Database : 1700 – 1965
The following is a comprehensive list of oddities, apparitions and anomalous phenomena [1700 – 1965].
Work in progress, more things to be added over time.
⦁ Ogua – 1700s (WV & OH)
Date: The late 1700s
Location: Along the Monongahela River in West Virginia and Ohio
AKA: Agua, Agou
Investigator(s): Historian Glenn D. Lough
Story: The story of Ogua was a tale reportedly told by indigenous people along the Monongahela river to frighten European settlers such as soldiers, traders, and early visitors to the region. The story was then passed along by miners and factory workers who settled along the river in places like Fairmont and Morgantown West Virginia as well as Marietta Ohio.
In the late 1700s a young man at Fort Harmer, in what is present-day Ohio, wrote a letter to his parents who lived in Connecticut. In the letter he describes the Ogua as an amphibious creature resembling a turtle that comes upon land at night to lie in deer paths and behind old stumps in wait for passing deer to prey on. He writes that the creature has a 15ft long tail and pulls deer to the muddy water to devour them. He reports that the men had supposedly killed one of the creatures and that it weighed 444 pounds. He adds that natives also call it “Agua” or “Agou”.
Description: An over 440 pound creature resembling a turtle with a 15ft tail which stays in the water during daytime and goes on land to prey on deer at night.
Source(s): Microfilm letter from Fort Harmer in the Draper collection at West Virginia University Library (Late 1700s), Now and Long Ago (1969) by Glenn D. Lough, “Monongahela River boasts three monster legends” WVExplorer article (2019) by David Sibray
⦁ Black Dog Ghost – 1883 (WV)
Location: Hickory Chapel, West Virginia
Story: On May 9th 1883, The Weekly Register printed a local legend about a black dog ghost seen multiple times by several people in Hickory Chapel, West Virginia. People walking or riding on horses both supposed witnessed the ghost following them but couldn’t out run it. The being was reportedly shot at repeatedly by skilled marksmen and had rocks throw at it but to no effect.
Description: Black dog ghost
Source(s): “Ghost” in the local matters page of The Weekly Register, May 9th 1883
⦁ Wildman – March 6th 1919 (WV)
Witness(es): Luther C. Douglas
Date: March 6th 1919
Location: Flatwoods, West Virginia
Story: On March 6th 1919, Luther C. Douglas was returning home from a lodge meeting when he heard an odd noise by local Ed Wiley’s barn near the road. Assuming it was an animal, he ignored it. He continued walking only to hear a loud door slam near an old vacant house. A long-haired bearded “wild man” then reportedly exited the front door of the house, wearing rags, holding up a club-like stick and making terrifying noises.
Luther Douglas reportedly fired two shots at the supposed wild man with his revolver. The wildman let out a loud scream and ran off. The Evening Telegram ran an article on the story which implied that other tales like this had been told in the area involving a wild man stealing and killing local livestock.
Description: Long-haired bearded “wild man,” wearing rags, holding a club-like stick and making loud screaming noises.
Source(s): “Return of Wild Man Revives Old Terrors” Evening Telegram, March 8th 1919
⦁ White Thing – July 1929 (WV)
Witness(es): Frank Kozul
Date: A night on July 1929
Location: Morgan’s Ridge near Rivesville, West Virginia
AKA: The Morgan’s Ridge Monster
Investigator(s): Ruth Ann Musick, Kurt McCoy
Story: On a late night in July of 1929, Frank Kozul took a short cut through the woods along Morgan’s ridge near Rivesville WV. He was walking home from his coal mining job at the 93 mine to his home in Fairmont WV. He supposedly saw a large white dog-like creature about 2ft tall which was covered in shaggy hair, had a large head and a bushy tail. The beast reportedly jumped up and attacked him by biting and scratching at him. He tried fighting off the creature by hitting it with his lunch pail, kicking at it and pushing it away but it kept jumping up at him. Its body reportedly had no substance and couldn’t be hit, like swinging at the air.
