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Pig-grabbing space aliens are the talk of Tappen, N.D., and beyond.
But Torrey Briese, whose family counts three close encounters with the inexplicable, doesn’t much worry what others think.
“Some people probably aren’t going to believe it. I’m not even trying to convince anybody. We know what happened,” said Briese, a member of the Tappen School Board whose family operates a ranch outside of town.
Briese and his wife, Myra, spoke Thursday of three strange occurrences experienced by family members in the past year, two of which were reported by their son Evan, 16.
According to Myra Briese, the latest incident went something like this:
Her son awoke early on the morning of Sept. 12 and got up to get a glass of water.
Looking out a window, the boy saw something moving in the corral that is home to several large hogs that are basically family pets.
Thinking it might be a coyote, he grabbed a gun and walked into the corral.
There, he encountered two creatures standing 8 to 9 feet tall that were doing something to one of the hogs. The boy fired his .22-caliber rifle at one creature and was pretty sure he hit it, judging by the unearthly scream it emitted.
Another creature then grabbed the boy and threw him to the ground, causing him to black out.
When Evan Briese awoke, he found that Ruthy, a 450-pound sow that had been ready to give birth, was gone.
The boy ran to the home of his older sister, Trista, a short distance from the house he shares with his parents.
Trista Briese made a frantic phone call to her parents and it wasn’t long before they, and later the Kidder County sheriff, were on the scene.
Evan Briese, whose shirt was in tatters, told his story.
The sheriff, Doug Howard, then left but came back the next day. He ultimately came to no conclusions about what happened to the hog, Myra Briese said.
Several days later, with the help of a hypnotist, Evan Briese remembered more details.
Five entities had been in the corral. Two were in the process of dragging what appeared to be a dead hog when the boy interrupted them.
“It’s unexplainable,” Myra Briese said.
“This still bothers Evan to this day,” she said, adding that her son feels guilty for not being able to save his younger sister’s hog.
As for the other incidents, one was in April when Evan and his cattle dog, Buster, were checking on cows during calving season, his parents said.
Investigating a flashing glow, the pair walked over a hill and saw an object resting on the ground that appeared to be scanning a waterhole with an intense beam of light.
At first, boy and dog could do nothing but stare.
The spell was broken when Buster ran barking at the craft, which took off into the night, causing what amounted to a sonic boom.
“It woke Myra up,” Torrey Briese said of the sound, adding that he, too, witnessed something unusual this past summer. It happened one night in July, when he was giving a neighbor a ride into town.
Briese said he and the neighbor noticed a bluish light in the sky, which stopped when they stopped and moved when they began driving.
“We spent about a half-hour watching it,” Briese said, adding that at one point the object flew so fast it went several miles in a matter of seconds.
Based on the description of the object his son saw in April, Briese links the two events, adding that he’s never been given to flights of fancy.
“Evan and I are very skeptical,” Torrey Briese said. “We used to watch ‘The UFO Files’ on TV and laugh out loud.”
Briese said he wouldn’t be surprised if people feel the same about his story, but he said the family doesn’t feel a need to prove anything and they’ve moved on.
“We’re not out looking for aliens every night,” he said.
Brice Barnick, the mayor of Tappen – located off Interstate 94 between Bismarck and Jamestown – said visits by UFOs are the talk of the town, though he himself is not quite on board.
“I’m not saying it can’t happen. But I’d have to see it to believe it,” Barnick said.
At the time of the April incident, the Brieses were put in touch with Richard Moss, a UFO investigator who happened to be in Tappen for a funeral.
Moss, of Long Prairie, Minn., is the Minnesota representative of the Mutual UFO Network, an organization based in Colorado dedicated to the study of UFO phenomena.
Moss, a former high school science teacher, said that in many years of investigating UFO reports, only a handful have impressed him as having the potential to be genuine.
The Tappen incidents, he said, fall into the latter category.
“There are a lot of people out there who are telling false stories. The credibility of the witness is a big thing,” Moss said.
In the case of Evan Briese, Moss said it was interesting to view the boy’s demeanor before and after the hypnotic regression.
Prior to hypnosis, “He (Briese) had a sort of unsure look on his face. He was still really wondering what had happened. After the hypnotic regression, he knew. He was made to remember,” Moss said.
Sheriff Howard was off duty Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
John Lemieux, a Kidder County deputy, said he did not believe the incident in September resulted in a written report.
Torrey Briese said strange things are still happening.
A relative who farms in the Tappen area recently had a sheep die, and a veterinarian who examined the animal found no obvious reason for its death, Briese said.
A cause of death wasn’t the only thing missing.
Someone, Briese said, removed a single testicle from the animal.
It was done with surgical precision, he added.
Forum reporter Steven P. Wagner contributed to this report Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555