The “Flatwoods Monster” has become one of the most famous episodes in American cryptozoology. The following eyewitness account from the “Windsor Star” of September 15, 1952, is one of the (numerous) contemporary accounts, complete with a delightful headline.
SUTTON, W. Va., (UP) Eyewitness accounts of a tall, glowing monster with a blood-red face skulking in the hills divided Braxton County today into two camps--believers and skeptics.
Seven persons said they saw the unearthly being, described as “worse than Frankenstein,” in the hills above Flatwoods, W. Va., Friday night.
State police and a number of residents hooted at the reports as a product of mass hysteria. Police said the eyewitnesses’ guess as to the monster's height varied from seven to 17 feet.
The excitement began when the two young sons of Mrs. Kathryn May, a Flatwoods beautician, said they saw a flying saucer land on C. B. Fishers farm near here.
Mrs. May, National Guardsman Gene Lemon, and five boys climbed a hill on the Fisher farm to look for the “saucer.”
Mrs. May said a fire-breathing monster, 10 feet tall with a bright green body and a blood red face, bounced and floated toward them.
“It looked worse than Frankenstein,” she said. “It couldn't have been human.”
Lemon, 17, said he thought he saw a possum or a coon until he turned his flashlight on “the thing.” It was then he saw the monster with the blushing face and green body “that seemed to glow.”
Mrs. May said Lemon stared and then screamed as the monster duck-walked toward them. All of them fled, occasionally looking over their shoulders.
The monster, Mrs. May said, had an overpowering metallic odor that nauseated them. She said they vomited for several hours.
A. Lee Stewart, co-publisher of the Braxton County Democrat, received the first report from Mrs. May. The veteran newspaperman organized an armed posse and went to the scene.
“The odor was still there,” Stewart said. “It was sort of warm and sickening. And there were two places about six to eight feet in diameter where the brush was trampled down.”
Stewart said he did not know what to think.
“I hate to say I believe it, but I hate to say I don't believe it,” Stewart said. “Those people were scared--badly scared, and I sure smelled something.”
Authorities said they believed the “flying saucer” which Mrs. May’s sons saw was a meteorite. The incident occurred during a meteor shower over a three-state area.