The white thing never made a noise during the attack and it disappeared when they neared a graveyard. Kozul returned home only to find that there were no scratch marks or wounds on him despite having felt the creature attacking him. Frank was left very frightened by the experience and never took the short cut again. The tale of his encounter was relayed to his daughter Katherine Kozul of Fairmont who told the story in 1963. It was then printed by Ruth Ann Musick.
Description: Large white dog-like creature about 2ft tall which was covered in shaggy hair, had a large head and bush tail. It was aggressive, noiseless and unable to be hit.
Source(s): The Telltale Lilac Bush (1965) by Ruth Ann Musick Pg148 #94 told by Katherine Kozul in 1963, White Things: West Virginia’s Weird White Monsters (2008) by Kurt McCoy (Frank Kozul)
⦁ Pt Pleasant’s Phantom Blimp Crash – October 10th 1931 (WV)
Witness(es): Over 30 people – Harold Mackenzie, Robert P. Henke, Mrs. Henke, Dr. Claude Parker, Mrs. Parker and several others near the Ohio river including people in the town Pt Pleasant WV and at Raccoon Island, as well as workers along the state highway and witnesses in Huntington WV.
Date: Saturday, October 10th 1931 at around 2:50PM
Location: The Point Pleasant West Virginia and Gallipolis Ohio area
AKA: Pt Pleasant’s Unidentified Dirigible Crash
Investigator(s): Gary S. Mangiacopra and Carl J. Pabst
Story: On Saturday, October 10th 1931, Harold Mackenzie was at the Ohio River front and reportedly saw a mysterious airship flying above Gallipolis Ohio. He called his friends at the Foster Dairy plant to come and see it as well. Robert P. Henke and his wife along with Dr. Claude Parker and his wife went to First Avenue to view the ship through Mrs. Parker’s field glasses. Several other people soon joined them and reportedly saw the dirigible fly over the Ohio River.
Looking through the field glasses, Henke estimated the blimp to be 100 to 150 feet long and about 300 feet high. In the nearby town of Point Pleasant WV, residents also reportedly saw the blimp as well as workers along the state highway, people at Raccoon Island and witnesses in Huntington WV.
At about 2:50PM, according to the witnesses, the blimp seemed to buckle and break apart into two pieces. Smoke filled the air as the ship went down in flames toward the hills near Gallipolis Ferry WV. Several witnesses saw four people in parachutes jumping from the downed vessel.
Lt D. Eckford Hodgson, was later contacted by researcher of anomalous phenomena Charles Fort. Hodgson told Fort that at 3PM while he was checking plane engines at the Gallipolis Airway Company, a man drove up and asked if he’d seen the blimp overhead, though Eckford had neither seen nor heard such a vessel. He claimed that he later talked with 20 to 30 people who said they had seen the airship which stayed in approximately the same location for about an hour before suddenly crashing. According to these purported witnesses, the craft had no markings or cabin.
Many observers reported the dirigible crash to Dr. Charles E. Holzer, owner of the Gallipolis airport. West Virginia Sheriff H. E. Burdette of Mason County led a search party on foot. They searched the wooded area around midnight but by dawn had found nothing. The following day, October 11th 1931, WV state trooper H. E. Pomroy made a ground search as well. Dr. Holzer issued an air search to look for the wreckage, debris and possible survivors. Nothing was reported found and by night the teams had given up and abandoned their efforts.
Akron Airfield denied that any airships were missing and all Goodyear Zeppelin Company blimps were accounted for. WV Senator H.D. Hatfield revealed that he had requested for the new U.S.S. Akron dirigible to fly over the Fairfield Stadium in Huntington WV but the navy had denied his request and the ship did not fly over. There were no blimps that were supposed to be in that air space at that time. The craft was never identified. Debris and wreckage from the mystery aircraft was never found nor were the supposed parachute jumpers. For all intents and purposes, the blimp did not exist; yet dozens of people reportedly saw the phantom craft.
Description: A mysterious unidentified blimp with no markings or cabin flying overhead for about an hour before seeming to buckle and break apart into two pieces, smoke filled the air as the ship went down in flames toward the hills, four people in parachutes were seen jumping from the downed vessel, the wreckage was never found.
