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.
END PART 2