"Biggest thing to happen in Marshall County since Mrs. Jones cow got loose..."
My, my. What in the world (or out of this world) happened in the wee hours of that August night in 1979. For those who have been to Marshall County, Minnesota, it is one sleepy place. If you want to live somewhere and not be burdened by excitement or variety, Marshall County is the place for you. However, something happened in 1979 that suddenly put Marshall County on not only the Minnesota map, but also the national map.
It was August 27, 1979. Deputy Sheriff Van Johnson was in his squad car working the late shift. He was on a routine patrol up by the tiny town of Stephen, located in northwest part of the county. It is about 20 miles from Warren, the county seat of Marshall County.
Slightly before 2 AM, Deputy Johnson thought he saw a beam of light just above the road. At first he thought is might be a small plane in trouble. According to Johnson, the beam of light suddenly sped towards him and his squad car was engulfed in a blinding light. Before he lost consciousness, the deputy heard the sound of glass breaking. When he awoke about forty minutes later, he noticed his wristwatch and the squad car clock had stopped for fourteen minutes. Beside the windshield being broken, his radio aerial was bent and Johnson had burns on his eyes similar to "welder's burns".
All of a sudden, Deputy Johnson was tossed into the world of "fifteen minutes of fame". He went national and was on such shows as Good Morning America. However, this was not a clean case. UFO fanatics felt this was the most famous UFO encounter of the 1970's. There was physical evidence for crying out loud! Others said, "Not so fast, please." Johnson was asked to take a polygraph and refused. The skeptics came out in droves. "Faker!", they shouted - "You damaged your own squad car just to get the fame!" Johnson then went silent and his "fifteen minutes" was over.
Those who follow UFOs know that the 1970's was not an active decade. Some periods of time are more active than others for valid UFO sightings. The Marshall County event was spectacular for that decade, but today, not so much. In some areas of Mexico, UFO sightings are almost a daily event. True, most are seen from a distance rather than close up and personal like the encounter Johnson had.
I have said this for years now. If this entire UFO phenomenon is a hoax, it is of global proportions and done better than anything Hollywood could ever pull off. If it is mass hysteria, count me in - my son-in-law and I saw one four years ago this Thanksgiving. However, if they are something more than that - if they are something we should all know about, check out The Disclosure Project. The number of people who possess excellent credentials and have superior knowledge on this subject is mind blowing.
Next time you are in Marshall County at county fair time, stop by. They are still showing the squad car the deputy was driving the night of the incident. It is after all, the biggest event since Mrs. Jones cow got loose.