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The Grafton Monster, for many years one of the Mountain State’s lesser-known cryptids, was first spotted by journalist Robert Cockrell (1946-2022) late on the evening of June 16, 1964, beside Route 119 along the Tygart Valley River near Grafton. Two days later, Cockrell wrote in the Grafton Sentinel newspaper that the creature stood between seven and nine feet tall, had “seal-like” skin, and appeared to be headless. It also produced a whistling sound. According to Cockrell, it scurried off, never to be seen again (as far as anyone can prove).

Cockrell’s report sparked a frenzy, and word of the sighting spread quickly. Local teenagers began forming search parties. People poured into the small town to track down Cockrell’s mysterious monster. Numerous supposed sightings occurred, but none could be confirmed. The town was so overwhelmed that the Sentinel rejected the story as a “spring fever” fantasy and encouraged visitors to return home. After the commotion died down, Cockrell further investigated his sighting and worked with paranormal expert Gray Barker on a never-completed article for UFO Magazine.

Worldwide interest in the Grafton Monster waned over the next half-century, but increased significantly when the creature was featured in the 2018 video game Fallout 76, set in a fictionalized version of West Virginia. Sites in the game, such as Grafton, have become popular tourist stops for Fallout 76 fans.

To date, Cockrell’s sighting is considered the most credible encounter with the Grafton Monster.

Last Revised on November 15, 2023


Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. Monsters of West Virginia: Mysterious Creatures in the Mountain State. Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield, 2023.

Kasey, Pam. Wild, Warped West Virginia: Monsters. WV Living, Fall 2021.

Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "The Grafton Monster." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 15 November 2023. Web. 25 July 2024.


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