Flatwoods Monster In Charleston Gazette (10/31/1954)
‘Braxton Monster’ Shocked a World, And at Least One Expert Says It Came From Beyond
In a newspaper article published by the Charleston Gazette October, 31, 1954 the newspaper covers the Flatwoods Monster incident that occurred in West Virginia.
James Haught, a staff writer for the Gazette, detailed the story:
About 7 p.m. on that September day, four boys playing on a football field at the small community of Flatwoods saw a large silvery object pass overhead.
The youngsters, Neil Nunley, 14, Ronald Shaver, and Eddie and Freddy May, said the object traveled at a slow stopped to the crest of a hill, paused abruptly in mid-air and dropped out of sight. A bright orange light then flared up behind the hill, they said and continued to “pulsate,” flaring up and dying away.
The youths ran toward the hill until they reached the home of the May boys’ mother, Mrs. Kathleen May, who shouted to them and asked what was going on.
“A flying saucer just landed on the hill,” they replied excitedly, “and it’s laying up there burning.”
With that, Mrs. May and a visiting neighbor, 17-year-old National Guardsmen Eugene Lemon, grabbed flashlights to pierce the gathering twilight and joined the case. The group also was joined along the way by a tiny neighbor boy, Tommy Hyer, who was barely able to keep up with the others.
Upon reaching the top of the hill, seven persons saw a “bright, pulsating light” in a field about 100 yards away. They also noticed that the air was “misty” and was filled with a strong metal-like odor which burned their nostrils and eyes.
Walking toward the light, the group followed a path around the ill for more than 200 feet when suddenly they saw two lights “as big as flashlights and about a foot apart” gleaming at them from a clump of trees to their left.
One of the boys turned his flashlight on the “eyes” and there, according to all seven of the witnesses, stood a huge man-like object about 10 feet tall. Mrs. May said the “thing” had a “bright red face, a glowing green body, a head like the ace of spades and claw-like arms.”
The object seemed to be “floating just off the ground,” she said, adding that it “moved toward us with a hissing noise.”
Terrified, the viewers fled from the hill and “didn’t stop running until we got to our homes.” By the time they reached the bottom of the hill, both Mrs. May and the Lemon youth were violently ill and claimed it was from “a gas the thing sprayed at us.” Later their throats became painfully inflamed.
Mrs. May called Braxton County Sheriff Robert Carr to report the “monster,” but found that both the sheriff and his deputy, Burnell Long, had gone to investigate another sighting.
The second report had come from Woodrow Eagle of Duck, who said he saw an object resembling a small airplane streak overhead and crash into a mountainside at Sugar Creek. The officers searched the area, but were unable to find any evidence of a plane crash.
Upon returning to Sutton, they were informed of the “monster” and rushed to Flatwoods. In the meantime, however, a large number of Flatwoods residents had gone to the hilltop, but were unable to find any trace of the strange object.
Unconfirmed reports said that something was seen taking off from the hill during the night, and in his book “Flying saucers are from outer space,” retired Marine Maj. Donald Keyhoe says a Sutton school board member saw a “strange machine” leave the ridge “just after sunrise.”
The next day the story burst on area newspapers, wire services and radio networks, and within 24 hours was carried all over the world. In the ensuing weeks, it became what was judged the 11th biggest news story of the year.
In the meantime, hundreds of curious visitors rushed to Flatwoods. The day after the sighting, visitors reported finding large “skid marks,” oil spots, scraps of metal and pieces of black, plastic-like substance on the round. A. Lee Stewart, a writer for the Braxton Democrat, said te skid marks were about ten feet apart and about ten yards long.
This was the situation when Ivan Sanderson arrived in Braxton County to investigate the story for the North American Newspaper Alliance.
Sanderson, a veteran prober of unusual phenomenon, began a systematic study of the events. He obtained aerial maps of the area, collected written reports of the incident, and questioned all persons even remotely connected with the sighting – except Mrs. may and Eugene Lemon, whio had gone to new York to appear on a television program about the “monster.”
Quizzing residents throughout the county, he established that a total of five meteor-like objects were seen at the smae time, traveling in the same direction on the night the “monster” was sighted.
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