The Flatwoods monster appeared and then disappeared without a trace, which seems to be a common theme when close encounters of the third kind occur. Perhaps it’s time to drop the manacles of observation and delve deeper into the possibilities of what could have actually happened on September 12, 1952 with the understanding that the following is an exercise of pure unadulterated speculation, but not beyond the realm of possibility and a second look at an old “boogeyman” style of storytelling.
It seems any deviation from the simple facts or a mundane explanation is often met by healthy skeptics and debunkers alike who will not let themselves deviate from the mundane enough to entertain the possibilities that should be obvious within a story such as this. Is it possible, for example, that the presence of the Flatwoods monster was not on purpose? The flames accompanying the vessel as it made its speedy descent seem to be evidence of this fact. Without moving too left field of possibility, engine trouble on an extraterrestrial vehicle is a possibility.
Additionally, the creature was not overtly hostile as it had not seen fit to arm itself upon exiting the vehicle. It simply frightened off the witnesses. But what happened after this? At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, is it possible that it could have been eliminated? A specialist, either terrestrial or otherwise, whose primary purpose is to keep the sanctity of human culture uncontaminated by technologically superior races of aliens could have interfered in the incident one of two ways. Either it could have come down, assessed the situation, and “cleaned” the area by obfuscating any traces of the alien visitor, and helping him on his way with a healthy warning to be more careful in the future, or it could have been eradicated along with its ship and everything else.
Of course any time we speculate “what if” scenarios on alien encounters we risk the possibility of sounding a little too keen to suggest the fantastic, but quite clearly the fantastic elements are already there and it takes merely a bit of imagination to take it all to the next step. Of course it’s the responsibility of the imaginative interpreter to understand the division between what “could have” happened and what was reported.
Alternately, is it possible that the creature could have simply repaired the vehicle itself and managed to take off once again after the toxic substance leaking out of the craft finally dissipated in the night air by as natural a force as the wind. A craft, even a large one such as that reported could have left without leaving any imprint if the system malfunctioning was alternate from one allowing it to remain suspended in midair. Of course the creature could have been visiting the planet for purposes other than space travel.
The size of the creature suggests it could have come from a planet with a much higher gravity. Alternately, the creature could have been floating due to helium deposits within a spongy body filled with chemicals that could allow the creature to rise and fall by a simple mechanical means quite similar to a submarine losing its buoyancy by jetting the air from its tanks, but involving gases rather than water and air. The actual face itself could have been a mask to protect it from both the chemicals leaking from its wrecked vessel and the unknown pathogens native to the planet. After all, there’s nothing saying carbon based bacteria are prolific throughout the galaxy. For all we know they may actually be dangerous to extraterrestrial visitors.
Of course when conducting any speculative investigation armed only with the testimony of others, we must include any mundane explanation potential if we are to maintain any level of credibility in the retelling of the tale. What if it had quite simply been a hoax? It appears Braxton County did profit some from the monster’s appearance, and it is conceivable that someone within the community could have profited some from the story as the tourist trade did pick up somewhat. Eventually the “Flatwoods Monster” festival did become quite the annual tourist trap.
Of course to speculate without evidence that an otherwise upstanding town could have perpetrated such a phony without any evidence would be as irresponsibly lugubrious as outright and unquestioningly accepting an alien presence. After all, who’s to say it was not merely a misidentified owl, as some have speculated.
It’s quite easy to understand how those desperate to debunk the concept of alien visitation would posit that it’s possible for several individuals, including a grown woman and a National Guardsman to have mistaken an owl for a fifteen foot tall hovering and glowing alien of very specific and unanimous description. It seems the answer will remain elusive for quite some time, but it’s still an excellent story that will no doubt be retold several times over for years afterward.