Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Countdown To Halloween Blog Post #20

One of the first things out of Shyboy Tim's mouth to me after my return was "YOU NEED TO WATCH THE FIRST EPISODE OF FARGO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE." After spending about 18 hours in bed with something like the flu I finally got to watch it, and he was sooooooooo right. As a fan of the first season, I was highly anticipating this new take on the story. Over the last number of months, every amazing actor I could think of was added to the cast, upping my hopes for yet another season of great storytelling. But with my excitement, I also harbored a fear of being disappointed. Last year brought us some of the best T.V. shows I've ever seen, Better Call Saul, True Detectives, Last Man On Earth and Fargo. The first of these to undertake a second season was True Detectives and it was a MAJOR FLOP. So I was both dreading and craving the new season of Fargo. Within mere moments of the first episode I knew things were going to be A-Okay. Fargo was again going to be amazing.

Like the movie Fargo, the T.V. series is loosely based on real events. Season 2 is very loosely based on the case of Chante Mallard. In 2001 in Fort Worth Texas she struck a homeless man named Gregory Bigg with her car. Bigg's body was stuck through the windshield, just as in the opening episode of Fargo. Rather than drive to a hospital or calling the police, Mallard drove home and parked her car in the garage. Bigg survived another 3 hours before dying from his injuries. Later on Mallard called a number of friends over to help her dispose of the body and hide the evidence. She was only brought to justice after bragging about "getting away with killing a man" at parties. She was found guilty for her part in the death of Gregory Bigg, and sentenced to 50 years in jail. I didn't know anything about this case until I looked it up after watching Fargo, and I admit to being disappointed that it's not a regional crime. But I did find a Minnesota link to the first episode of Fargo, and it's a strong one at that.

Sheriff Val Johnson in his cruiser
(SPOILER FOR THE GREY: If you have not watched the first episode of Fargo yet, I am about to mention a series of events from it. I don't think it will spoil too much for you - it's not like I'm telling you that Dumbledore dies in Harry Potter, but just the same, here is your "Heads Up").

In 1979 near the Minnesota/South Dakota border Sheriff Val Johnson, while on duty, had a close encounter with an unknown flying object that remains a mystery to this day. This second season of Fargo also takes place in 1979. Right after the youngest son of the Gerhardt Family (who controls all the illegal doings in the surrounding area) Rye goes on his killing spree at the Waffle House, he wanders outside to finish off the one surviving witness. Rye is then surrounded by a number of blue lights in the sky and a fast moving UFO flies right over him. It is while he is staring at the sky in amazement that he is struck by a car and lodged in the windshield. This is where the comparison to Mallard's story begins, but I want to stick with the UFO's.

In his own words, this is what happened to Sheriff Val Johnson:
"This is Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson... I report in connection with an incident which happened August 27th, 1979, at approximately 1:40 a.m., western section of Marshall County, approximately ten miles west of Stephen, Minnesota. This officer was on routine patrol, westbound down Marshall County Road #5. 

I got to the intersection of #5 and Minnesota State #220. When I looked down south #220 to check for traffic, I noticed a very bright, brilliant light, 8 to 12 inches in diameter, 3 to 4 feet off the ground. 

The edges were very defined. I thought perhaps at first that it could be an aircraft in trouble, as it appeared to be a landing light from an aircraft. " 

"I proceeded south on #220. I proceeded about a mile and three tenths or a mile and four tenths when the light intercepted my vehicle causing damage to a headlight, putting a dent in the hood, breaking the windshield and bending antennas on top of the vehicle. 

At this point. at the interception of the light, I was rendered either unconscious, neutralized or unknowing for a period of approximately 39 minutes. 

From the point of intersection, my Police vehicle proceeded south in a straight line 854 feet, at which point the brakes were engaged by forces unknown to myself, as I do not remember doing this, and I left about approximately 99 feet of black marks on the highway before coming to rest sideways in the road with the grille of my hood facing in an easterly direction. At 2:19 a.m., I radioed a 10-88 (Officer Needs Assistance) to my dispatcher in Warren." 

"He dispatched an officer from Stephen who came out, ascertained the situation as best he could, called for the Stephen Ambulance to transport me to Warren Hospital for further tests, x-rays and observation. 

At the time the officer arrived, I complained about having very sore eyes. At Warren Hospital, it was diagnosed that I had a mild case of welder's burns to my eyes. 

My eyes were treated with some salve and adhesive bandages put over and instructed to keep them on for the remainder of the day, or approximately 24 hours. At 11:00 a.m., Sheriff Dennis Breckie, my employer, picked me up at my residence in Oslo, and transported me to an ophthalmologist in Grand Forks, North Dakota." 

" He examined my eyes and said I had some irritation to the inner portions of the eye which could have been caused by seeing a bright light after dark. That is all I have to add except to say that my timepiece in the Police vehicle and my mechanical wrist watch were both lacking 14 minutes of time to the minute."
Val Johnson and his damaged vehicle

This event has been well documented, and the squad car in question can be seen at the Marshall County Museum. The damage that it sustained was investigated by engineers from Ford Motors as well as engineers from Honeywell. The cracks on the windshield were credited to "mechanical forces of unknown origin". There was no explanation found for the bending of the car's antenna, the clocks running slower, or any of the damage to the cruiser. Loss of time is a common occurrence in UFO sightings and abductions, and in this case there is almost 40 minutes unaccounted for. The injury to Sheriff Johnson's eyes, the welder's burns, could also not be explained by anything other than exposure to a very bright source of light. Whether or not you believe in UFO's or not, you have to admit that something unusual happened to Sheriff Val Johnson that night.

Sheriff Val Johnson at the location of his UFO encounter
So here is our Minnesota connection to this season's Fargo. Again, I can't recommend this series to you enough. Season one was amazing and this one has certainly started out strong. I'll keep my eyes open for more Minnesota links, and if you catch one that we didn't please feel free to let us know. Drop us an email at shufflefunction@hotmail.com

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