In 1995, veteran newspaper reporter Bob Teets published his excellent book, West Virginia UFOs. This was the first book ever to present a state’s UFO history. Teets, I realized, had uncovered an unfilled niche in the UFO literature. Sooner or later, I knew, the other states would eventually have books written about their UFO history. In 2006, my book, UFOS Over California: A True History of Extraterrestrial Encounters in the Golden State was released by Schiffer Publishing. California has several unique features that make it stand out from other states. First, it is the most crowded state with an estimated population of 40 million. It is also the nation’s wealthiest state, and is a leader in aerospace and defense, computer technology, oil production, lumber, agriculture, entertainment and tourism. The third largest state, California is actually the leading producer of UFO reports in the United States. In 1977 J. Allen Hynek conducted a study of all the unidentified Blue Book cases. California headed the list with fifty-one cases, or 9.9% of the total number of U.S. reports. More recently, in 2018, the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) listed more than 13,000 California UFO reports, about twice the number of the second leading state of Florida, and nearly three times the third leading states of Texas, New York and Washington. For whatever reason, UFOs find California very attractive. With its rich UFO history, it is not surprising that California has had a strong influence in the evolution of ufology. After having studied several thousand Golden State encounters, I have come up with a top twenty list of what are in my opinion among California’s most significant and influential UFO events. Some of the cases are well known, others are probably obscure except to UFO researchers. Each one, however, represents I think an important chapter in not only California’s UFO history, but in that of the world. Each has added to our knowledge or understanding of UFOs, has changed the way we view UFOs or has contributed to the popularization of the subject. Here are California’s top twenty UFO cases. Each of the cases has been summarized because of space considerations.


 TWENTY: THE CISCO GROVE ROBOT ENCOUNTER On Labor Day weekend in 1965, three hunters in Cisco Grove had a unique encounter with a UFO and its occupants. It may be the earliest authenticated California case involving a robotic UFO occupant. The main witness, Donald Smythe, became separated from his two companions while hunting, and after a long day of hunting, he became lost. When he saw a light darting back and forth above him, he assumed a helicopter had been sent to rescue him. Instead, the object swooped down and hovered silently overhead. Smythe realized it was a UFO and took refuge in a nearby tree. At this point, three figures exited the craft. Two figures were five feet tall and dressed in silvery-gray material. The third figure appeared to be robotic. Then followed an all-night-long ordeal in which the UFO occupants remained at the bottom of the tree, sending up clouds of noxious fumes. Smythe lost consciousness several times and in the morning, the figures and craft were gone. Smythe’s story was not without corroboration. Upon re-uniting with his friends, one of the hunters revealed that he also saw a “bright, large light” swoop down at low altitude and dart across the sky. All three also remarked upon the coincidence that the government was already in the area looking for an alleged “meteorite.” Finally, Smythe’s wife saw him immediately after the incident and confirmed that Smythe was badly traumatized and covered with scratches. Smythe reported his case to the Air Force who suggested that he was the victim of a prank. The case electrified the UFO community. Coral Lorenzen calls it, “The most spectacular report I have ever examined.” Ted Bloecher and Paul Cerny also conducted an onsite investigation. Writes Cerny, “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this incident is factual and authentic.”


NINETEEN: RONALD REAGAN SEES UFO California is home to many celebrities and it was only a matter of time before some of them came forward with their accounts of seeing a UFO. Today, many have come forth including Sammy Davis Jr., Chad Everett, Jill Ireland, Cliff Robertson and others. Among the most prominent of these is President Ronald Reagan. The sighting occurred when he was governor of California. Says Reagan’s pilot Bill Paynter, “We were near Bakersfield when Governor Reagan and the others called my attention to a big light flying a bit behind my plane. It appeared to be several hundred yards away.” As they watched, the mysterious object quickly accelerated and disappeared in the distance. Reagan later confirmed the details to Wall Street Journal reporter Norman Miller. While Reagan never publicly discussed his sighting, it may have been the spark that ignited his interest in the subject. On several occasions, he made enigmatic statements that seemed to reveal his strong interest in UFOs – quotes that are now famous in UFO history. Said Reagan in 1985, “If suddenly there were a threat to this world from some other species from another planet, we’d forget all the little local differences that we have between our two countries, and we would find out once and for all that we really are all human beings on the Earth together.”


