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Cryptid Casefile: The Van Meter Visitor

Type: Reptillian / Flying

Appearance: 8-9ft tall • Bat wings • Pterosaur-like

Location: Van Meter, Iowa

Abilities: Flight, Super speed, Bulletproof, Light casting

On an early Tuesday morning, September 3rd, 1903, the quaint town of Van Meter, Iowa was about to get a rude awakening. A fiend it seems, emerged from the depths of the earth to bring about terror to the local townsfolk. This is the story of the Van Meter visitor...

At 1am, on September 3rd, 1903, U.G. Griffith noticed what he thought was a burglar, equipped with a light on the rooftop of one of downtown Van Meter's buildings. When Griffith approached the figure, it leapt to another rooftop clear to the other side of the street and disappeared from view. Whatever this burglar was, couldn't have been human. The following night, again at 1am, the towns doctor woke up to a light shining through his bedroom window, directed at him. Dr. Alcott grabbed his firearm and ran outside to confront the man he thought was trying to break into his house. What he saw, he had never seen anything like it before. This figure that was staring in at him, was a 8-9 foot tall bipedal beast with leathery bat-like wings. The doctor noticed that the source of light it was emitting came from a blunt horn on the creatures forehead.

Frightened by what he was witnessing before him, Alcott opened fire, five times on this fiend, but to no effect. The creature stood there, unfazed. At that moment, the doctor retreated back inside. By the 3rd night, the residents of Van Meter were aware of something or someone terrorizing the town. Most believed it was simply a burglar on a caper. On this 3rd night, a local banker by the name of Clarence Dunn was watching over his bank, armed with a shotgun. Sure enough, 1am rolled around and suddenly a beam of light started shining into the bank through the front window. The light scanned through the building and then stopped, focusing on Dunn. Dunn then fired his shotgun towards the figure, breaking the window, but the light and figure vanished from the scene.

That same night, Van Meter's hardware store owner, O.V. White woke up to am odd rasping noise that was almost metallic in nature outside of his room on the 2nd story of the building. White looked out his window and saw a large creature resting on the crossbeam of a nearby telephone pole. Like everyone else in the story, Mr. White reached for his gun and took aim. White was a well known marksman in the town, so he knew when he fired on it, his aim was true. However, this creature again, shrugged off the melee of lead. It was then that Mr. White noticed a foul stench in the air. It was so overwhelming that it knocked him unconscious. Having woken up from the noise, whites neighbor, Sidney Gregg reported to have also witnessed the creature, scaling down the telephone pole, its movements resembling that of a parrot using its beak to guide its body down.

Once it hit the ground, Gregg stated that it stood up and must have been at least 8 feet tall. Its light was also said to be as bright as an electric headlight. At this point the creature took off in the direction of the towns old coal mine. Locals began to realize that they were hearing strange sounds coming from the direction of the old mine entrance at the edge of town. The Des Moines daily news had an article dating from October 3rd, 1903 stating that the sound was “Though satan and a regiment of imps were coming forth for a battle”. After a 4th night of being frightened by this unknown creature, the townsfolk decided to form an armed to the teeth militia to take care of this devilish visitor once and for all.

The new formed local militia's plan was to wait near the old mine entrance and wait for the visitor to come out. As the group gathered they could hear what sounded like a company of demons rallying for battle. The hellish sound drew closer and closer to the mine entrance until not one, but two of these creatures emerged in a terrifying flurry. The second one was about half the size of first, but twice as scary. The two visitors then reigned holy hell and brimstone on the townsfolk, blinding them with their unnatural beams of light shooting from their foreheads. The townsfolk relentlessly opened fire. In an instant, this battle field was a chaotic cacophony of gunfire, screeching, yelling, and black smoke choking out the air, and whatever else the locals could still manage to see after being solar-flared. Exhausted and out of ammo, the gunfire ceased and the smoke cleared. To their dismay, there were the two dead eyed creatures towering over them, not a scratch to be seen from the hail of bullets. The creatures lights then went dim, and the story goes that they turned around and shuffled back into the mine, never to be seen again.

Afterwards, the mine entrance was exploded with dynamite to be sure the visitors would never return. The identity of these creatures has never been pinpointed exactly and it's interesting that it wasn't until recent years that the harrowing story of the Van Meter townsfolk of 1903 faced such a menace. Some have tried to explain this story as merely a hoax, however several respected citizens of Van Meter reported on this series of events and none ever sought financial gain from it, so that seems unlikely. That fact that the story was largely forgotten about for decades also seems to indicate that something strange and terrifying did happen in Van Meter over 100 years ago. It could be a case of mass hysteria as well. Some theories posit that the Van Meter Visitor could have been an unknown giant bird, an alien, or perhaps a surviving population of flying dinosaur, like a pterodactyl. There is a very interesting similarity with the stories of the Ioway tribe that once lived in the area. It is said they have legends of humanoid thunderbirds that shot lightning from their eyes.

In Van Meter today there is an annual festival that started in 2015 celebrating the story of the Van Meter Visitor. Perhaps the creatures still live deep within the earth, or perhaps they were the last of their kind.

Possible explanations:

• Hoax

• Mass hysteria

• Relict population of pterosaur type dinosaur

• Living, breathing thunderbirds

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