Source(s): “Unidentified Dirigible Reported Down In Blaze In West Virginia” Evening Star Newspaper 10/11/1931, “Where The Waters Mingle” column by Mary Hyre in The Athens Messenger 1/29/67, “The Blimp That Wasn’t There” FATE Magazine (1979) by Gary S. Mangiacopra and Carl J. Pabst, The World’s Strangest Stories (1983) by the editors of FATE Pg91-95 Ch5.1
⦁ The Flatwoods Monster – September 12th 1952 (WV)
Witness(es): Eddie May, Freddie May, A. Kathleen May, Neil Nunley, Ronnie Shaver and Eugene Lemon
Date: Friday, September 12th 1952
Location: Flatwoods, West Virginia
AKA: The Braxton County Monster, The Green Monster, Baxxie
Investigator(s): Ivan Sanderson, Gray Barker
Story: On Friday, September 12th 1952 at about 7PM, two young brothers by the names of Eddie May (Age 13) and Freddie May (Age 11) were playing football with their friend Tommy Hyer (Age 10) when they witnessed a bright object cross the sky. The object appeared to come to rest on land belonging to local farmer George Bailey Fisher. Upon witnessing the object, the boys told their mother, A. Kathleen May (Age 32), who was a former school teacher that operated a local beauty parlor. She was visiting her parents, the Lemons, at the time.
From there, Mrs. May was accompanied by the three boys along with West Virginia National Guardsman Eugene Lemon (Age 17) and local children including Neil Nunley (Age 14) and Ronnie Shaver (Age 10). This search party of sorts traveled to the Fisher farm in an effort to locate whatever it was that the boys had seen. There was allegedly a foul odor in the air, though this detail seems to have been exaggerated over time by those retelling the story. The team brought with them on this trip a local dog which, contrary to popular rumor, lived for many years after this with no sickness.
By view of flashlight, they are said to have seen something strange and glowing which stood 10 to 12ft tall. The witnesses disagreed on whether it was green or a shiny metallic that reflected the nearby foliage. It’s ambiguous if the figure was animate or not. Mrs. May reportedly saw claw-like arms though the others all dispute this detail. The figure had a bright red pointed cowling in the shape of the ace of spades with two circular light sources. The group fled in panic.
A call was then made by Mrs. May to the Braxton County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Robert L. Carr and Deputy J. Burnell Long were at the time investigating a mysterious report of a crashed airplane near Gassaway along the Elk River near Sugar Creek which turned up nothing. Meanwhile curious locals explored the Fisher farm, including Max Junior Lockard (Age 25) and his friends who drove to the sighting location in his 1942 Chevrolet truck. Mr. Asa Lee Stewart Jr of the Braxton Democrat newspaper conducted interviews with the witnesses and checked out the site as well.
Sheriff Carr and Deputy Long later arrived on the scene to investigate the farm area. Nothing noteworthy was reportedly found other than oil and tire tracks from Lockard’s vehicle. They were able to determine the figure’s height by measuring a branch on the tree it stood near. Local news media reported on the story with several newspaper articles, many of which embellished and exaggerated the details of the case.
In September 1952, a week after the encounter, Braxton county local Gray Barker arrived in the area to investigate alongside Fortean researcher Ivan Sanderson. Barker then wrote an article about the case for FATE magazine.
On Friday, September 19th 1952 at 8:30PM, Kathleen May, Eugene Lemon and Lee Stewart Jr appeared on the New York TV show “We The People” hosted on WNBW to talk about the sighting. During this TV appearance the famous sketch was drawn by a sketch artist based on Kathleen’s description and the name “The Green Monster” was given to what they saw.
Description: 10-12ft tall glowing figure, either green in coloration or a shiny metallic reflecting nearby foliage, unsure if animate or not, possible claw-like things according to one witness and a bright red pointed cowling in the shape of an ace of spades with two circular light sources.