EIGHTEEN: THE BLUFF CREEK ENCOUNTER Some of the many odd patterns of UFO behavior are typified in the following extensive encounter which began in early April 1953. The two main witnesses, John Black and John Van Allen, were working at their titanium mine outside of Bluff Creek when they both separately observed a “metallic saucer” hovering over the area of the mine. Over the next few weeks, the object returned on four occasions. Then, on April 20, Black observed the craft from a distance of only a quarter mile. It was now obvious to the men that the UFO was very interested in their mine. Exactly one month later, on May 20, Black returned to the mine and saw the now familiar saucer hovering only a few hundred feet high. It quickly took off and disappeared. Black approached the area where it had hovered and found several small five-inch footprints. Then exactly one month later again, on June 20, Black was outside the mine when he saw what he thought was a small child with a bucket. Upon approach, however, he saw the large saucer landed on a nearby sandbar. He examined the figure and realized it wasn’t a child, but instead appeared to be an unusual-looking small man wearing unusual clothes and carrying a cone-shaped bucket. The small man heard Black approach and quickly ran into the saucer, which promptly took off. And so began one of the strangest chapters in UFO history. Black alerted the local sheriff, and the story was somehow leaked to the press. Because the saucer had appeared on schedule three months in a row, everyone was predicting a July 20th landing. More than 200 people arrived on the scene including local residents, newspaper reporters, cameramen and saucer enthusiasts. Snack bars and chairs were set up as if the event were a circus performance. Unfortunately, the UFO never showed up and the Brush Creek ordeal came to a sudden end. The case was investigated by several major researchers, including Gray Barker and Paul Spade, both of whom were actually jailed by the Brush Creek Sheriff’s station when they tried to conduct a stakeout for the saucer. Today the case is considered a classic in UFO history.


SEVENTEEN: SCHIDEL NEAR-MISS WITH UFO On April 14, 1954, United Airlines Flight 193 was forced to make an emergency landing after a near miss with a UFO over the city of Long Beach. Says Captain Schidel, “It appeared so suddenly, it was as if it was flying dark and had just turned its navigation lights on…it was in sight just two seconds and made no movement to avoid me.” To avoid Captain Schidel was forced to maneuver the jet into a sudden steep climbing turn. The emergency turn caused havoc in the passenger cabin. One passenger was thrown from his seat and broke his left leg. A stewardess lost her balance and fractured her ankle. According to researcher Donald Keyhoe, “Air force intelligence moved quickly to keep the story quiet.” Nevertheless the press found out and the case became a media sensation. The captains’ sterling reputation, the fact that people were injured as a result of the encounter, and that the fact that the mysterious aircraft was not in touch with any airport control towers all combined to give the case a high level of credibility. Today the case is considered a classic in the annals of airplane-UFO encounters.


SIXTEEN: THE CASE OF MELINDA LESLIE There are an estimated thousand or more recorded UFO abductions coming from California. Office manager, Melinda Leslie is like most abductees. She experienced early childhood visitations and has been abducted regularly throughout her life. However, at first she was unaware that she was an abductee. She became suddenly interested in UFOs in 1987 after visiting Area 51. Then examining her past, she slowly realized that she had been having experiences her whole life. A missing time encounter in 1989 erased any denials that she was an abductee. Since then, she has experienced the entire range of UFO phenomenon, including medical examinations, emotional testing, baby presentations, warnings of future disasters, and harassment from what appears to be the U.S. Military. In July 1991, Leslie and two friends experienced an abduction while driving along the remote Angeles Crest Highway outside Los Angeles. All three witnesses had full or partial recall of the onboard segment and were able to corroborate each other’s accounts, making it one of the few multiple witness abductions on record. She has also had many other conscious encounters, and has explored many of her memories with hypnotic regression. While Leslie’s case is among the most extensive and complicated of all recorded California abductees, it is otherwise pretty typical. Melinda Leslie, however, is different most other abductees in one particular way: she has gone public with her experiences. In fact, she is one of California’s best known abductees and has remained a permanent fixture on the lecture and media circuit, talking about her experiences, publicizing the abduction phenomenon and contributing greatly to the public education of the subject. Her willingness and ability to interact with all aspects of the public media has helped many people to gain a better understanding of what it means to be a UFO abductee.


