The Van Meter Visitor

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 9th, 2013

A sketch of the bizarre creature that terrorized Van Meter in 1903 based on eyewitness accounts

A sketch of the bizarre creature that terrorized Van Meter in 1903 based on eyewitness accounts

The unsolved mystery of the Van Meter Visitor – a winged creature with a glowing horn that caused terror in an Iowa town 110 years ago

A new book explores the strange legend of a winged monster that terrorized the town of Van Meter in Iowa over several nights

It was described as a half human/half animal with enormous bat wings and a blinding light shooting from its horn

The townsfolk chased the creature to a local mine shaft which it disappeared down, never to be seen again

110 years later the mystery has never been explained

A bizarre legend and unsolved mystery which has haunted a small Iowa town for more than 100 years is the subject of a new book called The Van Meter Visitor.

For several nights in 1903, the small town of Van Meter, Iowa was terrorized by a giant bat-like creature that emerged from an old abandoned mine.

The identity of this mysterious monster has never been discovered, but over 100 years later a new book is retelling the amazing tale and hoping to shed some light on what happened all those years ago.

The legend dates back to the fall of 1903, when several of Van Meter’s most well respected citizens reported a half human, half animal with enormous, smooth bat wings flying about.

The creature is described as moving at speeds the townsfolk had never witnessed before, plus it let off a powerful stench and shot a blinding light from its horned head.

Each time the townsfolk encountered the creature they fired their guns at it, but this appeared to have no impact on the creature.

A new book explores the unsolved mystery of the strange creature that attacked the Iowa town of Van Meter more than 100 years ago

A new book explores the unsolved mystery of the strange creature that attacked the Iowa town of Van Meter more than 100 years ago

On the first night it was first spotted flying across the building tops. The next evening it was spotted by both the town doctor and bank cashier Peter Dunn who took a plaster cast of its ‘great three-toed tracks.’

On the third night, a man spotted it perched atop a telephone pole. Another resident who saw it, described the monster as hopping like a kangaroo, while the local high school teacher likened it to a devil.

Scared and angered by what they had witnessed, the townsfolk followed the creature to an abandoned coal mine near an old brickyard where they heard a noise from the mine.

‘Presently the noise opened up again, as though Satan and a regiment of imps were coming forth for battle,’ reads an article in the Des Moines Daily News from Oct. 3, 1903.

The monster appeared together with a smaller version. In a flash of bright light they sailed away, but returned in the morning when the town’s men had gathered with weapons ‘to rid the earth of them’.

‘The reception they received would have sunk the Spanish fleet, but aside from unearthly noise and peculiar odor they did not seem to mind it, but slowly descended the shaft of the old mine.’

The creature was never seen again.

The new book is the work of Chad Lewis, who has written over 15 books about the supernatural, plus co-authors Noah Voss and Kevin Lee Nelson and help from local librarian Jolena Walker.

Read the entire article and see all of the photos/illustrations here on the Mail Online.

Boy, the description sure sounds like the Jersey Devil to me…

Jersey Devil

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

3 Responses to “The Van Meter Visitor”

  1. springheeledjack responds:

    This just hit our newspaper not last week…interesting stuff. We’ve been talking corollaries between this and MothMan, Jersey Devil and so on. Interesting piece to be sure.

    Now I can quit whining that there’s never any local cryptids to hunt for…thanks Craig!

  2. sasquatch responds:

    Hey, you know there are reports from some pterodactyl reports that they glow in the dark-like phosphorescent minerals on their skin or something…

  3. Craig Woolheater responds:

    sasquatch and others,

    Check out this update to the story and how it may validate your supposition.


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