Known as "The Day the Music Died", February 3, 1959 marks the date that legendary rock n' roll singers Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P Richardson- "The Big Bopper" died in a place crash in the middle of a North Iowa corn field. Pilot Roger Peterson was also fatally wounded in the crash. Buddy Holly had recently assembled a new band consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, in order to play on the '"Winter Dance Party" tour, which included the Surf Ballroom venue in Clear Lake, Iowa. The tour also featured Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, who were promoting their own recordings as well. The tour was to cover 24 Midwestern cities in three weeks. The performers had been traveling in poorly equipped tour busses, and were feeling the effects of cold and flu symptoms. Carl Bunch was even hospitalized due to frostbite because of the lack of heat in the busses. Frustrated by the conditions, Holly decided to charter a plane from Dwyer Flying Services after their performance in the Surf Ballroom, in order to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Richardson, who was affected by the flu, swapped places with Waylon Jennings, taking his place on the plane. Tommy Allsup lost his place to Ritchie Valens on a coin toss. The investigation of the accident determined that soon after take off, a combination of poor weather conditions and pilot error caused Roger Peterson to lose control of the plane. Hubert Dwyer, owner of the flight service company, could not establish radio contact and reported the aircraft missing the next morning. He took off in his own Cessna 180 and spotted the wreckage in a corn field less than six miles northwest of the originating airport. He notified the authorities who, drove to the wreck site and found the bodies of the performers and the pilot. They were later identified by Carroll Anderson, owner of the Surf Ballroom. Today, a small monument has been erected in the corn field to mark the site that this tragic event took place. Many people have claimed to hear the sounds of airplanes, music, voices, and footsteps while visiting the location. There are also claims of people seeing shadow figures, apparitions, and strange light anomalies around the plane crash site.
Investigation Start Time: Approx. 11:30pm
Investigation End Time: Approx. 3:00am
People Present: Justin Miner (JPG)
Joe Hickey (Guest Investigator/Guide)
Weather Conditions: 65 Degrees, Partly Cloudy, Thunder Storms Subsided Around 10:30pm, Occasional Lightning in Area, Windy/Breezy
We began the investigation by setting up a stationary IR video camera focused on the monument and surrounding area. Joe conducted sweeps with the K2 meter in order to determine a baseline EMF (Electromagnetic Field) reading. I (Justin) operated a second IR video camera in order to travel the entire grounds. I also placed a second K2 meter on the monument itself in order to try and witness any EMF fluctuations. Initial sweeps came back at zero EMF throughout the entire location.
At one point, Joe and I both briefly heard what sounded like a small airplane engine flying over, however no airplanes were in the area at that time. Due to the fact that the corn field is located close enough to Interstate Hwy 35, and that sound can travel great distance across wide open spaces, we were able to debunk the sound as being a semi truck using its breaking system. It is possible that this is the sound that people are referring to when they claim to hear airplanes in that area when none are around. You can review this footage on the clip labeled, "Plane Debunk". There were also a few times where Joe and I saw what seemed to be unexplained light anomalies in various locations in the corn field behind the monument. However, after further investigation, these light anomalies were simply lightning bugs lighting up between the foliage of the corn stalks. It is a possibility that this situation would explain the strange light anomalies and orbs that people claim to see in the area. At one point we also heard what sounded like footsteps coming through the corn field. This was hard to label as paranormal, due to the fact that the wind was causing the corn stalks to rustle together from time to time. There is also the possibility that an animal could have been making its way through the area at that time, even though none were seen.
Approximately midway through the investigation, we ended up getting a few interesting hits on the K2 meter. At one point, Joe notices a significant hit on the K2 that we had placed on the monument. We immediately began asking questions, in hopes of capturing an EVP or disembodied voice. During this time, we captured an EVP on the IR camera that I was holding, of what sounds like a male moan. We did not hear this noise in real time. You can hear the moan at approximately the five second mark of the clip labeled, "Odd Noise- Moan". Shortly after catching this EVP, I noticed a significant hit on the K2 meter that I was holding. I then asked whatever was out there to go ahead an do it again. A few seconds later, I captured a K2 response on my IR video camera. This was the final time that we received a hit of the K2 for the rest of the investigation. You can view the footage on the clip labeled, "K2 Response".
This was a tough investigation. Any time you are investigating outdoors and the weather conditions can play a factor, it is hard to verify whether something is legitimately paranormal or not. I do feel that we were able to come up with logical explanations for a few of the claims at the crash site, such as the sound of a small airplane, light anomalies, and possible footsteps. This doesn't discredit all of the experiences that people have had while visiting the crash site, but it does provide possible explanations for some of the oddities. We did experience what seemed to be a direct response on the K2 meter, and captured what is possibly an EVP of a male moaning. However, without further investigation of this location under better weather conditions, I don't feel like the evidence we caught is significant enough to label it as haunted. Hopefully we will get the chance to go back at some point and work to answer more of the questions surrounding this location.