FIFTEEN: THE CASE OF MORGANA VAN KLAUSEN The Morgana Van Klausen (pseudonym) case is well known among southern California investigators. In most respects, the case is typical. Starting in December 1986, the mother and son began experiencing regular visitations by gray-type ETs in their southern California home. The husband was skeptical at first, until he too received a visitation. In the next two decades, the Van Klausens experienced numerous close-up sightings and missing-time encounters. What makes the case so compelling, however, is the physical evidence. Besides multiple witness testimony and landing trace evidence, on one occasion, Morgana Van Klausen was healed as the result of a UFO encounter. It is this that makes the case unique. As revealed by investigator Bill Hamilton, Van Klausen was diagnosed with a “non-cystic mass” in her left breast. The evening before she was about to have the tumor removed, Van Klausen experienced a visitation. She went to the hospital the next day and was shocked to find that all traces of the tumor had disappeared. Writes Bill Hamilton, “Both the radiologist and the surgeon confirmed that the previous diagnostic had revealed a solid mass and that solid masses just don’t disappear.” Hamilton has obtained the before and after X-rays. This kind of medical evidence is very rare, and makes this case outstanding in terms of proof of UFO reality.


FOURTEEN: THE CAMARILLO SIGHTINGS In late November and early December of 1996, a UFO appeared over the city of Camarillo for six consecutive days. The first sightings took place on November 28 and 29. Local Ventura MUFON investigators heard about the initial sightings, and knowing that UFOs often appear on consecutive days, they quickly organized an on-site investigation. On December 2, MUFON field investigator Alice Leavy arrived on site with several other investigators. To their amazement, the UFO showed up right on schedule. The researchers clearly observed a “small spherical object” hovering in place. As they observed with binoculars and filmed with video camera and still cameras, the object turned red and ejected a smaller object. The larger object then broke up into several smaller objects which promptly disappeared. Throughout the entire ordeal, the witnesses continued to maintain detailed photographic records. While the video camera didn’t have the resolution to capture the object, the telephoto still photos did. Whitley Strieber calls the case, “one of the best documented sightings in recent United States history…I have seen some of the still photos and can verify their remarkable combination of clarity and impossibility. Being that the object’s actions were witnessed by a half-dozen witnesses, both through binoculars and the naked eye, it is hard to maintain a case that they are anything but unexplained.” What makes this case unique and important is the fact that several MUFON investigators converged on the scene and not only had sightings themselves, but obtained comprehensive photographic evidence. This may the only case of its kind in California history.


THIRTEEN: THE LAX SIGHTINGS The Los Angeles Airport is one of the largest and busiest airports in the entire world, shuttling millions of people across the globe. Unknown to many people, it is also the location of an on-going series of UFO encounters. While UFO-airport encounters are not uncommon in the literature, the LAX sightings are particularly dramatic and consistent. They began in the early 1950s and continue to the present day. The first recorded sighting was on July 15, 1952. For four days, dozens of witnesses observed UFOs approach to within a quarter mile of the control towers. Other dramatic sightings continued on a regular basis, including in 1966, 1973, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2002 and 2003. The sightings involve dozens of witnesses including MUFON investigator Mark Hunziker, videotape footage and possible radar evidence. The 1992 sighting was printed in the usually skeptical magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology, which said in part, “The pilot and copilot…said they saw an unusual aircraft coming directly at them and pass under the 747 by an estimated 500-1000 feet…the several second sighting gave the grew the impression that the other aircraft was a lifting-body configuration, and they described it as looking like the forward fuselage of a Lockheed SR-17….Defense Department and Air Force officials said last week that it was not one of their secret projects.” The LAX encounters show that UFOs display a strong interest in our aviation technology, can easily evade our fastest aircraft, and sometimes have little fear of being observed. The conclusion is undeniable: California’s largest airport is under extraterrestrial surveillance. This fact alone should give rise to serious concerns in regards to airport security.


TWELVE: AN UNDERWATER UFO BASE? While the majority of UFOs are seen either flying in the sky or landed on the ground, a small portion of accounts involve ocean-going UFOs. Sometimes, these craft are seen to actually enter or emerge from the ocean itself. Underwater UFOs are relatively rare, except for one location – a small stretch of coastline off southern California – known as the Santa Catalina Channel. North from Santa Barbara down south to Long Beach, the waters seem to be thick with UFOs. In fact, this section of coastline has produced dozens of cases. The sightings reach back to the 1940s and continue to the present day. The first California underwater UFO was on July 7, 1947 when two San Raphael teen-agers saw a “flat glistening object” emerge from the water, fly around and then dive back into the water 400 yards from shore. Throughout this same year, numerous steamers reported a mysterious “undersea mountain” or a “large mass underwater” which kept appearing and disappearing in various locations in the San Francisco Bay and down the coast. Following this, the sightings came regularly, in 1951, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1962, 1964, 1970, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1993, 2004…the list goes on, most from the Santa Catalina channel. The sightings involve many highly credible witnesses including lifeguards, security guards, law enforcement officials, military officers and countless citizens. Numerous southern California-based investigators have uncovered sightings from this area including Bill Hamilton, Yvonne Smith, Ann Druffel, myself and others. Writes Ann Druffel, “The area has for at least thirty years been the scene of UFO reports of all kinds – surface sightings of hazy craft which cruise leisurely in full view of military installations, aerial spheres bobbing in oscillating flight, gigantic cloud-cigars, and at least one report of an underwater UFO with uniformed occupants.” While several theories have been raised to account for this high concentration of reports, the most popular is that there is some type of underwater UFO base off the California coast. In any case, the area is one of California’s most active UFO hotspots.


