Throwback Thursday: Flatwoods Monster 1952

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Flatwoods Monster Image One
Image Credit: ESP Realm Blog

Sixty-seven years ago, today, Flatwoods, WV, in Braxton County, was the site of a reported encounter with a scary entity. At 7:15pm:

[May] brothers Ed, 13, and Freddie, 12, had been playing in their schoolyard with their 10-year-old friend Tommy Hyer. After noticing a pulsing red light streak across the sky and crash on a nearby farm, the three youngsters ran to grab the Mays boys’ mother, then high-tailed it up that hill to check out where the light had landed. A few other boys, one with a dog, showed up, too.

Flatwoods Monster Image Two
Image Credit:
Original drawing by a New York sketch artist.

They ran back down, in sheer and credible terror.

“Seven Braxton County residents on Saturday reported seeing a 10-foot Frankenstein-like monster in the hills above Flatwoods,” a local newspaper reported afterward. “A National Guard member, [17-year-old] Gene Lemon, was leading the group when he saw what appeared to be a pair of bright eyes in a tree.”

Lemon screamed and fell backward, the news account said, “when he saw a 10-foot monster with a blood-red body and a green face that seemed to glow.” It may have had claws for hands. It was hard to tell because of the dense mist.

The story made the local news, then got picked up by national radio and big papers all over the country […]. Mrs. May and the National Guard kid ended up going to New York to talk to CBS […].

But, rattled eyewitnesses weren’t the only reason the story took off. Americans were truly frightened in 1952, made anxious by atomic bombs and what seemed like a new world made by mad scientists. Even LIFE magazine, probably the most popular publication in the nation at the time, had, just a few months earlier, published a seemingly credible trend story about flying saucers. Spook stories sprout best when the seed lands in a bed fertile with anxiety and that was 1952 Cold War America […]. [I]t prompted a U.S. Air Force UFO inquiry, part of a project called Project Blue Book that dispatched a handful of investigators around the country to look into such claims.

Flatwoods Monster Image Three
Photo Credit: &
Flatwoods Monster Museum

One writer who stoked the story (a lot) was Gray Barker, a Braxton County native who investigated the monster and, then, became one of the more prominent UFO myth makers, ever. It was Barker who wrote about Flatwoods, then introduced the mythology of government “Men in Black” after he heard that two Air Force investigators had “reportedly” shown up in Flatwoods, posing as magazine writers.

Flatwoods Monster Image Four
Photo Credit: &
Flatwoods Monster Chair

People grin about it now and take Monster souvenir money from hundreds of Monster tourists every week. But, it scared people plenty back then […]. “One of the boys peed his pants,” said John Gibson, a high-school freshman at the time, who knew them all. “Their dog (Rickie) ran with his tail between his legs.”

To this day, tourists come out of their way to Flatwoods to visit its monster museum and buy Green Monsters and t-shirts. Freddie and Ed are still alive and, still standing by their story. They are in their late 70s now. They are no longer talking to reporters. They got tired after 100,000 interviews […]. [T]he brothers did appear in a recent documentary about the Flatwoods Phantom.

[The Air Force] concluded that bright, but common, meteors had streaked across the eastern U.S. at dusk that night, seen by many in Baltimore, among other places. And, the monster with the claw-like arms? Likely an owl, they said.

And, so, the Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Green Monster, [or] the Phantom of Flatwoods, who was reportedly seven feet tall, or 10 feet tall, or 13 feet tall, or 17 feet tall, became that most peculiar American invention…a legend emblazoned on t-shirts. [Source]

Flatwoods Monster Episode on The History Channel’s Project Blue Book

28 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: Flatwoods Monster 1952

    bottomlesscoffee007 said:
    September 13, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Man, that’s a cool story

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 13, 2019 at 3:10 pm

      I stumbled across this a year ago when I was looking for stories. At the time, I couldn’t find much about it. I wound up doing a piece on the SS Central America.

      This go-round, it seemed like the data was everywhere.

      Every state has stories & legends. That is what gave Eric Kripke the desire to start Supernatural.

