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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 5: The Space Penguins of Tuscumbia


Hey, I remember mentioning this story when I covered The Kinnula Humanoid! Amusingly enough, the header image for that write-up is also connected to this story; I’ll get into that later, though. For now, how about a little cold opening?

Extraterrestrials are all the rage these days—at least as of the time of this writing (which is July 10). The United States government has been holding hearings on “UAPs” (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) and other things like it. There were the balloons that were being shot down earlier in the year. By all accounts, UFOs (as I call them and will continue to call them) and aliens are as mainstream as Bigfoot. Disclosure is coming, boys and girls!

Though a lot of what’s being talked about—be it before, during, and after this write-up is completed—is primarily tied to UFO sightings. As far as I’m aware, it does not include anything related to direct encounters with extraterrestrials. So there’s no discussion on really anything fantastical, like the adorably sinister Dade City Flower Aliens.

I have, however, considered writing about some of the footage that’s been discussed by the US government and media. In fact, it was on my to-do list back in 2021, and I do believe I had considered it for last year. Alas, I opted against it both times as it would have been way too much work. Not that it would have mattered the second time, given I flat-out didn’t write last year.

This year, however, I didn’t even consider it. The more I think about talking about the footage that’s been released, the more I feel like I would be getting closer to being a commentator of some sort. Discussing what’s new and mainstream is a really good way to be just another voice in a sea of noise. God, that sounds pretentious, but it’s how I genuinely feel. It’s one reason I look back rather negatively at my write-up on Hunter Biden’s “Laptop From Hell.” Sure, it was new ground for me (to write about something topical), but I didn’t add a single new thing. All I did was say what had already been reported by a plethora of others.

With those feelings more or less cemented, it’s time to get into today’s write-up. With my rather obvious dislike for talking about topical stuff, I wanted to zero in on a weird story about aliens. Luckily, those are in no short supply; I have more than plenty of examples I could give. Though I wanted something exceptionally weird.

As I was looking around for one, I came across The Space Penguins of Tuscumbia. Seeing this story was like seeing an old friend for the first time in years. I remember having wanted to cover it, but I never did for reasons I can’t remember. Today, that all changes. Let’s dig into a story that quite a few of my closest friends have all but deemed their most anticipated Decemystery entry!


Before we begin, can I just say I find it bizarre how there are accounts of aliens that look like things from here on Earth? Today, we have the story of space penguins. Two years ago, we talked about The Long Prairie Cans and the year before that, we discussed the aforementioned Dade City Flowers. And even before that, we went over the beautifully named Telepathic Football, which I have to admit is not my finest piece since I wrote it after a Christmas get-together. Maybe one day I’ll rewrite it; for now, though, it’s the best you’re gonna get out of me when it comes to anything football-related.

My point is: do these aliens really look like this? Or are they trying to disguise themselves as objects on Earth (like beer cans and flowers)? If it’s the latter, then wow. There are alien Earthaboos. Not sure how to feel about this. Anyways, onto the story proper.

March of the Space Penguins

I’ll be telling the story as it was written on the Cryptidz Wiki, albeit considerably less flowery. Seriously, go look at the article; whoever wrote it did so in a manner I’ve never seen on any Wiki to date.

Our story takes place in Tuscumbia, Missouri. A quick Google search tells me that the population of this little town is 188; the 1960 census, meanwhile, says it has a population of 231. Just a small-town penguin livin’ in a lonely galaxy! She took the midnight saucer going anywhere.

Anyways, on February 14, 1967, a farmer named Claude Edwards awoke from slumber, ready for another hard day of work. Hm. This guy owns a farm, is from Missouri, and his surname is “Edwards.” From here on out, I’m envisioning this fellow as Carl Edwards.

A 64-year-old man, who the Wiki describes as a “no-nonsense” man, Claude dressed heavily. It was a frigid morning, and even the most hardened countrymen didn’t dare face the cold without some warm clothing.

