The strange 1952 case of the Flatwoods Monster has landed again in the national spotlight as the new History drama series "Project Blue Book" features an episode about the purported sighting in a new episode that airs at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, on the History Channel.
Episode 102, "The Flatwoods Monster," features Dr. J. Allen Hynek (played by Aidan Gillen) and Captain Quinn (played by Michael Malarkey) investigating a West Virginia case of a woman and her two children who said they witnessed a flying saucer crash near their farm and an alien emerge from the fiery wreck.
The series premiered on Tuesday, Jan. 8, to a strong audience. The show's executive producer is Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Robert Zemeckis ("Back to the Future," "Forrest Gump," "Contact"), and the series is based on the top secret investigations into unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and related phenomena conducted by the U.S. Air Force from 1952-1969.
The series is inspired by the personal experiences of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, a college professor recruited by the U.S. Air Force to spearhead this clandestine operation (Project Blue Book) that researched thousands of cases, over 700 of which remain unsolved to this day.
Each episode will draw from the actual case files, blending UFO theories with authentic historical events from one of the most mysterious eras in United States history.
The sighting of the Flatwoods Monster is believed to have occurred in Flatwoods, W.Va., on Sept. 12, 1952. According to a History story earlier this year, the monster was viewed by six boys aged 10 to 17, a dog and a mom.
The May brothers — Ed, 13, and Freddie, 12 — had been playing in their schoolyard with their 10-year-old friend Tommy Hyer.
After noticing a pulsing red light streak across the sky and crash on a nearby farm, the three youngsters ran to grab the Mays boys' mother, then high-tailed it up that hill to check out where the light had landed. A few other boys, one with a dog, showed up too. They ran back down — in sheer terror.
"Seven Braxton County residents on Saturday reported seeing a 10-foot Frankenstein-like monster in the hills above Flatwoods," a local newspaper reported afterward. "A National Guard member, (17-yearold) Gene Lemon, was leading the group when he saw what appeared to be a pair of bright eyes in a tree."
Lemon screamed and fell backward, the news account said, "when he saw a 10-foot monster with a blood-red body and a green face that seemed to glow."
It may have had claws for hands. It was hard to tell because of the dense mist.
The story made the local news, then got picked up by national radio and big papers all over the country, said Andrew Smith, who runs the Flatwoods Monster Museum and the Braxton County Convention Visitors Bureau. "Mrs. May and the National Guard kid ended up going to New York to talk to CBS," Gibson said.
The encounter made the local and national news, scaring a wider swath of people. Then it prompted a U.S. Air Force UFO inquiry, part of a project called Project Blue Book, that dispatched a handful of investigators around the country to look into such claims.
Go online at https://www.history.com/shows/projectblue-book for more information on the History show and https://www.history.com/shows/project-bluebook/season-1/episode-2/preview-the-flatwoods-monster to watch a preview of the Flatwoods Monster episode.