Cryptids are animals believed to exist but not recognized by science, and they’re one of my favorite aspects of Fallout 76. The series has always done a great job of weaving creepy mysteries and unsettling stories, and these strange creatures exemplify that idea.
There are 76 cryptids located within the Appalachia area, each with its own backstories, idiosyncracies, and combat behaviors. Today, we’re going to take a look at The Flatwoods Monster: a particularly unsettling being rooted within the extaterrestrial lore.
In this Flatwoods Monster Fallout 76 guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the creature’s history, location, and where to find them. Let’s delve into the mystery!
Bottom Line Up Front
The Flatwoods Monster is an alien-type cryptid that can be located at random across the wasteland. If you’re in a rush, here’s the key information!
- The most important context/lore on this cryptid is heard through two holo tapes: two parts of a radio drama called Who Goes There?. You can find the first part in the Flatwoods Tavern or by the body of Willie Mae. The second is found in a mailbox by Delbert Winters’s trailer.
- The Flatwoods Monster will attack with a powerful head-mounted laser and possess other nearby enemies to do its bidding. It’s best to fight it in the open with a single-shot energy weapon.
- It can also teleport and self-heal, so keep on your toes and spread yourself out.
- The Alien is presumed part of the Zetan race — the well-established alien race in Bethesda’s interpretation of the Fallout series.
- The monster can be located in a wide variety of locations throughout Appalachia — scroll down to see a detailed map.
Like many other cryptids in Fallout 76, The Flatwoods Monster has its roots in real-life folklore.
The first encounter followed the sighting of a meteor-like object in the sky on September 12th, 1953 at Flatwoods, West Virginia. Two brothers witnessed the spectacle, and after they’d told neighbors and family members what they’d seen, a small group revisited the location to investigate.
Upon sourcing the location of where the object had likely crashed, the group saw a bright red flashing light through a billowing of smoke and mist. With closer investigation, this light shockingly revealed itself to be two saucer-like red eyes. The eyes were surrounded by a large pointed hood, and the figure stood roughly 10 feet tall and had small, clawed hands.
The entity hissed at the group prompting them to run away. As they ran away, it followed closely behind, engulfing some of the party in an oil-like substance. Each person managed to get away.
When the Sherriff came to the location the next day, the creature was gone but had left track marks and a strange residue. Members of the group reportedly came down with cold and flu symptoms following the event, and we still don’t have a definitive answer to what happened that night.
Fallout 76 Adaptation
The Radio Dramas
Two radio dramas that can be located in Flatwoods set the scene: a heavily altered but similar story to the original real-life tale written by Stephen H. Patterson, a pre-war author. They’re part of an anthology called Tales from the West Virginia Hills, and Part 1 of the relevant episode Who goes there? is found either on the kitchen counter in Flatwoods Tavern or on a desk next to the body of Willie Mae.
The story follows two children named Fred and Sally. Fred, a young scout, falls into a dark and echoey place. Having been double-dared by his scout troop to go and investigate some strange lights and noises, he followed the sounds into an old mine. He was then investigated by some otherworldly entity and blacked out, waking up by himself.
But it turns out he isn’t totally alone: a girl called Sally resides in the same place. What’s more, she divulges that there are also ‘others’.
Part 2 of the drama is found in a mailbox north of Delbert Winters’s trailer. The story continues with things taking a dramatic turn for the worse. Sally doesn’t explain much about these other inhabitants, and before Fred can enquire more about a strange sequence of ‘games’ Sally is accustomed to, Sally becomes frantic as she shouts at Fred to stay put when he tries to leave.
We hear what is presumably an overhead Alien ship about to beam the two kids up, to which Sally responds by repeating the words ‘Time to Play’ in a monotone and robotic voice. It’s clear that she’s in a hypnotic state most likely due to the metallic collar Fred has noticed she is wearing.
Amidst the terror of the situation, Fred blacks out again, but before he does, he clocks the appearance of these ‘others’, noting that they’re not human at all. He wakes up delirious but unharmed with two small marks on either temple.
Now, this radio drama is a work of fiction, but within the lore, it’s based on real events that are thought to have occurred within the Fallout universe involving the fabled Flatwoods Monster — a being we can encounter ourselves. The poster for the show even depicts the alien exactly how we see it in the game.
As the radio drama would insinuate, the Flatwoods Monster is definitively an alien of some kind. Clipping into the helmet to see its face, we can see that it is strikingly similar to the Zetan race any series fan will be familiar with.
While the monster is most clearly characterized by its bright pink glowing eyes (distinct in their resemblance to the real story), spherical helmet, and mechanical appendage devoid of a torso and legs; its face is exactly the same as your typical Zetan alien — sharp pointed teeth, large exposed nostrils, and a textured dark green head. The hands and fingers are also the same as the classic Zetan alien.
Finding the Flatwoods Monster
You won’t find the monster in one specific area. Its location is entirely random, and you have the potential to run into it where ever you are. Even so, there are some locations where it’s more likely to spawn than others, and they’re numerous.
