The Grafton Monster is a large humanoid cryptid said to reside in the forests around Grafton, West Virginia in the US.
Myths & Legends
Grafton, a railroad boom town with a history of miners and containing extraordinary architecture, is surrounded by forests. This town has two claims to fame, one being the invention of Mother's Day in 1908, and the Grafton Monster, the thing that prowls on the outskirts of town.
The monster is claimed to be a large bi-pedal creature with no visible head, and covered in slick and white seal-like skin. It is unclear if it does not have a head, or if its head is simply close to its chest. Robert later explained to Gray Barker (A writer on UFO phenomenon) that it was between seven and nine feet tall, and four feet wide.
Sighting in 1964, Robert Cockrell
Around 11pm on June 16, 1964 a reporter for the Grafton Sentinel newspaper named Robert Cockrell was driving home from the office. Speeding along Riverside Drive, he rounded a wide curve, and suddenly slowed down as his headlights hit “a huge white obstruction on the right side of the road standing between the road and the riverbank on a cleared-off section of grass.” Upon realizing that the white obstruction was a living creature, he quickly accelerated down the road until he reached home. Robert then called up two of his friends and searched the same spot in the road, but could not find the creature or its tracks. Only the grass it had stood upon was crushed. As the group decided to head back, they heard an odd, low whistling sound coming from the direction of the river. No matter where they went, the sound followed them.
On June 18, Robert posted his experience in the Grafton Sentinel in a small article, which quickly spread around the population and caused a large amount of concern and excitement among the population. Quickly, a large monster hunt gathered to search for the creature, armed with whatever people could get their hands on.
More than 20 other sightings were reported from this monster hunt, which Robert Cockrell interviewed in detail:
- "I have seen the creature called 'The Grafton Monster' several times when I was a young man and it is very real. My first encounter I was with my Father cutting wood. We had finished and we’re loading the truck, when our two dogs started barking. We stood there and listened, something was walking, getting closer. My Dad told me to get the gun from the cab (He carried a double barrel 10 gauge with 00 buckshot).Whatever it was had picked up it’s pace and continued toward us. All we knew for sure was, it was big and wasn’t scared of us, the dogs or the chainsaws. It stopped about 50-55 yards from us in the tree’s and went quiet. My Dad pulled both hammers back and stood in front of me, told me to be ready. The next thing that happened I’ll never forget. It stepped out, looked at us, took 3 strides in our direction, turned and walked back into the tree line. That was my first sighting of the beast and I’ll never forget it. My 2nd encounter was about 2 months later at night, fishing alone. I spotted him on the opposite bank and I got the hell out of the area"
- "I saw the monster near the river early in the morning. It saw me and instantly froze. It did not move. I was fishing at the time and left all my gear there and started to run away. As I ran, and turned I saw that it, too, turned away and started running off. As I got near my truck and began opening the door I heard a whooshing sound and a bright light appear above the tree line. I drove off and got my gear two days later."
Discredited by Authorities
Due to the large amount of people-turned-monster-hunter bringing loaded guns into the area, and with tensions rising, the police undertook their own investigation. The next day, June 19, the Grafton Sentinel printed another article on the subject, dismissing the monster as simply the result of "spring fever" as bored locals wildly imagined the creature, which was instead a handcart piled high with boxes. With this information, the town was finally able to calm down, and everyone (especially authorities) was relieved that no one had been shot or hurt during the monster hunts.
Research and Evidence with Gray Barker
The claim by the authorities that the "monster" was simply a handcart and boxes was met with skepticism by Robert. Determined that what he saw was real, Robert Crockrell took his story to a writer of UFO phenomena, Gray Barker, and eventually convinced the man of his story's legitimacy. They gathered further information and research, finding that reports of a creature matching his description had been made both earlier and after his own experience. Gray wrote up an article based off of what Robert had found, but the article and the gathered evidence was never reported in print. The letters, notes, photographs and newspaper clippings were placed into record with the Gray Barker Collection in West Virginia.
There may have been some correlation with the Grafton monster and UFOs which interested Gray, as reports of sightings about the monster frequently accompanied other local sightings of strange lights in the sky or flying discs.
One teen in 1964 initially suggested the creature was an escaped polar bear, but no one could determine where or what a polar bear was doing in Grafton, West Virginia.
The Grafton Sentinel posted on Jun 19th that the alleged monster was simply from an individual who had been pushing a handcart loaded high with boxes along Riverside drive on Tuesday night. The newspaper claimed that due to the dim lighting and the "wildly imaginative" teens, this handcart was the most likely cause for the story and sightings. The paper then stated: "It's fairly certain that "monsters” don’t go around pushing handcarts loaded with boxes."
Films & Animations
- In 2014, a sensationalistic television show called Mountain Monsters featured the Grafton Monster.
- In 2018, game developers Bethesda created Fallout 76, which is set in West Virginia. As such the Grafton monster and the Mothman can be found there.