Once outside, Claude went to tend to his animals. However, once he’d gotten to them, he noticed they were all staring in one direction. Like any good farmer, he looked at where they were staring. It didn’t take a man with perfect vision to notice what had their attention.

It was a UFO.

No, there isn’t any sort of tension or build-up to some shocking revelation. There was no fantastical landing. Heck, there wasn’t even an attempt at hiding the spacecraft. Rather, the UFO was in a “meadow adjacent to his barn.”

According to Claude, the craft was massive, shaped like a mushroom, greyish-green in color, and perched on a circular tube. At last, we know what really turns Mario into an elephant!

His curiosity piqued by the mysterious object, Claude placed the bucket of Sneed’s Feed and Seed for the cattle down. He made his way over to the barn and locked it. Until he had secured his barn, Claude had never taken his eyes off the mysterious craft. However, once his gaze returned to it, there was something new waiting for him: aliens. A fair number of them, too; they were “tiny” and “swarming” under their craft.

Now, the average person would probably be awestruck by such a sight. Extraterrestrials on one’s property? That’s not something anyone could ever expect to see in their life! Claude, however, was most certainly not the average. No, if this story is accurate, Claude was what I envision the 1960s equivalent of Gigachad to be.

Claude believed there to be a mere 70 feet (21 meters) between him and the otherworldly trespassers. There were also two wire fences and a small group of cows—and the latter was being spooked by the presence of these aliens. Not sure about the wire fences, unfortunately; no documentation on how they felt.

This, naturally, ticked off Claude. Not only were these unwanted guests from another planet trespassing, but they were scaring his cattle! Those transgressions, plus other, much less interesting emotions, resulted in Claude going to confront them. As he drew closer, the creatures became increasingly agitated, and Claude based his sketch on what he saw here (which you can see below).

Before Claude were creatures that stood at 3 feet (0.9 meters) in height and, like their ship, were greyish-green in color. This
really isn’t apparent in Claude’s sketch, though, as they look as green as I do when I smell coffee brewing. Their eyes were also large and black—though, as the Cryptidz Wiki article author points out, they may have been goggles. They also had “dark protuberances” where you would expect their noses and mouths to be. As the author points out, Claude never said if he suspected this to be a part of their face or something to help them breathe on Earth.

Anyway, let’s get back on track and focus on the part that I’m sure most of you have been eagerly waiting for, that being the “penguin” part of this story. In Claude’s own words, the creatures resembled penguins and lacked any noticeable necks. They also lacked hands. As you can see in the sketch, they look more like the flippers of penguins. Yes, they’re considered flippers. I honestly agree that the space penguins appendages resemble penguin flippers, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. Have an image of an Emperor Penguin; by the way, the Space Penguins are shorter than one of these big boys. They’re between 3.6 and 4.3 feet (1.09–1.31 meters) in height. Penguinlets!

The author of the Cryptidz Wiki article, for their part, does provide a possible explanation for the strange appearance of the arms. They posit that the aliens may have been running around too fast, and Edwards may have been unable to get a clear look at their hands. This is possible, but I don’t know how quickly they would need to be moving to blur their hands that much. Though I digress. I imagine most of you would prefer it if they were actual space penguins.

One final digression since this next bit honestly really caught me off guard. The article’s writer brought up the similarities to The Kinnula Humanoid encounter. I had to reread some of that write-up to refresh my memory on it. Honestly, I don’t see it. Although the creature seen over in Finland was also green and was seen during winter, the similarities end there.

Now, then, back to the story. Claude looked at the adorably odd space penguins as they ran around like chickens without heads and swung their arms wildly. As he watched, he realized something rather unusual: he had no idea how they were moving. No, that isn’t something I made up; that’s apparently a real thing Claude couldn’t discern. I’m guessing Claude meant he had no idea how they were moving so fast, but based on how the Cryptidz Wiki article phrased it, it sounds like Claude had absolutely no idea how they were moving their legs. Also, if you want to know how it was worded:

Edwards also stated that he could not clearly discern what manner of locomotion they were employing with their lower extremities.

