I.E. sees saucer sightings
Think the Inland Empire is the last place a flying saucer
Then consider the July 6, 1947, experience of the R.V.
Allen family of Riverside Drive in Ontario:
"The rancher said that while he and Mrs. Allen and their
daughter Dolores were seated in their motor car about 9:30
p.m., they saw a whole `school' of the strange discs overhead
from south to north and insisted that they `played about in
the air just as perch do in the water,"' wrote the Ontario
Daily Report the next day.
How about B.A. Runner who saw, and heard, some strange
things that same night on West California Street?
"Runner reported that several of the discs sailed over his
house about 8 p.m., circled about and returned, one of them
flying so low that the sound of an attached motor could be
distinctly heard," wrote the newspaper.
And this was the day before the startling announcement in
Roswell, N.M., of the recovery of a "flying disc" by the Army.
That disclosure (which was quickly refuted by military
officials) has helped spawn decades of UFO sightings,
invaders-from-space movies and conspiracy theorists.
Whether you believe in them or not, it was obvious people
fueled by fear or wonder or too many stimulants - were
seeing something up there.
On July 8, a "spinning platter" was said to have crashed
into an almond grove near Lancaster. Redlands truck driver
H.J. Stell reported "silvery eggs in a straight line" flew
over March Field near Riverside.
Jerry McAdams saw a disc "big as a house" in Beverly Hills:
"It seemed to give off a low whistle as it disappeared."
On the morning of July 10, Pomona residents on West 10th
Street told the Pomona Progress-Bulletin they saw three
tumbling objects in the air, each sparkling as the sun
reflected off them.
Now, not everyone was impressed by all the flying saucer
talk - the Progress-Bulletin reported on July 8 that an
irreverent skywriter drew two giant circles in the sky and
spelled out the word "Saucers" to mock the frenzy.
All this uproar wasn't easy for newspapers to keep
A front-page story in the July 7 Daily Report said a plane
shot down a flying saucer over Montana and included quotes
from the pilot and his cameraman. But on the next page of the
same edition was a last-minute bulletin saying it was a hoax -
the story grew from several of the pilot's friends sitting
around telling tales.
On July 8, a reward of $1,000 was offered for anyone who
could capture one of these flying things - an offer that only
made things more crazy:
San Francisco designer Frank Borel produced a new women's
hat inspired, he said, from a flying saucer he claimed he saw
in a nightmare.
Newspapers and radio stations were swamped by callers,
though Kansas officials bragged that none of its residents saw
UFOs because as a "dry" state, it barred alcohol consumption.
A North Hollywood man planned to ask for the $1,000 prize
after a 30-inch disc conveniently landed in his garden. It
contained a radio tube and two exhaust pipes and spewed out a
lot of smoke.
In the interest of serious science, though, I must
report that a flying saucer was captured in the Inland Empire
Pomona police about 10 p.m. on July 8 caught two young men
atop a building under construction at Second Avenue and Gibbs
Street. Two others were nabbed in the street below.
They had made a 20-pound saucer fabricated from two plow
blades on which they had attached some batteries and wires to
add to its look. They planned to set it afire and hurl it into
the intersection below, hoping to frighten the good folks of
The four - in their early 20s from Pomona, San Dimas and
Covina - even stenciled "SBAAB" and "XP85" on the saucer to
imply it was some kind of strange experimental craft that had
gotten loose from the San Bernardino Army Air Base (Nevada's
Area 51 was still something far in the future for that sort of
They were questioned and then released, perhaps because
that kind of out-of-this-world crime was something for which
no law had yet been created.
Joe Blackstock writes on Inland Empire history. He can be
reached by calling (909) 483-9382.