Source(s): “Baxton Co. Residents Faint, Become Ill After Run-In With Weird 10-Foot Monster” Charleston Daily Mail 9/14/1952, “‘Monster’ Held Illusion Created By Meteor’s Gas” Charleston Gazette 9/23/1952, “The Monster And The Saucer” FATE Magazine (1953) by Gray Barker, They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers (1956) by Gray Barker, Mothman and other curious encounters (2002) by Loren Coleman Ch1, The Flatwoods Monster (2013) by George Dudding, Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear (2018) Documentary by Small Town Monsters
⦁ The White Thing (Told in 1954) (WV)
Location: Kanawha County, West Virginia
Investigator(s): Ruth Ann Musick
Story: A woman in Kanawha County WV, was riding home from church on her horse when she heard a strange scream which sounded like a woman in agony that caused her horse to thrash about. She then saw a white four-legged creature which was larger than a dog but smaller than her horse. The white thing was covered in hair and had a large mouth with razor sharp teeth jutting out. The woman took off on her horse and the creature disappeared into the darkness.
The next day, she and her father planned to look for the creature’s tracks but instead they found their horse had been killed with flesh torn from its bone. Thomas A. Burford of Charleston WV told the story in 1954 which was printed by Ruth Ann Musick. Burford said the “White Thing” was a common tale in Kanawha County WV.
Description: A white four-legged creature covered in hair with a large mouth of razor sharp teeth jutting out which was larger than a dog but smaller than a horse.
Note: In another story printed by Ruth Ann Musick, Michael O’Dell of Rivesville WV told in 1958 of his Uncle’s monster encounter. One rainy night, Will O’Dell and his family heard shrill screams and went outside to see a strange creature on their family farm in Rivesville WV. The four men shot at it and heard it cry out but when they got to the spot where the creature stood they found nothing.
The next day their sheep were mauled with slit throats but with no blood anywhere. Weeks later, they heard the cries again and rushed outside to see the same bulky figure had returned. They couldn’t tell if it was on four feet or two. The men shot at the unaware figure, making sure they hit their mark. An unearthly scream rang out but once again when they got there they found nothing other than another mutilated sheep.
Source(s): The Telltale Lilac Bush (1965) by Ruth Ann Musick Pg145-147 #92 told by Thomas A. Burford in 1954 & Pg147-148 #93 told by Michael O’Dell in 1958, White Things: West Virginia’s Weird White Monsters (2008) by Kurt McCoy (Will O’Dell)
⦁ Loveland Frogmen – March 1955 And Previous (OH)
Witness(es): Carlos Flannigan, Robert Hunnicutt
Date(s): 1955 (C.F.) and March 1955 at about 4AM (R.H.)
Location: Loveland, Ohio
AKA: Gnomen, Loveland Frogs 1955
Investigator(s): Leonard H. Stringfield
– C.F. Sighting (1955) –
In 1955, Carlos Flannigan reportedly witnessed four small man-shaped figures about 3ft tall standing under a bridge in Loveland Ohio. He told this to police and an armed guard was stationed under the bridge.
– R.H. Sighting (March 1955) –
On a night in March 1955, at about 4AM, Robert Hunnicutt was driving through Branch Hill towards Loveland Ohio. He saw what looked like three men kneeling at the right side of the road by the light of his vehicle’s headlights. He stopped his car and got out to get a better look. The 3ft tall bipedal figures he saw had frog-like faces, lopsided chests, long slender arms and were standing about 4ft apart. They were grey in coloration including tight garments stretched over their bodies which bulged out at the shoulder area. The legs and feet were obscured by foliage. Their faces were smooth with long thin frog-like lips, no eyebrows and an indistinct nose. The tops of their heads had horizontal row-like rolls that seemed painted on like a plastic doll’s hair.
The figure in the center was standing closest to the witness and had its arms upraised about a foot above its head. The being was holding what appeared to be a dark chain or stick which emitted white and blue sparks that jumped from one hand to the other. The small man-like figures motioned towards him as if to tell him not to come closer. Robert stood there for about three minutes before heading off to the office of Police Chief John Fritz. John Fritz drove to the area and investigated, armed with a gun and a camera. He made about five passes but saw nothing. The sightings were then investigated by UFO researcher Leonard Stringfield who released details on the case overtime in his printed works.