ELEVEN: THE CONTACTEE MOVEMENT While some UFO researchers would prefer to forget this strange chapter of UFO history, there is no denying its profound influence on the UFO movement. The contactee movement began in southern California in the early 1950s when amateur astronomer George Adamski claimed to have seen, photographed and been taken onboard a flying saucer piloted by friendly human-looking extraterrestrials. His story touched a nerve and electrified the public. Adamski became an instant celebrity, writing books, giving lectures and attracting wide audiences. Before long, many other contactees converged on southern California, all with similar claims. California became the place to be if you were interested in UFOs. Daniel Fry, Orpheo Angelucci, George Van Tassel, Frank Stranges and others all claimed to have made contact with ETs. They also all wrote books and lectured widely. Each of the stories had the same theme – warnings from the extraterrestrials that humans are too war-like, that nuclear weapons are dangerous, that we must not pollute our environment and other philosophical messages – all of which today remains a prominent theme in modern abduction accounts. The ETs were usually described as human-looking, attractive and originating from various planets in our solar system. Often the stories seemed to contain information that is believed by mainstream science to be false (for example: life existing on the moon and other planets in our solar system.) And yet, the cases also have considerable corroborating evidence, including photos or multiple eyewitness testimonies. One example is the case of Sid Patrick of Watsonville, who experienced a contact with friendly human-like ETs on January 30, 1965. Padrick was taken inside a craft and told that the ETs had a Utopian-like society with no illness or crime. While Padrick’s claims were incredible, he was well known in his community. Also, at the time of his experience the mayor of Monterey George Clemens and numerous park rangers in the area reported UFOs. Padrick was eventually contacted by the Air Force, who interviewed him and asked him to not talk publicly about his encounter. Says Padrick, “There were certain details they asked me not to talk about publicly, but I think in telling it that everything should be disclosed.” While the contactee enigma is controversial and has divided investigators, the movement was extremely popular and is responsible for introducing countless people to the subject of UFOs. The annual Giant Rock conference held annually throughout the 1950s and 1960s in the southern California desert still holds the record for the largest gathering of UFO enthusiasts, attracting at one point more than 5000 people. While many people consider the contactee movement to be a product of the 1950s, it continues today. A good example is Los Angeles reporter Philip Krapf, who has written two recent books about his own experiences with friendly ETs.


TEN: THE TOPANGA CANYON WAVE On June 14, 1992, the small community of Topanga Canyon experienced an enormous wave of UFO activity involving hundreds of objects. On that evening, at least seventeen independent adult witnesses had incredible encounters throughout the canyon. Ten witnesses in five different vehicles driving along the boulevard that evening were all “buzzed” or “tail-gated from above” by large glowing objects. One driver pulled over and observed dozens of objects coming out of a larger mother ship. Another one of the vehicles was picked up inside a beam of light, causing a period of missing time. The witnesses called the police and reported their encounter. As the driver said, “I’m telling you, I’ve never been more frightened in my life.” Other witnesses were inside their homes where they observed bright beams of light coming from above, or oval-shaped glowing objects darting back and forth across the sky. One couple was woken up from a sound sleep when an object hovered low over their home and lit up the entire interior. Another couple living high in the canyon observed more than 200 objects over a period of three hours. This particular wave was one of the strongest to ever hit California, and it remained strong for at least two more years, producing more than fifty additional reports of all kinds including sightings, landings, UFO-car chases, UFO-helicopter chases, face-to-face encounters, missing time abductions, onboard experiences, possible animal mutilations, cryptozoological creatures and more. While the main wave was from 1992-1994, the area has a long history of encounters starting from 1942. From that point, the cases increased quickly, with two cases in the 1950s, two in the 1960s, fifteen in the 1970s, fourteen in the 1980s, and at least forty-seven in the 1990s. The June 14, 1992 encounter was listed in Timothy Good’s book Alien Update as one of the best reports for the year. Today the area continues to be one of California’s few major UFO hotspots with sightings as recent as 2004.