      Glad you enjoyed.

        bottomlesscoffee007 said:
        September 13, 2019 at 3:17 pm

        Really? I’ve seen the show a few times. I had no idea it was based on real life encounters.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 13, 2019 at 3:39 pm

          Supernatural? Yeah. Kripke built the show around urban legends but, interestingly enough, never covered this specific event. Kripke & later show runners stayed away from UFO lore, mostly. They did one or two UFO themed episodes but, they poked fun. They didn’t develop the stories for that genre as a real story.

          Have you seen any of History Channel’s Project Blue Book?

            bottomlesscoffee007 said:
            September 13, 2019 at 7:40 pm

            I’ve never heard of Blue Book

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              September 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

              The show or the actual PROJECT?

                bottomlesscoffee007 said:
                September 13, 2019 at 3:41 pm

                Neither, I have never heard of Project Blue Book

                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  September 13, 2019 at 3:51 pm

                  Christ on a cracker, Coffee! I thought EVERYONE knew about that. The Air Force closed it in 1969. It was their “attempt” to investigate UFO sightings & determine if they were real or not. That was the notion they put forward. In actuality, they spent most if their time debunking & hiding evidence. If a sighting was questionable, they could rip it apart, easily. The REAL SHIT? They threatened & silenced many people.

                  When they closed it, they claimed there was no evidence of UFOs despite 1000s upon 1000s of testimonials.


                    bottomlesscoffee007 said:
                    September 13, 2019 at 4:06 pm

                    Wow, very interesting. I will say though that now the government seems to be at it again, they say they will release information about UFOs. So, the same government that hid it, is now going to tell us what is true and what is not true.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 13, 2019 at 4:16 pm

                      Please. There will NEVER be true disclosure. Coming clean would rock society to its core. Governmental involvement & cover-ups would be the LEAST of the problems. Full disclosure, meaning absolute truth, would destroy religion. Can you imagine the backlash? The violence? Way too many people have a vested interest in people remaining ignorant.

                      If people only knew our true history…OMG.

                      bottomlesscoffee007 said:
                      September 13, 2019 at 6:34 pm

                      These are individual choices that only individuals can make for themselves as individuals.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 14, 2019 at 2:09 am

                      What? Seeking truth? You lost me, sweetie…

                      bottomlesscoffee007 said:
                      September 14, 2019 at 9:29 am

                      More or less, I believe people must believe for themselves. Before truth can be realized for the individual, they must succumb to being humble, so when the truth is revealed, they will be able to see it themselves, without attempting to put their own personal spin on it.

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 14, 2019 at 2:10 pm

                      Rots a ruck with that one. In today’s climate of identity politics, full disclosure would bring about MORE people kneeling in the streets, screaming, a-la the 2016 election. Humility is in short supply these days. So is common sense.

                      bottomlesscoffee007 said:
                      September 14, 2019 at 2:12 pm

                      It’s the way it has always been Victoria. Society and civilization never changes. It’s all about the Benjamin’s baby!

                      The Hinoeuma responded:
                      September 14, 2019 at 3:00 pm


            bottomlesscoffee007 said:
            September 13, 2019 at 7:41 pm

            I don’t generally take the history channel too seriously, their owned by the same people that own A&E, Bravo, CNN, TNT, TBS…and many more

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              September 13, 2019 at 3:45 pm

              That’s because six multinational companies own EVERYTHING we watch. That’s why I like citizen journalism & alternative information. You have to dig but, it’s there.

    Dayphoto said:
    September 13, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    This is very interesting. Thank you!

    floatinggold said:
    September 13, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    Looked like a tree with glowing eyes. Sometimes you see double if you have troubles with your vision. Not hard to see two moons through the branches.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 13, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Heh. That story is as f***** up as a soup-sandwich. Everyone was freaking out in the 50s. One report says red head & green body. Another report reverses that. The height changes…

      Oh, the human mind & imagination. Add to that, vision trouble. 🤨

    badfinger20 said:
    September 14, 2019 at 1:23 am

    Jennifer has told me about this before and the Mothman from West Virginia. Lord knows what is up in those mountains.
    Capitalism at work here with the souvenirs.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      September 14, 2019 at 2:21 am

      Amen to that! LOL!

        badfinger20 said:
        September 14, 2019 at 2:22 am

        LOL…in WV there is not much else to do.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          September 14, 2019 at 2:25 am

          Good point! LOL!

          Scream at ya’ tomorrow…

    jmshistorycorner said:
    September 15, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Wow. Interesting.

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