UFOs, Farmers and Aliens


Author’s note:

About 25 years ago, I placed a classified ad in several small-town newspapers here in conservative, rural northern Minnesota.

Here is what the ad said:

“Have you seen a UFO, ghost, or anything you can’t explain? Please call me: 555–5555. Confidentiality guaranteed.”

These are the stories that resulted.

After I placed my classified ad seeking UFO experience stories, I was surprised that more than half of the calls I received were from elderly men of quiet, conservative backgrounds — and mostly farmers. A lot of them were born in the 1910s to early 1930s. They spent their formative years eking out a tough living on hard-scrabble farms during the grinding times of the Great Depression.

Remember that I placed my ad in the mid-1990s. That means these gentlemen were roughly between the ages of 65 and about 85 when I took down their stories. A lot of them had seen UFOs and the majority had sighted multiple UFOs over decades. A couple of them said they encountered aliens.

Note that several of these reports are from before the magical year of 1947 which we generally acknowledge today as the kick-off of the modern UFO era. It was 1947 that brought the iconic Roswell event and the year pilot Kenneth Arnold reported sighting flying disk-like objects near Mt. Rainier in Washington state.

But the man I am going to introduce you to now called to tell me that he encountered “strange beings” in his bedroom when he was 11 years old in the mid-1930s. Now here’s an interesting take: I asked the caller if he was willing to go on the record with his real name. He agreed but only if I used his last name — Hanson.

If I just call him Mr. Hanson it would be difficult to pin down his identity “because there are so many Hansons in Minnesota,” he said.

I said: “Okay, then! Mr. Hanson it is!”


Mr. Hanson said that he was 11 years old and in bed in the small farmhouse where he lived with his parents. His family worked a 40-acre plot of land and kept a small herd of dairy cows near Lake of the Woods, the sprawling lake at the northern peak of Minnesota.

As he lay awake in the darkness of his room, he suddenly “felt a presence” there with him. In his words:

“There was just a little moonlight shining through the window. People didn’t have yardlights in those days. I opened my eyes and I saw two — I guess you would call gray men or gray beings because they were not really men.”

He said the “gray beings” moved close to his bed and stared down at him.

Mr. Hanson then said in a hushed tone:

“They had these eyes, there was something about them … I guess they penetrated … they could concentrate powerfully. You could just feel that sort of power they had.”

I asked if he could describe these visitors more fully.

Mr. Hanson said:

“I would say they had normal human-sized heads … they were about as tall as a regular human … They were wearing some kind of clothing, but I can tell you they were not something that was normal. It didn’t matter what they were wearing because that was the last thing anyone would think about … because they had this powerful presence.”

He added:

“And to see these people, or whatever they were, to have gray skin. That strikes you as not normal. They couldn’t have been from around here. You don’t see people like that out on a Minnesota farm or in town or anywhere for that matter.”

The youthful Mr. Hanson then resorted to the standard defense used by all small boys in the darkness of their room — he plunged his head under covers and crammed his eyes shut! It worked. Moments later when he dared peak out, the strange visitors were gone.

At the time of our interview, Mr. Hanson still lived and owned a farm in the rural Baudette area, a small Minnesota town on the Rainy River that serves as the Canada-U.S. borders. Baudette is near the Lake of the Woods. Baudette bills itself as “The Walleye Capital of the World.”

Willie the Walleye in Baudette, Minnesota, “The Walleye Capital of the World.”

After his 1930s encounter with strange beings in his bedroom, he would experience several UFO sightings throughout the next decades.

In fact, Mr. Hanson is of the opinion that “They” may maintain a base beneath the surface of Lake of the Woods.

The deepest point of Lake of the Woods is 310 feet at Whitefish Bay. The lake is 85 to 100 miles (depending on how you measure it) in length and about 56 miles wide at its widest. It comprises an area of 1,727 miles.

Mr. Hanson also believes the Rainy River holds a special interest or possibly even conceals a UFO base beneath it. The mouth of this robust river is at Wheeler’s Point at the southeastern corner of Lake of the Woods.

Mr. Hanson told me:

“Several years ago I was clearing land using dynamite (near the Lake of the Woods-Rainy River area). A friend stopped by, It was a nice day in May so we were just visiting a bit when we heard a sound like rushing air coming out of the west and moving east.”

Mr. Hanson said that while he and his friend could see nothing, they not only heard but felt some “invisible object” pass by very close above their heads. After moving past them from west to east, it turned and went back west again.

He said:

“No, we could not see it, but there was no mistaking it was there … there was a big volume of air movement. We could hear it clearly and feel its presence … it just felt like an invisible object passing right by us. I think “They” were probably curious about my use of explosives … they just wanted to check it out and see what I was doing.”

On several occasions, Mr. Hanson and his neighbors have seen strange objects rising from swampy areas near Lake of the Woods.

