Flatwoods Monster

In modern police parlance a long-unsolved homicide or other crime may be known as a "cold case," a term we might borrow for such paranormal mysteries as that of the Flatwoods Monster, which was launched on September 12, 1952, and never completely explained.

About 7:15 p.m. on that day, at Flatwoods, a little village in the hills of West Virginia, some youngsters were playing football on the school playground. Suddenly they saw a fiery UFO streak across the sky and, apparently, land on a hilltop of the nearby Bailey Fisher farm. The youths ran to the home of Mrs. Kathleen May, who provided a flashlight and accompanied them up the hill. In addition to Mrs. May, a local beautician, the group included her two sons, Eddie 13, and Freddie 14, Neil Nunley 14, Gene Lemon 17, and Tommy Hyer and Ronnie Shaver, both 10, along with Lemon’s dog.

On their way to investigate the landing of the saucer, the three boys stopped at the home of the two young May boys to tell their mother, a former teacher and now a beauty shop operator, what they had seen. Together, Mrs. May and six boys ascended the remaining quarter mile to get a close look at the saucer. Mrs. May climed [sic] over the fence near the supposed landing site with some difficulty. Gene Lemon, 17, equipped with flashlight, lead the party. He is known as fearless and has had many encounters with animals roaming the woods. When he saw what he believed to be the shining eyes of a racoon [sic] on an overhanging limb, he directed his flashlight toward it. In the following few seconds, the little group was petrified with fright at the sight of an enormous figure which suddenly seemed to come to life. It was as though a light had been turned on inside the figure. A reddish glow shone through a head with only the eyes visible, and a greenish light glowed through the cloth-like covering of the lower parts of the body. Although some irritating odor had been noticed before, now a violent thumping began on the inside of the monster and a dense cloud of mist escaped with a hissing noise. It covered the two young May boys, making them and all others violently sick. Their fright gave them the strength to run from the scene. Mrs. May leaped over the fence; one of the boys ran for a mile to his home and turned on the radio until the house shook and hysterically related his experience to his mother; Gene Lemon, was so seriously ill during the night that he was in convulsions, and had attacks of vomiting.