I have the smoothest of smooth brains and honestly had no idea what the writer meant by “locomotion.” Never let it be said that I am intelligent. I am not. That is why I typically use incredibly simple words.

Anywhoozle, Claude picked up some rocks and walked toward the UFO. His intention was, rather devilishly, to damage the craft so it wouldn’t be able to take off.

Unfortunately for Claude, his advance would be stopped by an invisible barrier roughly 15 feet (4.5 meters) from the UFO. Although he said he was unable to see or feel it, he could tell there was pressure. Don’t take my word for it, though; take Claude’s word! Here’s what he had to say:

I thought I was going right up to it. I got up there and there it was. I just walked up against a wall.

His advance on the aliens’ craft stopped (I have no idea how they felt about the human being so close to them), and he took the time to examine the vessel. It looked surprisingly smooth and seamless; he compared it to “shiny silk.” He also estimated the “curved top” of the flying mushroom to be 18 feet (5.4 meters) in diameter and 8 feet (2.4 meters) at the tippy top. The cherry on top of the extraterrestrial sundae was a stem-like tube that supported the entire craft. Claude said it wasn’t much larger than the space penguins themselves. It also looked to be made of the same material as the rest of the UFO.

In my humble opinion, this thing desperately needs to go onto Pimp My UFO because it sounds revolting. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this sketch Claude made of the saucer!

It’s hideous, I say! Hideous! Also, not for nothing, but I feel like this is far from “massive.” It’s undoubtedly sizable, but it isn’t exactly what I had in mind earlier. I demand a refund!

Anyways, the last detail is one that involves something I’ve seen in a lot of other reports. According to Claude, there were a series of oval portals on the craft on its lower rim. All of them were evenly spaced and were 12 inches (30 centimeters) long and 12 inches apart.

Now for the part that involves the aforementioned detail. Claude said that these supposed portals didn’t appear to be windows. All he could see from the outside was a dazzling array of colors. Though, like before, I’ll let Claude do the talking here:

The object just looked like a big shell, grayish-green looking outfit. And underneath there were oblong holes where the lights were coming out. They were so bright you couldn't see when you got up there… as if a color wheel was turning inside the thing.

I’ve heard accounts like this from people who say they’ve seen UFOs before, be it only from the outside or from within. I won’t claim to know what they are, nor will I speculate since I’m no ufologist. Maybe they’re portals, or maybe they’re the extraterrestrial equivalent of one-way windows. Whatever the case may be, I really want one. A lava lamp window sounds sick!

My personal wants and desires aside, ol’ Claude was not about to let any fancy schmancy force field get in the way of sending a message. No, he was a cunning man, a man with wits and an understanding of what to do when you can’t go any further. Utilizing these wits, he took a few steps back.

Then he threw one of the rocks at the UFO.

Yep, Claude threw a rock at the alien spacecraft. He truly feared no man or otherworldly being; he cared more about his livestock than himself, I guess. This didn’t appear to get the attention of the space penguins, nor did it make a sound when it struck the craft (I assume it did make some sort of sound when it hit the ground, though).

Unwilling to concede defeat to a bunch of 3-foot-tall green penguins from outer space, Claude readied the second rock. With more force, determination, and mid-20th-century farmer fury, he threw it at the UFO. This time, it skipped over the object, like a stone skipping over water. But instead of sinking to the bottom of a river or lake, this rock landed in a field behind the alien ship. A lot less graceful and classy, but a much more interesting story to tell.

Unlike the previous rock, this one did get the attention of the aliens—and as odd as it may sound, they were apparently quite spooked. How they were unaware of Claude’s presence the entire time he was within spitting distance of their ride home, I don’t know. But the act of throwing a rock not only got their attention, it was the scariest thing since humanity created the atomic bomb.

