In December 2014, the Braxton County CVB began developing an idea that had been discussed for years: to make chairs in the form of the Braxton County monster. The CVB was aware of the novelty attraction of oversized chairs and how many tourists stop to get their pictures taken in them every day, which would provide a great attraction to the Braxton County area. Planning started when Andrew Smith, executive director of the Braxton County CVB, began drawing up ideas for the chairs. After many refinements, local contractor Allan Johnson was hired to build the 10-foot-tall chairs. “The idea was to build and place chairs all over Braxton County and give them all a unique paint job,” says Smith. The first one was built and placed in May 2015 at the Dairy Queen in Gassaway, WV, seven miles south of Flatwoods. Slowly, new locations were secured, and more chairs were built, painted and placed. “Five chairs in total have been made, and they are scattered all over the county,” Smith says. When determining chair locations, the CVB takes several factors into consideration. The members want a chair placed in every incorporated town near an established tourist attraction or business that already attracts visitors. This project helps raise awareness of the legend and helps the chosen locations attract more business. Two years and five chairs later, the Flatwoods Monster chairs project has received an overwhelmingly positive response from both guests and area residents alike. The Flatwoods Monster chairs project has also received unexpected media attention. The Charleston Gazette wrote a two-part story on the monster and the CVB’s chair project in August 2015, and WBOY broadcasted a story of the project in July 2015. In 2016, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin officially declared September 12 as Monster Day. As did the Braxton County Commission. The CVB recently began a new adventure called Free Braxxie to make visiting all the chairs even more fun. The purpose of the new campaign is to encourage everyone to visit and document each monster chair in order to prove the existence of Braxxie, the Flatwoods Monster. The Men in Black are trying to cover up the existence of Braxxie, and it is the visitors’ duty to ensure they don’t succeed. Participants simply submit their photos to Braxxie HQ and can earn a Free Braxxie sticker.
Below is a mapped route made on Google Maps that will direct you to all the Flatwoods Monster Chairs in one trip.
The Trip starts in downtown Flatwoods, and ends in Gassaway at the Dairy Queen.
A. Flatwoods Municipal Building: 5 Doctors Lane, Flatwoods, WV 26621
B. Days Inn and Suites: 350 Days Drive, Sutton, WV 26601
C. Holly Gray Park: 401 Co Rte 15/9, Sutton, WV 26601
D. Café Cimino County Inn: 616 Main St. Sutton, WV 26601
E. Gassaway Dairy Queen: 99 N Elk St. Gassaway, WV 26624
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Official Press Releases, newest to oldest:
A New Twist on an Old Legend
Sutton, West Virginia - 11/10/2016
A new adventure, called "Free Braxxie" has began in Braxton County, WV. Free Braxxie encourages guests to visit all five of the Flatwoods Monster Chairs that can be found throughout Braxton County. The mission is to document your visit at each chair, submit them to Monster HQ, then collect a free sticker that proves you've done your part to help "Free Braxxie".
For those that don't know, the Flatwoods Monster Chairs are 10 feet tall chairs made in the likeness of the Flatwoods Monster. The Monster was first spotted in Flatwoods in 1952. These chairs can be found all over Braxton County and each one has a distinct and unique paint job. Locations include: Downtown Flatwoods, Days Inn and Suites in Flatwoods, Holly Gray Park in Sutton, Cafe Cimino in Sutton, and Dairy Queen in Gassaway.
In this new adventure, visitors aren't just seeing and sitting on every monster chair, they are helping in the fight to preserve the memory of "Braxxie" before the Men In Black (MIB) can wipe his existence from the minds of all who know his story. By documenting your visit you are proving to the world that "Braxxie" does exist. Simply take a picture of you or your group at each of the chairs and submit them online here: www.braxtonwv.org/braxxie. Earned stickers can be picked up at the Braxton County CVB office located at the Flatwoods Factory Outlet Stores, Cafe Cimino in Sutton, Dairy Queen in Gassaway, and Days Inn and Suites in Flatwoods. Simply show them your submission confirmation email as well as all five of your pictures.
