Critical Prose & Poetic Commentary regarding UFOs and their astonishing ancillaries, consciousness & conspiracy, plus a proud sufferer of orthorexia nervosa since 2005!

Monday, February 20, 2023

UFO Pioneer: Major Donald Keyhoe and the Flatwoods Monster - Part 2 of 3


UFO Pioneer: 

Major Donald Keyhoe... 

and the Flatwoods Monster

by Alfred Lehmberg (with Frank Feschino Jr)

 PART 2 of 3

Major Donald Keyhoe closely followed the Flatwoods Monster case from its beginning and from the moment it hit newspaper headlines around the country! Keyhoe would quickly use one of his Pentagon contacts in Washington (alluded to in Part 1) to get some additional information about this bizarre incident. Very shortly after the occurrence, then, Keyhoe called the Pentagon and spoke to the USAF Public Liaison, one Albert Chop. He would call Chop again later in January of 1953.

During his first phone call to Chop, Major Keyhoe was skeptical of the incident! It had received so much negative [and false!] publicity in the press! The more news coverage that the incident received, the more inaccurate that coverage had become, thus attempting to turn the "Flatwoods Monster" incident into some far-fetched backwoods hillbilly monster tale around the time of Halloween just to sell snacks, soap & sundries!

One example of this inaccurate news reportage that we'll expose appeared on September 15, 1952, in The Washington Daily Mail. There was a spin.

The headline read, "THE MONSTER OF BRAXTON COUNTY" and reported, "A short time after a meteorite—or something… blazed across this town [Flatwoods] last Friday and seemed to land nearby, an evil-smelling, green-bodied monster 12 feet tall with bulging eyes and clawy hands sent seven young citizens running for their lives." This writer is reminded of the plots of some of the more moronic Flatwoods videos on YouTube. This was a story caricature. A degraded retelling of a retelling... of a retelling. A ruse. A dodge. A distraction?

In Flying Saucers From Outer Space, Keyhoe had begun his Flatwoods explication by stating, "I found myself faced with another puzzle, the case of the Sutton Monster." He referred to the "monster" as the "Sutton Monster," because "Sutton" was the nearby county seat of Braxton County. The town of Flatwoods was so small, actually, that it was not even on most maps. 

Keyhoe continued, "Of all the eerie saucer stories, this was the weirdest. When the story first appeared, I put it down to hysteria. As a joke, I phoned Chop.

Kiddingly, he asked Chop, "How many intelligence officers are you rushing down to Sutton? Chop shot back, "You too? We're not even bothering to investigate. Several astronomers said a meteor went over there. Those people must have dreamed up the rest.

No, we subsequently discover. There was no "meteor," no "several meteorologists" reporting, and no one was "dreaming"!

Another example of inaccurate news reportage appeared on September 15, 1952, in the Fairmont Times. Their headline read, "Police Say Braxton Monster Product of Mass Hysteria," and stated, "Police laughed. They said the so-called monster had grown from seven to 17 feet tall in 24 hours. The 'flying saucer,' officers speculated, might have been a meteor crashing to earth." That "meteor" again! Moreover, the actuality was that the police were out all night on the twelfth answering bizzare calls all over the county! They weren't even answering phones in some cases this writer recalls Moreover, no one was "laughing."

On that same day, the Wheeling News-Register headline read, "Metallic Odor Indicates Meteor [wait... what?!]- Officers Shake heads Over W.Va. Ogre Tale" and stated, "Authorities said the 'flying saucer' which Mrs. May's sons saw was a meteorite." There it is again! 

No, we can only shake our heads from our catbird seat in the future… where we ponder a single phantom meteor lingering in the skies for 21 hours and change... and never existing in the first place!



On September 19, 1952, just seven days after the incident, eyewitness Mrs. May, eyewitness Eugene Lemon, and A. Lee Stewart, Jr. (the Sutton reporter who broke the story to the press), had appeared on a national television talk show in New York to tell of their "Flatwoods Monster" adventure. The Show was named, We the People and was hosted by hugely popular TV personality Daniel Seymour. It aired live across the Nation.

Well, when the obviously competent, intelligently sentient, and assiduously non-hillbilly witnesses talked to a live audience about their terrifying encounter, they shook the whole country profoundly and received a lot more attention. Ufological "Coal to Newcastle," but at that exact time in 1952, you see, the United States officiality was already panicking from the record amount of UFO sightings occurring steadily across the country (and world), overflying prohibited airspaces, and causing much official Sturm and Drang for the powers that be! All this happened, reader, by this writer’s watch and warrant

The Flatwoods incident was the JATO assist thrusting the “flying saucer” back into the spotlight! That the aforementioned powers were not amused but bemused at the prospect, is more understatement.

