ValJohnson spotted a UFO in an isolated area of Minnesota. FORTEAN PICTURE LIBRARY Studying the brilliant light in the stand of trees two and a half miles south of him, Marshall County Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson wondered if drug smugglers had flown over the Canadian border into the flat, isolated terrain of far northwestern Minnesota. The light was close to the ground, suggesting that the plane had either landed or crashed. Or maybe there was some simpler explanation. Johnson headed down the county highway to investigate. It was 1:40 A.M. on August 27, 1979.