Mr. Hanson said in our phone interview:

“Several years ago, in the middle of winter, it was 1967 … it was a cold night and I saw an extremely bright light rise up out of the swamp. This was northwest of Pitt and northeast of Graceton (both ghost towns now) in that area where the cedar trees are.”

Not far from there on another occasion, Mr. Hanson said his neighbor came over to tell him about a “funny looking black metallic craft” flying just two miles from Zipple Bay.

Mr. Hanson said that he is convinced the UFOs he has seen over the years have their own kind of stealth technology and can render themselves invisible when they want to. But he added:

“They often make a peculiar noise. The only way I can describe it is that it sounds like ice or snow sliding off of a metal roof … it’s a very distinct sound. You can’t see them, but you can’t mistake that sound. Nothing else sounds like that.”

In my long conversation with Mr. Hanson, I was impressed by his frequent descriptions of sounds in all modes of experience. For example, listen to this wonderful quote:

“I got up at about 2:30 one night … it was extremely cold, but still a calm, pleasant evening. I walked out to the barn, and I could hear my cows masticating their food … I was feeding my cows with regular hay, but I was cautious because cows can sometimes get on their back if they get feed that is too bulky. I love cattle. They all make their own special noises and particular sounds.”

But then this comely but frigid Minnesota manger scene was suddenly interrupted. Mr. Hanson said:

“Off in the northeast, an extremely bright light lit up a whole grove of trees. I mean, it was like stadium lights had been turned on over there … then the light began to move but without any sound at all. As I continued to watch, I thought I might have heard an engine sound … then the lighted object flew off and was gone. It was so brilliant I could not tell if it had a shape or structure. It was just amazingly bright.”

Mr. Hanson told me that he believes his numerous sightings over the year and his encounter with “strange visitors” in his bedroom are not as uncommon as most local folks in northern Minnesota farm country are willing to admit. He said:

“I believe a lot of people are having these kinds of encounters — in fact, I know so because several of my neighbors have told me so — but, of course, no one likes to talk about it. It’s not considered normal to see these things, so it is just ignored.”


After I published this story in a regional alternative (and now defunct) publication, Rural Road Press, I received more than a half-dozen calls from people who live in the same area as Mr. Hanson.

One of them was David Danielson, an artist from nearby Roseau, Minnesota. He said Mr. Hanson’s account reminded him of a story that has circulated within his family for many decades. In his words:

“I was a little boy … this was at least 30 years ago, I remember my aunt telling my mom about this. One night out on their rural farm site, they heard a loud humming sound. They looked out the window and saw a bright orange object hovering in their yard. She describes it as a hat-shaped object, sort of like a flying saucer. It was about the size of a haystack.

It had a huge effect on me as a kid. My aunt’s daughter had nightmares about the thing for many years after that. They were really frightened by this thing. I think about it all the time.”

David also told me another person told him of “frequently sighting an orange-red UFO” near the now ghost town of Malung. He said one woman told him that she was followed by such an object while driving her car in that area.

UFO photo with enhancements by  KEN KORCZAK

After David Danielson, yet another man called me about the story as well. He identified himself as Steve Lockman of Lancaster, Minnesota, a small town about 100 miles to the west of the Hanson farm location.

However, Steve and his wife were driving through the Lake of the Woods area one night. He told me:

“We saw a classic silver disk, saucer-shaped UFO rise up out of a swampy area near Lake of the Woods. We were absolutely stunned! It was like something out of a 1950s science fiction movie. There was no doubt about it. I don’t see how both of us could have hallucinated the same thing.”

Yet another person called to tell me about his experience somewhat near the Hanson farm location:

“I live in the Skime area. We were out at a friend’s hunting cabin, but we were just there playing cards that night. It was wintertime. No moon or stars were out on a cloudy night. When we left and were driving home, just as I was coming to County Road 18 where it crosses Number 9, this huge bright thing suddenly appeared.

It was very luminous, dull orange in color. It had a definite outline. It was oval or egg-shaped. It was about 400 yards from my car. We were due north of it … it was so low that we could see the outlines of the trees in front of it.”

The witness continued:

“The strange thing about it was that it appeared so suddenly … it was as if had been there in the dark before turning its lights on when I came upon it. It’s like I had scared it up or something

We were dumbfounded. ‘What the heck is that?’ we asked each other. We watched it for about one minute … and then a brilliant white flash went off, like a flash bulb from a camera. It was bright enough to light up the entire countryside and drown out my headlights. Then it was gone.”


I noticed that the famous ufologist, astronomer and computer scientist, Jacques Vallée, lists a sighting in the Baudette area in his book, Passport to Magonia.

The book includes an index of sightings over the past 100 years, and the following is included:

Baudette (Minnesota) — March 8, 1957 — A pilot saw a circular object flying against the wind. It was luminous, about 5.5 meters in diameter, and flew so low it appeared to suck up the snow. (Page 254, Passport to Magonia).


NOTE: For more stories about UFOs and paranormal phenomena, please see: KEN-ON-MEDIUM

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