For several nights in 1903, the small town of Van Meter (Iowa, USA), was terrorized by a large bat-like creature from an abandoned mine now popularly known as the Van Meter Monster.
The identity of this mysterious monster has never been revealed, but more than a century after the events a new book relives this astonishing story hoping to shed some light on what happened in the past.
The mystery behind the Van Meter Monster, which has remained unsolved for more than 100 years in a small town in Iowa, is the subject of a new book entitled “The Visitor of Van Meter: A True and Mysterious Encounter with the Unknown”, by the writer Chad Lewis
The legend dates back to the fall of 1903 when several of the most respected citizens of Van Meter reported encountering a half-human, half-animal entity with huge bat wings that allowed it to fly.
Reports from the time say that the creature moved swiftly, left a repulsive stench in its wake, and that it emitted blinding light from a horn on its head.
Whenever any of the inhabitants were unlucky enough to encounter this creature, they would shoot it with whatever weapons they had at hand, but this apparently could not hurt the Van meter monster even a little.
The first night, he was spotted flying over the roofs of houses.
The the following night, he was seen by both the town doctor and the bank teller Peter Dunn, who managed to make a plaster cast of the monster’s “three-toed” prints.
On the third night, a man found him perched on a telephone pole.
Another resident who saw it said that the monster jumped like a kangaroo; while the local school teacher associated the figure of the winged creature with that of a demon.
Scared and intimidated by what they had experienced, the citizens followed the creature’s trail to an abandoned coal mine, near an old brickyard where peculiar noises had been heard coming from the mine.
“The noise broke through again, and they thought that Satan and his regiment of devils were preparing to rise to the surface to do battle.”An article in the Des Moines Daily News of October 3, 1903.
While the citizens were inspecting the entrance of the mine, the Van Meter monster appeared in the company of another that looked like a smaller version.
When he fired a flash of blinding light, the brave inhabitants of Van Meter who had ventured there fled in terror.
The next morning, the citizens of Van Meter returned well armed to “shake the dust” of these “demons”.
The welcome they gave the creatures that morning could have sunk a fleet of Spanish galleons, but beyond the singular stench and noises of the underworld, these winged beings did not seem to care much, they retreated and descended through the gap the old mine never to be seen again.
The new book is a work by Chad Lewis, who has written 15 books on paranormal subjects.
Lewis was supported as co-authors by Noah Voss and Kevin Lee Nelson, and the help of the town librarian, Jolena Walker.
The authors went to the quiet town and interviewed local residents, who told them their bequeathed stories about the creature, as well as he visited various historical sites, including the old mine.
Lewis says he found no evidence to suggest that the monster is a fraud, although he believes some of the facts in the story have been exaggerated over the years.
Likewise, there is still no certainty as to what that creepy Van Meter visitor was who spread panic in the town streets during the autumn nights of 1903.
However, the book’s writer claims that the search for the answer was what really fascinated him.
“It was a time when everything was possible. Scientific discoveries were beginning to accelerate. In fact, at that time they discovered the mountain gorilla. The legendary ‘beast of the jungle’ was real. So people were open to the fact that anything could happen.Chad lewis