NINE: THE CALIFORNIA AIRSHIP MYSTERY In late 1896, northern California experienced its first recorded UFO waves. In fact, as researcher Richard Dolan writes, it “represented the first UFO wave – though it would be fifty-five years before anyone used the term.” From October to December 1896, thousands of residents of the cities of San Francisco, Sacramento, Stockton, Oakland observed one or more zeppelin-like objects that glided at low elevations over the city, sending down powerful beams of lights. Several of the witnesses reported seeing human-looking figures on board. Others heard distinct voices. As one witness, Charles Ellis, said, “It hovered effortlessly and looked like a strange bird with four rotor wings, traveling about twenty miles an hour…I didn’t want to believe it was an airship. I had always regarded such reports as a joke. But now I have no choice but to believe them.” The airship mystery is important because people had never been confronted with the idea of extraterrestrials. As Richard Dolan writes, “The idea of spaceships from another world wasn’t popularly considered and would not be until the late 1940s…Most thought they were merely seeing a man-made object.” While the sightings originated in California, they soon spread across the United States. The strange objects became front-page news and caused a media sensation. Interestingly, zeppelins were invented only a few years later. These initial reports, however, remain a mystery. While they have many similarities to modern reports, many investigators are baffled by the dirigible-like appearance of the objects. Some researchers (ie: Jacques Vallee, Jerome Clarke) have pointed to the air-ship wave as evidence that UFOs “track” cultures and have an explanation other than extraterrestrial. Whatever the case, the sightings marked the beginning of California’s involvement with the UFO phenomenon.


EIGHT: REX HEFLIN PHOTOGRAPHS UFO On August 3, 1965, some of the world’s most famous and best-verified UFO photographs were taken by Los Angeles County Highway Investigator Rex Heflin. At that time, the entire United States was experiencing one an intense countrywide wave of UFO activity. While driving outside of Santa Ana, Heflin observed a silent hat-shaped UFO approaching his truck. He radioed his supervisor but then the radio went dead (a fact later confirmed by his supervisor.) As part of his job, Heflin carried a Polaroid camera. He quickly snapped a series of four photos before the object moved away. While he sought no publicity, reporters from United Press International heard about the photos and persuaded Heflin to turn them over. He agreed and UPI photo experts conducted an extensive analysis, even returning to the site of the incident and attempting to restage the event. They declared the photos genuine and they were published in the Santa Ana Register. The photos electrified the public and Heflin’s case became an instant classic. Not surprisingly, the Air Force declared the case a hoax. Heflin, however, later received a visit from two men claiming to be from Norad. The men demanded the photographs and Heflin turned them over. The story gets more complicated from this point. However, numerous other studies of the photos have since been conducted. NICAP photographic analyst Ralph Rankow and a team of other specialists studied the photos in detail and declared them genuine. Journalist Frank Edwards calls the photos “the best UFO photographs in civilian hands.” Today, the photos are still considered genuine and among the most widely-published of all UFO photographs.


SEVEN: UFO DESTROYS MISSILE On September 15, 1964, a crew of 120 military personnel at Vandenburg AFB prepared for the launch of at Atlas F missile. The launch took place as scheduled, however, at about 60 miles of altitude, the missile mysteriously malfunctioned and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Dr. Robert Jacobs (then a lieutenant) was in charge of filming the missile launch with a telescopic camera hooked to a radar display that kept the viewfinder locked on the missile. The next day, his superiors called in Jacobs to view the film. To his shock, he observed “a round object” hovering next to the missile. Says Jacobs, “It flew right up to our missile and emitted a vivid flash of light. Then it altered course and hovered briefly over our missile…and then there came a second vivid flash of light. Then the UFO flew around the missile twice and set off two more vivid flashes from different angles, and then it vanished. A few seconds later, our missile was malfunctioning and tumbling out of control.” Jacobs was ordered to remain silent about what he saw. He dutifully kept silent for seventeen years, before he finally went public with his story. Despite his sterling reputation, he was immediately attacked by arch skeptics/debunkers Phil Klass and James Oberg. He also received numerous death threats, lost his employment, and his mailbox was destroyed with skyrockets following another threat. Investigators, however, located Jacobs’ superior, Major Mansmann, who, on multiple occasions, confirmed the details of Jacobs account. This account is one of several in which UFOs have shown their capability to affect even our most advanced technology. It also shows evidence of the UFO cover-up.


