Monday, December 08, 2008

San Diego UFO Crash

I was reviewing some of the old cases in my files and I came across the notation for a UFO crash near San Diego in 1947. I had published all the information I had in A History of UFO Crashes and was looking for additional data.

In that book I wrote, "Unidentified witnesses reported that a flaming object was seen to fall into the ocean west of San Diego. A check at the local observatory suggested that it wasn’t a meteorite and there were no aircraft reported missing. Recently declassified documents suggest an investigation by the military into the unidentified flaming object, but the case file itself has not been discovered."

Okay, that’s not much. There were a couple of sources on this material. One of them was Flying Saucers on the Attack written by Harold T. Wilkins and published by the Citadel Press (Ace Star Books, page 72) in 1967. The only additional and probably irrelevant information contained there was that someone had checked with the Observatory at Griffith Park which is in Los Angeles and not San Diego, and the person there didn’t think it was a meteor.

The footnote for the case relates it to Sherman Brown who had an unpublished manuscript called UFO Crashes and was dated 1990. I actually reference that book several times, but could find nothing in my files that tells me anything more about it.

The other thing is that I have several letters from people attempting to track down the original sources of this information and trying to find Sherman Brown. One of those writers said that he had looked through the San Diego newspapers of the time. He found nothing there that related to an event in October.

All this led to one important point. In the book I dated the crash on October 20, 1947, but the other sources suggest, instead, September 20. I don’t know the source of the error in my book but would guess that it belongs to me.

None of this matters for those trying to run this down in San Diego. They checked the newspapers starting with the Arnold Sighting of June 24, 1947 and ran through the end of October. One man sent me a list of people who had made sightings in 1947.

I tried some other sources including the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies. They checked through their records and they found nothing to relate to either Sherman Brown or a crash near San Diego. I have believed, since there was nothing in my files on this, I had picked this up, or researched it further at the Center. Unless something strange happened there, they were not the source of Sherman Brown.

I did find that the San Diego Union carried an article about John Kuder who said he had seen "a luminous flying disc" circling about a half mile off Mission Beach. It dipped into the ocean and there was a ball of fire visible for a few seconds after the disk disappeared. This could be the source of the original story. The date isn’t close, but the location is and but the description of the event would fit with the idea that there had been a crash of some kind.

Here’s where we are on this one. I have located some of the sources about this event. I can now correct the date to the proper time or, at least, to another date in those sources which suggest September 20. Other sources, including one newspaper suggest July 6 because the story was reported on July 7. Given the story, I would opt for July 6.

The thing to do now is leave it as insufficient data. We have found a UFO sighting that goes with the report, we have a suggestion that the object might have dropped into the sea, and we have the report of a fireball moments later. At the moment, this is a single witness case and for that reason, I leave it as insufficient data, though I suspect that a mundane answer would be found with additional information.


cda said...

Just a few small corrections. Harold T Wilkins's book was first published in the UK in 1954. The observatory is Griffith Observatory (not Griffin); it is situated on the south side of Mt Hollywood. Beyond this I have nothing to add.

RRRGroup said...

Much ado about nothing...


KRandle said...


Yes, I know that Wilkins' book was published earlier in the UK, but I have the US edition (I almost wrote addition there... too many words sound alike).


Do you ever say anything positive? Just wondering.

RRRGroup said...


We say positive things at our UFO blogs, and compliment you often there.

But your expertise and intelligence is being wasted on the old sightings that you seem enamored with.

I'm thinking that if you (and a few others of the UFO old-guard) apply yourself to current data and UFO incidents, the mystery might be solved.

The old sightings have been mined for years, with nothing substantial coming forth.

It really is a time to leave them to history, and move into the 21st Century.


chAange my name please said...

Why does this crash matter?

starman said...

So this possible crash coincided with Roswell? Interesting.
So far in this century, there are AFAIK, no cases anywhere near as profound as Roswell, nor any photographs as good as the Trent's. Sure, we should be aware of more recent cases (KDR just posted on Needles). But I doubt those known thus far will get us anywhere nearer the truth. There's nothing wrong with restudying the old classics, even as newer cases occur.

Bob Koford said...

Dear Dr. Randle:

It may be that it turns out to be mundane, as you say, but as you also mentioned, there were other reports. On October 20 (cases#19, and 20, I believe) there is the strangely-slow-moving "Bolide" traveling just as you describe...only in Ohio. That one doesn't explode on the horizon, I don't think.

I appreciate all of the weeding out you do, and still see the need.

There were just too many of these strange "missiles" being seen around a short period of time, and several were perceived as impacts (1947-1950, especially).

KRandle said...

Tim -

In the greater scheme of things, not much. It is a footnote in the history of UFOS... however, if we can get more information about this, I suspect we'll be able to identify it. And, it never hurts to correct misinformation.

I have a slim file on the case and all the information I have is here. Maybe someone else will be able to provide more... if not, then we'll be stuck with it.

jesonsmith said...
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