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Image Source: e-WV Encyclopedia

Mothman is one of several legendary West Virginia monsters, along with Bat Boy and the Flatwoods Monster. Persistent sightings began in November 1966, and totaled 26 over a one-year span. The reports of a large, winged creature with glowing red eyes were centered in the Point Pleasant area, usually in or near a vast, abandoned munitions facility known as the TNT plant. Skeptics offered various explanations, some arguing that the creature was a stray sandhill crane.

As sightings increased, so did reports of other strange phenomena. Disruption of electronic devices such as telephones, police dispatch radios, and televisions, as well as automobiles, were rumored, and there were numerous reports of UFO appearances. New York writer John Keel, one of the paranormal investigators drawn to Point Pleasant, connected the stories of strange occurrences to the Mothman. Keel additionally included anecdotes regarding the presence of mysterious ‘‘men in black’’ and the tragic December 15, 1967, collapse of the Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River at Point Pleasant. His account, first published in 1975 as The Mothman Prophecies, became the basis of a 2002 feature film starring Richard Gere.

Simmons, Gordon "Mothman." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 21 October 2020.

The Flatwoods Monster

Flatwoods Monster

Image Source: e-WV Encyclopedia

The legend of the Braxton County or Flatwoods Monster arose near dusk on September 12, 1952, when a group of local youths were startled from a game of football by a fireball streaking across the sky. The fireball fell to earth just beyond a hillside at Flatwoods. Joined by Kathleen May, a local beautician, the boys went to investigate. The group consisted of Mrs. May, Eugene Lemon, Teddy May, Ronald Shaver, Neal Nunley, Teddy Neal, and Tommy Hyer. The group of seven approached the top of the hill where the fireball had landed. Beyond the hill, they reported seeing a pulsating light. Then suddenly, to their left, two powerful light beams pierced the darkness. Turning their own flashlight in that direction, they saw a large man-like creature nearly 12 feet tall and about four feet wide. Making no sound, it floated toward them. The creature had a red face and bright green clothing, which hung in folds below the waist. Its head was shaped like the ace of spades and there was an almost sickening metallic odor emanating from its body. The witnesses quickly fled the scene. A later investigation found only a lingering odor, two large skid marks, and trampled grass.

Griffin, Buddy "Flatwoods Monster." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 30 August 2012.


bat boy

Image Source: e-WV Encyclopedia

Batboy, along with Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster, is one of several bizarre creatures attributed to West Virginia. He was first reported by the Weekly World News on June 23, 1992, as having been found in a ‘‘previously uncharted cave east of Seneca Rocks.’’ The sensationalist tabloid quoted a zoologist as speculating that Batboy was the offspring of creatures living deep in the earth, originally human, who had adapted to living in the dark. Batboy was described as standing two feet tall and weighing 19 pounds, with oversized amber eyes and ears ‘‘like satellite dishes.’’ The newspaper published a picture meeting that description, later reproduced on a T-shirt used as a circulation premium.

Batboy quickly found a cult following, and the Weekly World News published several other stories. Batboy was reported as having escaped from those who had found him in the cave, having been recaptured and escaping again, and having fallen in love. In 2000, he was reported as endorsing Al Gore for president of the United States. The popular story was made into an off-Broadway musical, which concluded its New York run in 2001 and moved into repertory theaters in other cities. BatBoy, the musical play, placed the story in the fictitious town of Hope Falls, West Virginia.

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Batboy." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 23 June 2014.

The Greenbrier Ghost

Greenbrier Ghost

Image Source: e-WV Encyclopedia

A state historic marker near the Sam Black Church exit of Interstate 64 in West Virginia commemorates the ‘‘only known case in which testimony from a ghost helped to convict a murderer.’’ The victim lies about five miles away beneath a tombstone which reads ‘‘In memory of Zona Heaster Shue, Greenbrier Ghost, 1876–1897.’’ About four miles from the historic marker, the log cabin where Zona Heaster Shue’s body was found still stands.

The young woman died mysteriously two months after her marriage to Edward Shue. Her death was presumed natural until her spirit appeared in a dream to her mother, Mary, accusing her husband of murder. Mary Heaster said that her daughter appeared at her bedside (in the dress she died in) four times to tell her how Edward had come home from his work as a blacksmith and in a fit of rage had broken her neck with his hands. An examination of the exhumed body verified the ghost’s tale. Edward Shue was found guilty of murder and sentenced to the state prison at Moundsville where he died eight years later.

The Greenbrier County Courthouse where Edward Shue was tried is there today, and the murder trial records carry the words of the Greenbrier Ghost as they were repeated in the trial testimony of her mother. This ghost story is one of the best-known in West Virginia, and at least two books on the Greenbrier Ghost have been written.

Deitz, Dennis J. "Greenbrier Ghost." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 28 October 2019.

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