Major Donald Keyhoe...
and the Flatwoods Monster
by Alfred Lehmberg (with Frank Feschino Jr) PART 3 of 3
In January of 1953, Major Keyhoe contacted the Pentagon again and spoke to the USAF's top public liaison, Mr. Albert Chop. Keyhoe admonished Chop, "This [Flatwoods!] could get out of hand." It had, already, and quite literally, gotten "out of hand." Monday morning quarterbacking, sure, but there have been sixty years of unrequited “Mondays.”
Keyhoe then asked Chop, "Why doesn't the Air Force squelch it?" Chop retorted, "We've already said the object was a meteor." Keyhoe replied, "A lot of people don't believe it [that “it” was a meteor]. ...And the way this has built up, it's bad." One’s left wanting for a clearer idea on substantiations for the word, “bad”!
Alert! Bells should sound here for the reader! The “object” was “said” to be a “meteor”! More later.
Chop insisted, "It'll die out." Keyhoe responded, "But people will remember it later if something breaks."
Come to it? It did break and to the tune of huge government and military involvements wholly unwarranted by terrified hillbillies scared 'o haints n' spooks around Holloween! Frank Feschino would flesh all that out as no one ever had, just connecting the no-leap dots ...and people have remembered! Sincerely, there is a "Flatwoods Monster" at all only a result of Feschino’s research... but the writer digresses…
Back to task, let’s now take a look at the info contained on the official Project Blue Book: "Project 10073 RECORD CARD" and its report on this alleged meteor... a meteor substantiated, it can be shown, in only the most suspicious of manners! To begin: the official record states that the time of the incident was as follows in its section three.
|Project 10073 RECORD CARD
"3. Time: 1930 EST" which translates to [7:30 p.m. EST/8:30 p.m. EDT]. Section eleven states, "11. Comments. The West Virginia monster so-called. Actually, the object was the well-known Washington meteor of 12 Sep landing near Flatwoods, W.Va. Have confirmation from an Astronomy Club from Akron, Ohio. Letter from E.C. [blacked out] President-Akron Astr. Club." The following section twelve states, "12. Conclusion. [X] Was astronomical."
Well! There you have it, reader! This is the official explanation given by the USAF of the Flatwoods incident in its Project 10073 Record card. ...And we're done? No. That's only just the salad, let's hold off calling a waiter; we've got entries and desserts to get to.
The "Flatwoods Monster" was referred to, officially reported so, as "The West Virginia monster so-called" and it was said to be a "landed meteor." Remember that.
One final dropped shoe? There is one other document contained in the PBB files in reference to this alleged Sep 12 Flatwoods "meteor." It is the letter from the "Akron Astronomy Club" mentioned on the official "Project 10073 RECORD CARD." This is the Air Force's accredited source.
This is the "confirmation" letter sent to Project Blue Book establishing the sighting of this object as a "meteor" and the Air Force's single-source conclusion. It states, "EXAMPLE Typical Meteorite (Fireball). 12 Sep Fireball - September 12, 1952 - Flatwoods, W.Va." It also states the time of the sighting, "Time: Approximately 7:00 p.m. EST." ...But wait! What? Meteorites always land... you'd think an astronomer knows how that works?
Here, too, we would ask, reader, why is there an [approximate] thirty-minute time difference between the sighting of this alleged "meteor" in these two official documents? In actuality, cue ominous music!
Feschino would find that this 30 minutes will smear itself into a much longer amount of time in the first place, closer to a full day when it’s measured… and what self-respecting meteor loiters around for an astonishing 30 minutes, in the second, forgetting the usual ones rudely loitering around never much longer than mere seconds in the third? Fractions of such, more likely. Eyeblinks? Most, one never sees at all...
NOTE: In a clearer interpretation of an evidentiary reality, this alleged "meteor" was actually two separate objects seen over various locations on different trajectories. These trajectories were bee-lined to prohibited airspaces—locations of extreme interest—nuclear and whatnot! Furthermore, tired of sneer quotes, they were NOT meteors, is the assertion!
They were (at least!) two damaged UFOs on completely separate flightpaths… and one of these landed in Flatwoods—all evidence would seem to indicate! Remember, reader! The military had orders to shoot them down!
Oh! …And by the way! There are NO other astronomy records on the planet recording a meteor passing over Flatwoods, or that a meteorite landed in Flatwoods, WV—besides that suspicious card in the Project Blue Book files! Too? It seems odd that it would be Ohio Astronomy, no small distance away, to weigh in at all! We alluded to the meteor/meteorite issue... the reporting astronomer didn't seem to know the difference?
Furthermore, an impact pit from a meteorite would be obvious and even to this day one has never been found in or around Flatwoods, its nearby vicinity, or anywhere else in Braxton County! Stanton Friedman has quipped in this writer's presence that they’d have had to rename the town to “Flattened-woods,” had one of the described size actually touched down!
