Pulitzer Pass-ups & A "Flatwoods Monster" Redux
- Pulitzer Pass-ups & A "Flatwoods Monster" Redux
by Alfred Lehmberg
[Book Review: The Braxton County Monster: The Cover-Up of the
Flatwoods Monster Revealed by author/investigator Frank C. Feschino,
Jr. and published by Quarrier Press (Charleston, WV- 2004)]
On "Strange Days Indeed" with Errol Bruce- Knapp I heard Stanton
Friedman say that Frank Feschino's book on the Flatwoods monster
would likely never win a Pulitzer. He's likely right.
Only... you'd be taking Friedman well out of contest if you left it
there. Maybe it's not for the reason most immediately thought of --
that reason concerning suspiciously judgmental mainstream assessments
that it wasn't good enough. Polished enough. Detailed enough. Cited
...Appropriate enough. Pertinent enough...
I'm betting that's not Mr. Friedman thinking, either. Verily, he
seems to have a key understanding just how important Feschino's book
Indeed, a close look at Mr. Faschino's book and detailed research
begs the question. ~Is~ it good enough?
The reader discovers he doesn't have to squint his eyes very much, at
all, to begin to wonder if that might indeed be so. That's right.
It might be good enough, after all...
What did Mr. Pulitzer extort the intrepid aspirates for his prize to
do, ~anyway~, but:
[a] Unflinchingly ~study~ the social, political, and moral realities
of fellow human beings.
[b] Make ~accurate~ records of the expressions regarding the
character displayed by these fellow individuals, and...
[c] Report, equally unflinchingly, on the principles of the aggregate
world condition as it is, and has been, reflected by the persons
~employing~ these principles.
I submit that a case could be made that Mr. Feschino has abundantly
addressed each of the preceding points in turn... and in spades.
...But he'll never win a Pulitzer. He can't. To recognize Frank
Feschino for a Pulitzer is to knock a supporting cornerstone from the
edifice of a stagnant, officious, and largely illegitimate "status
quo" we all continue to endure. Feschino can't get a Pulitzer,
flatly, because the establishment lacks the sack it needs to cut its
own throat to ~give~ him one.
I won't pretend that this is ~enough~ justification for an
establishment's reluctance to take its own life. Some throats, very
likely, ~should~ be cut, I suspect, but I digress.
Be much of that as it may, Frank Feschino took more than 15 years of
his life to rationally actualize on one startling set of very
unsettling conclusions. These were conclusions sensibly kindled by a
chance serendipitous interview he'd made near the start of his
remarkable quest, an interview ~startling~ ...even during a ~first~
investigative wash. After that interview the data would accumulate
steeply over the next decade and change what began as a garden
variety school project... and turned it into a life's work and
In this investigative effort he was, again, ~unflinching~ in a study
of the sociopolitical realities revealed to him. He was made aware
of moral and ethical sub-realities that these larger realities
further implied. Indeed 'Reality' was revealed, considered, and then
assiduously chronicled by him. In the final analysis (and we'd have
never heard about it otherwise, good reader), Feschino came, he saw,
and he wrote it down.
The data ~are~ revealing. Feschino reports them to us in detail.
Indeed, we weren't in 'Kansas' any more after 1952... and may not, I
submit (remembering a wealth of old history indicating same), have
~ever~ been in 'Kansas'.
...We're not in 'Kansas'... now. Get used to it.
That aforementioned tumultuous "interview", an interview with the
ranking military person peculiarly involved with the Flatwoods affair
(...a hard as nails hero of the second world war...) occurred in a
moment of idle interest born of distracted and tentative conjecture
on the part of an ~unassuming~ Mr. Feschino. Mr. Feschino's initial
interest, actually, was with regard to a little film documentary he
might put together about the Flatwoods "myth," for school. What it
turned into would be a taproot into the most important events of our
(or any other) time, or... yes...
...Even ~more~ compelling evidence that we are not alone in billions
of years of space, time, and surface area... a googleplex of alien
surface areas and maybe even a googleplex of aliens to inhabit them!
More than the reader ~can~ imagine is hidden behind a grain of sand
held at arms length, sir or madam. The warm breath of unguessed
infinity is only the beginning of the beginning for all of us.
We are not alone, folks. An antithesis is ludicrous. Moreover, all
the major propeller heads, a few of the high-domes, and a smattering
of leading-edge, vetted, and credentialed intelligentsia think it's
ludicrous, too. I digress, again. Sorry.
Something occurred in Braxton County, West Virginia September 12,
1952. The data are beyond convincing. Something occurred as surely
as flying saucers came close to landing on the White House lawn in
July of the same year... and they ~did~ come close to landing on the
lawn, reader. Believe that, too.
In the town of Flatwoods, Braxton county West Virginia... on a warm
Indian Summer evening and interrupting playing children and relaxing
adults at the end of their day... multiple objects interacted with
multiple witnesses, people were made ill, and a dog ran home in
gibbering fright... then subsequently died. None of the participants
were ever the same again.
Justifying a Pulitzer, Mr. Feschino makes a durable record of the
expressions of character displayed by ~dozens~ of individuals
concerned with, and material to, this affair... people both guilty
and innocent in the affair... by persons both truth telling and
glibly ~lying~ regarding the affair... by folks both brave and
cowardly, warm and cold, by persons encountered on a foggy 'audit
trail' Feschino was compelled to plod... a trail rife with dead ends,
detours, and official double-dealings. It's quite a ride. Mr. Toad
has nothing on Mr. Feschino.
