The online UFO community is showing renewed interest in an August 27, 1979, UFO incident that occurred in Warren, Minnesota, and involved Marshall County sheriff’s deputy Val Johnson.
Many online UFOlogists and alien hunters have been speculating lately about the mysterious incident that has defied explanation despite painstakingly detailed police investigation after it happened more than three decades ago.
Deputy Johnson was on patrol in his squad car early on the morning of August 27, 1979, on a deserted rural road in Warren, Minnesota, when he spotted a mysterious bright, glowing orb UFO floating in the air. A violent encounter ensued that no one has since been able to explain.
According to Kent Broten, the president of the Marshall County Historical Society, who is in charge of the Marshall County Museum in north Michigan where the squad car is preserved and displayed in its original damaged condition, Deputy Johnson saw a bright orb UFO, about a foot in diameter, floating about three and a half feet off the ground.
The orb UFO zoomed towards his car and engulfed the car and its occupant in a brilliant flash of light. The light was so bright that it blinded Johnson. He had to be treated at the hospital for burns to his eyes that medical experts described as similar to burns caused by the flame from welder’s equipment.
“What (Deputy Johnson) saw was a bright object, maybe like a foot in diameter, about three and a half feet off the ground. As he explained, what was there all of a sudden was here, so the light just shot at him, engulfed his car in light and blinded him.”
According to Herb Maurstad, a colleague of Johnson at the time, the nature of Johnson’s UFO encounter on the lonely rural road remains a mystery.
Maurstad notes that it is difficult to explain the pattern of damage to the car. The car’s antennae were bent at awkward angles, the windshield cracked, a headlight broken, and the hood dented.
The dashboard clock, as well as Deputy Johnson’s watch, stopped for approximately 14 minutes before they started working spontaneously again, Maurstad recalled.
“The dashboard clock stopped for 14 minutes, as did Deputy Johnson’s watch, before starting up again.”
According to Maurstad, an expert from Ford Motor Company who inspected the windshield, concluded that the pattern of the cracks was unusual and not like what one would expect if the windshield had sustained an impact with something hard, such as a hammer.
Maurstad said, “You can see that it wasn’t Val Johnson’s head that hit there because it’s in the wrong place. Way too low.”
Dennis Brekke, Johnson’s superior at the time, also acknowledged that the deputy had a mysterious encounter that no one has been able to explain.
“We do believe that our deputy had an encounter with something that we haven’t been able to explain yet on this date,” he said. “And there’s a lot of interest because of that, I guess.”
“I don’t know what happened. I know in my own mind I did the best job we could, me and my department, to investigate and find out what went on,” Brekke added.
After more than three decades, Deputy Johnson’s damaged squad car remains the main attraction at the Marshall County Museum. Curious tourists, including UFO enthusiasts, come to see the car.
And although Broten acknowledges that an incident that may have been out of the ordinary happened that day, he stops short of calling it an alien UFO encounter.
“It doesn’t mean it’s from outer space. It’s just an unidentified flying object hit it and it just hasn’t been explained, so it’s unidentified.”
Johnson, who now lives in western Wisconsin, said he prefers not to talk about his experience after more than three decades but admits that the encounter convinced him that aliens exist.
“Yeah, I kind of do (believe aliens exist). There’s got to be something more than us around,” he said.
There has been renewed interest in Johnson’s UFO experience in the online UFO community lately, and the incident has been investigated by several UFO groups, but no one can explain what happened.
While many UFO enthusiasts rank Johnson’s UFO encounter among the best documented cases that prove the existence of aliens, skeptics have tried to provide explanations that do not require invoking extraterrestrial visitors.
“My money is on ball lightning.”
“I would be of interest to understand the geology of the location… Cars, these days act as Faraday Cages, which protect occupants, but, back in those days it was common practice to equip cars with radio transmission equipment with earthing strips. Ball lightning bounces happily along until it gets grounded and then it explodes with a satisfying POP! The problem is it explodes and releases a lot of heat.”
“There is usually a simple explanation if only someone is able to find it.”
“Obviously a weather balloon.”
Express notes that the orb UFO that Johnson saw was strikingly similar to orb UFOs sighted in Warminster, Wiltshire, UK, in the 1960s and 1970s. According the website, witnesses also reported that the Warminster UFOs had a mysterious effect on their clocks and car engines, making them stop momentarily.
UFO Sightings editor Scott Waring notes that the interest that the UFO community has shown lately arises from the fact that Johnson was a law enforcement agent and the UFO community takes testimonies from police and military officials seriously.
“I always find that UFO reports by police, military and government officials to be exceptionally credible,” Waring says. “It is ridiculous to think otherwise. We have to trust the heroes of our society, or we can’t trust anyone.”
[Image via Wesse Boyman/YouTube]