Friday, August 28, 2009


September 12, 1952
The Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Braxton County Monster or the Phantom of Flatwoods, is an alleged unidentified extraterrestrial or cryptid reported to be sighted in the town of Flatwoods in Braxton County, West Virginia, USA on September 12, 1952. Stories of the creature are an example of a purported close encounter of the third kind. (Wikipedia)

Flatwoods Days 2009
Fri, 07:00PM at Flatwoods-WV
Flatwoods Days 2009 Highlights - Hometown Natural Beauty Contest, Music, Food, Kids Games, Contests, Monster Landing Tours, Vendors. Join us for this 3 day Festival beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday and ending on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.The world-famous "Flatwoods Monster" of West Virginia will be the focus of the 2009 Flatwoods Days 3-day festival.Author and UFO researcher Frank Feschino, Jr. and actual "monster" eyewitness Fred May will be the guests this year.Fun and activities for the entire family.
For more information and a schedule of events please go
Venue Name: Town of Flatwoods
Venue Address: Town of Flatwoods
Venue City: Flatwoods
Venue State: WV

Flatwoods Days 2009

“Green Monster Festival”
For Further Info Contact Larry Bailey 304 550 2426 SEPTEMBER 4-6 2009

To celebrate the 57th Anniversary of the Flatwoods Green Monster, the Flatwoods Days Committee is honored that Frank C. Feschino, Jr., famed author and “Flatwoods Monster” investigator, who has led an 18-year investigation into the incident, will join us.
Honorary guest, Fred May, who eye witnessed the UFO and the famed “Flatwoods Monster” will also join us.

Alfred Lehmberg, a retired Military Aviator and one of the leading observers of the UFO field will join us as a special guest writing as a columnist for “UFO Magazine.”

(UFO CASEBOOK) From the town of Flatwoods, of Braxton County, West Virginia, comes the mysterious tale of a burning craft which fell from the sky, and a mysterious being. The account began in the afternoon of September 12, 1952 when Sheriff Robert Carr and his Deputy Burnell Long received a call from witnesses who had seen the fiery object as it crashed into the earth. The unknown object had crashed on 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, at first frightened, succumbed to their youthful curiosity, and headed for the sight, which was on the property of one Bailey Fisher. They proceeded up the hill, stopping at the house of Kathleen May, excitedly telling her of what they had seen. Kathleen and her two sons joined the search party. Reaching the top of the hill, Mrs. May remarked that,… the night was foggy and there was a mist in the evening air." "… the air had a metallic smell which burned our eyes and noses." A dog was reported to have ran ahead of the group only to return with his tail between his legs, frightened by something. Topping the hill, 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.

The boys also called some of their schoolmates, and when the Sheriff arrived, the scene of the event was full of locals, who had to see the creature for themselves. Reporter A. Lee Stewart, of the "Braxton Democrat," began interviewing witnesses of the unusual event. He would later state that all of the observers were extremely frightened by what they had encountered. Stewart, accompanied by one of Kathleen May's sons, made their way back to where the creature had been spotted. Approaching the sight, Stewart was overwhelmed by an odd smell, but saw nothing unusual. Returning to the exact spot the next morning, Stewart could observe "skid marks" where some object had been.Sheriff Carr believed that the group had actually seen a meteor, or comet come to earth. Reaching the top of the hill, they had seen some local animal's eyes shining through the dark, which they mistook as a monster. This explanation, though plausible, did not explain all of the eyewitness reports. The night of the monster, and the next night brought new revelations of unusual things. A resident of Birch River testified that he had seen a "bright, orange" object circling overhead the Flatwoods area.

A woman and her mother stated that they also had seen the tall creature, about eleven miles from the spot of the first sighting. Well known investigator John Keel would make observations from the Flatwood incident also. Keel found one more couple, who had observed the monster, and had also seen unusual objects over the area. The case was also investigated by naturalist Ivan Sanderson, who took soil samples, and eye witness reports. His findings were not made public. The 1952 events of Flatwoods remain a mystery.

source/credits: Frank Feschino Jr. Author/Illustrator of: The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-up of the Flatwoods Monster. FOR MORE ON THE MONSTER, VISIT THE OFFICIAL FLATWOODS MONSTER WEBSITE:

Flatwoods Monster UFO Event by Stanton T. Friedman
December 15, 2002
About Dot Com

Frank Feschino's telephone call came as a surprise this past summer. We had met at a conference in Florida a few years back when he had mentioned he was researching the Flatwoods Monster UFO event of Sept. 12, 1952. Our pictures were taken together and that was about the end of it. Now Frank, an artist who has done film school as well, was asking if I would help him out by attending the Flatwoods Monster 50th Anniversary event in Flatwoods, West Virginia, the weekend of September 12, 2002. There were more conversations and I agreed as long as they would cover expenses. I hadn't been in West Virginia for years, though I had spoken at West Virginia University in Morgantown.
Frank wanted me to speak on two afternoons at the newly set up "museum" or event center and do some media interviews.

I did some homework reviewing what had been written about the case by Jerome Clark, Donald Keyhoe, Dr. Joe Nickell, and others. Some was impressive. The plan was to drive to Bangor, Maine, fly to Cincinnati and then to Charleston, West Virginia. Frank would pick me up with the mayor and drive the 60 miles on Interstate 79 to a motel in Sutton, next door to Flatwoods. That morning was jinxed. I got on the connecting flight in Cincinnati with a few other passengers. Then we were told to get off, just a small problem with the plane and they were bringing over another aircraft. While waiting there was a major Security Alert and we were all chased out of Terminal A. With all my travelling, this was my first such security adventure -- and I hope my last.

I spent a few hours waiting in line then finally getting through security to find that the plane had left and I was booked on a much later flight and wait listed for a somewhat earlier flight. I tried calling Frank who was of course at the airport in Charleston. I was the last standby let on the flight. Frank was waiting with the Flatwoods Mayor. They hadn't been able to get any useful info from the airline, but somebody who got off my supposed flight said things were a mess. Fortunately, we did arrive in time to take the tour leading a bunch of people who had come for the event to the actual site of the encounter with the monster. Frank led the tour as we walked past the big tree which the monster came from behind. We walked up the hill to the top where the UFO had landed and the gully to which the UFO had migrated. We were there exactly 50 years to the minute after the event.

