Ghosts of the PA Wilds: The Flatwoods Monster visits Elk Country
The Flatwoods Monster is not the easiest creature to categorize. Is it a cryptid? Is it an alien? Nobody’s sure. It was seen in Braxton, West Virginia on September 12, 1952. Witnesses watched as a meteor came down in the forest nearby, and then a moment later, they saw a tall, frightening creature emerge from the trees.
It was about ten feet tall, green, with glowing red eyes. The creature had stick-like arms, an odd skirt, and some sort of spade-shaped hood.
But wait. I’m supposed to be writing about the Pennsylvania Wilds here. That’s what I’m asked to do. This whole thing is about the Pennsylvania Wilds, so why am I writing about West Virginia here?
Fear not. I’m getting to it. You see, the Flatwoods Monster made a quick appearance in the Pennsylvania Wilds, too.
The Bucktail Scenic Byway runs up along the Susquehanna River, and in northern Clinton County it’s along the border between Dark Skies landscape and Elk Country landscape of the PA Wilds. And right in that spot is where people in the PA Wilds encountered the Flatwoods Monster, or at least the meteorite that may have carried him. And we saw it before anyone in West Virginia did.
The headline hit the front page of the Renovo Daily Record on September 15, 1952: “Drurys Run Folks Spot Flying Saucer.” Drury’s Run is a tributary of the Susquehanna River, in northern Clinton County. Several people saw an object pass over, going from roughly northeast to southwest, the exact course the meteorite in West Virginia would have taken.
“A group of Drurys Run people saw a ‘flying saucer’ pass over,” the article said. “One of the witnesses to the strange object in the sky, Mrs. Ernest C. Crossley, said it was silver, ‘colored just like a star,’ and appeared to be just about the size of a pie pan.”
At about 6:30 p.m., a crowd of about twenty people saw the object pass over. In 1952, UFO sightings were not exactly unusual in Clinton County. Piper Aviation had some classified government designs, and were testing them, which often caused UFO reports, but this one didn’t fit the usual description. A man named Bill Hritzko saw it first, sitting on a nearby porch with some friends.
A crowd at the Green Lantern Tavern gathered outside to watch the object fly over, right beside today’s Elk Scenic Drive. Crossley reported that they couldn’t tell whether it was spinning or not, and a man named Harry Stout said he thought he heard it making a noise, but nobody else reported sounds.
Photo: The Green Lantern Tavern, courtesy of Lou Bernard
This was almost an hour before a bright, unidentified object crashed down in West Virginia, and witnesses saw the Flatwood Monster emerge from the trees nearby. Police were notified, and the publisher of the local newspaper went out to investigate, but the monster was never found.
This puts the Flatwoods Monster geographically in exactly the same area as some of our local cryptids like the Giwoggle and the Susquehanna Seal. The Flatwoods Monster is well known to paranormal enthusiasts today. But a lot of them don’t know its connection to Clinton County. Before landing in West Virginia, the Flatwoods Monster went through Elk Country first. And I think that’s a good idea, even for an alien/cryptid. No matter where you’re planning to go, always take a moment and visit the PA Wilds.
About the Ghost of the PA Wilds series:
“Ghosts of the PA Wilds” describes a series of ghost stories from the region written by historian Lou Bernard, who also revels in folklore and the paranormal. Each Monday of October, and leading right to Halloween, the PA Wilds Are Calling blog will feature a new ghost story to celebrate the spooktacular season upon us.
Know of another good PA Wilds ghost story worth investigating and sharing? Let us know in the comment section below!
More From Our Blog