On July 31, while driving on Route 13, a Mount Vernon man saw something he couldn’t explain. At first sight, it simply appeared to be a deer standing on the highway, but the mystery began when, according to the witness, the figure stood up on its hind legs and crossed the road in three paces.
The man immediately reported his sighting to the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), an international UFO research and investigation organization. After the initial report, MUFON declared the case a high priority and passed it down to the organization’s Ohio branch.
Although MUFON’s investigation is ongoing at the time of press, and certain details remain private, the organization disclosed that the “creature” was a seven- to eight-foot tall humanoid with brownish skin, elongated limbs and unusually large hands and feet. These details were illustrated in a witness sketch by local investigator Rob McGlone. The sketch appears to be in colored pencil and has been shared online many times over in the past months.
On Aug. 10, the Mount Vernon News published an article titled “Alien Sighting North of Mount Vernon,” which includes McGlone’s drawing. The Facebook page Kenyon Memes for Philandering Teens quickly picked up the image and posted a series of memes — humorous images shared widely on the internet — either directly lifting from or making reference to the sketch. One is an edited poster for the movie Alien 3, with the Xenomorph replaced by the witness drawing. Another is the sketch of the alien, who appears to be mid-run, with the caption “Kenyon is designed to be a walking campus,” a reference to a phrase often used on the Kenyon website to describe the College.
The creature has made an impact in Mount Vernon as well. On Route 13, approximately at the site of the creature’s appearance, a local taped an “Alien X-ing” sign to a telephone pole. The “Vern Alien” has been given a Facebook page, and the Mount Vernon Kroger briefly sold cakes decorated with an alien face. Alternate theories have developed, such as one man who claims in the comments on the Mount Vernon News article that the creature was a species of sasquatch, and a woman who says that her relative saw the same creature on his property a decade prior.
Despite much enthusiasm around the sighting, there is plenty of skepticism as to the legitimacy of the witness’ claim. Thomas Merton, director of MUFON’s Ohio branch, concedes that the report might be a hoax, but implores those who are skeptical not to write off the case entirely.
“We talked it over several times, and the witness himself seemed very honest,” Merton said. “We have somebody who’s giving a story which appears to be very credible, but we haven’t found any evidence so far.”
According to Merton, there are an average of 200 sightings a year reported in the state of Ohio alone. A portion of these sightings prove false. Merton gave an example of a man who saw a creature, very similar to the one sighted in Mount Vernon, whose legs were, according to the witness, “bent backwards.” After a couple of days, this creature was confirmed to be an ostrich escaped from a nearby farm.
True believers may hold out hope that the sighting was a legitimate paranormal encounter. “From the information that I got,” Merton said, “the witness doesn’t really have an explanation of what he saw. Sometimes what happens is the media, they hype it up just to create interesting stories, but in this case we’re not seeing anything to, say, either prove it happened or did happen. Our investigation is still in process.”