Knowing the geography was very useful. Since that place at the top was the highest flat area in the region, it was a natural place for a plane in trouble to land. In the gully the UFO was not exposed. These areas were well above the school yard where the youngsters had been playing football when they first spotted. the object. I helped Frank on the tour even noting that a month or two before, while on a radio show out of NY, a former USAF man then based at Andrews AFB, had called saying that not only were there jets scrambled over Washington, DC, during the famous July ,1952, flap of sightings (even over the White House) but frequently for the following year, which would include the time of the Flatwoods case. The base was definitely but quietly concerned about UFOs. The airman noted that in one instance 2 jets had been sent up after a UFO and only one came back.

I spoke without slides both days in the small museum meeting room which had been decorated with Frank's photos and drawings, did several interviews and met with several witnesses including Mrs. May, the key witness, and one of her sons who was there and had also been a witness. It turned out that the Mayor had also seen the object fly over.

Only about a 15' section of the big tree that had been there in 1952 was left. The "Monster" had come from behind the tree. The branch under which the FM had passed was 12 feet above the ground. The monster was floating about a foot or so off the ground (thus being about 10' high) giving off some kind of oily substance which stained clothes of some of the witnesses and whose smell made some of the boys quite ill. It was clear that the monster was not too much like the drawing which had been spread around after being made by an artist for the We the People TV show on which Mrs. May and a local reporter appeared within 2 weeks of the event. It was much more mechanical and had antennas instead of hands.

We heard for the first time a tape that had been made many years earlier of a show hosted by Long John Nebel, the old New York City talk show host who often dealt with UFOs. Nebel interviewed naturalist Ivan Sanderson in depth. Sanderson had gone to West Virginia and talked to many witnesses within a short time of the event. Gray Barker of Clarksburg WV had also interviewed witnesses soon after the event. The local reporter, Mr. Stewart, had interviewed many witnesses and was aware of other sightings in the area that same weekend.

I was truly amazed at how much effort Frank had put into his investigation. He found news clippings from all over the East Coast talking of UFOs and supposed meteors seen that weekend though more likely burning or plasma surrounded UFOs. There are no normal meteor showers Sept. 12-15. Frank dug out the Blue Book files which had been difficult to read. He
managed to locate the head of the National Guard contingent who was at the site within hours of the event, having been instructed by the military to check it out. Colonel Leavitt was with a bunch of troops who spent over night at the site. He managed to get samples of the oily material which were sent off never to be heard from again. Frank, because of his film school training, videotaped extended interviews with many of the key people including both Colonel Leavitt and journalist Stewart before they died.
Of course, there are some who say the whole story was baloney with the kids making up stories to get attention and the so called monster being nothing more than a large barn owl because of the way the top of the monster (seemingly a protective helmet) was shown as being backed by something in the shape of a playing card spade. Naturally in the tradition of noisy negativists, these debunkers did their research by proclamation rather than investigation.

The loudest of the debunkers is Dr. Joe Nickell the chief investigator for the self-anointed Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Dr. Nickell does have three degrees (all in English) and did visit Flatwoods, and writes well. However, he did not talk to the witnesses and did not visit the site hillside, the tree, or the flat area at the top. He has a long, very misleading article in Ron Story's 2000 Encyclopedia. It was just scared youngsters seeing a barn owl and a meteor landing on the hill. A ten foot high owl would really have been something, especially one able to float without moving its wings and without a branch to set on. For a large glowing Meteor to land without making a loud explosive sound and not creating a crater and not leaving any meteorite residue would be truly remarkable and especially when it had to change direction and slowly move across town.

Frank Feschino has done most of his work very quietly and has been almost obsessive about secrecy. I feel particularly privileged to be able to read a copy of his manuscript about the case. I surely hope that a publisher will soon be found and that a motion picture production company is not far behind.

Based on his drawings and comments made by reporters within three days of the events and on testimony by other witnesses from a nearby town where a "monster" was also seen, I think that at least the exterior portion of the monster was mechanical. It made me think of a hazardous material protective device -- perhaps with an Extraterrestrial Biological Entity inside. It seems clear the object was in trouble when it landed. There is far more evidence relating to the Flatwoods Monster event than was the case with regard to that other West Virginia monster, the Mothman.

Although Frank Feschino has already collected a huge number of clippings about the case I would be most happy to receive any that readers can dig up from any newspapers for September 12-16, 1952. They may refer to UFOs or meteors or missing jets seen East of the Mississippi and can be sent to me at POB 958, Houlton, ME 04730 USA. Please indicate the date of the clipping and the name of the newspaper. I will forward them to Frank. The best website to check out is Frank Feschino's at

(WIKIPEDIA) 7:15 PM on the evening of September 12, 1952, two brothers, Edward and Fred May, and their friend Tommy Hyer (ages 13, 12, and 10 respectively) witnessed a bright object cross the sky.

The object appeared to come to rest on land belonging to local farmer G. Bailey Fisher. Upon witnessing the object, the boys went to the home of the May brothers' mother, Kathleen May, where they reported seeing a UFO crash land in the hills. From there, Mrs. May accompanied by the three boys, local children Neil Nunley (14) and Ronnie Shaver (10), and 17 year old West Virginia National Guardsman Eugene 'Gene' Lemon, traveled to the Fisher farm in an effort to locate whatever it was that the boys had seen.

Lemon's dog ran ahead out of sight and suddenly began barking, and moments later ran back to the group with its tail between its legs. After traveling about ¼ of a mile the group reached the top of a hill, where they reportedly saw a large pulsating "ball of fire" about 50 feet to their right. They also detected a pungent mist that made their eyes and nose burn. Lemon then noticed two small lights over to the left of the object; underneath a nearby oak tree, and directed his flashlight towards them, revealing the creature, which is reported to have emitted a shrill hissing noise and to have begun to glide towards them before changing direction and heading off towards the red light. At this point the group fled in panic.

Upon returning home Mrs. May contacted local Sheriff Robert Carr, and Mr. A. Lee Stewert; co-owner of the Braxton Democrat, a local newspaper. Stewert conducted a number of interviews and returned to the site with Lemon later that night where he reported that "there was a sickening, burnt, metallic odor still prevailing". Sheriff Carr and his deputy Burnell Long searched the area separately, but reported finding no trace of the encounter.

Early the next morning; on Saturday September 13, Mr. A Lee Stewart visited the site of the encounter for a second time and discovered two elongated tracks in the mud, as well as traces of a thick black liquid. He immediately reported them as being possible signs of a saucer landing based on the premise that the area had not been subjected to vehicle traffic for at least a year. It would later be revealed that the tracks most likely belonged to a 1942 Chevrolet pickup truck driven by local Max Lockard; who had gone to the site to look for the creature some hours prior to Stewert's discovery.