Thankfully, an annotated map exists with pointers to all known common spawn locations. The areas with a yellow marker on the map below have a 2.5 higher chance of having the monster spawn. Note that the Flatwoods monster can still spawn in any location, but these locations are the most likely.
The monster will always spawn during nighttime, but it doesn’t despawn: once it has spawned on the map, you’ll be able to find it during the daytime, too.
The creature floats above ground using some sort of alien jet thruster. Despite its lack of lower appendage, it has an extensive arsenal for evasion and mobility. While its jet pack enables fast movement on its own, one of the Flatwoods Monster’s greatest assets is its ability to teleport. Even if you spot the creature from a distance, even from the outside of its line of sight, chances are it’s seen you. If you don’t engage in combat, it’ll likely disappear with a bright pink flash.
This teleportation tactic is also employed heavily during combat, often making it difficult to lock on conventionally through the use of V.A.T.S. As such, you’ll have to rely on using powerful weapons like two-handed lasers or plasma weapons by hand.
Of course, this evasive adversary has its own highly effective weapons. At a long distance, it can shoot a powerful hit-scanning laser from its head, and up close, it’ll claw at you with its hands. Most crucially, the Flatwoods Monster can possess any nearby enemy to fight for it, and this includes turrets you see around. It’ll also then use this opportunity to use its main defensive ability — self-healing.
The monster’s attack stats are as follows:
Level Laser Melee
Credit | Fallout Wiki
In consideration of all the above attributes, my recommendations for fighting this alien are as follows:
Try and lure it to an open space: this is easier said than done given that the spawn location is random, but if possible, fight in an open area. This way, it’ll be easier to anticipate the teleportation location as it won’t be obscured by buildings or other structures. Fighting in the open planes also minimizes the appearance of other enemies, and it negates the possibility of the Flatwoods Monster forcibly enlisting other combatants.
Aim for the head: This is usually a given anyway but is especially true considering the oversized head of the Flatwoods Monster. Its glowing eyes make for the perfect target, and you’ll receive a 1.25 damage multiplier if you hit. You can successfully take the enemy down by mostly firing at the torso, but I found the lateral sway caused by the thrusters made this area particularly hard to hit.
Use a single-shot energy weapon: Regular ballistics will still get the job done, but I found single-shot energy weapons to work best. Trying to spray the monster with bullets will likely waste a lot of ammo given its excellent maneuverability, so my strategy was to watch for patterns and go for one good shot at a time.
The monster usually stops as it’s about to fire, making for a dangerous but effective opportunity to strike at the head with a powerful laser or plasma weapon. Pick a weapon with a high damage output and high accuracy. Don’t worry about DPS (damage per second) as much; this is a fight you’ll need to take your time with anyway.
Don’t bother with V.A.T.S: As I briefly touched on earlier, enemies that teleport and V.A.T.S don’t work particularly well. For this reason, I recommend honing your FPS skills and going at it the old-school way. While V.A.T.S is almost always an ally, I found here that most of the time I couldn’t lock on at all, and if I could, it actually hampered my ability to react quick enough to the laser attacks.
If the monster possesses a turret, move out of sight: Once the Flatwoods Monster possesses another enemy, you’re going to have to deal with it first before going back to the main enemy. Irritatingly for players, this is when the alien takes the opportunity to heal, meaning that you’ll have to be very quick about dealing with the possessed enemy.
One of the more frequently possessed enemies, however, is turrets. Because these are stationary weapons that cannot move, I found it most effective to simply move out of their line of sight and carry on pursuing the main target. This way, you’ll catch the monster off-guard as it’s trying to heal, and you won’t have the added risk of dealing with a secondary enemy.
While they’re all mostly the same, it should be noted that there are three possible Flatwoods Monster variations that you can encounter throughout Appalachia. Each has different naming conventions and altered stats. I’ve already gone over the stats for the standard variant, so here are the differences between the other two (both sets of stats assume a player level of 20-30).
Fabled Flatwoods Monster: This variant has an unarmed attack of 65 and a laser attack of 105, placing it several points above the standard variant in both metrics. It’s unclear how much rarer the Fabled Flatwoods Monster is, but I’ve only ever encountered it once compared to five times for the standard monster.
Mythical Flatwoods Monster: This variant is likely the rarest. I’ve never seen it during my many hours spent with the game, and given that the original is already rare, I’d guess most players will never encounter it. It has the highest damage of any variant, with an unarmed attack of 75 and a laser attack of 125.
In this section, I’ve included some extra information beyond locating and fighting the monster which you might be interested in.
Sally from Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta
Fans of Fallout 3 will likely remember a young girl named Sally from the Mothership Zeta DLC. Like the other humans the player meets on the ship, she’d been abducted and had been on the ship for an undisclosed period.
Given her age and the nature of her capture, many fans have speculated that Sally and the girl from Who Goes There? could be the same person. If Sally from Mothership Zeta was captured just after the bombs fell, she would have been preserved for 200 years when the player meets her. This makes it easy for her to slot into a viable timeline where she could’ve been Sally from the story.
