Last April, I discussed a trip I’d taken to Pittsburg – leaving off at the Kecksburg UFO. That same night we saw Weird Al perform at the Palace Theater in Greensburg, PA before checking out of our hotel the following morning. Rather than drive straight shot back to Chicago, we (my kids and I) took a different route through West Virginia. The original destination was Point Pleasant to see the Mothman Museum until I discovered yet another monster along the way. With just a week before we left on our road trip, I happily added Braxton County, “Home of the Flatwoods Monster,” to the itinerary. This story will be featured in an upcoming WEIRD USA story in Scary Monsters Magazine. So here you’ll get a less detailed version of events. On the flipside, you can see full-color photos from the experience – and this is one vibrant looking creature!
The story takes place in September of 1952 when three kids, playing in a schoolyard, witness a bright object landing in the woods nearby. After alerting one of the parents (Kathleen May) the four go to investigate. What they claim to have found is a glowing ship with one its occupants hovering nearby. The creature was said to be about ten feet tall and shoot nauseous gas. Understandably, they fled the scene and the rest is Braxton County history (NOTE: again, you’re getting the quickie version here, Scary Monsters #110 will have full details and isn’t it about time you bought yourself a subscription?).
Just as we entered Braxton County, we stopped at a rest stop that I heard sold ceramic lanterns of the monster. These are the longest produced souvenir for the creature; dating back to the ’60s.
Next to the lanterns were brochures detailing the history of the monster and where you could locate five special chairs designed in the creature’s image and scattered throughout the area. Thanks to the flyer, we had a map to find all the chairs and quickly set out to do so…
We knew we were headed in the right direction when we saw the “Welcome to Flatwoods” sign – something that clearly illustrated how much the town has embraced their WEIRD USA status.
Each of the locations boasts a large (ten foot tall) wooden chair painted in the image of the monster. Like the ceramic lanterns, they’re a colorful red and green. These spots provide fun photo ops and even have a QMR code so you can access information on the creature with your phone.
The last chair was across the street from a The Spot Dairy Bar. It had a colorful board featuring the monster where you could stick your head in for photo ops – naturally, we just couldn’t resist.
Outside the shop were framed newspaper articles on the incident.
Inside boasted a mini-gift shop where you could purchase more of those aforementioned lanterns (and $2 cheaper than the gas station) as well as T-shirts and a souvenir cup.
The story has always been a legend in the Flatwoods community while slowly trickling into popular culture. Small Town Monsters just released a 45 minute documentary on the monster that appropriately made its way to my mailbox just days after our visit.
Having sufficiently tracked Braxton County’s most famous visitor, it was time to set our sights on the Mothman…