Elk River Summer Float 

June 8th, 2019

June 8th, 2019 marks the 6th Annual Elk River Summer Float held annually in Sutton, West Virginia. Kayak or canoe the flatwater and mild rapids of the Elk River between the Sutton Dam and the Elk River Camp and RV. Register for this five-mile float at http://www.braxtonwv.org/elkfloat. Registration is $15 a person and includes an event t-shirt and shuttle services. To guarantee an event shirt, pre-register before May 18th. Day-of registration will be available at the Sutton Dam starting 9 AM.

The Elk River is perfect for newcomers to kayaking to equant themselves with the activity. The river is relatively calm and slow moving with occasional small rapids. A five-mile float is a good length for beginners as well as for groups with mixed experience levels. The trip should last between two to three hours; however, some participants choose to take their time and make a whole day of it by fishing, swimming, or taking in the scenery.

The Elk River Summer Float coincides with West Virginia’s “Free Fishing Weekend,” which means fishing without a permit is allowed, making this the perfect opportunity for out-of-state fishing enthusiasts to test themselves against the musky, walleye and smallmouth bass of the Elk River.

Those attending the float should arrive at the Sutton Dam at 9 AM. Once there, drop off gear and passengers. If pre-registered, one person from each group can check in their whole group. If registering that day, all adults must register at check in. Once gear and passengers are unloaded and registration is in order, drive vehicles to the Elk River Camp and RV. There, participants will park and board waiting shuttles which will bring them back to the Sutton Dam where they can begin the float.

The Elk River Water Trail is sponsored by TransCanada Pipeline, MonPower, and West Virginia American Water.

Posted by CVB Admin Wednesday, April 24, 2019 2:00:00 PM

Danny Heater, a Braxton County Legacy 

On January 26 1960, almost 30 years prior to when the three-point line was introduced into high school basketball, Danny Heater scored 135 points in a 173-43 Burnsville High victory over Widen. He obliterated the West Virginia state record of 74-points on his way to posting a high school mark that still stands. Along the way, he set yet-to-be-broken pinnacles for points scored in a quarter (46), field goals attempted (70), field goals made (53), free throws attempted (41), and free throws made (29). He also pulled down 32 boards and, for good measure, dished out seven assists to teammates like Charlie Smith, the Bruins second-leading scorer with sixteen. Heater came into that game averaging 27 points; he would end the season at 32 a game, his average bolstered by the huge outburst on a frigid West Virginia night.

Burnsville High still stands at 228 Kanawha Ave, Burnsville, WV 26335 and serves as the Burnsville Elementary school.


Posted by CVB Admin Monday, March 11, 2019 1:36:00 PM Categories: Braxton County Legacy

Gray Barker, a Braxton County Legacy 

The town of Riffle is a small, close-knit, community in central West Virginia. Located in Braxton County near the borders of Gilmer and Calhoun Counties, Riffle couldn’t be much more rural, unassuming, or off the beaten path, but on May, 2nd 1925 A man was born who would come to play a significant role in developing Ufology and the lore and story-telling which would accompany it. That man was Gray Barker.

Gray grew up in Braxton County and would go on to attend Glenville State College. For a short time after college Baker taught English at a Maryland high school. Barker was an avid reader and had a keen interest in real-life accounts of alien and other paranormal encounters as well as science fiction.

Barker was one of the first to write about the Flatwoods Monster sighting. His article, “The Monster and the Saucer,” was published in FATE Magazine in January 1953.

Barker would go on to write the books: They Knew too much about Flying Saucers, this book touches on the Flatwoods Monster incident as well as other UFO/paranormal related stories. Beginning in 1959, Barker produced The Saucerian/The Saucerian Bulletin in Clarksburg, WV

In 1970, Barker published his well-known book, "The Silver Bridge." In which, Barker regaled readers with the Mothman sightings that took place around Point Pleasant, WV before the collapse of the Silver Bridge in 1966. Throughout the 1970's and early 1980's, Barker continued to publish his own works as well as others via the Saucerian Press. In 1983, Barker released "Men in Black: The Secret Terror Among Us." In the book, Barker provided readers with additional and updated stories about the men in black. Though stories of the Men in Black were reported before Barker wrote about them, it was Barker’s writings which propelled the MIB into the public consciousness.

