Val Johnson incident
Johnson reported that while he was on patrol near Stephen, Minnesota about 2 AM on August 27, 1979 he saw a beam of light just above the road. According to Johnson, the beam sped towards him, his squad car was engulfed in light, and he heard glass breaking. Johnson said he was unconscious for 39 minutes and when he awoke he realized his wristwatch and the vehicle's clock had stopped for 14 minutes. The windshield was shattered, a headlight and red emergency light was damaged and a thin radio aerial bent. Deputies responding to Johnson's call for help found the squad car sideways on the road. Johnson suffered bruises and eye irritation that a physician compared to "welder's burns". When the story received national publicity, Johnson told reporters the sudden attention had caused him and his family a great deal of emotional strain. On September 11, 1979, Johnson appeared as a guest on ABC's Good Morning America program.
UFOlogists consider the incident one of the most significant and best-publicized UFO events of the 1970s. Allan Hendry of the Center for UFO Studies investigated the damage to Johnson's car along with other aspects of the incident and concluded that Johnson had not hoaxed the event. According to UFOlogist Jerome Clark, Johnson refused to take a polygraph test because he felt that doing so "would only satisfy people's morbid curiosity". In his 1983 book UFOs: The Public Deceived, UFO skeptic Philip Klass argued that the entire event was a hoax, and that Johnson had deliberately damaged his own patrol car.
- "Close encounter makes him famous". Kingman AZ Daily Miner. Western News&Info, Inc. September 10, 1979. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
- "Officer suffers after encounter with UFO". The Nevada Daily Mail. September 9, 1979. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
- Clark, Jerome (1998). The UFO encyclopedia: the phenomenon from the beginning, Volume 1. Omnigraphics. ISBN 978-0-7808-0097-7.
- Klass, Philip J. (1983). UFOs: the public deceived. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0-87975-322-1.
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- Val Johnson Incident - UFO Casebook
- Intersection of Marshall County Highway 5 and Minnesota State Highway 220 - (street view at the intersection)
- Approximate location of the Val Johnson Incident - (street view)