After the event, Mr. William and Donna Smith; investigators associated with Civilian Saucer Investigation, LA, obtained a number of accounts from witnesses who claimed to have experienced a similar or related phenomena. These accounts included the story of a mother and her 21 year-old-daughter, who claimed to have encountered a creature with the same appearance and odor a week prior to the September 12 incident; the encounter reportedly affected the daughter so badly that she was confined to Clarksburg Hospital for three weeks. A statement from the mother of Eugene Lemon, in which she said that, at the approximate time of the crash, her house had been violently shaken and her radio had cut out for 45 minutes, and a report from the director of the local Board of Education in which he claimed to have seen a flying saucer taking off at 6:30 on the morning of September 13 (the morning after the creature was sighted).

After encountering the creature, several members of the September 12 group reported being overcome with similar symptoms which persisted for some time, which they attributed to having been exposed to the mist emitted by the creature. The symptoms included irritation of the nose and swelling of the throat. Lemon was reportedly the worst affected. He suffered from vomiting and convulsions throughout the night, and had difficulties with his throat for several weeks afterwards.

A doctor who treated several of the witnesses is reported to have described their symptoms as being similar to victims of mustard gas, though such symptoms are also commonly found in sufferers of hysteria, which can be brought on by exposure to a traumatic or shocking event

Conventional explanations

After examining the case, Joe Nickell of the paranormal investigation group CSICOP concluded that the bright light in the sky reported by the witnesses on September 12 was most likely a meteor, that the pulsating red light was likely an aircraft navigation/hazard beacon, and that the creature described by witnesses closely resembled an owl. The latter two of which were distorted by the heightened state of anxiety felt by the witnesses after having observed the former. Nickell's conclusions are shared by a number of other investigators, including those of the Air Force. The Mothman has also been explained by this.

The night of the September 12 sighting, a meteor had been observed across three states, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and had been mistakenly reported as flaming aircraft crashing into the side of a hill at Elk River; approximately 11 miles southwest of the location of the Flatwoods sighting. Three flashing red aircraft beacons were also visible from the area of the sightings, possibly accounting for the pulsating red light seen by the witnesses, and for the red tint on the face of the creature.

The shape, movement, and sounds reported by witnesses was also consistent with the silhouette, flight pattern, and call of a startled barn owl perched on a tree limb; leading researchers to conclude that foliage beneath the owl may have created the illusion of the lower portions of the creature (described as being a pleated green skirt). Researchers also concluded that the witnesses' inability to agree on whether the creature had arms, combined with Kathleen May's report of it having "small, claw-like hands" which "extended in front of it" also matched the description of a barn owl with its talons gripping a tree branch. However, some have asked that if it was an owl then why did the witnesses not see it as such, even after shining a searchlight right at it. Many investigators have countered that this and the creature's supposed 'gliding' can be ascribed to hysteria and the heightened state of tension amongst the witnesses causing them to be panicky and irrational. Alternative explanations included those put forward by the local media; that the September 12 group had witnessed the impact of a meteor which resulted in a man-shaped cloud of vapor, and those of Kathleen May and her sons (recorded some time after the incident); that they had seen some kind of covert government aircraft.

The Legend of the Flatwoods Monster By Buddy Griffin

As the dog days of summer gradually give way to the crisp chill of autumn, September 12 might seem to be just another typical day. For me, the date tickles at the back of my mind, like a teasing memory. Then I recall an eerie significance attached to this date, when an event almost too bizarre to be real rocked the small town of Flatwoods in central West Virginia.

September 12, 2002, marks the 50th anniversary of the reported sighting of an alien creature in the hills of Braxton County. Some dismissed it as a hoax, but those who were actually there at the time have a different perspective. The event has had a profound impact. As a result of it, Flatwoods would earn the nickname "Home of the Green Monster." The frightening tale would be told time and again by those who witnessed the event, and friends and neighbors would speak of it in whispers. The story would live on, passed down through the generations and becoming part of the oral folklore that is so unique to our mountain culture and heritage.

I was five years old when I first learned about the Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Braxton County Monster, the Phantom of Flatwoods, or simply the Green Monster. It was an experience that was burned forever into my mind.

During the early 1950's, my family and I lived in Summersville, and I loved to go on fishing trips with my dad and other relatives. On one of these fishing expeditions late one summer, we spent most of the morning fishing up and down the Elk River, just above Sutton, in Braxton County. Tired and hungry, we retreated to a local restaurant for lunch. This restaurant was located at the "Y" intersection of routes 4 and 19, about half-a-mile south of downtown Sutton. We were seated in a booth near the window, and had just finished ordering our food. We were making small talk with the waitress when she looked at me and commented, "You'd better look out, or that monster will get you."

Why would someone offer that kind of "helpful" advice to a five-year-old kid? Her words, nonetheless, had the desired effect, and I felt the blood drain from my face in terror. I looked to my father for reassurance, or a conspiratorial wink, or a smile indicating that the waitress was kidding. But there were none!

An uncomfortable silence fell over the afternoon dining crowd, and the room took on the stale air of a funeral parlor. In quiet, hushed tones, conversations slowly resumed. My young ears picked up bits and pieces of dialogue laced with words such as "fireball," "spaceship," "red eyes," and "10-feet tall." My heart thumped painfully against my thin chest when I heard the phrase, "Eat you alive!"

Apparently, the fear in my heart was communicated clearly on my face. A burly gentleman leaned around our booth and commented, "Don't worry about the monster getting you, kid. You'll smell it before it gets near enough to grab you." The diners around us erupted into gales of hearty laughter that reverberated around the room for a good two minutes. I looked questioningly at my father, still hoping for some form of reassurance, and he began to explain.

Recently, some people in the nearby community of Flatwoods had an unusual experience, he said. A fireball, it seems, had fallen from the sky. A few residents witnessed this phenomenon and had gone to investigate. When they got there, they discovered a hideous monstrosity with fiery red eyes. Some of the search team reportedly were overwhelmed by a highly noxious odor and ran for their lives. My father finished by saying that he wouldn't let the monster get me.

I felt a little better, but my once-strong interest in bass fishing was now completely overshadowed by a nagging fear of monsters. My thoughts strayed, and I felt a desperate urge to retreat across the mountain to the safety and comfort of home.

That episode in the restaurant left an impression on me so intense, that still today I am repulsed and fascinated by the Green Monster.

The Flatwoods Monster Explained?
Billy's UFOs / Aliens Blog By Billy Booth, Guide to UFOs / Aliens since 2005

Wednesday September 27, 2006
UFO 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 gives 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.

