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
at cases from 1957.
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:
report obtained from CAA (now FAA) radar operator confirming visual sightings
at Oxnard AFB and vicinity. Report certified by NICAP board members…
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.
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
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.”
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.
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
continued into early morning hours, with witnesses in various locations
describing objects which sometimes hovered, and sometimes moved swiftly.
CAA radar report, obtained later, virtually proved that unexplained objects
were operating over Los Angeles. The radar operator’s report:
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).
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
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.”
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.
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.
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
that the Air
Force lied about the lack of radar confirmation, but there is no evidence to
|No, not UFOs. Venus (ironically the larger of|
the lights) and Jupiter. Photo copyright by
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.
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.