It’s worth noting that exactly what the space penguins had been doing this time isn’t said in the article. Although it’s said that they were buzzing around and presumably scaring Claude’s cows, how they were scaring them—if they were—or how far they were from their ship is never stated. I know I said that last part just above, but it really bothers me; I can’t help but think these things were blind, and that’s why they were running around aimlessly. The poor things couldn’t see!

I digress, though; the aliens ran to the back of the UFO and, once inside, seemingly acknowledged Claude’s existence. Supposedly, the saucer tilted towards him twice; the third lurch was when it finally ascended without making a sound. From there, it zipped off northeast towards St. Elizabeth. All told, Claude estimates that the encounter lasted somewhere between five and ten minutes.

Claude’s encounter was relayed by him to a UFO investigator named Ted Phillips. Ted got in contact with Claude through Claude’s brother. Exactly how, I don’t know, but I’m guessing Claude told his brother about his experience, and from there, a meeting was set up.

Now granted, the meeting took a bit to turn into an investigation as Claude was hesitant to tell his story. It was only when he was promised full anonymity that Claude told his fantastical encounter to Ted; Claude’s identity was only known after his death. Ted would later talk of his first meeting with Claude:

When I arrived at the farm we visited for several minutes gaining his confidence that I wouldn't reveal his name or location until his death. He didn't like talking about the sighting at first, but became more comfortable as we discussed the weather and farming. I asked him to relive the event in real time and we began on his front porch which faces the large barn near the landing area.

And that, dear reader, is how stories of alien encounters are born. Remember to study for the test tomorrow!

Adding to this was some evidence that Ted photographed—specifically where the UFO had purportedly landed. I can’t help but wonder how long after this was; it made me seriously wonder how soon after the sighting this was. I wish there was a date given here, but whatever. Here’s the picture Ted snapped.

Pretty wild stuff, though you could probably fake that with minimal effort. What makes it a bit more compelling is what Ted had to say:

When I arrived at the site the traces were still quite visible. It was one meter [3.2 feet] in diameter in a slightly irregular circle where the shaft had rested. The soil was extremely dehydrated in contrast with the surrounding soil.

Dehydrated soil is a common phenomenon reported where a UFO lands. Other strange phenomena include increased radiation levels, scorched Earth, and your friends telling you it isn’t healthy to constantly write about this stuff.

After the interview was conducted, Claude went about his life as he had before. He never let the experience bother him, nor did he ever have another encounter with aliens, let alone the enigmatic space penguins. That said, I agree with the Wiki article when it says that I believe it’s a sage bet that ol’ Claude may have anticipated seeing them again.

Thus ends our story. It’s certainly one of the more enigmatic alien encounters I’ve come across in my life. I never thought I would read about ETs that resemble penguins or about how a farmer threw rocks at a UFO. It’s all very surreal, in a way.

It’s also a story I couldn’t exactly find much more on. From what I’ve read, nothing else came of this, nor are there any inconsistencies. I’m sure that maybe if I looked hard enough, I’d find some innocuous discrepancy, but by and large, every article had the same information. So, rather than add an unnecessary “research” segment, I would rather just jump into the theories. Tally-ho!


1. It was real

Kicking things off is the theory that it’s real—and it’s a bit unique. When it comes to encounters with aliens, you can easily tell if the eyewitness has an ulterior motive. More often than not, they’ll try to capitalize off of it; they’ll actively look for interviews, book deals, and everything else.

Now look, I won’t say that’s immediately bad, especially if the experience radically changed the person’s life or if there was some remarkable piece of evidence left behind. But when you have someone going out of their way to stay in the spotlight, you can usually tell that they may be up to a minuscule level of tomfoolery. There are other ways to detect this tomfoolery, such as the person being overly defensive or inconsistencies in the story. The former isn’t an immediate red flag, but it could be one.

In the case of Claude Edwards’ encounter, he never once attempted to capitalize off of it. In fact, outside of the interview with Ted Phillips (and presumably telling his brother), Claude never spoke to anyone about it. The main reason for this appears to have been the fear of being ridiculed and ostracized by the other townsfolk.