Moreover, the satisfied requirements for Mr. Feschino's Pulitzer seem
to steadily resolve.
Verily, Mr. Feschino risked bodily harm on numerous occasions during
his investigation. This threat would come, ironically, as a result
of the very persons from which he'd have to draw his story.
In fourteen years Mr. Feschino was too often mistaken for the same
kind of cheap-shot reporter or faux-journalist investigator who'd
glutted the area since that fateful night, axe-grinding skeptibunkers
coyly generating the disdain, the derision, and the patent disrespect
stalwart Flatwoods witnesses had had to ~endure~ for half a
century -- an unwarranted contempt and ridicule imposed that innocent
people unjustly suffered... punished by their own society for having
the temerity to stand up and report the highly strange account they
had all had on that bizarre September night. The "Mothman Mechanism"
at work again.
I suspect Feschino had his shirt-front grabbed more that a few times
by this angry group of betrayed citizenry. He was so threatened on
more than one occasion.
Again, with regard to Pulitzer, the questions remain begged. Has not
Mr. Feschino reported on the principles of the aggregate world and
the condition reflected by them? Has he not spent many years
tirelessly trying to ferret out important details that would have
gone undiscovered and unreported but for his painstaking research and
unflinching perseverance? Has he not validated a couple of
generations of innocent persons trying to come to grips with the
inexplicable thrust upon them? Has he not vindicated these people to
some extent and alleviated some of their suffering as a result of his
work? Such a person may have earned ~more~ than a mere Pulitzer at
Does 'Nobel' have a category that applies?
All things equal? Feschino earns his Pulitzer. He has more sack
than ~many~ who've aspired to that prize, I suspect. Moreover, I'll
bet Mr. Friedman agrees with me. He wins ~my~ award, at any rate.
Along those same lines, Mr. Feschino can not be faulted for his brave
attempt to fill the societally imposed "information void" (he suffers
with the rest of us) by starting at the end of an incredible story
~rife~ with suspicious details and curious facts... and then working
arduously -- modeling, graphing, and plotting backwards on that stark
trail... trying, thoughtfully, to connect these ephemeral dots...
flesh out one ~more~ 'official' story that won't add up from the
'official' account... This is a key concept, folks.
Indeed, his admitted speculations and clearly identified personal
beliefs may actually add up, ironically, to the astonishing
conjectures he reports in his book. It just may be, reader, that
there ~was~ an aerial battle with ET out in the Atlantic that night
in 1952. It may be that 8 to 10 American jets ~were~ destroyed in
that struggle, their crews lost. Perhaps one Lt. Jones and crew,
valiantly sacrificing themselves, even ~rammed~ one of the UFOs,
bravely, with his plane in the one-sided fight ~we~ likely
Given that a postwar American military was aggressively over-touchy
and otherwise spring-loaded on the balls of their very twitchy
feet... especially after the repeated over-flights of prohibited
airspace in Washington D.C. the previous July... it's ~not~ that much
of a stretch that it would react decisively to multiple UFO's and
their blithe transgressions of an imaginary fighting line on the
coastal ADIZ (Air Defense Identification Zone) with folding-fin
rockets and exploding 50 caliber machine gun fire! Further,
Feschino's speculation is not unreasonable given the statement by
Benjamin Chidlaw, a four star general commanding the very high
profile "Air Defense Command", to wit: that many "planes and crews"
had been "lost" trying to "intercept UFOs"... these are his words,
Mr. Feschino is not making the story up, at any rate, I'm confident.
Mr. Feschino is trying to make sense of the very real story that is
already there. Extant is a ~sincerity~ in his book, as a result,
that ~this~ writer can relate to and find some substance in.
Additionally, I don't believe, especially after having spoken with
him for a couple of hours (where I asked some pretty pointed
questions), that Mr. Feschino has it in him to write a sociopathic
fiction, fobbed off to the credulous as fact, to crab their
dollars... then smirk at that reader's "nose-bubble credulity" as he
orders up goth hookers and greasy cheeseburgers. No, Feschino's only
telling you the credible story he knows, or... he is otherwise
hanging some 'substance' on the astonishing facts that he has
Moreover, his book publisher, predictably weighing size against
profit, winnowed down the manuscript to 350 pages, about a third of
its former size. There is more there, more to the story, than you
get in the published book, reader... witnesses you don't hear from...
unsolicited and credible reports about other involvements, other
sightings in the area, and still other startling corroborations of
fact and circumstance attendant to the whole astonishing affair!
It's breathtaking, actually.
Also, it's all very hard to discount. Increasingly so.
An extraterrestrial being (or artifact of et intelligence) arrived
Earth-side in a damaged craft... rightly or wrongly terrorized an
entire town of good, sober, and horse-sensed people in September of
1952, and then the government worked furiously, if deceptively, to
cover it all up... impugning the honor of the aforementioned
citizenry (and ourselves!) in the process... Tragic and needless
As Feschino wrote to me in the inscription of the review copy he
"The questions and answers I have provided in this book are only the
I suspect that quote comes up as a bit of an understatement from Mr.
Feschino. But that's my feeling. I'm comfortable going with it. I
submit you can too.
Get more info about Mr. Feschino's book at: