Many of us would like to welcome in guests to have memorable fun times with each other, but the terror brought upon by this strange monster was anything but fun. The beast is little known today, but research by Chad Lewis of almost never-before seen files from the historical records of Van Meter has made it known in his book as the ‘Van Meter Visitor’. Van Meter is a small prairie town in Iowa that has changed little since the 1900s. Everything was simple and quiet for the town, until the visitor showed up and brought up a frenzy of panic and fear.
According to the records, the trouble began in an old coal mining operation on the edge of town. In the mines, there were many reports of the old mine being haunted by strange unknown sounds and is claimed to be the original home of the creature. For five full days, this beast made itself known even by the most respected men in the town, always reported at exactly 1 AM in the middle of the night and making itself known with a bright blinding light. The first sighting was on September 29th 1903 by local businessman Eugene Griffith. He was coming back to Van Meter from a day of travel when he saw the monster. He noticed a strange light hovering over a building and thought at first that it was a robber, but the light disappeared and reappeared across the street.
On the next night, it was witnessed by Peter Dunn, the town’s bank manager. People have said back then that he was close to running the town and was one of the most believed and high ranking of men in the town. From what Griffith saw, Dunn, for the bank in case that robbers would try to rob from it, he came with his rifle to protect the Bank’s funds. There wasn’t anyone in the bank, but he then heard something that sounded like someone being strangled. At that very moment, a bright light shone through the room and Dunn grabbed his gun that was bolted with buckshot and shot the creature, blasting through the bank window. Large 3-toed footprints were found and Dunn had them cast in plaster.
On the next night, Dr. Alcott was sleeping above his office in the same building until he was awakened by a bright blinding light. He also thought it was robbers outside, so he grabbed his gun and came out. That was when he came face to face with the creature, which was perched on a telephone pole. It was described as looking like a half man-half bat type creature that stood 8ft tall, with smooth featherless bat-like wings and having a blunt horn on its forehead that emanated the bright light. He shot 5 rounds at the monster, but the bullets had no effect and he simply ran back inside in fear. Another town member described it as hopping like a kangaroo and even a high school teacher likened it to a devil.
By a screeching and grinding sound. He walked over to the window and saw the creature. He took his rifle and shot at the creature. He was known for being a good shot, but the creature was unaffected and instead was angered and shone its light directly at White and released an odor that he claimed knocked him unconscious.
On the last night, workers in the tile and brick factory were hit by strange screeching sounds. The town was terrified. Everyone was locking their doors and shutting their windows and trying to be more careful with their children. I practically became the center of attention in town. Finally, the people had enough and banded together with arms to get rid of the monster after two creatures were witnessed on the previous morning, with one being smaller than the other. They gathered dynamite and blew the mouth of the mine, ending its reign of terror. The mine never opened again.
To this day, this mystery is still unsolved and even Chad Lewis couldn’t find any evidence to prove that it was all a hoax, especially when street head lights were too uncommon to explain the sightings. Strangely, drawn sketches of the monster show it also had a bird-like beak and having a strange resemblance to pterosaurs, a group of prehistoric flying reptiles that once lived during the age of the dinosaurs. But the glowing horn and odor are unlike anything we know of today. And with the old mine still present and abandoned, what would happen if someone were to open up the mines? Will this creature or creatures make a comeback? It’s a good thing that the small town of Van Meter wouldn’t have to worry about that, since no one would dare test that notion and welcome back the visitor to bring terror once more.