This, coupled with Claude’s modest lifestyle and reputation as a hardworking man, has led many ufologists to believe the story was legitimate. Not much else to say.

2. It was all made up

There are always two sides to a coin, and this is the other side. The theory that Claude made the whole thing up. This is one instance where I believe this claim has a lot more heavy lifting to do, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

UFO hoaxes are by no means novel. They’ve been around for a long time, and this wouldn’t be any different. Someone wanted to pull a prank, so they concocted a story, dug a hole, and put on a good act when interviewed.

The main flaw with the theory—and it’s the same one the previous theory has—is there’s no evidence to back it up. As far as I can tell, Claude didn’t have a history of pulling pranks, nor did he have a motive for pulling one involving extraterrestrials landing on his farmland.

While yes, some people decide to randomly prank people, this would be a very risky one to pull. Especially if you want to maintain your reputation. Although Claude demanded that Ted not reveal his name to anyone, I feel you’re putting a lot of stock in someone you don’t know keeping their word.

Add onto that doing this once for seemingly no gain of any sort, and there isn’t much going for the theory. Of course, it’s well within the realm of possibility that the whole story isn’t known. I honestly don’t know, so let’s move on.

3. It was a cavalcade of Miscolored Piplups

Eh, I prefer Turtwig. Though I’ve got nothing against Piplup. They’re adorable!

My Take

This is a story that really left me bamboozled. I’m open-minded enough that I don’t dismiss everything I read or hear—at least not often. In this case, I laughed at the name of the story and picked it out, expecting something preposterous. There are instances where I just want something absurd so I can cut loose and have a bit of fun; that’s what I expected with this. Yet, after reading, I have to admit I firmly believe it actually happened.

I simply cannot see why a 64-year-old would go through the effort of concocting such an absurd-sounding story for seemingly no reason. The one and only way I can think this was a hoax is if he told his brother and didn’t expect him to tell his UFO researcher buddy. But if that’s the case, I don’t get why he would tell his brother in the first place. Maybe his brother promised not to tell anyone at first, then did anyway, and that’s why he was so paranoid.

However, if that’s the case, why on Earth would he then trust Ted Phillips, let alone accept an interview request? That really doesn’t make sense to me. He could have easily told Ted that the experience was too much and that he didn’t want to relive it.

I also don’t get the dehydrated soil, but maybe it was just poor or something. I’ve heard of some areas having dead land, like The Devil’s Tramping Ground. Perhaps that’s why he picked that area. Though I feel Claude’s brother would be aware of this and have informed Ted about it since it would be really coincidental the aliens landed there.

To me, none of it makes sense. There doesn’t appear to be any reasonable motive for Claude to have done that. Unless it was some really outlandish prank on his brother, the only thing I can put any stock in is that this, by some unfathomably ludicrous chance, actually happened. Never in my life did I think I would say I believe a story about space penguins happened.

Oh yeah. The penguins. Honestly, I don’t think they were penguins. I think they were wearing space suits—assuming they were real anyways. I think they had on goggles and some sort of breathing device; the end result of this weird outfit was that they looked like penguins. That said, I can’t quite explain the arms. Unless their arms were moving that fast.

As for why they were acting like mischievous children: I’ve come to believe aliens visit Earth just to see the sights. Hey, we visit the wilderness to gawk at animals and nature. In my eyes, aliens probably do the same, but on a planetary scale.


As I was preparing to write the conclusion, I had a friend suggest that Claude drank “too much moonshine” or was “kicked on the head by a horse,” that’s how this story came to be. Then another friend of mine messaged me about how Christopher Nolan refused to comment about the whole “Barbenheimer” meme (boy, that dates this write-up). Somehow, that really really ties this story together. A one-of-a-kind experience. I adored it, and now I want to write about space chickens. Maybe next year. Until then, stay happy and stay healthy. Thanks for reading!

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