Flatwoods Monster Museum.

Flatwoods Monster Museum

Field review by the editors.

Sutton, West Virginia

"This started as a fluke," said Andrew Smith, director of the Braxton County Visitors Bureau, whose office is now thoroughly intertwined with the exhibits of the Flatwoods Monster Museum. Andrew said that in 2015 he found a nice glass showcase in a back room and decided to bring it out front and put something in it about the Monster, a 10-foot-tall space alien that briefly visited Braxton County in 1952. "Later that week I was talking to my friend Brandon -- he has more monster stuff than anybody -- and he said, 'Sure, I'll bring some over.'"

Flatwoods Monster Museum.

Brandon's donation of pop culture Flatwoods Monster collectibles acted like an horrifically-implanted monster embryo. Visitors who stopped by began leaving their own Flatwoods Monster memorabilia. "Within two months that case was full," said Andrew. "I couldn't believe it."

The Visitors Bureau moved to a much larger office in October 2017 and the Monster collection moved with it, expanding with more space and more donations into a fully fledged museum. Although small by museum standards, it still exhibits an impressive array of Flatwoods Monsterabilia, especially since the Monster was essentially ignored by the town for over 60 years.

One display showcases the famous image of the Monster drawn only days after its appearance by a New York sketch artist, made from descriptions provided and vouched for by two of the witnesses. Another exhibit chronicles the history of the ceramic Braxton County Monster Lamps, first made in the 1960s. One of the original "Welcome to Flatwoods, Home of the Green Monster" signs is preserved in the museum, as is a rare vinyl copy of the Flatwoods Monster single, "The Being," donated by its singer/songwriter, Argyle Goolsby. The museum has what is probably the world's most comprehensive library of Flatwoods Monster newspaper clippings and journal articles. It also has some genuinely bizarre DIY Flatwoods Monster costumes on display, including one made by a local high school theater group. "I think the face is a pizza pan and the body is a couple of graduation gowns sewed together," said Andrew.

Flatwoods Monster Museum.

Perhaps the most evocative item in the museum is a section of the tree that stood next to the Monster during its brief visit to Flatwoods in 1952. "Right after the incident, the tree fell over and died," said Andrew. Having a piece of it is "incredibly rare." In gratitude for their contributions, Brandon and Goolsby were each given a toothpick-size sliver of the tree. "Argyle Goolsby just about pooped his pants," said Andrew.

Also see: The Monster That Wouldn't Die

Flatwoods Monster Museum

Address:
208 Main St., Sutton, WV
Directions:
I-79 exit 62. Turn left onto WV-4/Main St. Drive 2.5 miles into downtown. The Museum will be on the right, just after you pass the stop sign intersection at 2nd St.
Hours:
M-F 9-5; Sa-Su 10-4 (Call to verify)
Phone:
304-765-6533
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

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In the region:
Green Bank Observatory, Green Bank, WV - 50 mi.

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December 9, 2018

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