But wait, reader! Remember that second call Major Keyhoe made to Albert Chop in January of 1953? Chop gave him some additional information about the case. Here are the following details that Keyhoe received from Chop about the "Flatwoods Monster." Gird loins, reader, this rather kicks over rocks as it rips off scabs.
A). "First, the glowing object seen by Mrs. May and the boys was actually a meteor; It merely appeared to be landing when it disappeared over the hill." Well, at least he used the right word, eh?
NOTE: We observe that Chop stated, "appeared to be landing." This contradicts the Project Blue Book information in the Project 10073 Record Card, "landing near Flatwoods." ...These little rocks must be kicked over of needs. It's what the CSI (ever CSICOP!) would do!
B). "Second, the group did see two glowing eyes, probably those of a large owl perched on a limb. Underbrush below may have given the impression of a giant figure, and in their excitement, they may have imagined the rest." One can imagine Chop waving his hands.
...Let's digress a moment to add some gravid insult to abundant injury! In the early nineties, Joe Nickell—lapsed English teacher, draft-dodger, and malfeasant CSICOP debunker spokes-puppy—would fatuously assert his facile "appropriation" that the people of Flatwoods could not tell a common "barn owl" from a lighted "space alien," that they were sickened by some phantom miasma of noxious gas fumes from underlying coal deposits or seasonal plants (moonshine fumes?), and that they were, again, provincial bumpkins easily confused by a "well known" meteor event of September 12th... a meteor this writer reminds the reader is not academically recorded, anywhere, only sucked from a scientistic reductionist's prolapsed bum!
No, the meteor was ever only an early offered supposition by the Air Force to explain irrepressible and annoying facts, and just like the Nickell further-appropriated owl and coal gas suppositions? Mere flatulence from cack-fodder and hopeful bat-squeeze! Cowardice bumpin' ugly with Truthlessness to issue that which should not live to see its first breath of credibility to start! The canted & weaponized supposition of partisans, even suggested authoritatively by an officiality... is not fact.
Stop right here! See? If a "meteor," reader, it was a meteor lingering in the sky for 21 hours and change from the Eastern seaboard all the way into Flatwoods, as we’ve already pointed out! Such must be so.
This writer recalls there was a sustained UFO activity over ten east coast states that day! This includes 116 documented and pinpointed locations made by 25 separate unidentified craft! Phantom meteors and barn owls don't punch this ticket!
Moreover, four of those UFOs were damaged and accounted for thirteen crash landings reported: 10 in West Virginia, 2 in Tennessee, and 1 in South Carolina! Additionally, there were eight other locations where UFOs actually touched down and made landings: 1 in West Virginia, 6 in Ohio, and 1 in Pennsylvania! (FTR: all of these exact locations are documented in Feschino's book. He has the receipts AND the meat!)
Oh, and also for the record! While many of these UFOs traversed across the skies of the United States, some actually followed the flight path corridors of commercial airplanes!
The Wilmington Del. Sunday Star reported the following on September 14, 1952, "Three commercial pilots told the CAA that meteor-like objects flashed by their planes. One pilot said one nearly hit his ship." These incidents occurred in the Wheeling, WV area. More, the Wheeling News-Register reported, "One pilot said an object had nearly clipped the wing of his craft." How was a window seat for that action and where were the reports of those meteors!
Also? If dogs and children are sickened, reader, by some "coal-gas produced miasma" or "pungent plant," it has not happened before, or since… and not geologically or botanically relevant, anyway! Science (and investigation!) rules out each!
If an owl, reader... but come on! That's just ludicrous. "Thunderbirds" and "Rocs" are more myth and produce far less documentation! Verily, it seems to this writer that these excuses are but later meanspirited debunkerisms employed as a function of confounding Feschino’s astonishing revelations and reasoned assertions!
Moreover, these Flatwoods folk are with-it country people. They acquitted themselves well enough on National TV! They knew owls... barn, or those decidedly otherwise, unlike our Doctor "immaterial" Joe Nickell, that glabrous symbol once-avatar of all skeptical wisdom and incisive intelligence as it pertains to scientific inquiry... …pause for incredulous squirts & hearty giggles! He was an English teacher finally, as has been pointed out, and not Carl f'n Sagan!
NOTE: Chop used speculative words in his statements. Eyewitnesses, on the other hand, said the eyes actually resembled "portholes," which were the openings of the large head/helmet observed. Moreover, the body was described, from the beginning, as a large metal/mechanical figure approximately 12 feet tall which had lengthwise pipes surrounding the lower torso like pleats. Also reported was that these pipes emitted a noxious gas.
