FLATWOODS, W.Va. — The story of the Flatwoods Monster will be shared nationwide as part of The History Channel’s new mini-series, “Project Blue Book,” premiering Jan. 8 at 10 p.m.
Andrew Smith, executive director of the Braxton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), was first contacted about the project in July 2018 by a writer for the History Channel’s website who was writing an article for History.com.
“They made it completely independently and not with us, which I guess is awesome because that means I guess there’s something out there kind of doing our work for us,” Smith said. “They got ahold of me, and they wanted some details concerning the story. They had most of it, but there were some empty details that they needed filled. They needed some details concerning the local area and what there is that’s Flatwoods Monster-related in Braxton County and that sort of thing.”
The Flatwoods Monster will be just one component of the real-life Project Blue Book investigations that took place during the 1950s and 1960s.
“I don’t think that there’s a plan for it right now, but I do think there is a possibility that this could go beyond one season since there is so much material that they could dive into,” Smith said. “However, one of the first incidents that happened that Project Blue Book investigated was the incident of the Flatwoods Monster sighting, which took place Sept. 12, 1952, in Flatwoods, West Virginia.”
Though Smith said he doesn’t know the exact timeline of the series, he does know that Braxton County’s most famous resident will be featured in one of the first few episodes.
Visitors come to Flatwoods often to learn about Braxie and the folklore, but Smith is looking forward to see the Flatwoods Monster get some national attention through this new program.
“We’re very excited,” he said. “There was a documentary that was produced by a small film company based out of Ohio called ‘Small-town Monsters,’ and they did a film about the Flatwoods Monster. Actually, I probably credit that film in helping it get some extra national attention for people in Hollywood to sort of give the story another look.”
Recent video game releases have helped to build Braxie’s national fame as well, particularly with the recent release of Fallout 76.
“That features West Virginia folklore and West Virginia locations, and on top of all the things in the game, the Flatwoods Monster is in that,” Smith said. “The Flatwoods Monster is in a video game that just came out for mobile called Ghostbusters World. That’s Ghostbusters first mobile game. It’s kind of been a banner year — 2018, rather, has been — for the Flatwoods Monster in recognition, and we’re hoping 2019 is going to be about the same.”
And as more and more people worldwide learn about the Flatwoods Monster, that could do wonders for tourism in Braxton County and West Virginia as a whole, Smith said.
In fact, that was exactly the case in 2012 when The History Channel released a series on the Hatfields and McCoys.
“That show did wonders for West Virginia tourism, as well as Kentucky and wherever scrimmages took place. That really increased interest there too,” Smith said. “If all things go according to plan, in my mind, that will have a similar affect. Where the video games are maybe capturing the attention of the younger set, where the Hatfields and the McCoys really shined, it seemed, the older audiences seemed to key into that show.”
Smith encourages all West Virginians to tune into the premiere of Project Blue Book at 10 p.m. Jan. 8.
While the topics of the show may be “scary” or “unsettling,” he also sees it as extremely positive for the state.
“Us West Virginians getting to have something incredibly positive for the rest of the world to enjoy and kind of really get all the way into, we as West Virginians really need to embrace it, applaud it, be happy about it and spread the news as much as we can,” he said. “I just encourage people to check it out, share it and talk about it. It will help out your state more than you know.”
The History Channel indicates the Flatwoods Monster episode will air Jan. 15 at 10 p.m. To learn more about the Project Blue Book mini-series, click here.