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.