Sightings of a bigfoot alleged recently at Sutton Lake in central West Virginia may have a historic precedent. Some say that old news clippings that refer to a "wildman," and more recent stories of an ape-like creature, at least imply that the region is a fertile ground for such tales.
At the very center of West Virginia, the area surrounding the lake is coincidentally home of the legendary Flatwoods Monster, also known as the Braxton County Green Monster, the legend of which attracts many tourists to the region.
According to Andrew Smith, executive director of the Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, rumors of bigfoot have been circulating in recent months and have even inspired one bigfoot researcher to post a video of a lakeside hunt online.
"We've heard of an uptick in reports near the lake," says Smith, who attributes the county's wealth of monstrous encounters in part to its dark skies and deep forests.
"I'd actually say the reason for so many strange sightings is multi-fold. Braxton County is a pretty large geographic area, but only a small portion is populated and developed, so there's a lot of empty space, and there's a lot of area that hasn't been seen by humans lately, apart from hunters, and, then, not all the time."
Les O'Dell, the publisher of the Facebook page "WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters," says this isn't the first time a furry bi-ped has been reported in the region.
"The Flatwoods Monster isn’t the only strange thing that has been seen roaming the woods of Braxton County,' O'Dell says.
"I’ve heard in passing about a bigfoot being seen along Sutton Dam. It supposedly threw a log at a boat. I didn’t get full details because it was one of those 'a friend of mine told me this' conversations."
O'Dell's Facebook page is filled with collected tales from the Braxton County region, though perhaps the earliest comes from an undated, uncited newspaper clip.
Return of Wild Man Revives Terrors
Flatwoods, W.Va. — The belief that a wild man is still lurking in this vicinity, stealing and killing chickens and young pigs, is stronger than ever just now. A story related by Luther C. Douglas has dispelled all hopes that the terrible creature had fled to other localities. Douglas' story follows:
"I was on my way home from lodge meeting," said Douglas, "When I heard a noise near Ed Wiley's barn, which is close to the road. I thought it might be a dog and paid little attention to it at first, Then, as I was passing a vacant house a short distance from Ed's place, I heard a distant door slam and a wild-looking fellow, in rags and with the same long hair and beard that others who have seen him have described, came running out of the front door of the old house, brandishing a huge knotted club and uttering the most horrifying sounds I ever have heard.
"Being convinced by his actions that I was to be assaulted and possibly killed, I drew my revolver and took two shots at him. With this, he turned and fled, screaming louder than ever. I didn't pursue him. Not me. It would take a braver man than I profess to be to go on the trail of that horrible creature."
The authorities are again agitating the question of taking some means to capture this much-feared lunatic or whatever he is.
Monster hunters are encouraged to stop at the Braxton County Visitor Center in historic Sutton, West Virginia, to learn more about regional history, the Flatwoods Monster, and other local legends. Read also: The top five monsters from the West Virginia hills
Devil’s Backbone continues to intrigue travelers in W.Va.
Pioneers called it The Devil’s Backbone, as most believed such an unnatural thing could only be the work of the Devil. In the 1740s when Jacob Marlin and Stephen Sewell arrived in the valley of the Greenbrier River, the forces that created the sandstone arch were little understood, though they are perhaps even more unbelievable than a demonic cause. Read the full story here.