(Article was written prior to the release in Fallout 76)
Within the next few weeks, there will likely be a lot of talk about the monster in the small town of Grafton West Virginia known appropriately as The Grafton Monster, but what is or rather what was it that for a brief moment set the small town alight with monster hunting parties and mass hysteria the likes of which Mary Shelly would have been proud of? It all started on June 16th 1965 as a reporter for the Grafton Sentinel by the name of Robert Cockrell was making his way home. Around 11 PM he reported seeing a white creature by the right hand side of the road. By his account he reported the creature had slick “seal-like” skin and no visible head and was between seven to nine feet tall and four feet wide. He sped off and returned later with friends who helped him search the area. Nothing was discovered except a worn spot in the grass where he said the creature was spotted.
Up until this time Grafton's only claim to fame had been the birthplace of Mothers Day in 1908 but this was about to change. Being a journalist Cockrell decided to tell his story and a small write up appeared in the Grafton Sentinel on June 18th 1965. This report plunged the small town into a flurry of monster madness and resulted in hundreds of citizens scouring the town armed with pitch forks and guns. Some reported seeing the creature but only Cockrell's initial testament remains as a recorded eyewitness account. He would later investigate the case himself and work with Gray Barker who intended to write an article in a UFO magazine claiming the creature was possibly of extraterrestrial origin but it would go unpublished.
There have been no further sightings of the creature but it does sound eerily familiar to a being known as a golem. In Jewish folklore, a golem is servant created from clay or mud and magically endowed with life from its creator, it is programmed with a purpose and lacks a soul or will of its own. Such creatures were said to be used to protect sacred places or do chores at the bidding of their master. The knowledge to create them was said to have been derived from the words of creation passed down by no less than Abraham who is also cited with the dissertation of other “sciences of the gods” so to speak. Was the Grafton Monster a golem? We have no idea but it was taken very seriously at the time.
Whatever the Grafton Monster was be it cryptid, alien or actual monster, it along with it's counterparts of the Mothman and the Braxton County Monster are now becoming pop culture super stars and the small towns that bore these beasts are experiencing economical upturns that the original witnesses and earlier generations would never have expected. Until recently the Grafton County Monster was just a legend reported in a few local works and showing up on a few websites devoted to monsters and cryptids but soon we can likely expect the small town of Grafton West Virginia to become famous again, this time for it's monster.
For more information on the Grafton County Monster have a look at the book by Rosemary Ellen Guiley“Monsters of West Virginia Mysterious Creatures in the Mountain State”