Val Johnson incident

Coordinates: 48°26′13″N 97°06′27″W / 48.43694°N 97.10750°W / 48.43694; -97.10750
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The Val Johnson Incident refers to an alleged UFO encounter by Marshall County, Minnesota Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson in 1979.


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.[1][2] On September 11, 1979, Johnson appeared as a guest on ABC's Good Morning America program.[3]


Ufologists, including Allan Hendry and Jerome Clark, consider the incident significant, with Clark claiming that Johnson refused to take a polygraph test because Johnson believed it "would only [serve to] satisfy people's morbid curiosity".[3] UFO skeptic Philip Klass argued that the entire event was a hoax, and that Johnson had deliberately damaged his own patrol car.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Close encounter makes him famous". Kingman AZ Daily Miner. Western News&Info, Inc. September 10, 1979. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Officer suffers after encounter with UFO". The Nevada Daily Mail. September 9, 1979. Retrieved 29 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b Clark, Jerome (1998). The UFO encyclopedia: the phenomenon from the beginning, Volume 1. Omnigraphics. ISBN 978-0-7808-0097-7.
  4. ^ Klass, Philip J. (1983). UFOs: The Public Deceived. Prometheus Books. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-87975-322-1.
  5. ^ "A Time To Talk Sense About UFOs". Retrieved 28 May 2023.

External links[edit]

48°26′13″N 97°06′27″W / 48.43694°N 97.10750°W / 48.43694; -97.10750