SIX: THE CORONADO MASS ENCOUNTER This case was originally uncovered and investigated by UFO researcher Yvonne Smith. In mid-March, 1994, the TRIAD UFO conference was held in Coronado, featuring several leaders in UFO research. A few hundred people were in attendance. Seven of the attendees were staying at the nearby Village Inn in three adjacent rooms. As UFO researchers know, it is very unusual to uncover an abduction case involving more than one or two people. However, in the middle of the night of March 15, these seven witnesses simultaneously experienced a visitation by several gray-type ETs who came into their hotel room and abducted at least two of the witnesses. What makes this case unique is not only the large number of independent witnesses, (all of whom have provided extensive interviews) but the medical evidence. All of the witnesses have a lifelong history of UFO encounters, and each of them has experienced a wide variety of physical symptoms including puncture wounds, cuts, bruises, scratches, flu-like symptoms, high-blood pressure attacks, multiple infections, scoop-like scars and more. One of the witnesses has undergone an operation by Dr. Roger Leir DPM, to have an apparent implant removed. The implant was placed in her leg during their Coronado encounter. An analysis of the object has shown it to contain many unusual properties. Two of the other witnesses, Laurie Angelone and Mike Evans, have gone public with their experiences. Evans has undergone extensive medical examinations including X-rays and MRIs, which show evidence of several foreign bodies in his head and legs. Says Evans, “I have one [foreign body] around my left ear. One around the pituitary, sitting on top of the limbic system. And the other one is in the occipital…I’ve had doctors and radiologists tell me that they don’t know what it is…I have things in my head – things which nobody seems to be able to explain…which I can’t get rid of without major brain surgery. Where does that leave me?” Dr. Roger Leir has examined Evans and verified his post-abduction symptoms. Says Leir, “I have known Mike for many years now and can personally attest to the physical findings such as bruises and scratches on his skin. While this case has not yet been published, it has accumulated an impressive amount of evidence. Says Dr Leir, “The number of mass abductions are sparse in the literature and this case will be ranked high on the scale of importance.” The case is also the subject of a full-length book by Mike Evans and the author of this article, soon to be released by Galde Press.


FIVE: THE TUJUNGA CANYON ABDUCTIONS Among the first abduction cases to be professionally researched and written about are known as the Tujunga Canyon Contacts. The case involved two southern California ladies, Sara Shaw and Jan Whitley, who experienced a missing time episode while staying in their remote cabin in Tujunga Canyon. They later located southern California investigator Ann Druffel, who, along with D. Scott Rogo, Dr Bill McCall and others, conducted an extensive investigation into the case. Today, most of the details of the case are commonly reported such as the medical examination, star-maps, highly technological equipment, telepathic hairless entities...and so on. At the time, however, UFO abductions were considered to be extremely rare events, with only a few recorded cases. Investigators were impressed by the many details that corresponded with other cases that had not been published, such as that of Betty Andreasson case. Some of these details include a strange stillness preceding the encounter, levitation of entities, movement through solid objects, telepathic communication, the medical examination, the appearance of the ETs and many other details. As Druffel and Rogo write, “The similarities are even more striking when one realizes that these two abductions occurred so far apart in time and locale.” Another detail that was first revealed in the Tujunga Canyon case is the fact that encounters can be contagious. As Druffel and Rogo wrote in 1980, “We know of no other case in the archives of ufology typified by the odd ‘contagion’ phenomenon that seems to have spread from Sara and Jan to Emily, and then to Lori and Jo. This fact tends to make the vastly complicated Shaw-Whitley case even more important to our eventual understanding of the UFO mystery.” Today, the many details first revealed in the Tujunga Canyon case and the few others that preceded it have been confirmed numerous times in the hundreds of cases that followed.