Source(s): Inside Saucer Post 3-0 Blue (1957) by Leonard Stringfield Pg66, Situation Red: The UFO Siege (1977) by Leonard Stringfield, Gray Barker’s Book of Monsters Vol 1 (2020) by Tony Breeden (Names of witnesses)
⦁ Kentucky Goblins – August 1955 (KY)
Witness(es): Eight adults and three children – The Lankford Family, The Sutton Family, Billy Ray Taylor and his wife.
Date: Sunday, August 21st 1955
Location: Sutton Farm between Kelly and Hopkinsville, Kentucky
AKA: The Kelly-Hopkinsville Goblins, The Hopkinsville Goblins, The Little Green Men, The Kelly Green Men
Investigator(s): Isabel Davis & Ted Bloecher of CUFOS
Story: On the night of Sunday August 21st 1955, Billy Ray Taylor and his wife were staying with the Sutton and Lankford family at the Sutton’s farmhouse. Billy Ray went to the backyard to get a drink from the well of water when he saw a silver flying saucer shooting flames of every color which then went down into a ravine.
He went back into the house and told the Sutton and Lankford family including his friend Elmer “Lucky” Sutton. An hour later at about 8PM, Elmer and Billy reportedly saw something which appeared to be a 3-and-a-half ft tall glowing man with large pupil-less eyes moving along the shadows towards the farmhouse. The creature was silver and metallic in coloration had large pointed ears, no noses and long thin arms with talon-like claws which it held over its head.
Billy went for his .22 rifle and Elmer grabbed his 20 gauge shotgun. They fired at the creatures from a distance of about 20ft. When hit, one of the small creatures flipped over and ran away into the darkness. The two men then went inside, only for one of the little men to appear in the window. They shot at the entity through the window screen and it once again disappeared into the shadows. By this time the rest of the house was alerted to the commotion.
When Billy Ray exited through the screen door into the backyard, a clawed hand on the roofing above grabbed him by the hair. Alene Sutton pulled Billy away and back inside the farmhouse. Elmer rushed into the backyard and shot at the creatures that were on the roof causing them to strangely float off onto the ground. Another little man then appeared in a tree near the house and another ran out in front of Elmer. The creatures reportedly seemed to glow brighter when shot or yelled at. The families continued shooting at the advancing creatures for several hours before eventually abandoning the farmhouse at 11PM and driving to the police station in Hopkinsville.
Police and reporters investigated the Sutton farm at around 11:30PM without finding anything. After the crowd of people had the left, at about 2:30AM the Sutton, Lankford and Taylor families were once again frightened by a glowing claw-like hand outside their window. Elmer once again shot at the creatures which finally disappeared around dawn.
Description: Several 3.5ft tall glowing creatures with large pupil-less eyes, large pointy ears, no noses, long thin arms, talon-like claws and immunity to gunshots.
Source(s): Close Encounters At Kelly And Others (1978) by Isabel Davis & Ted Bloecher of the Center for UFO Studies, Mysterious America (1983) by Loren Coleman Pg185-190 Ch17
⦁ Apple Devils 1960 (WV)
Witness(es)/Date(s): Local farmers & orchard owners (1960), a group of campers (Summer 1960), Doc Priestly (October 1960), Charles Stover (Friday, December 30th 1960)
Location: Around the Monongahela Forest WV (Marlinton WV, near Davis WV, and Hickory Flats WV)
AKA: Apple Pickers, The Apple Devil
Investigator(s): John Lutz & Lou Corbin, John Keel, Loren Coleman
– Apple Devils 1960 –
In 1960, upright walking creatures covered in dark hair were reportedly seen by local farmers and orchard owners in the town of Marlinton, West Virginia. The hairy humanoids became known as “Apple Devils” or “Apple Pickers.”
They supposedly ran very fast, had a foul odor and left behind torn down fences, broken branches and the apple trees stripped of fruit. John Lutz of WFBR Radio and his boss Lou Corbin reportedly investigated the creatures in 1960.
