and accompanied by a small group of researchers, he found "skid marks," and was stunned by a "sickening odor." Others had seen the unknown flying object, yet there was never a definitive outcome of the case.
The Flatwoods Monster
by Joe Nickell give us a completely different look at the facts above. This is a lesson in how observations by eye witness accounts can be faulty. Nickell tell us that the UFO observed by the witnesses was actually a meteor. The fireball was seen over three states, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The light from a nearby plane beacon will explain the witness accounts of a red, flashing object at the top of a hill. The witnesses, looking for an extraterrestrial explanation, had temporarily forgotten the well known beacon. The skid marks of the alleged UFO were explained by a local teenager who, hearing all the commotion of the night, decided to see for himself, and took his pickup to the scene, burning out and leaving the marks. The nauseous smell and the sickness relating to the incident can easily be explained by the type of grass that grows in the area, and the over-emotional response to the activity of the night. Now that only leaves the monster to explain. Obviously, those who saw the monster were caught up in the moment, and over-estimated the size of the entity. The red glowing eyes, and the wings hanging down were nothing more than a large owl who happened to be perched on a tree in the direction of the UFO, which, as you may now recall, was a meteor. This explanation, my friends, is called debunking. Although the Flatwoods monster incident has never been adequately explained, I just can't agree with all of the explanations above.
(Image © Fred May)