On my recent move back to Colorado the U-haul truck stopped dead in Iowa. We were eventually towed to Storm Lake, Iowa. The landscape on the way there is all farms and flat land. At the time of year we were there no corn had been planted so it was all "dirt!" Storm Lake was an interesting little town which we enjoyed touring. When I saw this article I knew I wanted to reprint it. Amazingly it is from 1969! Hope you enjoy it. It was printed in Collector's Edition Official UFO, Fall 1976.
THE IOWA UFO LANDINGS
By Kevin D. Randle
Common forms of UFO physical evidence are the burns, depressions and crushed vegetation resulting from landing UFOs. This is something that all parts of the United States and involves all kinds of people. And the problem in Iowa may be symptomatic of a much larger situation.
Many low flying UFOs and burned areas are now being reported. In the last six years only a few sensational cases have hit the national press, even though there have been thousands of sightings and hundreds of landings. In Iowa there has been at least one major sighting each year. One that received statewide coverage. If the Iowa situation is a symptom of a larger trend, then the 10 landings in the last six years can be multiplied by the number of states. That would mean that there have been over 500 UFO landings in the United States in those last six years.
On July 13, 1969, one of the most dramatic of the Iowa physical evidence cases occurred. Patti Barr, of Van Horne, (approximately 40 miles west of Cedar Rapids) was getting ready for bed when she heard a loud roar that sounded like a plane was about to hit the house. Patti ran to the window and outside she saw a large, orange, oval object with a double row of windows.
Patti yelled to her cousin and they both watched the UFO flying toward the north, cross a road and then disappear. Both said that the object winked out and didn't fade into the distance. One second it was there and the next it was gone.
The next morning, Warren Barr laughed at the girls' story. He was sure that they had seen an airplane or that it was a figment of their imagination. Out in the field, not far from the house, he stopped laughing. There he found a circular burn about 40 feet in diameter. All the soybeans in the burn were wilted, as if exposed to intense heat. Barr said that he had been in the field the evening before and had not seen anything strange.
Investigators came to study the burn, take soil samples and interview the witnesses. Newsmen, along with the curious descended on the Barr farm and were so obnoxious that Barr refused to allow anyone near his daughter to discuss the sighting.
The soil samples revealed almost nothing. They did show that lightning hadn't caused the burn and that an intense heat had been present for some seconds. No one had any ideas why the beans wilted and died or why they had only wilted in a circular pattern.
Less than a month after the Barr sighting, a continuing series of landings were reported in northwestern Iowa. A farmer and his family, who wanted no publicity then or now, claimed that UFOs had landed on their farm several times.
For about two years, the farmer had seen strange things hovering above the horizon. Some were red lights, seen to streak across the sky while others would stop briefly and then flash away. Many farmers in the small valley had seen the lights and not one believed that they had seen airplanes. The lights were seen in the worst weather, times when most pilots would be flying the coke machines at the airport waiting for the weather to clear. If any were airborne, they would certainly be flying at high altitudes, not the nape of the earth as the UFOs were reported to be doing.
Finally, in the spring of 1969, one of the UFOs stopped close to the farm house. It was red, dome-topped and about 10 to 15 feet in diameter. The farmer's sons tried to get close but the UFO flashed a beam of red light at them. No one was hurt or burned, but everyone fled into the house.
After that, landings became commonplace. The farmer's wife said that the objects usually landed about five p.m. but it wasn't a strict rule. "On one occasion," she said, "jets scared the UFO away." They were watching a hovering disc when military planes appeared overhead. The red glow faded until the planes were out of sight, then it brightened and disappeared.
Like the Barr landing, there was physical evidence of the sightings. The farmer had pictures of landing sites that showed the circles of blown down grass and imprints of the landing gear. He said that the grass always grew back greener inside the circles. Maybe it was because the grass in the landing site was cleaned out and the new could grow better. He just didn't know.