– Davis WV Sighting (Summer 1960) –
In summer 1960, a group of young men were camping near Davis WV, at the edge of the Monongahela Forest when they saw an 8ft tall monster covered in long shaggy hair with large far apart eyes like balls of fire. The creature poked one of the campers in the ribs and then just stared at them before shuffling away into the forest.
The next morning, the men left early. They found footprints which they were too afraid to follow. The story was sent to author John Keel by one of the supposed witnesses in a letter dated January 7th 1961. Others supposedly had seen the same fiery eyed creature around Parson WV that same summer in 1960.
– Doc Priestly Sighting (October 1960) –
In October 1960, W. C. “Doc” Priestly was driving along through the Monongahela forest near Marlinton West Virginia when suddenly his vehicle stalled. Beside the road he saw a large humanoid monster with long hair standing up on end. When the bus ahead of Priestly backed up, the creature’s hair dropped down and it ran off into the forest. Doc’s car then started back up and he drove away. Priestly later told his story to the Charleston WV Daily Mail on January 5th 1961.
– Charles Stover Sighting (December 30th 1960) –
On Friday December 30th 1960 at around 11PM, Charles Stover was driving a bakery truck near Hickory Flats West Virginia when he saw a 6ft tall hair covered monster standing by the road which he almost hit. Stover stopped his truck to see the large creature staring at him.
He quickly drove away to a nearby truck stop and told his story to a group of men there who armed themselves and went back with him to the location. They discovered unusual markings on the ground and saw that large rocks had been turned over. Strange cries from the wilderness had supposedly been heard by locals in the area for weeks.
Source(s): Strange Creatures From Time And Space (1970) by John Keel Pg120-122 #60-62, Mothman and other curious encounters (2002) by Loren Coleman Pg21 Ch1
⦁ Red Eyed Creature – Early 1960’s (WV)
Witness(es): Shirley Hensley, her parents and eight siblings
Date: Throughout 1961 – 1964
Location: Crotty Street aka 31st Street Hill near Huntington, West Virginia
Investigator(s): Jeff Wamsley
Story: From 1961 to 1964, Shirley Hensley lived with her parents and eight younger siblings on Crotty Street aka 31st Street Hill near Huntington, West Virginia. They lived in a what was basically a shack with coal and wood heating, an outhouse, well water and plastic coverings instead of glass windows. She and her family reportedly heard odd screaming noises on several occasions.
Shirley first heard the noise when she was in the cab of her then boyfriend’s flatbed truck which was in front of her house. Mid conversation they supposedly heard a loud scream and something hit the underside of the truck. They both exited the truck and ran into the house.
A few day later Shirley, her mother and a few of her siblings were drawing well water when she heard the same scream again coming from the bushes behind the well. This was when her mother first heard the sound. She immediately grabbed her children and told them to run back to the house.
The family on many occasions would hear something bumping up against the house, moving over fallen leaves, making gargling sounds, or letting out loud blood-curdling screams unlike anything else.
At first her parents considered these noises “foolishness” but over time they began to take them more seriously. To Shirley and her siblings these occurrences became as normal as the wind blowing, just another part of their life, and they felt fortunate when time would pass without incident. The family instituted a rule that they had to get well water before dark because they never heard the noises during daylight.
The family had two outdoor hound dogs, Sluggo and Roscoe, when the screaming would occur the dogs would whimper at the door. If someone opened the door they’d run in and get under the bed covers shaking with fear with their hair standing on end.
One of the plastic covered windows in the house was very large which caused Shirley to worry that the thing might use it as an entryway, although it easily could have, it never did. Shirley’s two sisters, while looking for the creature’s tracks, discovered a large dirt print which their father couldn’t identify and claimed to have never seen one like it.
One fall evening at about 6pm, Shirley returned from a date with her boyfriend. When she opened the door her mother was frantic telling her to get inside because they had heard the noises again. Her mother told Shirley that while her sisters were out playing her dad reportedly heard the thing scream causing them to rush inside and hunker down behind the door.