FOUR: THE RED BLUFF ENCOUNTER On August 13, 1960, and for the next five days, California experienced one of the most intense UFO waves ever recorded. The wave was centered over the northern California town of Red Bluff, but actually encompassed Willow Creek, Concord, Corning, Eureka, Pleasant Hill, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Roseville, Mineral, Dunsmuir, Honeydew and Redlands. It all began at 10:05 pm on August 13, when Deputy Sheriff Clarence Fry of Red Bluff observed a large glowing object over the Red Bluff prison. Two hours later, two other patrol officers observed a large glowing object hovering 200 feet above their vehicle. The officers alerted neighboring sheriff’s stations and took off chasing the object. Meanwhile, law enforcement officers in numerous other cities also observed the same or different objects. At the same time, hundreds of calls poured in from citizens. Researcher Paris Flammonde calls this wave, “One of the most impressive multiple sightings.” Researcher James Harder Ph.D. was so impressed by the case that on July 29, 1968, he delivered an official paper in support of the case to the Committee on Science and Astronautics, House of Representatives, United States Congress. Incredibly, Air Force Blue Book officials labeled the case as “atmospheric inversion” without any investigation. Still, this case remains one of the most intense waves in California history.


THREE: THE BATTLE OF LOS ANGELES In February of 1942, only a few months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Los Angeles experienced a visitation by dozens of unknown objects, one large one which hovered over the city for a period of at least six hours. The incident caused an enforced total blackout, and the military was called in to fire upon the strange object. By order of General Marshall, 1430 rounds of ammunition were fired upon the object, which sustained no damage. Numerous searchlights were trained upon the craft, which was also photographed. Six people died of heart attacks, car-accidents or falling debris. The next day, the LA Times printed a now-famous photograph of the object on its front page. The military attempted to enact a cover-up, stating that no objects were seen. They then said that balloons were responsible. The incident, however, was witnessed by several thousand people, making it the most widely viewed UFO sighting in California history. It eventually caused the first congressional investigation into the subject of UFOs. A later de-classified memorandum from General George Marshall to President Roosevelt says, in part, “…unidentified airplanes, other than American Army or Navy planes, were probably over LA, and were fired on by the elements of the 37th CA Brigade between 3:12 and 4:15 am.” While the “planes” were suspected to be Japanese, no evidence of this has ever turned up. Nor do the descriptions given by witnesses corroborate with this theory. To this day, the case remains unsolved.


TWO: THE IMPLANT REMOVAL SURGERIES On August 19, 1995, one of the most important event in UFO history took place in a small doctor’s office in Ventura, California. At 5:00 pm on that day, Dr Roger Leir DPM performed three surgeries to remove alleged “alien implants” from the bodies of three abductees. The surgeries were successful and the three “implants” were recovered and sent off for scientific analysis. This, however, was only the beginning. Further successful surgeries followed. By 2003, Leir and his team and performed nearly a dozen surgeries. In each case, the procedures were successful and the implants were recovered. Here’s where the story gets incredibly interesting. The studies of the implants are showing remarkable features that may eventually provide conclusive proof of extraterrestrial intervention. Some of the unusual features include a similar or identical appearance of implant from patient to patient, the presence of an electromagnetic field coming from the implants, strong magnetic properties, fluorescence, a composition that is elementally similar to meteorites, a lack of inflammatory or foreign body response in surrounding human tissues and more. The complete story is told in Leir’s groundbreaking book, The Aliens and The Scalpel, though the research is still ongoing. The surgeries have rocked the UFO community. Budd Hopkins writes, “Dr. Roger Leir has finally and dramatically laid his cards on the table. His carefully documented surgical removal of possible alien implants can no longer be ignored. It may well turn out to be of extraordinary importance.” Raymond Fowler writes, “Dr. Leir is to be praised for his pioneering research into the removal and analysis of suspected alien implants. Only peer review and acceptance separate his findings from the proverbial smoking gun of physical evidence for the abduction phenomenon.” Whitley Strieber writes, “Sometimes the whole world knows when a history figure makes his history…Dr. Roger Leir is such a historical figure. The time will come when the extraordinary breakthrough that he has made is noted in every textbook…the evidence is here…so overwhelmingly powerful that a sane person cannot easily deny that it is real.” Dr Leir himself writes, “If these scientifically derived results are not disproven by subsequent analysis, then we can safely conclude that some individuals with abduction histories have artificially manufactured objects in their bodies of a demonstrably extraterrestrial origin. In short, we now have the ‘smoking gun’ of ufology – the hard physical evidence of a continuing alien presence on Earth!”


