Daily Distraction: Artist Ralph Walters paints the unexplained

In the first part of new video series, the Columbus artist paints while digging into the mystery surrounding the Flatwoods Monster

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Ralph Walters

"On September 12, 1952, seven people wandered into the woods in Flatwoods, West Virginia, looking for a flying saucer," artist Ralph Walters writes in the text accompanying a new video series he created, the first episode of which he posted this week. "What they found terrified them and intrigued the entire nation."

As Walters paints, he's joined in conversation by people like friend and tattoo artist Chad Wells, who share their knowledge and experiences with the Flatwoods Monster, a mythical, bird-like alien.

In a February interview, Walters said that he didn't necessarily believe in the veracity of the Flatwoods Monster, a sighting that has largely been debunked, but he was still drawn to the way the tale explored the idea of belief, which has long been a source of inspiration for the artist.

“I got into an argument with a buddy of mine who is a Mormon, and he got upset that there were a number of people in this conversation who didn’t believe there was an afterlife. And at his angriest, before he got off the conversation, he said, ‘Well, I guess we all just rot in the ground. Is that what you want to believe? Is that what makes you happy?’" Walters said. “And that’s it, isn’t it? Our belief is what we want to believe. It’s what makes us happy. And I don’t mean ‘happy’ in the strictest sense, because some people are quite content believing the entire world is after them … even though it makes them depressed and paranoid and anxious. But it also gives them purpose, and that purpose overrides the bad things.”

Watch episode one of "Painting the Unexplained" in the video below.