Van Meter Visitor Picture

Van Meter Visitor – Iowa

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The Van Meter Visitor, or Van Meter Monster, is a flying cryptid that is said to have been seen in Van Meter, Iowa in 1903 when a number of local townsfolk reported a strange creature that terrorized the town for several nights.

Cryptid Name:Van Meter Monster / Van Meter Visitor
Location:Van Meter, Iowa, USA
Map of where the Van Meter Visitor is found
Category:Flying Cryptid
Description:Half-human, half-animal with large bat-like wings, glowing red eyes, and a horn-like appendage on its head.
Size:Described as roughly 7 to 9 feet / 2 to 2.7 meters tall.
Behavior/Characteristics:Reported to be immune to bullets, capable of emitting blinding light, and believed to be aggressive.
Habitat/Environment:The area around Van Meter, Iowa
Evidence:Limited to anecdotal reports, no concrete physical evidence or scientific proof
Sightings and Encounters:Multiple local citizens reported sightings of the Van Meter Visitor in 1903. These sightings continued for several nights.
Skepticism/Explanations:Skeptics suggest that the creature could have been a hoax, misidentification of a known animal, or an unexplained natural phenomenon. There is no conclusive explanation.

What Does The Van Meter Visitor Look Like?

Van Meter Visitor Picture
Artist’s Impression of the Van Meter Visitor

The Van Meter Visitor is described as looking like a hybrid animal that combines human and animal features.

It has very big bat-like wings, red eyes, and a horn-like protrusion on its head which witnesses said could emit a blinding light.

Witnesses also described the monster as having a very distinctive and unpleasant smell.

The Van Meter Visitor Legend and Sightings

The first sighting of the Van Meter Monster in September 1903 at around 1 a.m. in the town’s business district. A businessman was returning home when he saw the Van Meter Visitor for the first time.

This encounter was followed by more sightings, all from prominent people within the community including the town doctor, a banker, and a teacher. They reported seeing the monster perching on top of buildings and flying through the sky at high speeds. All of the witnesses agreed that it looked half-human, half-animal with enormous bat wings with some saying that it looked like the devil!

The townspeople attempted to shoot the monster but bullets didn’t have any effect on it.

They decided to form a hunting party and after hearing strange noises coming from an abandoned coal mine near the town they went to investigate. There they found two creatures, one big and one small. They began to shoot at them but the monsters flew away unscathed by the bullets only to return the next morning. The townspeople returned to the mine and they decided to seal the entrance thereby sealing the two creatures inside the mine.

Newspaper article about the Van Meter Visitor
Newspaper Article About The Van Meter Visitor
The Evening News, 12 October 1903

Modern Sightings

After the 1903 incident, there weren’t any other sightings reported of the Van Meter Monster. However, in 1980 sporadic sightings started to be reported again. The first report was given by a man who was walking near the coalmine and reported seeing a 5-foot-long bat-like creature flying overhead. He claimed that he had never heard of the Van Meter Monster before his sighting.

In the 2000s a family was driving to Van Meter when they said they saw a giant bat-like creature lying dead on the side of the road. When they went back to investigate, the creature was gone.

In 2006, a local pastor saw a creature flying in the sky which he described as looking like a dragon. After investigating he came across the accounts from the original Van Meter Visitor legend and he confirmed that those descriptions matched what he had seen.

Thereafter there were two more sightings in 2014 and 2020. In both these sightings, the witnesses described the creature as a giant bird rather than a bat-like monster so we aren’t sure whether they had seen the Van Meter Visitor or another creature.

Van Meter Visitor Festival

Every year there is a festival called the Van Meter Vistori Festival which is held in the town of Van Meter. It usually takes place during the last weekend of September to commemorate the original Van Meter Monster sightings.

The festival has many fun activities for the whole family including monster-themed games, drinks, and food as well as paranormal presentations and activities.

Here is a short video that was taken at the Van Meter Visitor Festival with a quick interview with Chad Lewis, the co-author of the book, “The Van Meter Visitor: A True and Mysterious Encounter with the Unknown“.

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