3/2 West Virginian Robot Invasion

In Pursuit of The Flatwoods Monster

(the second installment in a series of random articles dedicated to finding out THE TRUTH about the weirdest cases UFO lore has to offer.*)

The Sighting

     The year was 1952. America was on top of the world after winning World War II and had yet to get dragged into the largely less popular Vietnam War, or some other war that is more widely known as the Forgotten War than the Korean War. In any case, this story has nothing to do with any of those wars, so forget about them all for now and make sure to turn you television away from the History Channel while reading this to avoid getting distracted by cool war stuff.

     As I was saying, in September of 1952, five-year old Peggy Clise glimpsed a huge fireball while returning a bowl to the neighbors. She then proceeded to run (like a girl) and broke the bowl while rushing to tell her family what she had seen. Elsewhere, beautician Kathleen May came home to find her boys gearing up to head out to the hill where they saw a fireball landing.

     The actual site in the woods was obscured by thick, settling fog. May and the boys then saw (dramatic pause long enough to grab a soda) THE MONSTER. Roughly 10 feet tall, hovering with an ominous hissing sound and glowing red head, the Flatwoods Monster is pretty boss, even by West Virginian standards. Reports conflict among the small group of people in the one sighting of it as to whether or not it had arms. According to the monster's publicity photo (right) it in fact has articulated arms with metal claws. Going by a decidedly lamer illustration from a Readers Digest book, the Monster is a big goofy alien with a head like a bloody smiley face. It was also described as being clad in a long, flowing robe that had a metallic texture to it and was green in coloration.

     It was about then that the Monster shot a blob of thick black slime on Kathleen's beautician's uniform. Who knows what that thing could have done if it chose to land in the countryside of Japan. Armed with metal claws, a goo launcher, and an apparent uniform fetish, the Monster kept hovering slowly, terrifying the group into a mad dash for safety from its horrible vagueness.

Explaining It To Death

     Naturally, the naysayers out there who don't like us to form good old-fashioned superstitions and yarns to tell every time a chicken vanishes from its pen (also known as scientists) were quick to debunk the existence of a towering monstrous engine of fiery death from another world, bent on defiling schoolgirls and spinning doughnuts in West Virginian woods. According to the witnesses accounts of the "official" accounts of what happened, four test rockets they had planned on developing for the moon launch had crashed down around town, and the "Monster" they had "seen" was the one they couldn't find. The goo on Kathleen's uniform was explained away as some oil that the engine had been sputtering around at random.

     As a side note, about ten years later, NASA succeeded in either landing a lunar pod on the moon or a remote part of Arizona. Either way, I didn't see any COMMIE RATS putting rockets in either place, so nyeh nyeh nyeh!

     Another popular theory is that they saw one of those freaky white-faced owls. In the reddish light of the crashed flying saucer- I mean, weather balloon or whatever- the owl may very well have looked like a red faced hovering demon, and the way the alien held its claws out seems to correspond with the way an owl holds its talons out while attacking. Who knows, maybe one of the boys was wearing mouse ears.

     But why was TEH GOVERNMENT in such a hurry to cover up the existence of the barn owls? If you take it all out of context like this, and add a *sprinkle* of imagination, the answer is clear- The barn owls are working with them.

Cryptozoology and You

     So, the barn owls used floating goverment-sanctioned alien robots to carry out an ethnic cleansing program against their ancient enemies the spotted owls. And Mrs. May was an unfortunate witness to their terrifying engine of death, who was left shaken with a dry cleaning bill she probably could afford. Or maybe it was something completely different, a bizarre Earthly creature or construct as yet unpoked in the BDSM chamber/operating table of science.

     Scientists these days are lazy. Back in the day (and by 'the day' I of course mean the days when any map you bought still had sea serpents clearly labeled in patches of oceans that nobody had found land in) an explorer would go hiking for miles through the jungle. They would calmly pluck mosquitoes and parasites off each other, give them Latin names, and when they finally got too worn out, the camp medics named their diseases. Nowadays, it seems like whenever a new species is announced it's either bacteria or something a random fisherman or villager brought to their doorstep. So, when confronted with things like Bigfoot, Nessie, or Carson Daly, who have been sighted by numerous people for centuries but would require actual footwork to prove physically, are shuffled off to a side category known as 'cryptozoology.'

     Cryptozoology, from the Latin word for "more interesting than new bacteria,**" includes everything from the humble jackalope to the mighty Mongolian Death Worm. The latter is a desert-dwelling giant worm that sounds and acts like something straight out of Final Fantasy. I only bring this up because I stumbled across a cryptozoology site that included the Flatwoods Monster (aka: The Green Monster) among legends like Bigfoot and the eighteen hundred different kinds of lake monsters with really lame names like Champy.

     Of course, the Flatwoods Monster, (aka: Fleetwood Mac) seems to be a robot or something, if anything. I suppose it's entirely possible that there are tribes of wild robots, deep in the Brazilian rain forests, who leave only oil stains and the occasional loose screw to be found by a wary adventurer.

So, What Was it?

     It's really a shame there wasn't more to the 'legend' of the Flatwoods Monster. It was only sighted once, by a small group of people, most of whom were kids who were half scared out of their wits before it even appeared. I mean, look at FM's brother-in-weird, also hailing from West Virginia, Mothman. Mothman was sighted numerous times, by all sorts of people, and vanished at about the same time as a major bridge collapsed. I could take that information and go off on a tangent about how Mothman was a Kamen Rider-like alien test subject fighting back against insectile beats who sought to conquer us, surrendering his life in a final desperate attack during a climactic battle at the bridge. But what's there to embellish upon the poor red-headed robot? What became of it after they all ran away? Did it join forces with a plucky West Virginian boy and learn to love and fight crime? Nope. It floated around a little and scared people. It seems to me that aliens with interstellar travel under their belt already could at least come up with a more efficient way to soil beauticians' uniforms.

     Sorry, Flatty. We'll need more than you to protect us from the MONGOLIAN DEATH WORM!


*If you've read this far, and/or have read anything else, anywhere on this site, you do realize this is supposed to be funny. Right?

**Yes, I do know it actually means something to the end of "the study of unknown creatures..."


This painting is the most commonly-seen depiction of the Flatwoods Monster. Though interestingly it is also considered one of the least accurate.

This painting, gleaned off Flatwoodsmonster.com (cool site, by the by) is supposed to be the closest to what was described by the witnesses.

And if the above painting didn't look enough like something you could buy at Spencer's Gifts...

The real face of terror- Yes, the final boss of the NES Amagon is none other than Flattie herself. Himself. Whatever. Robots don't have genders and I'm pretty sure barn owls reproduce by budding.