The Flying Cucumber of 1903

That was the title of an article by Madge Brosius Allyn that appeared in FATE magazine, Issue No. 252, March 1971. This was a first-person account in which the author related how 68 years earlier, on March 17, 1903, she had had an extraordinary experience. She could clearly remember the date of what happened since her sister Grayce was born early that very morning. Nearly 13, the oldest of seven children in the Brosius family of Helmer, Indiana, Madge was having to take care of the cooking and house cleaning as her mom rested.

She remembers that the day had been very pleasant and warm. Since sunrise her dad had been out in the field sowing oats. When she returned home from school, she did her chores and gave her brothers and sister their supper, and then headed them off to bed. It was around 8 p.m. as she was fixing her dad’s supper that the kitchen door suddenly swung open and her father leaned in and yelled, “Come see this!” She quickly dropped everything and rushed outside behind him.

“Look here, Madge!” her dad called, pointing to the southwestern sky. It was then that above a neighbor’s pasture that she spied what she described as “the strangest sight I have ever seen.”

“A huge object like a gigantic ripe cucumber with slightly tapered ends hung in the air, brilliantly aglow despite the fact that the sun had set more than an hour before,” she wrote. “Standing beside Papa I never thought to be afraid or at all critical of what I saw. I didn’t question that there were eight windows in the side of the big object, four above and four below a median line, because they were there. Each window was composed of an upper and lower six-paned sash like double-hung windows I had seen. They were perfectly clear and reflected nothing.”

Madge’s father pointed toward some maple trees that the object was above. “It’s twice as high in the air as a maple tree,” she recalled her dad as saying. “It must be 30 feet deep and over 100 long.” Madge recalled how she drew in her breath, realizing how their house was about 30 feet wide and how 100 feet would then have been longer than two of their local schoolhouses back then.

There was light emanating from the windows. She noted that it wasn’t yellow like an oil lamp or white like a gasoline lantern, but more like “sunshine.” As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she also noticed that everything was bathed in a faint gray light.

After about 5 minutes Madge began to shiver and her dad told her to go inside, adding, “I’m going down for a closer look.” Just then the object began to move, and as her father began moving toward it it began “zigzagging” across the sky “like a child’s balloon when you let go of the air tube.” Now scared, Madge described how she threw her arms over her head and ran into the kitchen. She wrote that she was still shaking when her father excitedly entered the house exclaiming, “I never knew anything could move so fast. When it finished its crazy jerking it headed straight west almost faster than I could count. That thing is not of this world, Madge.”

After telling his wife and sons what he and Madge had just seen, he had made the decision to walk the mile into town, down to Hovarter’s store in Helmer, and find out if anyone else had seen the mysterious craft. Madge described how she didn’t see her dad until morning. As they sat down to breakfast he said, “Don’t any of you ever tell anyone about what we saw last night. They’re calling me ‘Crazy Brosius.’” They lived in Helmer for five more years, and during that time some of his old friends continued to call him that.

“For years I heeded Papa’a advice but in recent times, with all the thousands of UFO sighings, it has seemed safe enough to tell about it,” Madge wrote. “But I’ve never been able to make sense of what we saw.”