The Mystery of the Flatwoods Monster

A bight, glowing fireball shooting across the sky

Just prior to the close encounter of the Flatwoods Monster, eyewitnesses reported seeing a bright red fireball shooting across the sky.

(Image credit: Bigstock/Tanayus)
Something Strange Happened in West Virginia

The Flatwoods Monster, or the Braxton County Monster, is a story that has captivated UFO hunters and paranormal investigators for decades now. With seven eyewitnesses who were willing to explain what they saw, the story took root in the imagination of the entire country.

On September 12, 1952, three young boys were playing in a schoolyard in Flatwoods, West Virginia when they saw a bright red light flashing overhead. The boys ran to get their mother, who accompanied them to see where the object might have fallen. Three other boys and the family dog came along.

A Giant, Frankenstein-Like Monster

When the group arrived at the apparent landing site, they were horrified by what they found. A gigantic Frankenstein-like monster with a glowing green face stood near a tree. The monster had a red body and claws for hands. The creature wore long black robes and seem to levitate off the ground. A rank smell filled the air. The people and the dog were terrified and ran back into town.

Their story spread to the local newspapers and was then carried by national newspapers, television and radio. Though many people were skeptical and doubted the account, the original seven eyewitnesses never backed down. They were convinced that the Braxton County Monster was real. The legend grew over time, putting Flatwoods on the map and encouraging visitors to come to town.

Alien and UFO hunters are especially interested in this story, given that the monster appeared after a glowing red fireball was sighted. UFO hunters believe that the Flatwoods Monster was an alien that fell to earth.

Dramatization of the Braxton County Flatwoods Monster and UFO

Seven people claimed to have witnessed a terrifying creature floating off the ground in Flatwoods, West Virginia on the night of September 12, 1952.
(Image license: CC BY-NC 4.0)

Skeptics laughed the story off. They acknowledged that there were several meteors in the area on the night of September 12, 1952, but they disclaimed any notion that a monster emerged from any of them. They claimed that the witnesses were more likely to have seen an owl sitting high in the tree with its wings outstretched. The witnesses stayed true to their original story, though over time, the reports of the monster’s height seem to have increased.

In 1952, even skeptical people were affected with fear due to the Cold War and nuclear tensions with the Soviet Union. People were on edge, and these sightings may have awakened a paranoia in the population. Skeptics looked down on the stories, but local businesses quickly learned to use the sighting to drum up sales in town.

An Unexplained Phenomenon

In the years following the sighting, Flatwoods, West Virginia has continued to be a hotbed for extraterrestrial enthusiasts. Flatwoods even has its own monster museum commemorating the sighting. People come from all over the country to see the original sketches of the creature and associated artifacts.

While the skeptics remain, many people are convinced that the seven eyewitnesses to the Flatwoods Monster were telling the truth. The indelible image of the monster remains in the public consciousness today. It is worthwhile to remain open-minded about this story, since there were seven eyewitnesses and the phenomenon has never been explained. Like most stores that defy explanation, the Flatwoods Monster will most likely live on in local legend for a long time to come.