Flatwoods ‘monster’ might be turned into a movie

By Mannix Porterfield

Beckley, W. Va. Register-Herald reporter

June 16, 2007

Move over, Mothman?

If the money comes in to finance a movie, you might not be the only weird West Virginia creature memorialized on film.

An independent filmmaker in Los Angeles says he would gladly handle a movie about the Flatwoods Monster — provided someone can put up sufficient financial backing for the project.

It was back on Sept. 12, 1952, that the 12-foot metallic oddity, emitting a sulfuric odor, horrified a gaggle of children and adults on a summer evening, after a fiery streak was spotted in the sky along a steep hillside in Braxton County.

A legend was born, unleashing torrents of speculation and inspiring a book by Frank Feschino, a star player in a Sept. 7-8 gathering in Charleston devoted to unidentified flying objects.

Using their own funds, Thomas Dickens and his partner, David Burke, are completing a feature-length film titled “Alien Gray Zone-X,” due to be released no later than next summer.

“This could be a great motion picture that could be done that could basically compete with Hollywood films,” Dickens says of a possible Flatwoods movie.

Dickens spoke glowingly of “Alien Gray Zone-X,” using such superlatives as “amazing” and “groundbreaking” to describe it.

“And that’s not just because of the special effects, but there’s a lot of human drama to it,” he said.

“There’s a love story and a lot of great fight sequences that use stunt people trained in fighting. There’s a message to it. Most films, and I don’t want to give away our ending, kill the aliens, but ours is different.”

Given the funds, Dickens would do the same for the Flatwoods Monster.

“I would love to do this movie,” he said. “My partner is interested. However, at this time, we don’t have the budget to do it.”

If he ever gets such a project launched, Dickens wants to work with Feschino as a part of his team for technical advice.

Feschino believes the monster was a space alien, part of a contingent engaged in a fiery sky battle with U.S. Air Force jets off the Atlantic Coast. The author also is convinced that UFOs continue to buzz the Braxton County area, since it is on a direct flight line to the White House and the regional terrain affords ample space in which to conceal craft.

“Basically, we would do everything,” Dickens said. “Write the script. Do pre-production. Design the creatures. Based on a true story, we would use the best research and witnesses to get the idea what this creature would look like. But we have to get a budget. We would be able to do the entire film.”

Dickens hopes to attend the September summit at the Capitol Theater in downtown Charleston, coming less than a week shy of the 55th anniversary of the Monster’s appearance. This also is the 60th anniversary of the Roswell incident.

Promoter Larry Bailey is promising attendees “hard evidence” to show UFOs are piloted by extra-terrestrials.

If a Flatwoods Monster film were made, Dickens said, he would envision some scenes on site, provided landowners are willing to grant access, including a depiction of what Feschino feels were aerial warfare between alien craft and U.S. jets.

In fact, that is the theme of Feschino’s latest book, “Shoot Them Down.”

Richard Gere starred in “The Mothman Prophecies,” a film dedicated to a moth-like creature said to roam an abandoned plateau near Point Pleasant in the area of an abandoned TNT site left over from World War II.

Unlike Mothman, a precursor to the 1967 collapse of the Silver Bridge that claimed 46 lives, no violence has been linked to the Flatwoods Monster.

A 17-year veteran of the film industry, Dickens says he strives to compete with Hollywood productions in quality.

“We don’t want to make anything that looks low-budget,” he said.

“We use people who look very professional. We use people that look like they have universal appeal.”

Bailey says he has attracted so much interest to his UFO gathering that he might expand it by adding a Sunday matinee, since the Capitol Theater has a seating capacity of only 660. As things stand now, Friday’s show runs from 6 to 10 p.m. with Saturday billed from 3 to 7 p.m.

An art contest supervised by Heritage Towers will reward children for the best depictions of UFOs or aliens.

Besides Feschino and Flatwoods eyewitness Freddie May, the two-day event will feature lectures by world-renowned UFO expert Stanton Freidman, who says the government has engaged in a cover-up since the 1947 incident in Roswell, where many believe the Air Force concealed the bodies of aliens after their craft crashed in the New Mexico desert.

Since the first Register-Herald story was published about the gathering, Bailey said he has been besieged by media outlets across the nation, including live radio remotes in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, Calif., Brownwood, Texas, Bridgeport, Conn., and Lincoln, Neb.

“We’re getting contacts from everywhere,” he said.

Eventually, the summit could evolve into an annual event, rivaling that of Roswell, now a mecca for UFO believers, Bailey says.

Skeptics are welcome, but they could find themselves hard put to counter Freidman, a nuclear physicist who has appeared on a number of cable television networks, the promoter says.

“Stanton has won two debates,” Bailey said. “They were with people that were scoffing or trying to tell everyone the UFOs were just meteors. He has some hard evidence that he uncovered under the Freedom of Information Act. That’s some of our hard evidence.”


Author Says UFOs Still Buzzing West Virginia

By Mannix Porterfield

Beckley, W. Va. Register-Herald reporter
September 20, 2006

FLATWOODS -- In the gathering dusk of a warm September evening, a sandlot football game is halted suddenly by a fiery object streaking over the lush, green hillside a short distance away. Startled by what they saw, the five boys engaged in football, accompanied by the mother of one and a second adult, rushed up the mountainside to investigate.

From behind a tree emerged a 12-foot object, emitting a strong and repulsive sulfuric odor. Crackling sounds inside it reminded the witnesses of bacon sizzling in a fry pan. Nothing verbal came from the curious object, but strong lights from the head of it formed a beam directed at the frightened onlookers.

Just to the right on the hillside lay a circular object described later as the standard spaceship. Terrified, the seven scampered down the hill, giving birth to the enduring episode of the Braxton County Monster. Fifty-four years later, the account endures, thanks largely to a book author Frank Feschino Jr. penned after a dozen years of painstaking research. For instance, he was the first to examine the official Air Force Blue Book on UFO sightings, unwrapped only two decades ago after years of official secrecy.

Witnesses never altered their account of the bizarre incident that Sept. 12, 1952, night that put Flatwoods on national news for several days. Based on his in-depth research that embraced "tons of reports" and numerous interviews with witnesses, Feschino is convinced the "monster" was indeed an alien inside a metallic probe, or small shuttlecraft, not unlike the lunar modules used by America astronauts, explaining why it appeared to "float" along the ground. Feschino believes the alien was aboard one of three spacecraft that escaped a dogfight with U.S. Air Force jets over the Atlantic Ocean and landed inside the American border.

