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The Flatwoods Monster: A Cryptid from the Hills of West Virginia

This Was Quite Clearly a Barn Owl… NOT!

By Heather N KingPublished 6 days ago 4 min read
Photo credit: West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Cryptids are creatures that make us question if we're the only intelligent life on this planet, or if we're just delusional from our late-night binge-watching of conspiracy theories. One such cryptid that has captured the imagination of cryptozoologists, paranormal enthusiasts, and people with too much free time (such as myself) is the Flatwoods Monster.

The Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Braxton County Monster or the Phantom of Flatwoods, hails from the beautiful hills of West Virginia. This enigmatic entity has been the source of heated debate and countless urban legends, so buckle up, dear reader, as we venture into the wild and wacky world of the Flatwoods Monster.

The Encounter That Started It All

Our tale begins on September 12, 1952, in the small town of Flatwoods, West Virginia. It was a cool, crisp evening when brothers Edward and Fred May, along with their friend Tommy Hyer, saw what appeared to be a bright light streaking across the sky before crashing down on a nearby hill. Naturally, as curious youngsters are wont to do, they decided to investigate.

They quickly grabbed Kathleen May, the boys' mother, and a few other townsfolk, forming an impromptu search party. As they approached the crash site, they noticed a pungent, sulfur-like smell hanging in the air. Undeterred by the stench, they pressed on, determined to uncover the mystery of the fallen object.

And then, they saw it.

In the dim light of their flashlights, they beheld a creature unlike any they had ever seen before. Standing approximately ten feet tall, the monster had a glowing red face, bulging eyes, and a pointy hood-like structure on its head. Its body was dark and slick, almost as if it was wearing some kind of metallic armor. Some reports even claimed that the creature had long, spindly arms that ended in sharp, claw-like fingers.

Okay… before we go on, I just gotta say, the coloring on this being is insane! A big red head? And I’m not talking about hair color! Now as for the bold fashion choices of metallic armor paired with a pointy hood - it screams, “Medieval Chic!” Bravo, you flamboyant alien!

Alright! Back to the story!

The group, understandably, freaked out and hightailed it out of there, leaving the mysterious being to lurk in the shadows. The story spread like wildfire, and soon, the entire town was abuzz with tales of the Flatwoods Monster.

The Fallout and Theories

In the aftermath of the sighting, the Flatwoods Monster became a media sensation, gracing the pages of newspapers and magazines across the nation. But as with any good cryptid tale, the skeptics were quick to emerge, offering their own explanations for the bizarre encounter.

One theory posited that the creature was actually a misidentified barn owl, perched on a tree branch with its wings outstretched. While this might explain the monster's glowing red eyes and pointy "hood," it doesn't quite account for the ten-foot-tall figure described by witnesses (unless, of course, it was the world's largest and most terrifying owl).

Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you saw a ginormous owl with a red head sporting the latest in “Medieval Chic”? I’m just sayin’…

Another explanation suggested that the group had stumbled upon a downed aircraft or weather balloon, mistaking its various components for the monstrous visage they described. This theory does account for the sulfur smell and the crash site, but again, it's hard to reconcile with the more fantastical elements of the story.

Of course, some believe that the Flatwoods Monster was an extraterrestrial visitor, either piloting a crashed UFO or perhaps even sent as a scout by its alien overlords. This theory is bolstered by the fact that sightings of similar creatures have been reported around the world, from the United States to Russia and beyond.

And then there are those who think that the whole thing was just a big ol' hoax, cooked up by a group of bored small-town residents looking to put Flatwoods on the map. While it's true that the story has brought a certain amount of fame to the town, it seems unlikely that such an elaborate and enduring tale could be entirely fabricated.

The Legacy of the Flatwoods Monster

Despite the various theories and explanations put forth over the years, the Flatwoods Monster remains an enigma. It's become a beloved part of West Virginia folklore along with its cryptid cousin, Mothman, inspiring everything from songs and comic books to video games and documentaries. The town of Flatwoods even boasts a museum dedicated to the creature, where you can learn all about the history of the sighting and perhaps even pick up a souvenir or two.

Some might argue that the legend of the Flatwoods Monster is simply a product of our collective fascination with the unknown, a way for us to grapple with the vast and mysterious universe in which we find ourselves. Others maintain that the creature is a genuine cryptid, lurking in the shadows of our world and waiting for the day when it can reveal itself to humanity.

Whatever the truth may be, one thing's for sure: the Flatwoods Monster has left an indelible mark on the world of cryptozoology and the imaginations of those who dare to explore the unexplained. So the next time you find yourself gazing up at the night sky, pondering the mysteries of the cosmos, spare a thought for the enigmatic entity that once stalked the hills of West Virginia sporting the height of “Medieval Chic” fashion. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the Flatwoods Monster is still out there, watching and waiting to make its grand fashion moment return.

In the meantime, though, we'll just have to be content with swapping stories, spinning theories, and enjoying the enduring allure of one of America's most fashionable cryptids.

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About the Creator

Heather N King

Meet the mistress of words who weaves tales that transport you to other worlds. With a unique perspective and a gift for storytelling, my writing will leave you spellbound and craving more.

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarran5 days ago

    A 10 foot barn owl 🤣🤣🤣🤣 I've never heard of the Flatwood Monster before. Thank you for writing about it!

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