“Clawy arms” were never reported by eyewitnesses. Too, every eyewitness DID NOT imagine the same thing. Every eyewitness was at a different location along the path and had a separate point of view of the figure during their encounter. They would draw it later under inquisition, a word not used lightly! ...And none of these persons, living in Flatwoods for generations, knew what an owl looked like?
C). "Third, the boys' illness was a physical effect brought on by their fright."
NOTE: The boys and Mrs. May became sick when they inhaled the fumes emitted from the lower torso pipes of the figure. The eyewitnesses had sore throats and nearby witness Eugene Lemon vomited for hours after the encounter! Some of the boys had developed dark splotches on their skin needing medical attention! Most of the boys were so sick they had to leave school for a week! ...An otherwise healthy dog involved in the encounter, died.
D). "Fourth, the flattened grass and supposed tracks were made by the first villagers when they came to investigate."
NOTE: No. The locals DID NOT flatten the grass field of the small valley into “specific markings” with “well-defined” patterns; this includes the circular depression in the field where the craft had landed! One anxious and “anything but aliens” debunker, later on, would conjecture a drunk hillbilly cutting doughnuts in a pickup truck badly leaking its oil to explain the effusive substance discharge at the site.
Nor did civilian traffic of any type leave the huge blown-over grass path that the "Monster" left as it hovered back and forth across the field, from its craft to the tree and back! Too, this writer recalls that news reporter Stewart, who arrived first at the May home shortly after the incident, had to forcibly coax two of the older boys to return to the site that night. Stewart told Feschino this tale about one of the boys, "Under his breath, he was crying like a whipped pup."
Eventually, the boys showed Stewart the way and they went to the site with a small posse of armed local men and stayed for about 30 minutes. Stewart also stated, "We just spotlighted around because not one of us was inclined to hunt for something we didn't know what it was in the dark."
Moreover, after Stewart and his posse left the farm, the law finally arrived. The Sheriff, Robert Carr, did not go up to the site of the encounter that night because his accompanying police dogs refused to go onto the farm! Major Keyhoe stated, "When the sheriff arrived, a fog was settling over the hillside. Twice he tried to get his dogs to lead him to the spot where the monster was seen. Each time they ran away, howling, and he gave up until morning."
In a disappointing closing of what must be assessed as official betrayal, Donald Keyhoe disclosed the following information told to him by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the Chief of Project Blue Book back in 1952… we can recall from Part 2. You'll remember. "Ed."
The following quote, made by Captain Ruppelt, appeared in Keyhoe's 1973 book, Aliens From Space (a free pdf can be found). He told Keyhoe, quite frankly, what can be taken as a broad admission of employed official policy wide-spread. To wit: "We're ordered to hide sightings when possible, but if a strong report does get out we have to publish a fast explanation—make up something to kill the report in a hurry. We must also ridicule the witness, especially if we can't figure a plausible answer." Maybe? Read that last again.
Cut and print, reader! Someone fork the toast!
"HIDE. LIE. KILL the story"! "RIDICULE" the witnesses! Official policy! Things are now as they were then, but NOW? You are there! Thanks, Major!
In conclusion, this writer offers that "official policy" was only ever an inconsequent and unbalanced morass of crass homocentric smarm, so not without the usual baseless debunkery, scientistic reductionism, and unscientific hubris... an initiative as insulting as it was superficial and as ill-informed as it was disingenuous! Doctor (immaterial, he's an English teacher ffs!) Joe Nickell (he actually passed out wooden nickels at one time!) was touted as the expert authority (?) where Feschino is not much referred to in the milieu except, derisively, as a base "enthusiast"! Nickell, like all of the officialdom, went to Flatwoods, once, to trash the story. Feschino has been researching the incident for coming up on three decades, incisively, exhaustively, and diligently. Feschino, on the other hand, continues to do due diligence!
Verily, the late Stanton Friedman thought Feschino had the right stuff! Friedman wrote fore and aft in all of Feschino's books! Moreover, Feschino is hugely respected by sincere UFO researchers in the community from Richard Dolan, through Whitley Strieber, to Robert Hastings! Search this site for "Feschino" or “Flatwoods” to get a flesh-out of the story… and be amazed with his seminal and landmark book; it’s glazed in detail.
Too? Remember that the "Monster," whatever it was, was the END of the story. The real, and more interesting, beginning of the story is a really good case for an undeclared air war with ET after President Truman ordered the military to start shooting UFOs down in 1952. Joe didn’t mention any of that… did he. Closing, at last. Thanks, Major Keyhoe.
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In a postscript, Reader! This article is only the tip of the iceberg concerning Frank Feschino's investigation.
The most complete and detailed historical account of this fascinating incident can be purchased in Feschino’s book through his website: www.flatwoodsmonster.com