ONE: THE EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE VISITATIONS Many California military bases have been associated with UFOs including George AFB, Hamilton, Norton, Miramar, Castle, Alameda and others. Of all of them, however, Edwards Air Force Base (formerly Muroc) tops the list. Located in the vast Mojave Desert, this area has attracted an incredible amount and variety of UFO activity starting in 1947 to the present day. In fact, the events at Edwards AFB are of such a magnitude that they may rival even the Roswell incident. The story begins on July 7, 1947. On that day, the base experienced a series of seven fly-overs by UFOs as witnessed by dozens of military officers and pilots. Listed as Blue Book case number 50 (unidentified), this encounter changed the way the Air Force handled UFOs. As researcher Michael David Hall writes, “Those disk sightings over Muroc on the seventh and eight really shook up the Pentagon [and] were the pivotal event which sprung the United States military into serious action on the saucer mystery…the incident led the United States Army Air Force to issue classified orders requiring reports of any ‘saucer-like’ objects to be given to the Technical Intelligence Division of the Air Material Command.” Researcher Richard Dolan writes, “The Muroc incident continues to provide evidence for military knowledge, interest and secrecy regarding UFOs.” This, however, was only the first sighting. Over the next fifty years, the base would be visited again and again by UFOs, including in 1952, 1954, 1958, 1965, 1967, 1978, 1995, 1998 and more. Several of these sightings were made by extremely reputable witnesses, including Air Force base officers and on one occasion, astronaut Gordon Cooper. In 1958, Cooper was at the base when a UFO landed on the dry lakebed. Base personnel filmed the incident, and Cooper developed and viewed the film. As he says, “Good close-up shots. Nothing like I had ever seen…double inverted saucer shape. It didn’t have any wings on it or anything…There was no doubt in my mind that it was made someplace other than Earth.” Another noteworthy incident occurred on October 7, 1965, during which several jets were scrambled to intercept UFOs which were hovering over the base. As researcher Steven Greer writes, “This extremely important case involves a seasoned Air Force Traffic Controller, an official ‘UFO officer,’ four separate radar stations, lock-on from onboard radar on a jet interceptor, many hours, and many objects over several hours. The debunkers and those who would ridicule the UFO matter need to be able to explain away all of these elements – and the voice tape of the actual event.” While the sightings, UFO-airplane chases and landings are enough to place Edwards at the top of this list, the story doesn’t end there. At this point, things become very controversial. According to a growing number of sources, on February 20, 1954 President Eisenhower visited Edwards AFB where he and other high-ranking officials had an alleged face-to-face diplomatic meeting with extraterrestrials. Numerous researchers have looked into the story and have come back with some surprising confirmation. At this point, however, the whole truth remains obscured. Beyond that (if that isn’t enough) there are also claims crashed UFOs, reverse engineering of UFO hardware, and even actual live aliens working at the base along with humans. While these stories remain on the fringe of UFO research, the stories continue to circulate. Whatever the case, as can be seen, Edwards AFB has an undeniably very close and on-going association with UFOs.  


As with any list, there are other encounters/events that could just as easily have placed, including the publication of UFO Magazine by Vicki Ecker, the launching of the Black Vault website ( by David Greenewalde Jr., the influential investigations of Edith Fiore Ph.D., Richard Boylan Ph.D., Jacques Vallee, James Harder Ph.D. Barbara Lamb MFCC, Yvonne Smith HT, Michael Lindemann, Ann Druffel, Bill Hamilton and many other prominent California researchers, the sightings over several California Air Force Bases, the California-based crash/retrieval cases, the November 16, 1963 San Fernando Valley Angel Hair case, the Antelope Valley sightings, the Kim Carlsberg case, the Licea Davidson case, the Jaoa Buist case, the Clint and Jane Chapin case, the Reverend Harrison Bailey case...the list goes on. Also, another investigator would probably come up with a different and equally valid list. I can only apologize and beg for mercy and the understanding that I am literally neck deep in UFO cases, making it difficult to choose the best ones.




All of the above cases and many more are presented in my book in detail. Having researched so many California cases, I have come to some tentative conclusions. Although I’ve been investigating UFOs for years, I am still shocked by how many cases there are. California has thousands of recorded encounters. But as every researcher knows, only about one person out of 100 reports their encounter in any official capacity. In my own experience, the number is even less. Therefore, the actual number of California encounters is at least a half million or more. My next big surprise was just how much evidence there is in support of UFOs. After more than fifty years of citizen and governmental investigations, there are literally mountains of evidence. If one takes the time to examine the evidence objectively, one will find that the proof of UFO reality is now in the public arena. Several of the above cases provide, I think, enough evidence to show that UFOs are real and are probably extraterrestrial in origin. The next tasks are educating the public, particularly the mainstream skeptical scientific community, the continuing fight against the UFO cover-up and, of course, attempting to mount better-funded on-site, real-time investigations.


NOTE: This article appeared in the MUFON Journal, April 2005 & May 2005.