There’s also the similarity in the interaction between Fred and Sally in the story and the player and Sally in Fallout 3. In both instances, Sally has been under alien control for a long time and helps the protagonist understand what’s going on. If this is the same Sally, it would also give credence to the idea that the Flatwoods Monster species is a Zetan variant.
Shelby O’Rourke was originally a scientist at Vault Tech University, and having survived the bombs, she decided to continue her research independently. Her specialism was in Cryptozoology: the study of legendary or extinct beings.
Having completed her thesis on cryptids, O’Rourke set up a small shack in the Mire region of Appalachia for solitary focus on her research (the location is marked on the map as Hunter’s Shack). It is unclear what became of O’Rourke, but her research was extensive; the player can view a terminal detailing key information about various different cryptids, including the Flatwoods Monster.
O’Rourke never actually saw the creature face to face but does seem to have recognized it from afar. Her description is of an alien with glowing eyes and a helmet and a dress-like garment, which is often accompanied by bright emanating lights and a strange metallic smell.
She notes to have seen it in the mountains due to its characteristic glow, but the pictures she took were inconclusive. When she went to visit the supposed location, she did notice some odd burning but no other signs.
The Enclave Bunker
The Enclave Bunker, more commonly known as The Whitespring Bunker, is an Enclave base located beneath the Whitespring Grounds within the Savage Divide. Within one of the bunker rooms, we can see several images of various cryptids attached to a luminescent board, one of which is the Flatwoods Monster. The images were simple scientific drawings of only one or two base colors, but the resemblance is clear.
Tales from the West Virginia Hills Issue #5
Alongside the holo tapes of the Tales from the West Virginia Hills stories, you can also find a series of five magazines. Issue #5 Who Goes There? features Fred and Sally’s encounter with the Flatwoods Monster, and finding the magazine will provide the player with an extra 15% damage during the fight.
Also interesting is the image on the front cover: we see what is presumably both Fred and Sally depicted cowering from not only one but two Faltwoods Monster entities, confirming that this is likely a sub-race of Zetan beings.
Specific magazines aren’t found in any specific place, but here’s a useful map showing you places they might spawn:
The story of Colton Pickins adds some further context to the Flatwoods Monster lore. A holo tape can be found at the Hillfolk Hotdog shack in The Forest region of the map, and it details a police report following the arrest of Pickins — a local hot dog seller.
The report contains an interrogation between Colton Pickins and a deputy: he’s been called in after being found standing on the roof of his shack naked and yelling loudly into the sky. He pleads with the officer that this was because he was hypnotized by a strange creature — a humanoid entity in a space suit with huge eyes and grey skin. He expressed that it wasn’t saying anything, but that he could hear it in his mind.
The deputy frustratedly made reference to his claims being in line with numerous other sightings of the infamous Flatwood Monster. This was a topic he clearly relegated to baseless nonsense as he states to have had enough before terminating the recording.
The Queen of the Hunt Quest
While we’ve already explored the fact that the appearance of the Flatwoods Monster is entirely random, there is one thing you can do to increase your chances. There’s a quest called The Queen of the Hunt triggered by reading the entry in the aforementioned terminal within the Hunters Shack.
Once activated, the quest will have the player search a variety of locations, one of which will contain a cryptid at random. The player must then excise a tissue sample from the monster, which is then deposited back at the shack in an analyzer to complete the quest.
There’s a decent enough chance that the cryptid that spawns during the quest may be the Flatwoods Monster. If you don’t luck out, you can keep trying by backing out and back into a server (without collecting the tissue sample of a cryptid of another type) until the Flatwoods Monster spawns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How much evidence is there for the real Flatwoods Monster?
Answer: While most certainly an intriguing mystery, most evidence suggests that the original sighting of the Flatwoods Monster in Virginia was not monster or alien at all. The most common train of thought is the supposed alien was actually a Barn Owl — an animal whose eyes shone fiercely due to the reflection of the party’s torches. Furthermore, the shrill screaming sound that was documented was thought to be the Barn Owls hooting, which if you take a listen, can sound pretty terrifying!
Question: Is it likely that Bethesda will dive further into the story of the Flatwoods Monster?
Answer: With each subsequent entry, we learn more and more about the fascinating post-war world, and that includes beings from other planets. As we discussed, the Flatwoods Monster is most likely some sort of Zetan variant, and this is a race that has been continually fleshed out ever since its inception in Fallout 3. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more about exactly what the Flatwood Monster is and what its goals are in the coming months and years.
Question: Is there more than one Flatwood Monster?
Answer: Given the fact that you can encounter and kill the monster numerous times, as well as the visual depicting two monsters in the same space in issue #5 of Tales from the West Virginia Hills; I think it safe to say we’re dealing with a specific group of likeminded aliens here. Also, Sally insinuates multiple members of this alien group when she describes them as heard on the Holo tapes. We never see or fight more than one at once, however.
I hope you enjoyed the intriguing tale surrounding The Flatwoods Monster, and I hope it prepared you for an encounter with the beast itself. If you’re interested in the further discussion surrounding this cryptid, I recommend searching Flatwoods Monster over on the Fallout 76 subreddit. Have fun!