Major Keyhoe stated, "Then, Mrs. May and the Lemon boy appeared on We The People and retold their frightening experience. It was obvious they believed the monster was real, and a dozen papers and magazines sent writers to Sutton for new angles on the story.

Further on into his investigation Keyhoe also stated, "Later, from a source outside of the pentagon, I heard that intelligence had followed this up by sending two men in civilian clothes who posed as magazine writers while interviewing witnesses. Even if this was not true, and the Air Force denied it, their check through the [West Virginia] state police showed more interest than they had admitted." The reader can predict what's coming. It'll get here...

NOTE: Unprovoked, Mrs. May reported to Frank Feschino, Jr. the following incident occurring on Saturday, September 13, 1952—the day after their encounter. "Two men came and knocked on my door and they told me they were editors from Clarksburg. Well, they said they were reporters from Clarksburg at first and they would like to go up to the place where it happened. Freddie [her son] went up with me."

On-site then at the Fisher Farm, they questioned Mrs. May. She reported, "We were just talking about the... 'thing.'" As Mrs. May spoke to the two reporters in the field of the farm, one of them walked away to the nearby site of the encounter by the woods downslope and examined that area.

Mrs. May continued, "One stayed there with Freddie and me and one went across and down. Well, he was gone about 30 minutes and came back.

During that time, the wandering reporter had examined the site of the encounter near a big tree set along the path bordering the woods. On the site of the encounter, he found oil splattered throughout the area in the woods and along the path that had been expulsed from the "monster." The oily substance (not motor oil) was splattered across the landscape and also covered the tree branches. In the examination, the wanderer had become covered in this oily material.

Mrs. May reported to Feschino that, "He came back and said to the other guy, 'Now, what do you think Ed's gonna' think of this when we send these in for analysis?' That's just the way he said it. And he was covered. They had beautiful, nice suits on, with hats to match and he was striped. He looked like a zebra with oil." She added, "He was covered, on his arms, his legs, his hat, and everything. He had oil all over him."

Mrs. May had also told the men that this oily substance had also been sprayed on her own clothing during her encounter the night before. 

Now reader, a striking part of this interview with Mrs. May concerns the name that one of the men mentioned in front of her to his partner when he came back covered in oil, recall "Now, what do you think Ed's gonna' think of this when we send these in for analysis?" This was a curious coincidence, remembering what Keyhoe would report later in his book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space. We'll see that in just a moment, but another question. 

Who might Ed have been? For the record, was it mere coincidence that the name of the "Chief of Project Blue Book" at that time in 1952 was none other than, "Captain Edward J. Ruppelt"? Additionally, one must ask still one more question, “why would one reporter make this kind of statement to another reporter”?

"MonsterQuest film crew at the landing site.
Feschino is rightmost

Researcher Frank Feschino JR,
last century near the start of his research.
NOTE: On Sunday, September 14, 1952, the two men returned to Flatwoods and met with Mrs. May. They all returned back up to the site of the encounter on the Fisher farm. 

She told Frank Feschino, "Then the next day they came back and they begged apologies. They said they were from Washington, D.C. They said they were from Washington and they had flown in and rented a car and came up here."

Feschino asked, "Why do you think they didn't tell you the truth the first time?" She'd replied, "They were afraid that if they wanted information and we knew they were investigators we wouldn't tell them anything.

One of these men was adamant about getting a sample of the oil from Mrs. May's uniform. Mrs. May said, "They did go down to the house and scrape some oil out of my uniform... so, I guess they wanted it for analysis or something, to see what kind of oil it was."

Feschino then asked Mrs. May about her oil-stained uniform, "Did you keep it or throw it out?" She replied, "I kept it a while and then I think I threw it away.

Moreover, it seems that Major Keyhoe's "source outside of the Pentagon" was right, as Feschino's interview with Mrs. May has shown... but with a lot more information being told to Feschino by this key eyewitness. One thing was clear. These Flatwoods witnesses, any of them, were not bogus.

In Flying Saucers From Outer Space, Keyhoe made the following meaningful statement, "If the Air Force had sent investigators publicly in hope of killing the story, it might have backfired. Papers and magazines would have pictured the intelligence officers as making a serious investigation. It might seem like proof to some people that the Air Force was soberly impressed by the report, or at least the 'giants from space' were considered a strong possibility.