The red-and-green "monster," a moniker that has stuck over five decades, appeared to have a medieval cowl over its head, while cloaked in a metallic "skirt." Antennae were visible, but it seemed to be armless.

One of the witnesses, Kathleen May, described the lower part of its attire as "hanging drapes," not surprisingly given the vernacular of the 1950s, but Feschino says this likely was a set of pipes of the shuttlecraft. Another saw it as a suit of armor. To one, the head reminded him of the ace of spades.

Less than half an hour, the "monster" was back inside his craft and took off for parts unknown. Feschino's research took him to articles in weekly newspapers of the era, since many witnesses to UFO sightings hadn't bothered to contact authorities to fill out a detailed, 10-page report provided by the military.

Flatwoods became a household dateline just five years after the Roswell incident, and only a few years after the "shoot them down" directive to U.S. fighter pilots amid the mounting tensions with Russia in that era, he pointed out. If an unknown craft appeared, the author says, the military was commanded to shoot first and ask questions later, rather than risk a pre-emptive nuclear strike by the Russians, based on the revelations of one high-ranking Air Force officer.

"This was at the height of the Cold War," Feschino said, recalling how school children were drilled almost daily in survival, such as getting under desks. "You're concerned for the safety of the country, and what if you picked up something on radar? Is it a Russian with a bomb? Or a UFO? You don't want that on your head."

When radar detected an unfamiliar, jets were scrambled. "Shoot Them Down," in fact, is the title Port Orange, Fla., resident has chosen for a follow-up book on the UFO phenomenon. Likely, the aliens were conducting reconnaissance flights over America, since they were seen at atomic plants and Air Force installations, the author said. This, in turn, gave birth to a theory of galactic spying, or a "cosmic kindergarten," as one expert has described, Feschino pointed out. "There have been tons of sightings up there," the author said. "Braxton County is a hotbed for UFO sightings." Just why remains a puzzle, but the author also says evidence has surfaced that crop circles have surfaced in the area as well.

One of the three spaceships that eluded the fighter jets nearly clipped a passenger train in Wheeling before darting southward and landing in Bluefield, says Feschino. "The one that landed in West Virginia actually flew over Washington half an hour earlier," he says. "I knew that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Flatwoods was the end of the story. I wanted to find out what happened preceding it."

So, the author fetched aerial maps and compiled one that measures about 8 by 10 feet, tediously pinpointed each sighting, then connected the dots. "In all of that night in 1952, there were about 18 and one-half hours of sightings," he says. The Blue Book actually devoted an official case report to the Flatwoods incident, he learned.

"Besides that one page, there were about 200 other pages of UFO sightings that occurred throughout the night," he said. "Flatwoods was not an isolated incident. This was not just one little incident. The one in Flatwoods was only 5 percent of the story."

In fact, he said, the "monster" was tracked as it retreated back across Braxton County that same night. Feschino figures the aliens are still using the backwash of rural Braxton County since it is only 206 direct air miles away from the Capitol and provides dense foliage for concealment in interludes while, for whatever reasons, they are scouting out America.

As the damaged aircraft witnessed that night in 1952 flew over the backwash, parts of it crumbled and fell to the ground. No doubt, he says, many souvenir hunters grabbed them, never telling authorities about their finds.

"There could be hundreds of pieces of shrapnel and pieces in some junk cabins," he said. "We don't know." Feschino says the media falsely portray Americans as evenly divided on Braxton County's incident.

"That's not even close," he said. "I would say it's closer to 90 percent who believe and 10 percent who are skeptical as far as the Flatwoods case is concerned."

Feschino's book, "The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed," was published by West Virginia Book Co. of Charleston, who says sales were "super" when it came out last year, and remain "quite steady."

"Frank does a wonderful job with tying in everything that happened in D.C. and all over the Eastern Seaboard," says owner Bill Clements. "Basically, no one would talk about it. People were ridiculed by the media. Most of them just clammed up. Feschino spent 12 years getting to know people and getting their trust."

To some denizens of Flatwoods, the "monster" is on par with Mothman, the bird-man creature that took up brief residence in Point Pleasant. Does this mean a Flatwoods-based movie could be in the offing? "There have been a lot of offers, but just talking at this point," Feschino acknowledged. If one is made, would Feschino land a role? "I want to be the 'monster,'" he laughed.

Flatwoods Monster as seen in 1968
This is a composite illustration showing what Harriet Plumbrook claims she saw next to our Mothman shrine in 1968. This is a photo of the actual location with an image of the Flatwoods Monster superimposed. Harriet felt that at some point, the creature morphed into a Virgin Mary figure that gave her cosmic teachings of some kind. Two attempts were made on the life of Harriet's father (an engineer working on a top-secret listening station in WV) around the time of her sighting. Harriet found a caseful of heroin in the woods to the right. Apparently fake "FBI men," one resembling Indrid Cold, investigated the incidents. Mothman contactee Timothy Thomas Burnham (who lived in the house next to where Harriet had her sighting), was rumored to have been treated by one of Cold's friends, Dr. Alan Roberts. Roberts was also Woody Derenberger's psychiatrist.

Flatwoods: September 12th
by Loren Coleman on September 12th, 2006

"It looked worse than Frankenstein. It couldn’t have been human." -- Kathleen May.

The smell was like oil on hot metal. You know, that greasy, sweet, slippery odor, slightly burnt and perhaps even appealing. But then more and more of it seemed to be saturating the molecules all around. It filled your nose. It permeated your pores. It made you sick to your stomach. It wouldn’t go away. The creepy feeling was close, something beyond the knowing, beyond understanding.

The dog was sick; the boys ran down the hill. In two days, the dog was dead, and no one thereabouts would ever be the same.

It all began innocently enough. The autumn air clued in the kids to what they might want to do that day. How about a friendly pickup game of football, they asked each other? The date was September 12, 1952. The place, Flatwoods, West Virginia.

The above paragraphs are the beginning to Chapter 1, “Flatwoods,” in my 2002 book, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters.

On that crisp fall day in Flatwoods, Kathleen May, Eugene Lemon, 17, Neal Nunley, 14, Eddie May, 13, Teddie May, 14, Ronald Shaver, 10, Teddie Neal, 10, Tommy Hyer, 10, and Lemon’s big old dog, climbed to the top of a hill and saw a “monster.”

The huge dark figure with glowing eyes and a head “like the ace of spades” blocked their path. About 12 feet high (4 meters), the figure had a reddish face and seemed to “glide” (as cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson wrote) toward the eyewitnesses, who fled in terror.

