Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Oxnard UFO Sighting - 22/23 March 1957

Sometimes I chase footnotes and sometimes I’m just following up on a case and sometimes I just stumble into something that is important. This time I was researching a case from 1957, which is something we all should do… take a long look at some of the old reports to see if we can learn anything new about them not
Dick Hall
just look at cases from 1957.

This particular sighting, one that Dick Hall included in his The UFO Evidence, and one that was prominently featured in NICAP’s The U.F.O. Investigator in July 1957. Hall wrote:

Confidential report obtained from CAA (now FAA) radar operator confirming visual sightings at Oxnard AFB and vicinity. Report certified by NICAP board members…
At 9:55 p.m., Mr. K. E. Jefferson, Pasadena, saw a brilliant flashing object moving over Downey. Between that time and midnight, police switchboards throughout the Los Angeles area were flooded with hundreds of calls reporting a UFO. The reports poured into the Pasadena Filter Center.
According to Capt. Joseph Fry, commanding officer of the Center, the first official report came in at 11:10 p.m.; at which time Capt. Fry notified Air Defense Radar.
“Between 2310 (11:10 p.m.) and 2350,” Capt. Fry said in a statement to newsman Russ Leadabrand, “we had many reports. We had reports that indicated the UFO was orange-red, flashing a bright white light. Some of the callers claimed they heard the ‘sound of reports’ when the light flashed from the object.”
At the Filter Center itself, Air Force T/Sgt. Dewey Crow and newsman Les Wagner watched the UFO maneuver slowly around the area for over an hour. Just after midnight, Mrs. Robert Beaudoin [I have never found a reference to her first name in all the documentation that I have reviewed], wife of an Oxnard AFB Captain [would this be known as credibility by marriage], telephoned the base tower to report sighting the UFO. It was described as a large, silent object, flashing brilliant red light, and maneuvering above the Santa Rose Valley.
An F-89 interceptor [actually there were two] attempted to locate the object but the Air Force denied it was able to make contact, although at the same time witnesses on the ground could see the UFO plainly near one of the Oxnard runways.
Reports continued into early morning hours, with witnesses in various locations describing objects which sometimes hovered, and sometimes moved swiftly.
The CAA radar report, obtained later, virtually proved that unexplained objects were operating over Los Angeles. The radar operator’s report:
“At 2350 (11:50 p.m.) I was watching the radar scope when noticed a target about 15 miles northwest and moving northwest. At first I thought it was a jet, then I noticed it was moving much faster than anything I had ever seen on the scope. About 40 miles northwest it came to an abrupt stop and reversed course, all within a period of about three seconds. It then traveled back along its course for about 20 miles, reversed course again and disappeared off the scope at 50 miles (our radar reaches out only 50 miles).
“Approximately 5 minutes later 2 more targets appeared and disappeared off the scope in the same direction as the first; and these we had time to clock. They traveled 20 miles [the actual letter said 30 miles] in 30 seconds which figured out to 3600 mph. A minute or so later a forth target appeared in the same area as the other 3, 10 or 15 miles northwest, and went off the scope to the northwest at 3600 mph.
“Our radar does not give height of aircraft so I couldn’t give you the height, however they had to be about 10,000 feet or lower because our radar’s maximum height is about 10,000 feet.”
This case is not nearly as strong as it seems here. The timeline is inaccurate. This happened, I believe because of the timing of the sightings, which is to say that they started late in the evening of March 22 and carried over into the early morning of March 23. A second series of sightings started in the Los Angeles area late in the evening on March 23, or about 22 hours after the first report.

To clarify, Beaudoin’s sighting was made on March 22, at 11:50 p.m., and lasted into the early morning of March 23. Please notice here that Beaudoin’s sighting began on March 22. Hall, suggested the series of sightings began with Jefferson’s sighting at 9:55 p.m. on March 23. In other words, Jefferson’s sighting was made some 22 hours after Beaudoin and isn’t part of the same series, though they are in the same general area of southern California.

The radar contact at the Long Beach tower was in keeping with Beaudoin’s sighting, but none of the fighters’ on-board radars detected the target and according to the Blue Book file, there were no radar reports from Oxnard AFB. That makes the radar confirmation somewhat problematic.* Sure, it can be argued
No, not UFOs. Venus (ironically the larger of
the lights) and Jupiter. Photo copyright by
Kevin Randle
that the Air Force lied about the lack of radar confirmation, but there is no evidence to support that.

What we have here is a case that began on the evening of March 22 and carried over into the morning of March 23. Although Beaudoin’s sighting was corroborated by her daughter (though no one seemed to have interviewed her), the sheriff’s deputies who were on the seen reported nothing to confirm the sighting. They believed they were seeing stars.

The next day’s sightings from the Los Angeles area do not seem to be part of the Oxnard sighting of the night before. When separated, the Oxnard sighting loses much of its importance because it is basically single witness since the daughter was not interviewed and the sheriff’s deputies on the scene said they didn’t see anything extraordinary. This is a case that should be removed from the files, or, at the very least, marked as “astronomical phenomenon.”

*Although it might be irrelevant, the Long Beach Tower radar reported a failure some 17 minutes after the sighting. That might be coincidence, or it might have caused the radar returns. There is no evidence to support either contention.

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