It sure seems possible that someone in a position of power was impressed with something. Later on, we would see proof that there was all manner of "impression" afoot! "Two guys from Washington" was the least of it!

Keyhoe wrote, "A strong possibility..." Yeah... quite so when we recall that there is enough space, time, and surface area suggested by our time machine sky above... well, to facilitate the substantiation of anything... from the thinkable to the wholly unthinkable, and beyond. Unspeakable, even. Not unspeakable because you won't; unspeakable because you can't. That's a good thing, still. Our fires, no matter how bright we'll build them, will always reveal but that larger darkness.


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

UFO Pioneer: Major Donald Keyhoe and the Flatwoods Monster - Part 1 of 3

UFO Pioneer: 

Major Donald Keyhoe... 

and the Flatwoods Monster

by Alfred Lehmberg (with Frank Feschino Jr)

 PART 1. 

Among his too many to enumerate accomplishments, Major Donald E. Keyhoe was a Marine Corps pilot in the early 1920s. We could stop right there. Later, he's a pulp magazine writer and then a celebrated author who would become a key pioneer UFO researcher of the 1950s. We need to know who this fellow was.

Let this writer, a retired career military pilot and former Master Aviator, digress for a moment on the subject of Marine Corps pilots. The writer trained them in aviation procedures, air-combat skills, and knew them well enough for over two decades of periodic encounters to make an uncomplicated professional assessment. Provoked by cause? They'd as soon fly up the ass of a thundercloud as down the barrel of a big gun. Men "not to be trifled with" will be the takeaway and the close of this digression.

In 1956, Mr. Keyhoe co-founded the "National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena." This was the serious-minded civilian UFO group led by many prominent and well-respected professionals. Shortly after NICAP's formation, Mr. Keyhoe became its Director in 1957. This was a NICAP, we'll recall, before it turned cloudy and became the lapdog of classified intelligence interests.

Keyhoe was all this, yet, how many people remember this man? Who is now aware of his monumental, even seminal, accomplishments?

Let us begin here, then, to talk a little about this brave nascent ufologist, Mr. Keyhoe, and his illustrious, history-making, and multi-faceted career. This would be a career leading him to become a pioneer UFO researcher and highly prominent figure in the ufological field! Why, he should be as famous as J. Allen Hynek. This is equally true for other men and women in at the ufological beginning and now largely forgotten...

Donald E. Keyhoe was born in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1897. He grew up in that area and then, young and feeling the need for 20th Century speed? He entered the United States Naval Academy.


Keyhoe received his B.S. degree in 1919 and was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. ...Just lookin' at 'im you know he's a bad-ass! This writer suspects that no one ever called him "keyhole"! Well, maybe once.

Later, in 1922 while in Guam, Keyhoe was in a serious plane crash and severely injured his arm. This incapacitated him and made him unable to further serve... he was so advised...

He would dabble in writing during his convalescence, later returning to active duty, stubbornly, with the Marines… but this was short-lived. He was forced to medically retire in 1923 because of his crash injury.

Subsequent to his service with the Marines, Mr. Keyhoe continued his writing beyond mere hobby status. He wrote four compelling stories between 1925 and 1927 proudly published by a very popular pulp magazine of the time titled, Weird Tales. This writer has some of these old pulps, including Keyhoe!

He also worked as the editor of the Coast and Geodetic Survey publications and was later employed by the Aeronautics Branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This initiative was to be the predecessor to the F.A.A.

In 1927, serendipity would strike! The Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics sponsored the world-famous pilot Charles A. Lindberg's coast-to-coast 48-state tour across America! This was of course after his celebrated solo, nonstop, and trans-Atlantic flight earlier that year. True story! This tour promoted air mail and burgeoning air passenger services and was at their very tap-root!

Colonel Lindbergh flew his legendary plane, of course, "The Spirit of St. Louis," to all 48 states! He was accompanied by another plane staffed with a small group called, "The Tour Party."

Among that group of hand-picked men called upon to assist Lindbergh on his flight across America... was our Mr. Donald Keyhoe, then the assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics, U.S. Dept. of Commerce at that time.

In his first book, published in 1928, Flying with Lindbergh, Donald Keyhoe stated that one Secretary MacCracken told him, "You will be Colonel Lindbergh's aide... unless of course, you don't want to make this tour..." Keyhoe would retort anxiously that, "There was not a man in the Department of Commerce who would not leap at that chance."