Sanderson traveled to Flatwoods, investigated the case and came back with details not found in media reports. He found the thing was said to be over six feet tall to the monster’s waist, and as opposed to “red” or “orange” eyes as noted in news stories, the witnesses all agreed the eyes’ illumination seemed to be pale blue in color.

As I quote John Keel in my book, “Eugene Lemon did the rational thing. He fainted dead away…Lemon’s dog was stretched out at the foot of the hill, vomiting.”

Grabbing Lemon’s limp body, the group instantly started doing what the dog had done moments earlier. They all turned tail and started running down the hill as fast as they could. Little Tommy Hyer would later tell Ivan T. Sanderson that he crawled under the fence to get away, but that Kathleen May cleared the six foot gate without opening it.

There are many theories for what the thing may have been, and I go into those in my book, from cryptozoological to zoological, from alien to the skeptical. The reason I am interested in the sighting is because too often stories like it get filed too quickly in some folder as “ufological,” are left there forgetfully, and are never re-reviewed to see if there are any cryptozoological elements to them.

Sanderson went to West Virginia to see if the sighting had any zoological basis, and I thought there’s no reason, on this anniversary date, that you, the readers of Cryptomundo, might not wish to re-visit the essence of this event.

The old Bailey Fisher property still exists largely untouched, just as it did back over 50 years ago in the little town of Flatwoods, off the big interstate next to Sutton. You will pass a huge signpost that acknowledges the event today at the town limits, reading: “Flatwoods, Home of the Green Monster.” The hill where Kathleen May and the young men saw the Monster is easy to find behind a used car lot, but respect that this is private land, posted with no trespassing signs. You can see it from a distance, from the public road, through the trees.

The Phantom of Flatwoods

From Braxton Citizen's News

[A Note From Braxton Citizens' News Publisher Ed Given:] The tales of the Braxton County Monster have fascinated young and old alike for more than forty years. The interest was rekindled recently when a camp known locally as the Green Monster Shack was destroyed by fire. The following is an account formulated by Judy Davis and utilized by her during her tenure as a teacher at Flatwoods Elementary School. The folk lore lesson included drawings and other activities that not only told the story of the now world famous UFO sighting, but taught geography and other circular activities as well. The story is reproduced here for your enjoyment.

Just before dark four boys were playing football on the playground at Flatwoods School. These were local boys and they often played at the school in the evenings. Today would be special, because what was seen this evening would cause people to talk for many years to come. The date was September 12, 1952.

What the boys saw was described as a "shooting star" that fell to earth on the top of the hill adjacent to the playground. The place where it landed was known as the Bailey Fisher property. As children are prone to do, they decided to check it out. On the way up the hill they stopped at the Kathleen May home and Mrs. May, plus her two sons, accompanied the group up the hill. When they got to the top, Mrs. May noticed that "...the night was foggy and there was a mist in the evening air". She also said that "...the air had a metallic smell which burned their eyes and noses".

About the length of a football field away, they all saw an object that was glowing and hissing. Walking closer to check out the "star", they noted that it was about 10 feet around. A few feet away from this glowing object they saw two lights, much like the glow of flashlights, about 12 inches apart. One of the boys had a flashlight and when he turned it on the object a huge creature with "...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" was seen.

As the creature seemed to be floating on air towards them, the group all ran from the hill back to the May home to call the sheriff. The sheriff, Robert Carr, and deputy Burnell Long, were investigating a report of a burning object thought to be a downed airplane, below Gassaway on the Elk River. By the time they got to the Flatwoods scene, much evidence was destroyed by people who had heard the story and had gone to see the "monster" for themselves.

Newspapers sent special reporters to cover the story. Many investigators also came and took soil samples. One well known scientist, Ivan Sanderson, and his assistant, Eddie Schoenenberger, came from New York City. Mr. Sanderson was known for his studies of odd and unusual happenings. With Mr. Schoenenberger, he made a detailed study of the land and soil. Pictures were taken, some of them from airplanes. Mrs. May and the boys were all questioned many times about what they had seen, and the stories were always the same. With all the attention given to this sighting, one would think that a report would have been definite. However, it was never revealed what was found from the scientific tests and the investigation.

The Charleston Gazette
Tuesday September 23, 1952

"Monster" Held Illusion Created by Meteor's Gas

The Braxton County Monster has been described by a local insurance man and amateur astronomer as an illusion created by the remains of a gaseous meteor.

He is Earl Stephens of nearby Belle, whose theory is one of the best offered here on the origin of "the thing" that scared the daylights out of a Braxton County family.

His theory was advanced after Mrs. Kathleen May and Gene Lemon of Flatwoods returned from New York where they described their experience before a nation-wide television audience. It is Stephens' opinion that the meteor, commonly called a fire ball, originated from an electrical discharge in the outer atosphere, forming the shape of a gaseous ball.

Odor of Sulphur
"The odor of sulphur was the tip-off," declared Stephens. "It burns with a green flame accounting for the green apparition the people saw." Stephens said one of the party apparently flashed the light on the gas ball just the instant before it disintegrated into thin air. The reflection of the light on the gases gave it the shape the people described," he said.

The "Monster" story came to light a week ago after reports that Mrs. May, Lemon and four youths ran smack into the thing while searching for a strange object they saw floating into the woods near their home. They described the monster as about 8 feet tall, with red eyes and a green body, topped by a strange pointed mantle.

However, during a thorough search of the area by county officials the next day, only the sulphurous odor remained.

Facts support Theory

Stephens said his theory is backed up by the fact that the earth entered a meteoric stream on August 14. He believes the gaseous body may have been ripped from the Bielas Comet which has been splitting up during recent years, showering the earth with fragments. During the same period several local residents observed a strange luminous body that was believed to have fallen within a 50-mile radius of Charleston.

His gaseous theory is further bolstered by stories of two residents of rural St. Albans, who declared they saw a lighted object float lazily to the ground and disappear. A search of that area by two Gazette reporters failed to turn up anything.


BRAXTON COUNTY MONSTER: The Cover-Up Of The Flatwoods Monster Revealed
by Feschino, Frank C.

ISBN: 189185237X
Item Type: Hardback

The Cover-up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed
By Frank Feschino, Jr. with a forward by Stanton Friedman

On the night of September 12, 1952, a shocked American public sought answers when strange unidentified objects were seen flying through the sky over Washington, D.C., and the eastern United States. Up and down the East Coast, police stations, newspapers, airports, military bases, and the Pentagon were besieged with calls from frantic citizens. One of the strange objects crash-landed on a rural hilltop in Flatwoods, West Virginia. A group of schoolboys saw the object fall to earth. The boys and two adults headed off to look for the object and were confronted by a twelve-foot being that would become known as “The Flatwoods Monster” or “The Braxton County Monster.” The Flatwoods Monster incident and these other events all occurred in just over a 24 hour period. They have never been fully explained, and worse, they have been covered up. These UFO encounters have been hidden, ignored and discounted for more that fifty years. But now, author Frank Feschino reveals the shocking truth about these events.

