When most folks hear about a fantastical cryptid sighting, they just assume it was a dubious, one-off, misinterpreted encounter by the town drunk, or overimaginative prankster kids, if they believe any of it at all. But none of this applies to the incident where a mystical creature terrorized the small farming town of Van Meter, Iowa, in 1903. For five nights starting September 29, an impossible visitor made its presence known to the townsfolk. Upon returning at 1:00 am from a job out of town, implement dealer U.G. Griffith spotted a dark figure on a downtown rooftop, which seemed to be shining a bright spotlight around. Thinking it may be a burglar, Griffith approached to inspect when suddenly, the large shadow leaped to another rooftop across the street and disappeared. The following night, around the same time, the town’s doctor, Dr. Alcott, was also alerted to a bright light shining through his window and ran outside to investigate. Dr. Alcott, though, got a better view of the intruder. The figure was described by him and others as standing eight to nine feet tall, half-human, half-animal, with enormous, smooth, leathery wings, a beak, and most curiously, a blunt horn in its forehead from where this bright light was said to have shown. Most disturbingly, the creature appeared immune to the bullets fired at it on multiple occasions. Far from the town’s undesirables, these encounters happened to merchants, a doctor, and a bank manager – some of the community’s most prominent and well-respected members who didn’t care for the notoriety this story brought. Having had their fill of fearsome appearances, a heavily armed posse confronted the antediluvian monster at its lair in a mine on the edge of town, intending to rid the earth of its existence. Grab a pitchfork and a torch, and join us as we hunt down the Van Meter monster.
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