In the July 27, 1976 edition of the Charleston Daily Mail, a reader going by the initials of J.C., from St. Albans, wrote into the paper asking for some information. J.C. had recently seen the documentary, “Mysterious Monsters,’ which mentioned that West Virginia was listed as having two sightings of Bigfoot.
Unfortunately, the Department of Natural Resources had no records of such a creature, which at the time, was more closely associated with the Pacific Northwest than West Virginia. However, the paper did have record of two incidents that seem to fit the description.
The first is the Charles Stover incident of December 1960. Stover, a delivery driver, saw a hairy creature, about 6 feet tall, standing on the edge of the road in the Hickory Flats area of Webster County.
The second incident involved W.C. (Doc) Priestly, who saw another hairy creature in Pocahontas County. While reported a week or so after Stover’s sighting, Priestly actually saw the creature back in October of 1960, and claims that it raised it hair upwards, causing his car to stall.
When these stories were published in various local newspapers, the authors of such articles tried comparing them to the 1952 sighting made by Kathleen May and others in Flatwoods, Braxton County. What Ms. May and a group of boys saw on the hillside would later be known as the Flatwoods Monster. However, what they described as a green, hissing, metallic-like THING is a FAR cry from the hairy humanoid monsters reported by Stover and Priestly.
Further, neither of the stories mentioned (nor several others that I’ll be sharing over the next few days) even HAPPENED in Braxton County! Stover’s experience happened NEAR Braxton County, but technically not in it. So why, as the article to the left states, were both of these beasts dubbed “The Braxton County Monster?”
Honestly, I don’t know. But, I can make some guesses.
In 1960, most people weren’t super familiar with the creature known as Bigfoot. In fact, the term ‘Bigfoot’ had only come into existence two years earlier to describe the unknown beast believed to have left humongous footprints in Northern California. So, even those who were familiar with the concept of a hairy, bipedal creature, maybe didn’t quite know what would later become a sort of catch-all term for these types of monsters. Others may have only believed that ‘Bigfoot’ was a single creature that lived on the other side of the country—surely it couldn’t travel all the way to West Virginia.
It’s that idea of a single creature that can be applied to what was called The Braxton County Monster. I think that when Stover’s report was published, it was a combination of a lack of a better term for the creature and a reporter, trying to be cute and perhaps draw a parallel to a well-known nearby West Virginia monster, just dubbing it the Braxton County Monster. From then on, ALL hairy creature sightings got lumped under this title. This largely applied to the events of 1960 and 1961, but as you’ll see in upcoming blogs, there are stories from the mid-1960′s as well that are still attributed to ‘The Braxton County Monster.’
Today, Braxton County actually does have quite a few reported sightings that would be classified as Bigfoot. You can read many of them at the Braxton County website! Also, Sutton (in Braxton County) will soon be home to a Bigfoot museum, so please follow them on Facebook for more information!
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