The Greenbrier Ghost, Vol III - Braxton County Green Monster
By: Dennis Dietz
Softcover, 109 pages

The late Dennis Dietz, in his final manuscript, gathered over forty new ghost stories. This is the third volume to his popular series, The Greenbrier Ghost. Included in this brand new 2003 installment are seven stories about the legendary Braxton County Monster. Rest assured, all the tales are full of Dennis Dietz's characteristic warmth and intrigue, making you want to share it with family, young and old alike.

The Flatwoods Monster Decoded

by: Loren Coleman on November 6th, 2007

The date was September 12, 1952. The place, Flatwoods, West Virginia. On that crisp fall day, Kathleen May (pictured), Eugene Lemon, 17, Neal Nunley, 14, Eddie May, 13, Teddie May, 14, Ronald Shaver, 10, Teddie Neal, 10, Tommy Hyer, 10, and Lemon’s big old dog, climbed to the top of a hill and saw a “monster.” They immediately felt they had to run, as fast as they could, someplace.

The huge dark figure with glowing eyes and a head “like the ace of spades” blocked their path. About 12 feet high (4 meters), the figure had a reddish face and seemed to “glide” (as cryptozoologist Ivan T. Sanderson wrote) toward the eyewitnesses, who fled in terror.

The thing was said to be over six feet tall to the monster’s waist, and as opposed to “red” or “orange” eyes as noted in news stories, the witnesses all agreed the eyes’ illumination seemed to be pale blue in color, in records Sanderson kept.

Eugene Lemon fainted.

Grabbing Lemon’s limp body, the group instantly started doing what the dog had done moments earlier. They all turned tail and started running down the hill as fast as they could. Little Tommy Hyer would later tell Ivan T. Sanderson that he crawled under the fence to get away, but that Kathleen May cleared the six-foot gate without opening it.

The dog who had ran first to the bottom of the hill, vomited, then died two days later.

And the rest is history. Or so it once seemed, before postmodernism fell from the sky. Read on.

The old Bailey Fisher property still exists largely untouched, just as it did back over 50 years ago in the little town of Flatwoods, off the big interstate next to Sutton. You will pass a huge signpost that acknowledges the event today at the town limits, reading: “Flatwoods, Home of the Green Monster.” The hill where Kathleen May and the young men saw the Monster is easy to find behind a used car lot, but respect that this is private land, posted with no trespassing signs. You can see it from a distance, from the public road, through the trees.

Yesterday, I blogged about the implications for cryptozoology, as the term “cryptid” explodes beyond the boundaries of our field. I attended various panels at the Twenty-First Annual Conference of The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts 2007, recently held in Portland, Maine. The event was called SLSA ’07: CODE.

While my concentration was keyed on the cryptozoology and cryptid papers at the conference, I began my first day by attending a four-paper presentation about Gray Barker and Flatwoods. This was a panel that needs to be talked about separately, as the presenters discussed these matters without any hint of cryptozoology in the air. The panelists were mostly researchers from the University of West Virginia (UVW). The panel was entitled “Cyborg Monsters, Literary Hoaxes, and the MiB: from the Saucerian Archives of Gray Barker.” It held some interest for me, as they discussed the research into the Gray Barker archives in Clarksburg, and their view on the Flatwoods Monster. They mentioned many people I had worked with or have known, such as Ivan T. Sanderson, James Moseley, John Keel, and Barker, so the material was firsthand familiar to me.

The individual papers were Sandy Baldwin’s “The Great Hoax: Gray Barker’s saucerian writings and the limit of techno-scientific discourse,” Nick Perich’s “They Knew Too Much: The Men in Black and the Ends of Knowledge,” and Nick Hales’ “How to Make a Myth: The Flatwoods Monster as Cyborg.” All three of those men are from UVW. The last paper was a multimedia show by Brown University’s artist Alan Sondheim, entitled “Gray’s Anatomy: How to make a flying saucer.”

In general, the panel was interesting as I watched how Barker, who is seen as a hoaxster by many ufologists, is now being viewed by these men of academia. I imagined, as I was listening to them, how university professors might study Ray Wallace in future academic research on the history of Bigfoot, placing Wallace front and center as the primary and pivotal figure. A vision of just such an imagined panel flashed, with horror, before me as I was watching this session about promoter and prankster Gray Barker.

Of course, for the entire panel time - almost two hours - they didn’t know I was there, and so I felt like I was an alien in the room watching these intellectual humans giggling their way through a few parts of their papers. It seemed relatively easy to get an academic chuckle by making fun of the contactee stories of George Adamski or of Gray Barker’s prose or poems. The source of the ridicule was not because Barker was a closeted gay, which was acknowledged and moved away from, of course, but because Barker believed in and played games within the wonderful world of “flying saucers.”

I did feel like a spy from the outside (actually even outside of ufology), watching an academic insiders’ gathering having so many laughs at the expense of ufology.

They seemed to understand who Barker was but they decided to elevate him to an even grander status, probably merely as a result of the archives being nearby and thus he is the focus. To hear them, Barker was the center of the universe of “Saucerian” matters (the term of Barker’s they used throughout their papers to talk about ufology).

That’s all well and good, but the remarkably high-brow joking got tiring by the end of their presentations.

Because these scholars live with Gray Barker’s archives in their own backyard, in the library at Clarksburg, West Virginia, they are thoroughly documenting and studying it, from their point of view. I’m actually glad they are, and I can have a bit of a sense of humor about all of this if the end result is good scholarship, which it is obviously their goal.

Back to Flatwoods. All of the four presentations were worthy of my close awareness, but I wanted to pay special attention to the Flatwoods one.

Nick Hales’ abstract of his paper, “How to Make a Myth: The Flatwoods Monster as Cyborg,” follows:

Gray Barker adroitly integrated a host of diverse texts into what constitutes an ultimate postmodern novel/anti-novel, the Gray Barker archive: a hodge podge of correspondences, newsletters, sci-fi stories, photographs, alien seeds, amateur metaphysical musings, folklore, etc., most of which have the alien Other as a central thematic. West Virginia, where he resided and which Barker dubbed “the mini Bermuda triangle,” was indeed a rich resource for Barker’s vivid fictive and myth-making imagination.

