Sometimes a monster is described as being so incredibly strange that one can do very little beyond than relate the facts – chiefly because the available facts are so strange and near-unfathomable, in terms of what they might represent. Not only that: some of those strange monsters are only seen once – as in ever. That’s the theme of today’s article: bizarre “things” that only put in an appearance once. A perfect example of just such a uniquely weird case dates back to the 1950s. In terms of the location, all we know for sure is that it was somewhere in the vicinity of Falls City, Richardson County, Nebraska. As for the witness, we know him only as “John Hanks,” an admitted pseudonym that the man in question chose to use to protect his real identity. When you read the details of his experience, you will undoubtedly realize why the man was determined to protect his real name from prying, inquiring eyes. It’s a case that was carefully investigated by one of the world’s foremost experts on bizarre, flying beasts, Ken Gerhard. Even Ken, for all the cases of flying anomalies he has investigated, finds the entire affair baffling – which is saying something!
It was late one night, at some point in the latter part of 1956, said Hanks, when he came face to face with a true giant; a creature in excess of nine feet in height, one that was humanoid in shape, but which most certainly could never be termed a member of the human race. That much, at least, we can ascertain from Hanks’ description. Ken Gerhard says, with a great deal of justification, that “[Hanks’] description of the creature sounds reminiscent of something out of an H.P. Lovecraft story.” Ken is not wrong in suggesting that Hanks’ monster would have found itself right at home in the pages of one of the legendary horror maestro’s novels. In fact, Ken is right on target. Hanks’ nightmarish thing had a pair of fifteen-foot-wide wings that, rather oddly, appeared to be made of bright, shining, aluminum! It was not encountered again. Now, let’s take a trip to Australia.
A woman named Mabel Walsh encountered a strange creature in Narrabeen – a beach-side suburb of Sydney – back in the late 1960s. While driving home late one April 1968 evening with her nephew, John, Walsh was shocked to fleetingly see the approximately four-foot-tall animal emerge from the watery depths and shuffle its way into the heart of nearby scrub-land. It was a creature that Walsh would never forget, even though it was in view for only mere seconds. Gray in color, with what looked like a tough, leathery skin, it had a snout resembling that of an anteater, a slim trunk, long back legs, and a pair of short forelimbs that dangled as it waddled along – sideways, no less – by the edge of the road, before vanishing into the scrub. Forever.
One of the most fascinating, but also puzzling, UFO encounters of the “once only” kind occurred in Scotland on November 9, 1979. Of the incident, long-time UFO researcher and author ufologist Jenny Randles says (in her 1981 book, UFO Study): “The witness, Robert Taylor (then sixty-one-year-old) at this time worked for the forestry department of the local development corporation. One of his tasks was to patrol an area of woodland not far from the M8 Glasgow to Edinburgh motorway. He had just finished his coffee break and driven his van to the edge of the particular spot he was to check for stray animals. He continued on foot, with his dog (a Red Setter called ‘Lara’) running loose nearby sniffing happily at the various local smells. Bob turned into a clearing and suddenly, unbelievably, he was standing just feet away from a dome-shaped (or possibly spherical) object that was just sitting quietly on the ground. It was about twenty feet wide and a dull grey metallic color, with a rim near to the base from which sprang several vertical antennae or propellers. There was neither sound nor sign of life.” Then, things got even weirder: a pair of spherical, spiky objects exited the vehicle, surrounded Taylor, and sprayed a noxious gas in his direction, which caused him to pass out. When he awoke, the spheres and the craft were gone. They did not come back.
Within the domains of Cryptozoology and Ufology the saga of the so-called Flatwoods Monster, or Braxton County Monster, of 1952 has become legendary. It’s a story that has been extensively investigated by Frank Feschino. In his 2004 book, The Braxton County Monster: the Cover-Up of the Flatwoods Monster Revealed. Feschino noted: “On the night of September 12, 1952, a shocked American public sought answers when strange unidentified objects were seen flying through the sky over Washington, DC, and the eastern United States.” He continued: “One of the strange objects crash-landed on a rural hilltop in Flatwoods, West Virginia.” Feschino also noted that a group of schoolboys were witness to the descent of the device and, with two adults, “headed off to look for the object.”
According to the witnesses, however, far more than a UFO was seen. A definitive monster, estimated to be around twelve feet tall, was about to put in an appearance. UFO authority Kevin Randle said: “What they saw was not an animal, but some sort of creature, at least in their perception…They could see no arms or legs, but did see a head that was shaped like an ace of spades. That was a description that would reoccur with all these witnesses. No one was sure if there were eyes on the creature, or if there was a clear space on the head, resembling a window, and that the eyes were somehow behind the that window and behind the face.” Not surprisingly, the group fled, terrified to their collective core. And although a veritable posse returned to seek out the beast from the dark skies, it had utterly vanished. The legend, however, most certainly remains, nearly sixty years later. The people of Flatwoods have not forgotten that trauma-filled night in September 1952. “Flatty,” as I like to call it, was not seen again.