During the summer of 1969 and into the fall the sightings continued. The farm family began to keep notes about the UFOs activities. They even managed to take some pictures of it and once caught a glimpse of the small, humanoid occupants. By the spring of 1971 most of the sightings were over. In June, the farmer's wife said that it had been several months since they had seen a UFO.
In July, 1972, Mervin Teig, a farmer near Story City, Iowa, found a strange, burned depression in one of his soybean fields. Looking at it he could see that there were four lines of wilted plants radiating outward like the spokes of a wheel. In the center of the depression the plants were dead and crumbling to dust.
A local newspaper picked up the story and Teig was quickly bombarded with phone calls and visitors. One of the callers was Don Slaikeu of Goldfield, Iowa. He had found a shallow depression and burned area in one of his soybean fields. His description matched that given by Teig. The only noticeable difference was the orientation of the spoke-like lines. He found a strange grey dust inside the burn. Teig hadn't noticed any dust until Slaikeu brought it to his attention.
Jerry Dean of Laurens, Iowa also called Teig and also claimed that he had found burned areas. There were two burns, each about 3 feet across but with wilted plants covering a much larger area. In the center of the largest burn was a hole two inches in diameter and three feet deep. The earth in the depression had been pressed as if by a large curved surface. He found the grey dust and it is believed that all four burns were related.
At first no one could find any UFO sightings that were related to the burns. It seemed that something had sneaked into the fields, burned them and sneaked away. Dean's wife, however, said that she had been working in the kitchen in the early evening of July 6, when there was a sudden glow, the lights went out and there was a loud crash. A few minutes later, the lights came back on. It was the next day that her husband found the burns.
Leslie Poling of Boone, Iowa also came to see the burn and reported the fifth depression. It was about the same size as those found on the other farms. Near the edge of the burn was an inclined hole, 22 inches deep with a smooth bottom as if something had been pushed into the ground at a shallow angle. Poling measured the depth with a yardstick and when he pulled it out, it was discolored for 22 inches. Spread throughout the site was more of the grey dust.
The major problem with the cases were that they could not be linked to UFOs or any other phenomena. No one seemed to have heard or seen anything. Then, after Mrs. Dean reported the noise and lights, Mrs. Bole came forward with a story. She had only been asleep for a few hours when a crash woke her up. She lay awake listening for another sound but heard nothing. There were no strange lights and she thought that she had been awakened by a dream. When she tried to move she noticed a strange tingling throughout her body. The tingling frightened her, but strangely, she went back to sleep. (A possible abduction case.)
A few hours later she awoke again, remembered the crash and the tingling. As she sat up, Mrs. Bole felt shaky and laid back down. After waking a third time, she got out of bed but still felt shaky. The next morning she remembered the incident as one might remember a dream and thought nothing more about it. At least not until talk of the strange burn was reported. Her bedroom is only 250 yards from the burn in Teig's field and it was found two days later.
Another man from a western Iowa town not only saw a strange object land but saw the occupants as well. He was working in his cornfield when a flash of light caught his eye. In the distance he could see a silver sliver and thought it was an airplane. From time to time he looked at the plane and isn't sure when it struck him, but he suddenly realized that the plane had no wings. As he watched, the object grew in size, stopped over the field and he could see the definite egg shape.
The UFO descended toward the field and just before it touched the ground, three legs "grew" from the bottom. A port opened near the bottom and "some people" got out. From 300 yards, the farmer couldn't see what they were doing but they walked around in the corn for several minutes. Soon they got back into the object and took off.
As the UFO blasted off, a blue flame shot out of it and the legs retracted. There was a slight roar as the ship shot into the sky and disappeared quickly. The corn shocks in the area were blown around as if caught in an incredible whirlwind. No burn was left but the vegetation looked like a rotary lawn mower had blown it down.
