Phantom of Flatwoods
[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
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
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
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.