Minnesota’s most spectacular UFO case generated wide national and world attention when it happened in 1979 -- but almost no one knows about an amazing secondary encounter involving the same phenomenon in the same location that occurred just two months later in October, 1979.
The first extraordinary event involved a “glowing energy orb.” The UFO was spotted by Marshall County sheriff’s deputy Val Johnson while on patrol on a lonely rural highway in the remote, sparsely populated northwest corner of Minnesota.
It was 1:40 in the morning when Johnson noticed a glowing object near the intersection of Highway 220 and County Road 5. He though it might be a downed aircraft, but when he turned onto Highway 220 to drive toward it, the brilliant orb sprang up and sped straight toward Johnson’s patrol car.
Johnson and the UFO had a head-on collision.
The police car sustained an odd pattern of damage -- a cracked window, scrape marks along the hood of the car and antennae bent over at 90 degree angles. The vehicle was examined by baffled researchers from around the world. To this day the car and its damage in on display in the Marshall County Museum in Warren, Minn.
Officer Johnson was also affected physically. He immediately passed out after the orb struck his car. He awoke experiencing a 14-minute period of missing time; both his watch and car clock were now 14 minutes behind. His eyes were red and puffy, as if he had stared directly into a welding torch.
Johnson subsequently appeared on numerous national TV shows to tell his story, and the case has been written about in endless articles and UFO books. For the complete story of the encounter, see: Minnesota UFO
THE SECOND ENCOUNTER
While the Val Johnson case remains unsolved and legendary UFO case, few people know that another man -- a military police officer -- encountered what may have been the same object in the same location two months later, on October 29, 1979.
Steven M. Shoemaker was a 25-year-old military police officer with the rank of E-5 (Sergeant) with the U.S. Army. A few days earlier he had departed his post in Wainwright, Alaska, to make the long drive back to Minnesota for his next duty assignment at Fort Snelling.
Riding along with him was his wife, who was three months pregnant. At about 10 p.m. the Shoemakers were headed east on Highway 1 in Marshall County. They had just passed through the tiny town of Alvarado when they noticed an extremely bright, shining object on the highway ahead.
The location was just a few miles from where Val Johnson front-ended a UFO two months earlier.
Shoemaker thought the light might be some sort of road accident or possibly a bright construction light, but as he drove toward it, the light clearly moved away from him.
Describing himself as a “young, cocky military police officer” Shoemaker said he became determined to find out what the strange light was. He floored the gas peddle of his ‘77 Chevrolet Nova, and its muscular V-8 engine picked up speed fast. His car’s speedometer only went to 80 mph, but he “buried the needle,” and says he pushed his car to near 100 mph.
Shoemaker gained on the bright object -- he and his wife were astonished to see a spherical glowing object that was perhaps 6 to 8 feet across and cruising about 3 to 4 feet above the road surface, right above the center line. As Shoemaker’s drew closer, the object turned, crossed into his lane and reversed course to fly directly toward his car.
Shoemaker and the UFO did not collide, although it appeared to be playing chicken with him.
When the object neared, Shoemaker said he “locked up his breaks” and swerved the car into the side of the road. Strangely, the light seemed to almost instantly regain its position about 3/4 to a 1 mile ahead of them.
Undaunted, Shoemaker again put pedal to the metal and gave chase. This time he got close enough to see some detail on the UFO. The bottom third of the object was of a whiter color the top 2/3 -- but it was all so bright he and his wife squinted as if looking into the sun.
Once again, the object seemed vexed by the attention is was getting from the “cocky young” Sergeant Shoemaker in his ‘77 Nova. It reversed course and came straight at him. Once again, Shoemaker swerved to the side of the road, and the UFO broke off it’s approach.
After yet a third attempt to catch the object, Shoemaker finally decided to simply follow it. He flashed his lights at it, turned his lights on and off, but received no reaction. Suddenly, the object simply disappeared in front of them. Shoemaker said it was as if the orb had gone behind a hill, but this is strictly flatland plains country with no hills of any kind.
When they entered the city of Warren, Shoemaker said he may have caught a last glimpse of the object in his rear view mirror.
Thirty miles further down the road, the Shoemakers reached the city of Thief River Falls where they planned to spend the night with his sister. When they related their wild tale of “playing cat and mouse with a UFO” -- they fully expected to not be believed -- but his sister asked them:
“It wasn’t near Warren, was it?”
Shoemaker said, “the hairs on the back of my neck stood up.” He told his sister that he had indeed encountered the object in the 20 miles between Warren and Alvarado.
His sister said, “Well, a Marshall County sheriff’s deputy was just hit by a UFO near there about two months ago!”
This second remarkably similar report of a orb-like UFO playing chicken with an automobile near the same location as the first should add a significant aura of legitimacy to the story of Val Johnson.
Many wrote off Johnson’s story as a hoax, while a number of scientists offered prosaic explanation --such as the emanation of “earthquake lights” -- produced by pressure between rock formations beneath the earth.
But with two independent reports of a bright orb with a habit of playing chicken with motorists should be reason enough to reconsider the case of Val Johnson, and now Steven Shoemaker, as something more than a hoax or “natural earth lights.”