The Grafton Monster. - [Cryptid, WV, 1964] - Sometimes also called: "The Beast of Grafton", "The headless horror", "The Thing" or just "Grafty" for short.
• About this Cryptid: Described as A massive 7-9ft tall by 4ft Wide "thing" with "All White or Gray seal-like skin" with no discernible head or face, encountered briefly one night in 1964 in the hills of Grafton, West Virginia, on route 119 along Riverside Drive. Encountered & reported by then 18-year-old journalist, Robert Cockrell. [June 30th 1946. - Dec 9th 2022.] - Given its close year of origin to other West Virginian monsters (particuarly Mothman  & Braxxie ) it is often theorized to be either an extraterrestrial "animal", a government experiment, inter-dimensional traveller or even an "escaped polar bear", among other things, however, with so little information about the creature, the exact truth is unknown...
• History & Encounter: Grafton is a small railroad junction town located in Taylor County, West Virginia, most proudly known as the birthplace of Mother's day & also home to WVs National Cemeteries. The hills & forest area is a part of whats known as Mountaineer country...
The beast was first encountered on the night of June 16th 1964, Journalist for the Grafton Daily Sentinel, Robert Cockrell was driving home late at night, down route 119 along Riverside Drive. When he caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a huge, gray, hairless "thing" lumbering to the side of the road in his high beams as he drove by. - Understandably mortified, he drove home and locked his doors, afraid of what he might have just witnessed.
Shortly, the intrepid young reporter got his second wind and he decided to go back and investigate with a couple of his friends. When they returned to the area where the creature was gone! - However the grass in the area it had been seen had been completely flattened as if something heavy was there. - Rob and his friends went up and down the river in different directions, each saw nothing but heard a sound akin to a low whistle, when they returned to their Buick, it wouldn’t start!
The next day, Robert went back into work, and told his editor about it, who wanted no part in the story. However, by that time, Roberts friends had told every person they knew: That night, an mob of nearly 30 young folks gathered on Riverside Drive, armed with makeshift weapons, to see if they could find the monster The Sentinel was left with no choice but to report about the event on the 18th.
[June 18th article: Image source.]
The following night; the number of hunters had doubled and a number of adults joined in too. - there were over 20 first-hand reports of a sighting the monster in the area. - Soon after, on the 19th; the police got involved, investigated the highway and issued a statement to the paper's front page, saying that the monster was simply just a case of “wild imaginations and spring fever.” - they claimed that what people likely saw was someone pushing a cart piled high with boxes that just so happened to look like a monster.
This would be the end of it, however, curious young Rob had also written about his encounter to Gray Barker, Ufologist & 'mysterious creature expert', publisher of the Saucerian magazine. - [The story was never published in the magazine and the correspondence is currently kept in the "Gray Barker Collection" located at the Harrison County Public Library in Clarksburg, West Virginia.] - Gray wrote back to Robert with a hypothesis about aliens dropping off their “animals” to test our environment and that the “whistle” rob and his friends had heard was probably the spaceship.
Things went quiet for about 50 years then the Beast was featured in an episode of "Mountain Monsters"  - however, the episode is rather infamously known as "hogwash" as the show did a terrible job at researching (notably they did not actually film in Grafton) and even went as far as having fake guests & newspapers.. - in that show, the beast is described as being more "hunchback-Bigfoot-like" so when you see images and artwork [typically drawn prior to 2017] of Grafton monster as a hunchbacked humanoid or with a face, its typically remnant of this shows interpretation…
Then it was included in Bethesda’s Fallout 76  which popularized the "headless monster look" being included in a triple A game, this sparked interest in a decades old story and also inspiring an boom of Grafton monster artwork which continues til today!
In late 2018 a sign (with a silhouette designed by Studio 8) was erected close to the site where rob saw the beast, it was briefly stolen by a local student, but thankfully it was later found.
The creature has also been featured as a part of modern day Taylor county kid-friendly monster hunts too! - I am unaware if there’s a Grafton monster festival yet [pandemic times and what not.] - But it has certainly become the resident monster mascot for the town!
You can visit their online gift shop for some official swag and also follow the creature's official Facebook page for updates and more information about the case! (I'd also like to take a moment to thank them for most of the information presented in this post and for answering my questions!! :)
- See also: mothman, braxxie, the virginia tv headmen, Fresno Night Crawlers.
Sticker Art by @samkalensky part of my cryptids & critters collection. check my shop for many more