Shirley’s father said he heard something moving around nearby in the neighbor Delmer’s coal pile so he went the door and asked for a gun. Delmer’s son handed him a .22 rifle. Shirley’s father aimed the rifle at the coal pile and reportedly saw two large red eyes that looked like bicycle reflectors coming up over the coal. He shot at the thing and it made a loud scream then ran away towards the hill.
He described it as a 7ft tall creature with long arms down by its side that extended below its knees and said it ran awkwardly. Despite being told to stay inside, Shirley’s sister Mary reportedly witnessed the encounter as well while standing behind her father. She said the creature was tall, shiny and black with large red eyes.
The few people that Shirley’s family told about this tried to dismiss the stories as panthers or screech owls but the family disagreed. Shirley married her boyfriend in 1964 and her parents moved away from the location.
In 1966, Shirley heard about the reported sightings of the Mothman in Point Pleasant WV. The reports described a man with wings and red eyes. She wondered if these events could be related. In the 2000’s, she told her story to local author Jeff Wamsley, who published it in his 2005 book “Mothman…behind the red eyes.”
Description: 7ft tall shiny black creature which ran awkwardly with large reflective red eyes and long arms down by its side that extended below its knees. It reportedly made loud screaming sounds, gargling noises, and bumped up against surfaces. Hid in bushes and a coal pile.
Source(s): Mothman: Behind The Red Eyes (2005) by Jeff Wamsley Pg65
⦁ The Grafton Monster – June 16th 1964 (WV)
Witness(es): Robert Cockrell
Date: Tuesday, June 16th 1964 at about 11PM
Location: Grafton, West Virginia
AKA: The Headless Horror
Investigator(s): Gray Barker
Story: On Tuesday June 16th 1964 at around 11PM, a young journalist named Robert Cockrell was driving home at about 50MPH on Riverside Drive along the Tygart river. When he reportedly saw a huge white thing standing on the right side of the road in a cleared off section of grass near the river bank. He said the creature seemed to have seal-like skin and no discernible head. It was 7 to 9ft tall and 4ft wide.
Robert got two of his friends to accompany him back to the sighting location. They searched along the riverbank for over an hour but found nothing. The grass where the creature had been seen was supposedly mashed down. They then heard a strange low whistling noise coming from the direction of the river, which seemed to follow them, though they couldn’t see what was making the sound.
Word soon spread and it became a Monster-Hunting sensation. Robert told his news editor and a small story was released in The Grafton Sentinel on June 18th. Crowds of people went to the sighting area with weaponry and searched everywhere for The Grafton Monster. Over 20 of these searchers said they saw the creature, including at the nearby stone quarry.
Each of these supposed witnesses was questioned individually by Robert Crockrell. One teen even suggested that the monster might be an escaped polar bear. Police officers also searched the area but found nothing.
The newspaper then put out a second article on June 19th in which they dismissed the creature as a wildly imaginative story or a trick of the eye. They suggested that it could have been something else that took on a weird shape in the darkness.
The excitement eventually died down but Cockrell continued his investigation. He allegedly found other sightings along the Tygart River and into Morgantown which matched the creature’s description and took place before his encounter. However he never published the details of his research.
He contacted Clarksburg researcher Gray Barker and exchanged correspondence with him about the case. Barker wrote up a rough draft article about the monster which was later rediscovered in 1995 by Mark Hall in The Gray Barker Archive.
Description: White seal-skinned creature with no discernible head, 7-9ft tall, 4ft wide standing near the riverbank. Low whistling sound heard in the area afterwards.
Source(s): “Teen-Age Monster Hunting Parties Latest Activity On Grafton Scene” The Grafton Sentinel June 18th 1964, “‘Monster’ Result of Spring Fever, Wild Imagination” The Grafton Sentinel June 19th 1964, Robert Cockrell and Gray Barker’s July 1964 Letters from the Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Monsters of West Virginia (2012) by Rosemary Ellen Guiley Ch1, The Grafton Monster (2019) by George Dudding