"With Barker's passing, we must surely close the door on the 'classic' era of saucer research—an era which really ended in the 1950's, with mere echoes in more recent years."      

—James Moseley—SAUCER Smear—December 1984

In the autumn of 1984, Barker began to struggle with a difficult illness. He was admitted and released from a local hospital in October. By late November, Barker had been admitted to an Intensive Care Unit in Charleston, WV. He died there on December 6, 1984. James Moseley commemorated Barker's passing with a column devoted to him. Barker's death was noted by publications throughout the UFO community.

Over the course of his life, Barker frustrated many ufologists with his well-crafted stories and cleverly devised hoaxes. Barker wrote what is (and at that time was) considered science-fiction; even though, Barker preferred to classify his works as 'true stories.' Barker advised John Sherwood to remove a line stating the story was fictional, and to publish documents from the agency in the story to make the piece more realistic before he would publish it. Barker understood that by making the unbelievable believable, he could sell his publications.

While Barker's reputation as a scholarly writer was questionable, his creative writing style inspired a generation of readers to dream about UFOs. His works sparked debates among ufologists and enthusiasts around the world, pushed the boundaries of science fiction, and introduced UFO lore to popular culture. Barker was one of many writers who flourished during the heyday of UFOs. The value of his works as science fiction will linger for future generations.


  • Barker, Gray. "Believes in Flying Saucers." (Nicholas County) News Leader, 15 September 1953.
  • Barker, Gray. Letter to August Roberts. 5 August 1953. Gray Barker Collection. Roberts—Correspondence With Gray Barker. Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Clarksburg, WV.
  • Barker, Gray. Letter to Frank Scully. 14 September 1959. Gray Barker Collection. Scully, Frank. Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Clarksburg, WV.
  • Barker, Gray. Men In Black: The Secret Terror Among Us. Jane Lew, WV: New Age Press, 1983.
  • Barker, Gray. The Silver Bridge. Clarksburg, WV: Saucerian Books, 1970.
  • Barker, Gray. They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers. New York, NY: University Press, 1956.
  • Barker, Gray, editor. SAUCER News 15, no. 1-17, no. 1 (1968-1970).
  • Barker, Gray. "The Monster and The Saucer." FATE 6, no. 1 (January 1953):12-20.
  • Clark, Jerome. Books News & Reviews. FATE 36, no. 12 (December 1983): 95-104.
  • Clark, Jerome. "Gray Barker Dies. . ." FATE 38, no. 4 (April 1985).
  • Clark, Jerome. The UFO Encyclopedia: The Phenomenon from the Beginning, Second Edition. Volume 1. Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, Inc., 1998.
  • Contract of Sale. 23 February 1963. Gray Barker/James Moseley. Gray Barker Collection. Miscellaneous Barker/Moseley Correspondence. Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Clarksburg, WV.
  • Lewis, James R. UFOs and Popular Culture: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Myth. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2000.
  • Moseley, James. Miscellaneous Ravings. SAUCER Smear 31, no. 9 (December 15, 1984): 1-2.
  • Moseley, James and Karl T. Pflock. Shockingly Close to the Truth: Confessions of a Grave-robbing Ufologist. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2002.
  • SAUCER News Press Release. SAUCER News. (Winter 1967/1968). Gray Barker Collection. SAUCER News Miscellaneous Bound Volume. Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Clarksburg, WV.
  • Sherwood, John C. "Gray Barker: My Friend, the Myth-Maker." Skeptical Inquirer 22.3, May/June 1998. http://www.csicop.org/si/sho/gray_barker_my_friend_the_myth-maker (accessed 7 July 2010).
  • Sherwood, John C. "Gray Barker's Book of Bunk: Mothman, Saucers, and MIB." Skeptical Inquirer 26.3, May/June 2002. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/gray_barkers_book_of_bunk_mothman_ saucers_and_mib/ (accessed 7 July 2010).
  • Story, Ronald D., editor. The Encyclopedia of UFO's. Garden City, NY: Dolphin Books, 1980.
  • Straith, R. E., Letter to George Adamski . 6 December 1956. Gray Barker Collection. R. E. STRAITH #1. Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library, Clarksburg, WV.
  • Whispers From Space. Directed by Ralph Coon. Burbank, CA: the Last Prom, 1995. DVD.
Posted by CVB Admin Sunday, March 10, 2019 3:23:00 PM Categories: Braxton County Legacy

New History Channel series features West Virginia 

The History Channel will premiere its new series, Project Blue Book, on January 8th at 10 PM. Based on previews, the series appears to kick-off with the story of the Flatwoods Monster sighting which took place in Braxton County, West Virginia in 1952. Though some story details seem to have been shifted or combined in order to move the story along, the over-all series of events are true to life.

The Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) was contacted in July of 2018 by a writer for the History Channel’s website who was writing an article for History.com. The article was on the Flatwoods Monster and acts as a companion piece to the new series. At the time it was published it was the first companion piece written which was featured on the website. Now it is one of many which suggests the series will cover a wide scope of incidences and subjects concerning the real-life Project Blue Book investigations which that took place in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Find those articles at history.com/shows/project-blue-book. Previews for the new series are available there as well.

The new series is produced and presented in a similar manner as History’s 2012 series, the Hatfields and McCoys. In contrast to the documentary and reality style shows that History Channel has become known for, Project Blue Book is produced more like a high-budget film with a cinematic production and cast.

To learn more about the Flatwoods Monster stop by the Flatwoods Monster Museum located at 208 Main Street in Sutton, West Virginia. Be sure to tune in to the premiere of Project Blue Book on the History Channel on January 8th at 10 PM.

Posted by CVB Admin Tuesday, January 8, 2019 2:32:00 PM Categories: Flatwoods Monster

Braxton County gets its first Penny Press 

On Monday, November 5th, Braxton County became home to its first penny press. Penny presses are machines that will press a design into a U.S. penny. You may have noticed them while on vacation or in popular tourist destinations. The designs found on these unique souvenirs are usually related to the attraction or area where the press is located. Typically, the price of pressing a penny is fifty cents.

Braxton County’s first penny press will be placed in the Braxton County Visitors Center, located at 208 Main Street in Sutton. The press designs will feature the Sutton Dam, the West Virginia State Seal, and the Flatwoods Monster.

Penny pressing has become a collector craze, spawning many websites and apps aimed at helping enthusiasts collect one of every unique design. The first penny press was built in 1818 by a jeweler in Vienna. The first American penny press was made in 1892. It takes over 10,000 pounds of pressure to press a penny. Luckily, the machine is geared to transform many turns of the crack into small movement, but a lot of pressure. So, anyone who can turn a crank, can press a penny.

Did you know that pre-1982 pennies are the ideal choice for penny presses? This is because pennies made before 1982 were made from solid copper. When pressed, the pennies leave the machine with an even copper color. Pennies produced after 1982 have a zinc core, which can become exposed during the pressing process and leave the pressed penny with streaks of silver that will later dull to a dark gray.

If pressing pennies is your past time, or this is the first you’ve heard of it but have to try it out, come down to the Braxton County Visitors Center and take home a pocket-sized piece of Braxton.  

Posted by CVB Admin Friday, November 9, 2018 1:55:00 PM Categories: Flatwoods Monster

“Bazarre” scheduled for November 17th 

On November 17th, the Braxton County Visitors Center will hold its first annual “Bazarre” (Bazaar + Bizarre.) Paranormal investigators and authors will be selling books and movies they have produced and will be happy to meet and greet while discussing topics like UFO’s, hauntings, Big Foot, and Cryptids. Bazarre is scheduled for 12 pm to 4 pm. Admission is free.

The Visitors Center was first approached by Nicholas County resident and paranormal investigator, Dave Spinks, to organize a book signing for his latest piece of work. The idea quickly blossomed into inviting several authors, investigators, and documentarians from West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The event will feature, Stan Gordan, Seth Breedlove, George Dudding, Eric Altman, and Dave Spinks. All featured guests have made many TV, radio, and documentary appearances; as well as being involved with many high-profile investigations.

Stan Gordon was the primary investigator of the December 9,1965, UFO crash-recovery incident that occurred near Kecksburg, Pennsylvania. Gordon has appeared on many TV shows, including Unsolved Mysteries, Sightings, Inside Edition, A Current Affair, and Creepy Canada.