As Keyhoe stated in his book, the tour was a total success (...this writer remembering our now transonic air and spacecraft, its result!). "The entire journey," he had written, "had been made in 260 flying hours, or the equivalent of eleven flying days...We had seen each of the forty-eight states." This highly experienced former aviator can report that this aerial excursion would have been a monumental, even superhuman, effort of legendary aviational acumen!

Despite some inclement flying conditions across the country and several drawbacks on that tour, Keyhoe stated," The success of that almost spectacular journey was due to the personality of Charles A. Lindbergh." We would, of course, later find out other interesting facts about the "personality" of Mr. Lindbergh, but this is now, and that was then. Lindbergh had more than earned his fame at the time. Follows photos of the period.

Top Photo is titled, "THE TOUR PARTY," an insert photo opposite of page 123 in Keyhoe's book, Flying with Lindbergh. Mr. Keyhoe is standing far left and Colonel Lindbergh is standing center. Center Photo: NYT newspaper. Bottom photo: Col. Lindbergh and his plane.




Major Keyhoe then left his job with the Department of Commerce and became a freelance writer. He penned numerous aviation adventure stories and a series of fiction and non-fiction tales for pulps, magazines, and various publications starting in 1931. He'd write on through the 1940s.

During World War II, Mr. Keyhoe rejoined the U.S. Marines and was stationed with a naval aviation training division. He retired with the rank of Major by war's end.

After Donald Keyhoe returned to civilian life he would become interested in this new and puzzling "flying saucer phenomenon" of the late 1940s! UFOs were, and steadily, being reported with increasing regularity throughout the press and all over the civilized world! Intelligent attention was begged and called for!

Keyhoe would then begin to research the phenomenon in earnest. His initiative here at the very nascence of ufology would evolve into the very beginning of humanity's on-again/off-again "serious" investigation into UFOs and their ancillaries... still existing today!

Keyhoe dug deep into some well-known cases from that era! This included the 1948 Mantell crash case and the 1948 Gorman UFO dogfight case, both of which involved fighter planes.

Because of Major Keyhoe's strong military aviation background, his accrued Lindbergh-imprimatur, and the many influential people he worked with and for, he had, over time, collected many important contacts inside the government. This included connections in the Pentagon and in military circles, including the USAF, where he had access to some pretty compelling UFO case files.

After Keyhoe, in his own words, spent "eight months of intense investigation," into the UFO topic, he wrote a lengthy trail-blazing article for TRUE Magazine appearing in their December 1949 issue. It was entitled "The Flying Saucers Are Real."

Major Keyhoe wrote a staggeringly straightforward opening to that article! Astounding, as bold as it was bald: "For the past 175 years, the planet Earth has been under systematic close-range examination by living, intelligent observers from another planet."

BAM! Eh, reader?

This statement, and the entire contents of the article aforementioned, had forever embedded Keyhoe—not only into the history books of the "flying saucer" community, but the huge public audience who had read it, breath abated, themselves! After all, this was THE Major Keyhoe, writing in the renowned and highly popular TRUE Magazine, a magazine having no small credibility for the time

This was the beginning, then, of Keyhoe's UFO investigative career! UFOS would become a hot public property under Keyhoe's tutelage as interest in the sightings of UFOs was steadily spreading across the planet... as we've pointed out.

With the viral success of his article and the additional information he had acquired, Keyhoe expanded his TRUE article into a groundbreaking book with the same title, The Flying Saucers Are Real! This was published in 1950. Mr. Keyhoe then wrote another blockbuster book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space, published in 1953. This was the book gaining him recognition as a true civilian "pioneer authority" on UFOs.

Keyhoe would go on to write four more UFO books between 1955 and 1973. Many will say that his 1953 book, Flying Saucers From Outer Space, was his best.

In Major Keyhoe's book Flying Saucers From Outer Space, Keyhoe writes about a close encounter case particularly catching his attention and in which he gives some important information concerning that highly strange incident. He had to keep going back on this one. This one just wasn't adding up. 

This case was to be the "Flatwoods Monster" encounter of September 12, 1952... and loosed are curiosity's dogs!

(END OF PART 1 of 3.)

Grok In Fullness


Errol Bruce-Knapp, of UFO UpDates, Strange Days — Indeed, the Virtually Strange Network... ...and the coiner of the expression &qu...