Monday, April 9, 2018

Theresa's Travels: In Search of the Braxton County Monster (Part I)

Braxton Co. CVB/Monster Museum
Last week, Aaron and I decided to pre-order tickets to the Small Town Monsters' world premier showing of their new film, The Flatwoods Monster: A Legacy of Fear. The movie, followed by a Q and A with producer/writer Seth Breedlove and a few of the people who appeared in the documentary, was held on April 7, 2018 at the Elk Theater in Sutton, WV.  I'll be discussing the movie more in Part III of the 'Theresa's Travels: In Search of the Braxton County Monster' series....but first, I wanted to share the REST of our day!

We live about 90 minutes away from the Flatwoods/Sutton area, so we wanted to make sure we arrived in town with plenty of time to explore before the movie. The main location I wanted to check out was the new Braxton County CVB/Monster Museum, located at 208 Main St. in downtown Sutton. 
Piece of tree near sighting

Back in November of 2016, I had stopped in at the CVB when it was located in the Flatwoods Outlet Mall, and it was a nice little experience! The collection of Braxton County/Flatwoods Monster stuff was neatly displayed, yet browsing was a little awkward---the CVB shared space with something I can't remember (a realtor/travel agency/insurance company?) and there was a guy at a desk talking with two clients as I'm a few feet away snapping photos, lol. 

Horvath Collection
The awkwardness is all gone with the new building, thank goodness! It's located in a historic, downtown storefront, complete with a soda fountain behind the counter. Admission is FREE, its open until 4pm on the weekend/5pm on weekdays, and its closed on major holidays. Check out the website for further details. It's also important to note that the building IS still the CVB, so you're going to find a lot of brochures and tourist information NOT related to local monster lore.  However, if you're there just for the monster lore, you won't be disappointed.  With much more room, and plenty more to grow, the ever-increasing collection of Flatwoods Monster memorabilia is well organized, visually appealing, and easy to browse through. Plenty of comfortable seating and a friendly and knowledgeable staff are added bonuses, adding to the coziness of the experience. Ample street parking out front was also appreciated!

Aaron chatted with our museum host for awhile, and was surprised to find out that they actually had met before and ran in the same gaming circles. So, while they discussed those sorts of things, I had some free time to really take in all the museum has to offer.  Some of my favorite exhibits included:

*The original lantern molds, by John Gibson (and plenty of lanterns for sale!)

*A piece of wood from the tree that the monster stood by in 1952

*3 different costumes, one a mystery, one from a youth play in the early 2000s, and the current one you've seen me with during last year's Mothman Festival!
Aaron has found his kith

*David Horvath's colorful toy monsters

*And...just about everything else there, lol.

I had a great time looking at everything, and an even better time getting to chat with Les O'Dell from WV Cryptids and Strange Encounters, who just happened to come in shortly after us! It's always a lot of fun to meet others with a passion for the strange and unusual, and its especially cool to bump into someone whose work you really admire! He and his son were really cool, and had some fascinating stories to share. If you're not familiar with his page, please go check it out!

I could have sat in the comfy little museum, talking all day and buying everything that had a price tag (actually, I think we DID buy at least one of each thing aside from the poster and the lantern, which we already own), but we hadn't eaten yet and were getting hungry. Not sure where we wanted to stop, we were pointed in the direction of The Spot in Flatwoods.  Holy cow, we could not have found a better place to eat on our own!  This little quick-stop-spot was similar to our local Dairy Freeze or Dairy Queen. The staff was extremely friendly, the food was good, and they had a whole bunch of specialty sandwiches with UFO/Monster-themed names. They even had a little display case set up with additional souvenirs. More lanterns and t-shirts were available, but they also offered decals, and adorable hand-made Flatwoods Monster figures, earrings, necklaces, and keychains. I couldn't leave without taking home a figurine and a necklace, along with a novelty beverage cup (FREE refills!) with the Monster on it.

Outside, The Spot has some patio dining space, and a few Flatwoods Monster posters. Adjoining the property, you can get your photo taken with the Spot sign, and right across the street, you can find one of the five Braxton County Monster Chairs...but more on THOSE in the next post!  You can find more photos from our trip on Theresa's Haunted History's Facebook page, and keep checking back for Part II and Part III!

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