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Friday, May 29, 2015

Van Meter's Visitor - Or Visitors?

"112 years ago, the town of Van Meter, Iowa, was the hotspot for sightings of a strange, flying monster. Eventually named the Van Meter Visitor, the creature was described as having large wings, a beak, and a horn on its head that emitted a powerful light.
The first witness was a local doctor named A. C. Olcott. One evening, while he was sleeping, he was awoken by a powerful flash. He jumped up, grabbed his shotgun, and ran out to see what had caused the blinding light. To his horror, he saw a huge creature with bat-like wings, a beak, and a glowing horn on its head descending from the sky. He fired without hesitation, causing the creature, which had landed, to lunge at him before it flew away. Olcott said the thing left a nauseating stench when it departed.
 Later that same night, a guard at the local credit union fired at the same creature. After that, another doctor saw the creature climbing a telephone pole and did the same thing Olcott had done; he grabbed his shotgun, and fired in the creature's general direction. Resident Sidney Gregg arrived just before the monstrosity left and saw it hop away like a kangaroo.
The entire community was almost in a state of panic the following morning. A series of three toed tracks were discovered in one of the areas where the monster had been seen the night before.
The Van Meter Visitor shot a blinding light
from a horn on its forehead

That night, the residents of the town were waiting for the visitor to return again. The foremen at a brick factory, however, heard an odd sound coming from an old abandoned mine shaft, and the creature emerged while a crowd gathered. It was also accompanied by a smaller creature, probably a "baby visitor." Multiple guns were fired, but the shots seemed to have no effect. The following morning, the Van Meter Visitor returned to the old mine shaft and was never seen again, or, at least, it hasn't been seen since. Since two creatures emerged from the mine shaft at one time, its possible that there could be a whole colony of "visitors" living in (or possibly under) Van Meter!"
Sketch of the Van Meter Visitor based on
eyewitness descriptions, but, where's the horn?

This post was excerpted from my book Cryptid U.S.: Tales of Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, and More From Across America, which has a chapter on the Van Meter Visitor and other strange cryptids seen in the skies of America, including Mothman, live pterosaurs, and Thunderbirds.