West Virginia’s location at the margins of American cultural and economic life lent itself to a production of strange folklore texts: mysterious swamp gas light shows, ghost stories, monsters and alien abductions. One of the “texts” from which Barker drew is the Flatwoods Monster encounter of September 12, 1952 in Braxton County WV. In this paper I will look at the way the Flatwoods Monster emerged as a text both at the local level as folklore and at the national level as one of series of alien encounters during the Cold War.

I’m particularly interested in the way Barker folded the Flatwoods monster myth into his extant archive and the way he helped to develop and define the myth. The Flatwoods Monster emerged as a strange hybrid between monster, alien, and rocket ship. What is most intriguing about the Flatwoods Monster is just how early, like other alien abduction texts, it prognosticated the posthumanist transformation ushered in by the Cold War.

The Flatwoods Monster was a kind of cyborg Other developed as folklore before the formal text of the cyborg was produced in the early 1960s. - Nick Hale, “How to Make a Myth: The Flatwoods Monster as Cyborg,” SLSA ’07: CODE, November 1, 2007.

Hale’s paper, due to the pivotal role of Gray Barker in the beginning of the history of the Flatwoods Monster, was intriguing to watch and hear unfold. Hale said several things I have a different point of view about, such as implying that Ivan T. Sanderson called West Virginia a “vile vortex” or that, in some way, Kathleen May is responsible for the shift in drawings of the Flatwoods Monster or even of the shifting stories that you can read in each new writer’s retelling. These “narrative vortices,” Hale said, were part of the moving landscape of Barker’s world. (I don’t recall Sanderson saying West Virginia was a vortex, but he may have; I certainly know that eyewitness stories shift due to editors, authors, and media changes in the accounts, especially in the case of the Flatwoods scenario. Is that Kathleen May’s fault, as implied by Hale?)

One solid area of agreement I have with Hale’s presentation was his dissection of the recent complete rewriting and revisionistic history of the Flatwoods Monster into some kind of robotic cyborg, as a tool of a vast governmental conspiracy. Hale noted that the level of paranoia and revisions of the original story have been extreme in recent years, traveling far from anything in the archives, the historical record or the eyewitnesses’ sightings.

The crowd of 25 or so were quiet after the presentation, and no one wanted to ask questions or respond. So I stood up, and was allowed to be a “respondent.” I didn’t mention the vortices subject, mostly because I forgot it for the moment to mention the following points.

I briefly identified myself, and set out to share a little information that countered the incorrect statements of historical fact that were made in their talks:

1) They were unaware of the reality of Carlos Allende, who was an actual historical figure named Carl Allen, a con man who created the Philadephia Experiment fiction. The presenters appeared to wish to pin many of Allende’s activities on the publisher/hoaxster Barker;

2) Allende most assuredly was the source of the notations in the Vero edition, not Barker;

3) Barker did not “cause” M. K. Jessup’s suicide in 1959, by pushing him over the edge; Jessup’s own depression and personal problems apparently did;

4) Barker superimposed the drawing of the Flatwoods Monster on a photograph of a WV site to show what the incident would look like in situ (a typical technique in studying ufological events), not to mix mediums to confuse realities;

5) I pointed out that the papers ignored the overt influence that the subculture of being gay had on Barker’s life and his pornographic writings, as many of the jokes with James Moseley were an artifact of that; the presenters were unaware that rumors had circulated around George Adamski that he had seduced young boys; and finally,

6) The Flatwoods incident did not happen in a vacuum as there were several monsters and “meteorites” seen around West Virginia that night and the following one.

During my comment on the photograph, Alan Sondheim brought up - I thought out-of-the-blue - the fact that a local informant had told the researchers that he was the source of the Flatwoods Monster, and it was all a hoax. Of course, I pointed out that anyone, years later, can always step forward and claim a hoax for their 15 minutes of fame. Sondheim felt that was a dismissal, and the claimant wasn’t out for glory.

I found our exchange amusing. Yes, Sondheim might have been right about my counter, but what did his point have to do with the photo? We were engaging in an intellectual academic debate that hardly had anything to do with any realities. We quickly caught ourselves, I sat down, and then Alan asked if I had any more comments.

I mentioned I’d talk to them later, after they dismissed the panel.

I spoke to Sandy Baldwin privately soon afterwards, and we promised to email each other more about their project.

The next day, as it turned out, I gave the team a copy

of my 2002 Mothman book to assist them with some insider-ufology clarifications. In Chapter 1, “Flatwoods,” of the book, for example, I document that the story includes several similar sightings of “monsters” in that part of West Virginia. Indeed, Flatwoods does exist in a context, which is historically, geographically, sexually, and culturally significant. These scholars know that, but seemed to merely need to keep looking beyond Clarksburg to get more of the code. Sometimes the SLSA folks can be strangers in a strange land too.

The SLSA ’07: CODE papers on Barker and Flatwoods were good, and like the souvenirs I used throughout this blog to illustrate it, the cultural impacts, interpretations, and implications of the Flatwoods Monster today go far beyond West Virginia.

(From Saucer Smear) The January 2003 issue of Fate Magazine was a memorable article in the "Fifty Years Ago" column - namely the one written for their Jan. 1953 issue by the late Gray Barker, concerning the Flatwoods, West Virginia Monster. The long-winded title is "The Monster and the Saucer: The huge shape with the weirdly glowing eyes was seen by seven witnesses. Was it an alien life form?" Of course our answer would be, "Probably not", but then again, who knows? The article was probably reprinted at this time because of the Flatwoods Monster convention which took place in September of last year, as reported in "Smear".

All we know for sure is that this piece in Fate was Gray Barker's first venture into reporting publicly on the Unknown. He lived just a few miles from Sutton, in Clarksburg, W.Va. - and in fact his boyhood home had been even nearer the town of Flatwoods. From this sensational first article, Barker went on to publish "The Saucerian" UFO magazine for many years, which briefly merged with our old "Saucer News" around 1970, Barker also published dozens of off-beat books through his Saucerian Press, and he even had a best-seller of his own with a real publisher, in 1956, called "They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers".

Barker Was, in a way, a protégé of Ral Palmer, who was a co-founder of Fate, though both these outstanding men are now nearly forgotten. It is doubtful that these two giants of the off-beat world ever actually met each other, though they worked closely together for a very long time.

Flatwoods, though now barely remembered, does have one important thing over Roswell, New Mexico: Something sensationally strange really did happen there, which really scared the %#@& out of these country folks. We will never know for sure what it was!...

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