The creatures from the UFO were humanoid. The farmer thought they were wearing one piece "flying suits" and the clothes had a metallic sheen, but from 300 yards he couldn't be sure. He didn't see much detail and was afraid to try to get closer.
For months after the sighting, the farmer kept quiet. He didn't want others to laugh at him or to think that he was crazy. Finally, after the series of landings in Iowa, the farmer told his brother, one of the men who reported a burned area, and the case eventually reached investigators. That he was afraid of ridicule and reluctant to talk of the sighting shows how public pressure can influence people.
Iowa wasn't through with UFOs, however. A year later, almost to the day that the first landing was reported, Howard Groves found a burned area in his soybean field. He wasn't sure what it was or what to do, but remembered the burns from 1972 and went to call the Wright County Sheriff. Three of the 1972 burns had been in Wright County.
Like several of those depressions, neither Groves nor any of his neighbors had seen or heard anything strange. The burned area was larger, almost 40 feet across but there was evidence of the radiating lines. In the center of the burn was a larger hole, about two feet in diameter and it was surrounded by four smaller holes. It looked like something with a four legged landing gear had touched down. When it took off, the blast from it caused the larger center hole. He said that he also found the grey dust.
The Iowa landings differ from those in other parts of the world because they seem related. The size of the burns, the time they were found, the locations and the grey dust all suggest that they are related. All were found in July. It may have been July of different years, but it was July.
More important that that is the grey dust. It was reported in all the landing sites except that of the Barr's. There it may have been overlooked. Samples of the dust were gathered in the rest of the sightings. In all cases it was the remains of the organic compounds after they had been subjected to intense heat. In other words, all the organic material was burned from the soil. Since the dust was found in all the depressions and because at least in one case, a UFO was seen, then it can be assumed that UFOs were in each of the fields before the burns were found.
In addition to the grey dust, another discovery was made at the Clarion burn. Soon after it was found, the Wright Country Farm Agent went to the Grove's farm with his Geiger counter. There was no unusual radiation but he did find something else in the soil samples. All the phosphorus had been burned from the ground near the shallow hole. He couldn't explain why the phosphorus was gone and he didn't try to explain the burn.
Samples of all the material, grey dust, soil and bean plants were sent to Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) scientific consultants for analysis. They confirmed that the burns were not the results of lightning strikes. The soil inside the burns showed an absence of fulgurites, which is the fusion of sand and is found in most lightning strikes. In fact, no fulgurites were found in any of the Iowa landings. Spectroscopic analysis and other tests revealed only that intense heat had been present for a short period of time. The depth of the burning extended only a few inches below the surface.
Other explanations were tried but all fell short. None of the burned areas showed evidence of standing water that might have killed the plants. Chemical spills were ruled out because traces of the chemicals would have been found. The lack of certain expected chemicals, such as the missing phosphorus, added mystery to the cases. Hoaxes were ruled out for the same reason that chemical spills were dismissed. There would be traces of the chemicals used to produce the heat.
Groves could not think of a way to burn such a large portion of his field. He claimed that after the discovery, he held a blowtorch on one of the bean plants. It took almost ten minutes of direct contact before a similar effect could be produced. Whatever it was, it had to be hotter than a blowtorch.
But the sightings and burns aren't limited to Iowa. A few cases in other parts of the world have been linked to Iowa. In September, 1972, only eight weeks after Teig made the first report, an Australian farmer reported that he had found two burns on his land. The surface was burned clean and there were no signs of landing gear impressions. When he dug for samples, he found a strange, grey dust. The description of the dust and the circumstances surrounding its discovery were very similar to the Iowa cases. How many more such finds have been made with no reports being given?
Iowa has had dozens of UFO reports in the last few months. Like other areas, they are only reported in the local newspapers and then are forgotten. Many states have had similar cases. The rest of the country thinks that flying saucer have disappeared with the Air Force investigation of them. That just is not true.
Remember that was back in 1969 and 1972, what would they think today!