In 1952, the legend of the Flatwoods Monster was born when a UFO allegedly crashed into the hills of West Virginia. When a group of young friends investigated the crash, they ran afoul of the strange creature that put off a noxious fog before chasing them through the forest. The Flatwoods Monster is definitely one of the strangest urban legends from West Virginia, and it has a lot of moving parts. The facts about West Virginia's Flatwoods Monster aren’t cut and dried, and like many stories of close encounters of the third kinds, it comes with a lot of if's, and's, and but's. The creature that landed in West Virginia is one of many monsters that make people sick, but the reasons why are still contentious amongst medical professionals and UFO investigators. Was the Flatwoods Monster a hoax, a mass hallucination, or was it a creature from beyond the stars that just felt like stirring up some trouble?
The descriptions of many cryptids tends to vary between retellings, but stories about the Flatwoods Monster rarely change its look. Witnesses have described the monster as being "towering" and around 7-feet-tall with a black body and a dark, glowing face surrounded by a "pointed, hood-like shape." Many people describe the creature's eyes as shining like an animal's in the darkness, which many people have taken to mean that the creature has an owl-like head.
The monster's body allegedly has a series of folds that ripple across its torso down towards its feet. Some witnesses have said that the creature has gnarled claws that lash out at people from its branch like arms. It's likely that the creature's color isn't actually black, but a dark green or brown that's given a colorless look once removed from a light source. Some witnesses to the monster added a robotic dress or ship to its bottom half, giving it a kind of Sonic The Hedgehog villain vibe.
Everyone who's had the poor luck to run into the Flatwoods Monster has experienced the same physical symptoms to varying degrees. Some of them deal with throat and nose irritation, while other people who were in the vicinity began vomiting and convulsing. Weeks after the event, one of the boys in the group, Gene Lemon, was still unable to swallow liquids because of the irritation. A doctor who examined the group said that their ailments were similar to those suffered by soldiers who encountered mustard gas. A doctor also noted that the effects are the same as people who were suffering from "hysteria," but that claim somehow sounds even more ridiculous than a group of people seeing a horrific owl creature in the woods. Many alien abductees have had similar symptoms to the people who saw the Flatwoods Monster, which points towards the creature being from another planet or dimension.
Stories of the Flatwoods Monster note that a fire ball or meteor-like object proceed its appearance, but what happens after the creature begins stalking through the woods? In its first reported appearance, the boys who saw the creature noted that a foul odor and a heavy mist seemed to emanate from the Monster. Two of the boys wre allegedly sprayed in the face by the smoke that seemed to come from within the folds on the Monster's body.
As the night went on, the mist grew into a heavy fog that settled across the countryside. After the boys who were sprayed with the mist made it home, they noticed that their faces were covered with an oily residue. Their throats swelled up so much that they couldn't drink liquids for two weeks.
The Flatwoods Monster first entered into the public consciousness in 1952 after a group of children aged 10 - 17 that included brothers Edward and Fred May chased a ball of fire that fell from the sky into the hills of Braxton County. They allegedly followed the ball of fire/UFO into the hills and ran right into the creature before hightailing it out of there. When the local sheriff began to investigate the sighting, he learned that there had been numerous sightings of the creature prior to the sighting by the May children. It could be that the Flatwoods Monster was actually an extra terrestrial that landed in the area to do research, or it could be an interdimensional cryptid similar to Sasquatch. Either way, there's something in Braxton County, West Virginia that draws the creature to its dark woods.