Matthew Smith, a table-top game developer, coined the nick-name "Braxxie." Smith noticing the Flatwoods Monster didn't have a short and cute nick-name, like Nessie for the Loch Ness Monster, took it upon himself to dub the Monster, affectionately, "Braxxie". Braxxie is derived from the County where he was first discovered, Braxton County, West Virginia. He used the nick-name for a character in his game called 'Confluence RPG' in which he utilized the lore of the Flatwoods Monster and incorporated the sighting into game play. Smith unveiled the game at the 2016 Bonus Round Weekend, a gaming conference that takes place in Flatwoods every May at the Flatwoods Conference Center. For more info on Smith's game visit www.confluencerpg.com.
For more information on the Flatwoods Monster or the Flatwoods Monster Chairs visit braxtonwv.org/monster
Florida Residents Visit Monster Chair
Gassaway, West Virginia - 6-29-2015
14 -year-old Florida resident and monster enthusiast, Sarah Scott, visited the Braxton County Monster chair, located in Gassaway on Sunday, June 28th. Sarah, along with her mother, Brenda, and sister Hannah, made a detour on their way to Terra Alta to visit the chair.
Sarah is a long-time fan of the Braxton County Monster, other cryptid creatures, as well as SciFi movies and TV shows. Sarah's love of monsters has inspired her to begin making terracotta clay medallions that feature the Braxton County Monster as well as the Moth Man from Point Pleasant. These medallions can be used in many ways: as a necklace charm, a Christmas tree ornament, or a key ring. The original intended purpose is to use them as an essential oil diffuser. By adding two or three drops of oil to the medallion it becomes an enjoyable air freshener able to hold any fragrance you wish. When asked why she chose to start crafting these items she said, "My hope is that through my handcrafted art I can create more awareness of the Braxton County Monster and other West Virginia cryptids and give kids and adults like me the opportunity to own and carry around a piece of Braxton County wherever they go! " These West Virginia monster themed items can be viewed or purchased from Sarah's Etsy store at KelpieNest.Etsy.com.
Sarah's early interest in Dinosaurs lead her into the interesting world of cryptozoology, which is the study of creatures not yet classified by science. The Braxton County Monster and Moth Man are both examples of cryptozoological creatures and are among her favorite creatures to study as they originated in her favorite place in the world, West Virginia.
The Braxton County Monster Chairs project, started by the Braxton County CVB; who enlisted the help of woodworker Allan Johnson, to build these large chairs and place them around Braxton County. To date two chairs have been built and placed, one in Gassaway and one in Sutton. The Braxton County CVB is working to secure several exciting new locations for these chairs. When visiting the chairs be sure to "Check In" and share your pictures on Facebook.
BRAXTON COUNTY MONSTER CHAIRS PROJECT
Sutton, West Virginia - 5/12/2015
The Braxton County CVB has embarked on an exciting new project: The Braxton County Monster Chairs project. The Braxton County CVB has always valued the history of the Monster. People around the world have been fascinated by the Braxton County monster since the sighting on September 12th, 1952. Though many people do visit the area because of their interest in the sighting story, activities and attractions centered around the Monster have been few and far between. The Braxton County CVB has chosen this project to be the first major step in creating attractions just for Braxton County Monster fans.
The CVB Director and life-long artist, Andrew Smith, began sketching ideas for this project in late 2014. Local woodworker, Allen Johnson, was hired to build the chairs. Working with Smith, Allan was tasked with solving problems that had not been apparent on paper. One such problem, for example, was deciding how the monster’s arms would intersect with its “vest,” or the hand rails of the structure. The chairs, some might call them thrones, will stand 10 feet tall, 9 feet long, and 5 feet wide.
The plan is to build five chairs and place them in or around tourist attractions within the county with the possibility of building more later. Possible locations for the chairs include downtown Sutton, the Sutton Dam, downtown Gassaway, the Burnsville Dam, and near the Flatwoods exit of I-79. Placing the chairs near established attractions will hopefully draw attention where people are already visiting, thereby creating a second reason to visit.
CVB Director, Smith, will paint the chairs once they have been built and placed. Smith indicated that each will receive a unique paint layout to ensure that visitors to the area will want to visit them all.
The CVB is conducting a coloring contest to coincide with this new project called, “Paint Your Own Monster Chair.” Anyone of any age or residence may submit coloring sheets to enter to win the original Braxton County Monster novelty item, a Braxton County Monster Lantern! For full rules and instructions to enter the contest, see information below, or go to BraxtonWV.org and click the contest banner at the bottom of the home page.