Southeast Missouri State University student publication

UFO Tour Highlights Hometown Legend About Early Exterrestrial Crash Landing

Monday, September 30, 2019
Participants on the Sept. 20 UFO Tour conducted by Continuing Education at Southeast had the opportunity to fashion their own tin foil hats.
Photo by Clayton Hester

The Department of Continuing Education at Southeast recently gave visitors the opportunity to explore Cape Girardeau’s place in the cosmos, concurrent with the “Storm Area 51” event that has swept the internet.

The tour was held on Friday, Sept. 20, where participants were able to visit the locations involved in the "MO41" tale, as the 1941 incident is known.

Assistant Director of Continuing Education Christy Mershon said they intended to set it up at the same time as the “Storm Area 51” gathering in Nevad a, an event that started as a joke in an online Facebook event.

“There’s been so much interest in UFOs, and in Roswell, and that mythology since all that went viral,” Mershon said. “We have a great story right here in Cape Girardeau so we totally wanted to capitalize on it."

Participants explored the local 1941 incident at the Red Star Baptist Church. According to the tale, a pastor was called to the site of what he was told was a plane crash in a farm field to pray with the injured and dying.

So the story goes, Rev. William Huffman saw something otherworldly in the field when he and other responders arrived.

Mershon said according to the story, three gray extraterrestrials with large heads and smaller bodies laid dead in the field.

The story was first revealed to the public by Charlotte Mann, the granddaughter of Huffman. Mann learned the story through her grandmother, Floy, for whom she became a caregiver later in life.

Huffman was fairly new to Cape Girardeau, Mershon said, when the crash supposedly took place. There's some speculation to when the event occurred — some believe the alleged crash happened in the spring around Easter, while others lean more toward the fall.

One of the things Mershon said made this case special was this hometown incident’s place in the history of UFOs. The story takes place six years prior to the Roswell incident, leading some to believe it helped prepare the government to clean up that crash site where it’s said an alien vessel touched down in New Mexico.

Some accounts are that men in black showed up, Mershon said, dressed oddly professional for an incident at 9:30 p.m.

“[The men] told [Huffman] wouldn’t speak of it because it was his patriotic duty to kind of keep it all under wraps,” Mershon said. “There’s a whole lot about technology in our story, there’s a lot of conspiracy and even some redacted government documents.”

Participant Lori Kaylor said she was in town visiting her son and found the event interesting. She said she was excited to go on the trip with her son and claims she saw a UFO when she was younger.

After viewing samples of recent reports over releases on UFOs by the Navy, reports on the “Storm Area 51” raid and an episode from the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens detailing the Cape Girardeau crash, the group left on a bus to cruise around Cape Girardeau.

The trip led the group to Red Star Baptist Church and eventually to one of the suspected crash sites. A second trip had to be scheduled due to the amount of interest in the tour.

“We’re really all about community engagement,” Mershon said. “We have access to a lot of experts and a lot of great information, and this is really sort of that bridge-building.”

She said regardless of whether or not you believe, the event provided participants with an opportunity to learn about local lore and town history.

“It’s just a really good opportunity for people to connect with the university who might not otherwise,” Mershon said. “It’s probably safer than trying to ‘Run on Roswell.’”

Continuing Education has held the tour before, Mershon said, and they may hold it again in the future. They also conduct tours of ‘haunted’ locations in Cape Girardeau in October for Halloween.

To learn more about the Huffman case, see the Arrow's 2017 article on the subject.