|From The Charleston Daily Mail, 31 December 1960
Just eight years after the infamous events of September 12, 1952, the people of Braxton County and surrounding areas began to chatter about seeing…another monster?
On Friday, December 30th, 1960, Charles Stover was driving the backroads between Braxton and Webster Counties. The 25 year old was finishing up his route, delivering for Dutch Oven Bakeries, and was headed back home. At around 11 p.m., he was in the vicinity of Hickory Flats. As he came around a curve, he spotted a creature on the edge of the road, glaring at him. The creature was “standing erect, with hair all over his face and body.” He estimated that it stood about six feet tall.
Stover stopped his truck a short distance away from the creature, took another look, and found it still standing there, glaring at him before ‘roaring off.’ Understandably shaken Stover took off and didn’t stop until he found a restaurant-filling station still open. He spilled his coffee as he nervously tried to explain to the men in the station what he had seen. They told him that eerie cries had been reported in the woods near that area over the past couple of weeks. Now, with an actual sighting, some of the group decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to witness this thing for themselves. They went home and armed themselves with rifles and shotguns, and traveled out to the spot where Stover had his sighting. Fortunately for the creature, all the men found were some upturned rocks and a couple of ‘marks’ in the otherwise frozen ground.
|NOT what Stover described|
The next morning, Stover’s wife reported the incident, which appeared in the Charleston Daily Mail and other papers. She wanted to emphasize that her husband was not drunk. He had really seen SOMETHING that spooked him so bad that he couldn’t sleep all that night. She believed him, his boss believed him, and the posse of men believed him, vowing to continue their search for the mysterious hairy beast.
But what was it that he saw? Obviously, a 6 foot tall, hairy man-creature absolutely does NOT fit the description of the 1952 Flatwoods Monster reported by Kathleen May and others. However, it does sound like a Bigfoot (well, maybe a juvenile or relatively small one). What I find interesting is that not one news source I came across ever used the term ‘Bigfoot,’ or seemed to make any connection between a Bigfoot-esque creature and what Stover witnessed. The term ‘Bigfoot’ was coined two years earlier to describe the mysterious creature that had left its oversized footprints in a wooded area of northern California. I guess its possible that the name hadn’t yet caught on yet here in central West Virginia, or that local news media simply didn’t feel like this WAS a Bigfoot. Maybe they just wanted to cash in on the notoriety of the Flatwoods Monster, which, according to the article in the Daily Mail, sent 10,000 to 15,000 visitors into Braxton County.
Nevertheless, Stover’s sighting wasn’t an isolated incident. Over the next year, several interesting monster sightings were reported throughout central and north central West Virginia. Strangely enough, none of these additional monsters were given the Bigfoot moniker either—they were simply the “Braxton County Monster on the move.” I’ll be sharing some newspaper clippings from these additional sightings throughout the next week…so check back throughout the week for more monster madness!
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