Do you believe in the Metal Man?

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FALKVILLE Ala. – Alabama certainly has its fair share of urban legends and strange occurrences. Recently, on an adventure through the backroads of Cullman and Morgan counties, I heard mention of the “Falkville Metal Man.” Though I had never heard of him before, I was definitely intrigued. Who or what is this local legend?  

On an October night in 1973, the young Falkville Chief of Police, Jeff Greenhaw, was likely hoping for a quiet evening at home after a long day of work. Instead, he would receive a call that would change his life forever – an anonymous call to dispatch from a frantic caller about a UFO in a field just outside of town.  

Greenhaw, who rarely gives interviews about that night, sat down for an interview with Red Water Filmworks less than a year ago to discuss what he saw that night. He said, “I was hired in January of 1973 and this all came down October 17, 1973.” He would resign from his position in the weeks after.  

What did he see? His first thought was that he was simply dealing with “an idiot.” He explained, “After that, things were just so strange. This wasn’t real. It wasn’t really happening, but it was happening to me. Why me?” 

He was looking at a figure, slightly taller than 6 feet, wearing a reflective material that Greenhaw described, saying, “My initial thoughts were maybe aluminum foil but there were no pieces around there after it was all over. I don’t know what to believe at that point.” He described the suit in his report from that evening saying, “It looked like his head and neck were kind of made together. He was real bright, something like rubbing mercury on nickel, but just as smooth as glass. Different angles give different lighting.”  

The movement of the figure was not human-like according to Greenhaw. “Whenever I think about it, when I was a child, I used to watch the movie ‘Lost in Space.’ The robot in the movie, it kind of reminded me of that to some extent.”  

Greenhaw grabbed his Polaroid 2 camera and snapped four photos of whatever was standing in front of him. Before he took the photos, he did speak to the figure. He explained, “I said something to the effect of ‘howdy stranger’ and there was no response at all. I didn’t push my luck. At that point, I reached in and turned the blue lights on the patrol car and seen how reflective the material really was. Then, when I looked back, it was moving away from me, so I decided to chase it down and, if I have to, run over it. That didn’t happen either.” 

He took the photos and laid them out on the console of the patrol car. When he looked back, the figure was moving. He said, “It wasn’t moving like you or I would move. It’s like it had springs on its feet or something.” The strange being was said to have run away at speeds exceeding human capabilities. Greenhaw pursued the figure in his patrol car and although he reached 35mph in the field he was in, it wasn’t fast enough to catch the figure.  

Greenhaw would eventually lose sight of the figure after crashing his patrol car. The shiny E.T. then faded into the darkness leaving Greenhaw to wonder what had just happened to him.  

Greenhaw had the four photos he took in a safe place for several years following the encounter, but he claims that almost 10 years later to the date, someone broke into his home and stole the four pictures. He filed a police report in 1983 regarding the break-in. Also missing were his service revolver and a shotgun.  

“I took them out and looked at them frequently for the 10 years that I had them. I thought, ‘That’s really weird,’ the only three things I had with me that night, the shotgun in the car, the service revolver and the pictures; all three of them came up missing,’ he said.  

He said, “I pretty well withdrew myself from the public for years.” People made life difficult for Greenhaw after he recounted his experience from that night. “People who were supposed to be my friends, the only thing I found out is that I really couldn’t trust anyone. I withdrew, I ran and I went places to try to get away from it.”  

Greenhaw and his wife raised five children, three of whom were adopted. He added, “I turned out to be a person I never dreamed I would be because of what happened. It made me hard, but it made me strong as well. I came close to losing my sanity, but my wife and God kept me from losing my sanity. That’s the only thing that kept me going. I am still a believer in life after death and at one point, I didn’t believe there was any other life source in the universe, but that really changed.” 

Greenhaw never sought financial gain from the encounter. If anything, sticking to his accounts from that strange autumn evening has made his life incredibly difficult and left him isolated and ridiculed by many. Whether you believe or don’t believe that Greenhaw’s encounter was with an extraterrestrial being, one thing is certain – he definitely witnessed something strange in that field that night. 

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