Seth Breedlove is the man behind Small Town Monsters, a film production company based in Ohio. Small Town Monster has produced many documentaries based around strange occurrences. Breedlove’s 6th film was The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear.

George Dudding holds a BA and a MA, both specializing in Physics and Mathematics. Dudding has authored over 47 books on topics such as UFO's, cryptids, monsters, strange occurrences, and the paranormal. Dudding has appeared on Darkness Radio and the Mothman of Point Pleasant.

Dave Spinks has been investigating the paranormal since 1986. He has conducted several hundred supernatural investigations including hauntings, reports of strange creatures and UFO encounters. Spinks has been a prolific content creator since 2011 as well as appearing in many TV shows and documentaries.

Eric Altman is a Paranormal enthusiast, Bigfoot Investigator, and Director of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society. He is the host of BTE Radio. In May 2016, Altman launched The Pennsylvania Cryptozoology Society, which is a volunteer research group investigating claims of sightings and encounters with unknown creatures in Pennsylvania and surrounding areas.

Plan on coming out to Bazarre at the Braxton County Visitors Center, November 17th from 12 pm to 4 pm. This is a great opportunity to find the perfect Christmas gift for the person in your life who has everything!

Posted by CVB Admin Friday, November 9, 2018 1:52:00 PM Categories: Flatwoods Monster Special Events

Flatwoods Monster Attracts Travelers from Distant Lands 

More than 60 years after the original sighting, The Flatwoods Monster has recently received an unexpected renewal of media coverage and public interest. Earlier this year, Small Town Monsters, a film production company based in Ohio, produced a documentary on the Flatwoods Monster which premiered at the Elk Theatre in April. Shortly after, RoadSideAmerica.com created ten unique pages on their website dedicated to all things Flatwoods Monster, including the Flatwoods Monster Museum, the Monster Chairs, and The Spot restaurant. Other coverage included many regional newspaper and magazine articles, as well as several TV news stories about the Monster. This exposure, combined with the marketing efforts of the Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, has resulted in increased monster-related tourism to the area and renewed interest in the legend.

On a daily basis, folks from all over the state and beyond visit the Flatwoods Monster Museum and Visitors Center located at 208 Main Street in Sutton. Many visitors are simply stopping by on their way through the area. Some, however, are making Braxton County their primary destination on a road trip to the unknown. Among these guests include a couple from Canada who visited earlier this summer. They had planned a 2-day trip to Braxton centered around visiting the home of the Flatwoods Monster as well as eating at the Shoney’s restaurant located in Flatwoods. They said they had once seen a Shoney’s in a movie, but had never eaten at one. Not long after, a family from Georgia spent four days in the county just to experience where the Flatwoods Monster was sighted, as well as explore the nearby woods and wildlife of West Virginia. Also, recently, a woman originally from Japan flew from her current home in California to learn more about the Flatwoods Monster direct from the source while she enjoyed a 3-day visit to Braxton County. Aside from her experiences relating to the Flatwoods Monster, she particularly enjoyed experiencing West Virginia wildlife, especially seeing white-tail deer and hearing the chirping of crickets at night.

Media from distant lands have also made their pilgrimage to Braxton County to explore monster history. On Sunday, September 16th, a Chinese film crew from the paranormal travel show America’s Got Aliens filmed several segments in and around the Flatwoods area for an upcoming episode which will feature the Flatwoods Monster. The show is intended for Chinese citizens who primarily speak Cantonese. Airing on one of only four Cantonese speaking TV channels, it is likely that a large portion of the country’s population will watch the show when it airs in 2019. It’s estimated that over 60 million people in China speak Cantonese. China is the fastest growing international tourism market and as a result Braxton County could begin to attract more international tourism than ever before.

Fallout 76, a highly anticipated video game set in West Virginia, is scheduled to be released in November. The game has increased interest in the Flatwoods Monster, as it is featured in the game as well as many other West Virginia legends and folk lore.

The History Channel will premiere a new dramatic mini-series, Project Blue Book, based around the Flatwoods Monster this Winter. The show will have a similar production style as the Hatfields and McCoy series from 2012. Both Fallout 76 and Project Blue Book could prove to be strong tourism drivers in the years to come.


Posted by CVB Admin Wednesday, September 26, 2018 2:55:00 PM Categories: Flatwoods Monster