MARION, IA—Gathering around the strange object and speculating about its possible significance, scores of Iowa residents were reportedly left mystified Wednesday morning after a single sign bearing the cryptic word “Kasich” inexplicably appeared on the side of the road overnight.
Neighborhood sources said they had never before seen anything like the 12-by-18-inch rectangle of blue and white plastic, which had materialized on the front lawn of 38 Victoria Street sometime during the late night or early morning hours. No one had reportedly witnessed the manner in which the sign had appeared, prompting questions about its origins, purpose, and the meaning behind the incomprehensible string of letters and symbols on its surface.
“It’s so weird—I can’t even begin to guess what this thing is for,” said 34-year-old Marion resident Theresa Russo, who ventured out to see the sign along with several dozen of her neighbors after word of its mysterious appearance spread quickly throughout the community. “No one knows how or why it ended up here, or what sort of message it’s meant to convey. I’ve stared at it for an hour now and I still don’t have the slightest idea what it could be.”
“It’s standing perfectly upright and facing right out toward the street, so there must be some reason for it, but what?” Russo continued. “What is this Kasich, and what does it want?”
“There’s only this one right now, but just think: What if even more start showing up? What if they start appearing all over the place? What if one shows up on my street or across from my house? Oh, God, what if it’s connected to something bigger?”
The sign was reportedly first discovered by local resident James Shelton, 51, who said that he “stopped dead in [his] tracks” when he came upon the bizarre object while walking his dog early Wednesday morning. According to the baffled Shelton, shortly after spotting the peculiar sign and failing to decipher the identical scrawlings on either side of it, he cautiously approached it with a long stick and prodded it several times to no effect.
Numerous witnesses said they attempted repeatedly to sound out “Kasich”—the largest group of markings on the object—but failed to arrive at an understanding of the unusual word or even reach a common conclusion about how the arcane collection of letters was supposed to be intoned.
“That thing kind of creeps me out,” said Marion High School English teacher Julia Blake, 46, echoing many other residents who said that just being around the strange object gave them a feeling of unease. “There’s only this one right now, but just think: What if even more start showing up? What if they start appearing all over the place? What if one shows up on my street or across from my house? Oh, God, what if it’s connected to something bigger?”
Despite widespread concern among community members, authorities called in to assess the situation have urged calm. Local law enforcement cited several similarly mysterious events in nearby cities and counties, noting that, for the most part, phenomena such as the perplexing sign tended to appear every so often, but rarely lasted more than a few months before disappearing again without a trace.
“Just a few weeks ago in Cedar Rapids, there were a number of reports of weird signs with the message ‘Jindal 2016’ appearing out of nowhere in the windows of houses,” said Marion County sheriff Jason Knight, who assured residents that the “Kasich” object was harmless and would not affect them or their behavior in any way. “This sort of thing just happens from time to time in these parts. Folks will eventually reconcile themselves to the fact that we may never really understand it. After all, people barely even mention that night four years back when the phrase ‘Cain 9-9-9’ flickered onto everyone’s TV screens out of nowhere.”
“Whatever the hell that meant,” Knight added.